These past three weeks have been oddly nostalgic for me because last year I was training for the same competition (Adela Garcia Classic) but with a different trainer and different goals.
Last year was my first bodybuilding show. I knew nothing (and I do mean nothing) about bodybuilding. I entered the bikini competition on a whim as a way to force myself to lose weight. My trainer, Daniel Rufini, seriously earned his money dealing with me.
This year it’s my third show. I know just enough about bodybuilding to be dangerous. I’m trying the figure division and my goal is to gain muscle. My trainer, Melissa Merritt Coker, is seriously earning her money dealing with me. Not just because I’m neurotic, but also because I almost ruined her wedding. (Read here: Flashmob Fiasco.)
When you are pregnant there is a go-to book to read called, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” There is no such book for bodybuilding, so here is my attempt at it. (Please note, these progress pictures are from my first and second shows when I was training with Daniel. Mel has a rule that we can’t post progress pics until after the competition, so you’ll see those pics in June.)
- Your trainer informs you that you are 12 weeks out from your show. His critical eyes scans over your body and you feel like the monster to his Dr. Frankenstein. Cryptic comments like, “Now the real training begins” or “Now we sculpt” come out of her mouth and you can’t help but think, “Real training? You mean it gets worse? How is that even possible?”
- You get your new diet. You are excited as anything shiny and new is exciting, even a diet. Until you read it. “WHAT? NO MORE CASEIN POWDER??? Don’t you know that Casein powder is my only source of chocolaty flavored goodness? What kind of a sadistic person are you? What kind of a – I get to eat sweet potatoes? Yay!”
- You get your new exercise schedule. If you have been on the weight loss path your reaction is: “YOU WANT ME TO DO HOW MUCH CARDIO!?! Oh my God, I’m going to LIVE at the gym? How on earth am I supposed to handle regular things like paying bills and doing laundry when you’ve just doubled my cardio?” If you have been in the bulking phase during the off season your reaction is: “YES! Finally I get to do cardio again!!”
- You experience bliss. What is this magical diet and why has your trainer been holding out on you all these months? In one week you have lost 4 lbs and you want to erect a monument in honor of your trainer. You pull out your skinniest skinny jeans and they fit. You take pictures of yourself as evidence of your ripped physique, just in case this whole looking fit thing is a fluke. You think to yourself, “I am going to win this competition!”
- You go to the Shredder and have a panic attack. Watching all those women in their bikinis and heels you realize you will never win a competition. If you are in weight loss mode you will tell your trainer something like, “I will NEVER lose the weight in time! I will NEVER lose the body fat! I’M GOING TO LOOK STUPID ON STAGE! Can I take steroids?” If you are in lean muscle mass growth mode you will email pictures of the winners to your trainer and say something like, “I will NEVER grow lean muscle mass in time! I will NEVER be as chiseled as those women! I’M GOING TO LOOK STUPID ON STAGE! Can I dehydrate myself?”
- Your trainer will talk you down. What’s kind of humorous to me is that even though I had two completely different trainers and panic attacks about completely different issues, they both responded like Obama by essentially telling me, “Chill the fuck out. I got this.”
- You are tired. All the extra cardio and strength training with heavier weights is beginning to take it’s toll. You are tired from lack of sleep. You are tired from sore muscles. You are tired from reduced carbs.
- You are dippy. Carbohydrates fuel the brain. You never realized just how true this was until you reduced them from your meal plan. You go to the gym only to realize you forgot your sneakers. You take your child to school dressed in a cute butterfly dress only to realize today was pajama day. You’re in the middle of a strength circuit and you just stand next to the machine staring blankly not sure why you’re there and your trainer asks, ‘What are you doing?’ and your teammate replies, “She’s Losing It alright.”
If you are new to bodybuilding, stay tuned for the next installment of Same Show/Different Trainer: Weeks 9-7…If you have trained for a bodybuilding show, did you have similar experiences?
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