I hear about it all the time: The Post Competition Blues, and it wasn’t until I stepped on stage myself two years ago, for the first time, that post show…sure enough, I stared at those blues dead on.
Post Competition BlueS: The feeling of no purpose post competition. Not knowing what to do with ones self without the required double cards and packing meal times. Not feeling adequate without a large goal. The desire to get back on stage. Not comfortably able to assimilate one self back into every day life.
Common phrases you hear from competitors post competition:
“I don’t know what to do when I have no cardio in the evenings”
“I have anxiety about eating anything any more”
“Im retaining water”
“I want to go back on my diet”
“I hate how I look off season”
There is a LOT of negativity, and self hatred once you step off the stage, remove the glitter and tan and re-introduce yourself back into what previously was your LIFE.
I understand that for some people, they start a new life journey to get in shape, get fit, loose 40lbs and get away from MCDonalds for lunch and dinner. So when you compete you have a reason to celebrate your personal journey. After you compete however, you work to maintain this new life style. Chicken and Broccoli over Chicken McNuggets, and Portion Control over Buffet Servings. That is very admirable, and usually has become a habit.
But there is the other extreme. Where athletes step off stage and start gorging on chocolate, candy and cookies. Fine.
“I deserve this, after that long 16 weeks” okay.
Then the next day comes and its a full day off the diet, okay. Understandable
“One more cookie, because I am going to diet hard core again on Tuesday” So she says…
Then the third and fourth day arrive, some times two weeks later, that same lean and athletic athlete has packed on serious weight, and the self hate becomes an issue. You go into a dark hole judging yourself, against this previously dieted, depleted and carb loaded body. Not fair.
So now you are self absorbed and the promise you made to your friends that it was 8, 16 or 34 weeks of dieting turns into, “now I have to diet again to get my body back”.
What happened to date night. What happened to playing in tents with your kids. What happened to family sit down dinners, or drinks with your girls.
Remember that before you stepped onstage, you had a name, a personality, an identity. And the gym, although is a part is not YOU. The show also was not just about being on stage. Its a life experience, a time to make friends and a time to see the limits you can push yourself to.
I struggled with this my own self, many a times. both Post show and Post pregnancy. I hear athletes, basketball, football etc.. struggle with this. What they once knew as their LIFE, is no longer there, and they struggle to understand their own true identity and live it out each day.
As you are prepping for a show, make a list not of the foods you want to eat, but the activities and things you want to do, or do more of (ie. play puppets with your kids). Make sure that your off season, although important, is an OFF season. That you rekindle your marriage, your life your passions.
In order to maintain, your personal identity….