Sunday, 27 November 2016

One month left of off-season...excited, nervous and enjoying having a full tummy!

Six months of hard work behind me and it’s almost time to wave goodbye to my first off-season and get back on competition prep.
In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago since I was on stage at the Yorkshire’s in May. In other ways it doesn’t feel like two minutes ago since I was gipping on my broccoli and vowing never to do it again. How time flies when you’re having fun, hey? It’s weird how the two contrasts in my perception of time differ so much based on the experience of that specific part of bodybuilding. The fun, euphoric moment of being on stage and all the hard work over the previous months paying off, seems so long ago. Yet the things that drove me to breaking point don’t seem to have been out of my life for long enough still.
And that’s where my mix of emotions come to fruition when I think about closing the door on the off-season and walking back into the crazy world that is competition prep.
I’ve had an incredible off-season; enjoyed two amazing holidays in America and Australia, plenty of time with family and friends and really enjoyed my time in the gym. I’ve loved getting stronger and feeling back to full fitness after feeling like a zombie for the last couple of months of prep. And it’s been nice to have variety with my training again and be able to have fun with it. I’m happy with the muscle I’ve added so far although I know there’s still some way to go yet.
I’m not going to lie; watching the changes to my body has not been that much fun and in all honesty I’d say it’s only the last 4-6 weeks that I’ve really felt comfortable in myself again which is a little depressing given I only have four weeks left to fully embrace it. I have found that side of things tough; I’d say it took a good couple of months for my body to stabilise after comp which saw big fluctuations in how my body looked and its composition. I really didn’t enjoy watching my abs disappear, my face fill out and my thighs become thick. I found it very hard mentally. The last 6 weeks though I’ve embraced those changes and enjoyed feeling and looking more ‘curvy’ especially when you remember that those changes are what are helping you develop in the off-season and get stronger.
 I also think it’s helped that almost everyone’s competition season has ended so everyone’s getting fat together haha (just kidding!) Throughout the summer months a lot of the girls I follow on Instagram who compete were preparing for other competitions so I was constantly faced with lean figures and abs popping all over the place. As it was summer too, a lot of people were trying to get in shape for summer holidays so I definitely felt out of place a lot during that time when I knew I wasn’t looking as lean and I was trying to build muscle which inevitably came with some additional fat too.
So with one month to go before the food cutbacks start, I’m feeling a range of emotions towards 2017. I have to say my biggest feeling is that of excitement. I’m excited to see the changes in my body, to be inching closer towards competition time, working on my posing and preparing to be on that stage. I’m excited to be back on stage and to feel that same buzz I felt this year.
I’m also feeling very anxious. Now it’s getting closer the struggles I had put to the back of my mind from this year’s prep stage, are becoming very vivid in my mind once again. Those very real feelings of being isolated when everyone is out enjoying themselves and you’re not able to join in properly; flash into my mind Those days where you’re constantly hungry and craving but know that giving in isn’t an option and those very tough times when it all gets too much and you’re left wiping away the tears willing yourself on. It is arguably the hardest battle I’ve ever done preparing to be on stage and I don’t forget how hard I found it at times.
In some ways I hope this season is ‘easier’. I went in completely blind last year and looking back I had no idea what was happening really and it was like an emotional rollercoaster. This time around I have no doubt it will be hard but I feel more prepared both physically and mentally. Plus I have a bigger network around me this time of people who are in the bodybuilding world and understand what it’s all about. That always helps and everyone is so supportive.
I’ve also put some things in place to help me be as prepared as possible for this upcoming journey. It’s safe to say over the last 6 months in particular, life has been hectic with all the different things going on in my life and it has pushed me to my absolute limits. I’ve had a few wobbles lately I don’t mind admitting, in my ability to cope with everything and I know I need to go into this season as fresh as possible.
I’m looking forward to some time off work over the Christmas period with not a lot planned so I can relax, recuperate and focus my mind for the upcoming year. I also have some time off at the end of January before the next phase of my competition prep begins to do the same again.
It’s going to be another challenging year; one that I’m sure will be full of ups and downs along the way. But there’s one thing for sure, by the time January comes I’ll never have been more prepared for anything before in my life. For now though, time to celebrate the Christmas period with family and friends; to enjoy a few too many pigs-in-blankets and to drink a few too many glasses of wine. In fact it’s almost like being on prep…prep for the actual competition prep so that I eat so much I almost can’t wait for my chicken and broccoli hehe!
Thanks for reading guys. Have a great week!

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