Blues by Traci Redding
all go through it. It is part of competing, yet every time we say we
are not going to do it, we inevitably do. What is it? It’s the problem
of rebounding and gaining weight. Many of us experience this problem.
I personally wanted to write this article because I feel there is a
great need for it! I have talked with many women who compete and after
spending time researching and interviewing these women they all had
one thing in common. After a show, most of us experience instant weight
gain and depression or what I like to call "post contest blues"!
Obviously it is impossible to stay in Contest shape year round, yet
we are so miserable when we can’t stay in that shape. It is unrealistic
to walk around at 4-6% body fat and dehydrated. Unfortunately unless
a competitor looks like she does in those contest photos she feels fat!
I am going to tell you a story about a competitor and I want you to
see if you can relate....
is time to get on that stage and show the judges what she has been doing
all year. Her tank is completely empty, hardly any body fat and no water,
she is exhausted and depleted! She gets on stage and she shows the judges
what she has been working on all year! All the preparation, dieting
and posing practices have gotten her to the point she is and it is all
up to the judges, her work is done! She is in the best condition ever
and she feels ready!
It is Saturday night and all the judging is over and the results are
in!! She doesn't place top 5, but makes the top ten so that makes her
happy!! It is now time to celebrate and relax. She choices her food
wisely knowing that it can be dangerous to eat and drink too much, as
she has experienced this before! So after eating and drinking she climbs
into bed feeling exhausted, elated and completely full!!! The next morning
comes and she is distracted by photo shoots and plans of returning home,
she feels great and her body looks even better than the night before.
It is time to return home and back to work! As she gets back into the
groove of her life and how she is on a day-to-day basis she realizes
that her shows are over for the year and she is not so sure how to handle
it! After 1-2 days she has already gained back anywhere from 6-8 pounds,
which is of course mostly water, but still 6-8 pounds is 6-8pounds!
As she reflects on her placing and the results of her season she feels
sad and depressed wondering if this sport is really for her. After attending
happy hour and dinner with friends pretty much every night since she
has-been back and don't forget the sweets that everyone feels she should
eat, since she has been "depriving" herself for 6 months she
feels utterly disgusted and miserable!!!
after 1-2 weeks of this she steps on the scale and looks down and OH
MY GOSH! She has gained 20 pounds!! She then starts crying and stating
how fat she is and she cannot believe that she did this to herself,
why did she do this, she said over and over how she was not going to
do this, yet she did! So now not only is she feeling fat and ugly, she
is depressed and just wishes she could be normal and not feel this way!
The truth is she is not normal, she never was normal and she will never
be "normal"! Normal people are not 6% Body Fat, normal people
don't train and diet like Bodybuilding/Figure/Fitness competitors!!
So even though at this point she is about 12-13% body fat and still
way above the average person, she feels fat! None of her clothes are
fitting her and she hates the thought of even looking in the mirror
or going anywhere, especially to a Show where everyone knows her. She
knows the first thing they are going to think and say is "Man,
she got fat!", anywhere else people would be going on and on about
how fit she is. This is indeed one very tough industry.
So about 4-6 weeks goes by and she starts feeling somewhat back to normal
and not sooooooo swollen and miserable. She decides that it is time
to stop obsessing about her weight and start focusing on making changes
for the better on her physique and putting a better package on the stage.
Her hormones are starting to return to normal and now she is thinking
rational thoughts and making plans for her future in competing!
Not every competitor feels this way, this is an extreme case, but I
truly believe that most competitors go through what I call "post
contest blues". All of the above emotions are valid and understandable,
although it is extremely important to realize how you are feeling you
should try to find someone around you that understands what you are
going through and can support you.
is unrealistic to walk around all year in contest shape. It is to taxing
on one's body and very unhealthy! I believe the key, is to set realistic
goals that are attainable year round. I think that it is best to stay
about 10-12 pounds away from contest weight. It is critical to find
balance in the off-season and not get too far away from contest condition.
Remember, most of your work is done in the off-season, that is when
you are making the changes, that is when you are sculpting and shaping
your physique. Once you start dieting not many changes in your muscles
will be made, due to the calorie deficit and extensive cardio training
that we typically have to endure.
So, all in all I just wanted to convey how important it is to create
stability in your diet and training and not go to the extreme. Also,
I think it is important to learn to appreciate a fuller physique and
understand that you are not fat. It is a very tough industry and it
is very exhausting to constantly be in the spotlight. You feel as if
you are under the microscope and that everyone is watching you and judging
every move you make regarding eating and training.
Like I have said before, you are not normal and you should be thankful
for that! Embrace who you are and work on being happy with yourself
and how you look year round.
About the Author...
Traci Redding lives in Texas and
in 2005 competed at Jr. Nationals, USA's and Team U Figure Nationals.
Traci is one of those competitors that everyone knows she has
a pro physique and hasn't yet been recognized by the judging panel
as one. Traci will be competing again in 2006 and will bring the
lean and hard physique we all enjoyed at Jr. Nationals.