Sunday, 17 April 2016

The countdown is on!!

Normally I would begrudge my weekend flying by but at the moment I just see it as another two days chalked off as we get closer to competition day. Thankfully the weeks are flying by too as I’m so busy with work so in some ways it doesn’t seem like two minutes since it was 14 weeks to go. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago since I ate normal food.
But today marks 35 days to go; which seems like nothing really and in some ways that’s scary as I know I have improvements still to make but it’s also really exciting that soon enough what I’ll have been working on for near enough 20 weeks will all come together.
It’s weird now it’s getting closer the different feelings I have towards it. Despite the difficult days and believe me there has been plenty; I’m actually really enjoying the process. More so over the last 7 weeks or so, the first 8 weeks I struggled massively but more recently I’ve got more into it. I’ve adjusted overall to the diet; training has never been an issue as I love it and I’m enjoying being at my leanest.
Feeling lean this week...
Part of me will bizarrely miss it all when it’s over. The routine, the progress, the build-up of such a big event, the newness as I’ve never done it before so I’m loving learning so much every single day and just having that something in my life to strive towards. A few people have already asked me ‘what are you going to do after your competition?’ and I have to admit at first it took me by surprise a little as to be honest I’d not even thought about that. Well, not other than the copious amounts of food I plan on eating.
But it made me ask myself that question then as I know what I’m like. I always have to have something to work towards. A goal. A challenge. And this gave me the perfect challenge to work towards after I came home from travelling and having had such an adventurous year; it gave me something that I was equally as passionate about to get my teeth into.
I’m going back to University part-time in September to study for my Masters so I know that will give me a challenge but to be quite honest that challenge doesn’t excite me. I have to admit I’m doing it for my future career prospects and to give me more opportunities in life; I’m not doing it because I have burning desire to spent my evenings and weekends studying leadership and management.
Anyway, the more I sat and thought about what I would do fitness wise after all of this the more the answer became so simplistic to me. I’ll enjoy a balanced life. A life where I train several times a week because I love it and I love keeping my body healthy and fit. And a life where I eat healthy and nutritious foods because that’s when my mind and body perform best and I enjoy those foods. But also a life where I don’t have to get up every morning before work at 05:15 to do fasted cardio and a life where I can enjoy going for a pizza on a weekend with my friends.
And for me that’s what I’m craving now; some normality. I feel content about the whole situation and I’m now at peace with what I’m doing after weeks of frustration in January and February as I adjusted to the whole process. I know what needs to be done and that’s what I’m doing. But I’m ready to have my life back.
I have a new found respect for anyone in the bodybuilding world. It’s a crazy one, a mind-blowing one and not one I’m certain that I fit into entirely but I’m so glad I’ve done this. The amount of dedication and commitment you must give to it is unreal and the amount of sacrifice you make. It’s no exaggeration to say it takes over your life. Your social life is dictated by it; your lifestyle is dictated by it; the company you keep is dictated by it. I’ve found that element very hard as it’s so difficult to dedicate your life to this when you’re trying to balance other things. And perhaps unlike some people in the bodybuilding world I actually really love the other aspects of my life. I love my job and I love my social life. I have dedicated everything to bodybuilding these last few months; it has been my number one priority but it’s not something I would want to prioritise all of the time.
And I’m aware a lot of others are in the same situation who do this so it’s not a sob-story for me as we all deserve huge credit for what we do. If I had a job that wasn’t mentally demanding or that time-consuming I think I’d have found it slightly easier but because I don’t it’s certainly something that’s influenced my feelings a lot at times. Say for example last week I had a crazy working week as we all do sometimes but 17 meetings at work, each and every day literally racing from one thing to another, working on an evening to catch up on things and still having to set the alarm for 05:15. I don’t have a standard 9-5 job. Friday just about finished me off as I felt tired anyway and then I had a meeting in Bradford that didn’t finish until 6pm so to get home through the traffic at that time to get to the gym and do a weights session plus cardio I was exhausted by the end of it. I had a very restless sleep on Friday night as my mind was stressed out and so this weekend whilst I’ve pushed on, I’ve got to a point where I am ready to let training take a back seat and listen to my body a bit more.
I’m just ready for my life back, quite simply. I no longer get the intense cravings for naughty foods like I did at the start (although don’t get me wrong if I was permitted now to eat chocolate I would absolutely devour as much as I physically could before I was sick) I just miss normal things now and I notice things so much more too. Yesterday I went shopping with my mum. Normally we would call somewhere for a cuppa and a bite to eat. In preparation I took a protein snack to have with my green tea but I would have loved nothing more than to just have a normal cuppa and a sandwich. Something as basic as that. A bit of bread with some meat in (not chicken though!).
And I absolutely love my ‘Lean in 15’ recipe book by Joe Wicks. The recipes are all amazing that I’ve tried so far and are actually good for you. But they don’t fit my diet plan so I can’t have them; just something like a bowl of meatballs with tagliatelle. I was really getting into my cooking but I’ve not been able to use this book for months now. I’m excited that his second book is released in June and I’ll be straight on then with cooking up some lean meals.
One of the Lean in 15 recipes...healthy pizza. Yum!
 I’m looking forward to having a balanced diet again where I can enjoy a treat without feeling guilty because essentially treats are ok when it’s with a balanced diet. Up until about a month ago I was allowed a treat with my refeed so just a dessert or something but it got to the point where I actually ended up feeling so guilty afterwards and the next day that I chose to stop having that (that and it was getting nearer to comp so you obviously have to stop at some point). And I hate that. I hate that I feel guilty for having a slice of cake or something. I know when I’m living a balanced lifestyle that I train hard 4-5 times per week and I eat healthy 80% of the time so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with allowing yourself a treat when you fancy it.
It’s the little things I’m looking forward to most like when you do your food shop thinking ‘hmm what do I fancy this week for dinner?’ and not just automatically adding chicken, sweet potato and broccoli to your basket. That’s all I’ve had for my evening meal every single day for the last 8 weeks barring my Saturday night re-feed. Although from this week the chicken gets thrown out and replaced by cod and I’m actually so excited. I’m so fed up of chicken now the only chicken I ever want in my life again is Nandos or KFC. What has life become when you’re excited over a plain piece of cod for dinner haha? I’ll never want that again in my life after 35 days of it I can tell you that now.
And I’m excited to go out for breakfast. I love going to my local farm shop every now and again for a full English breakfast. It’s not that bad for you as it’s all excellent quality food and it tastes sooooo good. I miss going out for breakfast so much.
And also just getting my life back as diet dictates so much of it. You can’t really plan days out when you’re on a military regimented diet as generally you’re not going to have facilities to cook things and you don’t really want to carry everything around with you. Meals out are out of the question so I just avoid going very far at the minute.
So when the competition is over I won’t be setting myself another fitness goal anytime soon. I’ll just be enjoying having a life again and having that much needed balance.
People also ask me whether I’ll do it again. Quite simply the answer is never. Absolutely not. And I don’t want that to sound like I’ve hated it and that I’m so against it because I’m not but it’s just not for me. Had someone sat me down 6 months ago and talked me through the ins and outs of it, exactly what it would involve, what daily life would become I’d have turned around and said ‘no thanks’. So I’m grateful I didn’t know much about it at all before I started dieting as whilst I was never 100% set on it until probably 6 weeks ago by that point I’d already done so much towards it that I didn’t want to give up at that stage and I thought I might as well push myself that final bit to get on stage. Had I understood it more, I wouldn’t have done it.
It’s a once in a lifetime for me but I know what I’m like; people keep telling me I’ll get addicted to it after the buzz of being on stage and you know what, I probably will. And in 8 months time when it comes to January I know there will be a part of me that’s tempted again but I won’t let myself and I’ll remind myself of this post. I love my life too much, I love food too much, I love my freedom too much. I’ll be so proud when I step out onto that stage and I’ll be so glad I’ve had this experience; I’ve learnt so much. But I’ve already decided that my figure suit is getting framed straight after comp so if I ever get a bit tempted again there’s no way I’ll be breaking that glass to dig it back out.
But for now it’s all hands on deck and the 35 day countdown is on. I’ve done 105 days so far so 35 is nothing at this stage. I am literally on a daily countdown. I’m not quite sure sometimes whether I’m counting down more to it being over and being able to eat whatever I want that night or counting down to being on stage haha. And that’s just me being honest. I’m excited for the competition and seeing everything come together that I’ve dedicated all of 2016 to so far but for me it was as much about the process as it was that final show when I decided to do it.
I wanted to test my willpower, see what my body was capable of, push myself physically and mentally and become a better person for the experience. And that’s what I’ve become; I’m more appreciative for the small things in life, I’m more patient to work hard for what you want and I’m more understanding of people from wanting people to show me that understanding while I’ve been doing this.
Final preparations are coming together now. I had my fitting yesterday to get my exact measurements for my figure suit. My body will change in terms of condition over the next 5 weeks but not so much in size so Joanne can start making my suit now which is exciting and I get to try it on for the first time next weekend. My nails, eyebrows and spray tan are all booked in. And the stylist is sorted to do my hair on the morning.
More importantly the collection of post-competition food is coming along nicely. I bought 3 crème eggs yesterday that are now safely out of my sight and at my mum’s to go with the Easter egg that I got bought and couldn’t have. And my list is evolving daily of the food I’m indulging in on that Sunday evening. The real MVP is the Domino’s pizza. My mouth is filling with saliva as I type this at the thought of a BBQ chicken base stuffed crust pizza haha (Oh.My.Days). And that will be finished off with a dozen Krispy Kreme to work my way through (with friends obviously!) and an array of other treats just in case one takes my fancy. I have Nutella on there, brownies, cookies, fizzy sweets and cheesecake. I’ll be looking to re-create Man vs Food that night, that’s for sure.
Anyway time for a green tea and an early night ready for my 05:15 wake up call. Hope you’ve all had good weekends and thanks for reading J

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