Sunday, 22 January 2017

3 weeks down. The story so far.

It’s 3 weeks today since my preparations began for my first competition of 2017. 3 weeks down and 18 weeks to go. It seems like a very long prep when you say 21 weeks and in reality it is a very long prep; one thing I swore never to do again after my first season competing in 2016. Saying that, I also swore I’d never hit the stage again in the build up to NPA Yorkshire 2016 and here I am preparing for season two so lesson number one is never say never.
In actual fact prep was supposed to be 18 weeks long and starting tomorrow with the first 3 weeks of the year being used to clean up the diet really; mainly of sugary foods that I over-indulged with over Christmas. However when 1 January came around I found it hard to draw the line with what I was and was not allowed to eat (in my mind) so as it happened prep pretty much got underway from the New Year with kcal and macro tracking daily and only good, nutritious, wholesome foods in my diet.
So how’s it been so far? Non-descript would probably be the word to use (of all the word choices out there haha). The reason being is that at this stage it is what is really. I find it a bit of a frustrating stage in all honesty as the first couple of weeks are a welcome change. You happily wave goodbye to the mountains of chocolate, biscuits and party food that were constantly on offer over the festive period and welcome good, nutritious foods that your body wants and needs. Week 3 hits and you wonder what on earth you were thinking and think about all the Quality Street you didn’t eat and that extra piece of Christmas cake that you turned down. Damn it. It’s also too early to see any real, solid changes in your figure so that’s why I find it a bit of a frustrating period and I remember I felt the same last year too.  
Clearly I’m talking purely from my own personal experience and I imagine for many bodybuilders out there you’re probably still in the ‘ooh yum veggies’ phase. Unfortunately that phase passes far too quickly for my liking and the fat girl inside me just starts screaming out for the sugar rush. It’s safe to say I will never really enjoy the diet phase of bodybuilding. I absolutely adore my nice food and it’s a HARD 5 months for me in the build up to competition. It’s only because my willpower is unquestionable that I get through it and because I’m very disciplined. I know what needs to be done and I do it, it’s as simple as that.
Training legs last week
 One of my best friends is a bodybuilder too and generally she finds the diet easier than I do in that she doesn’t get as intense cravings for things, well especially not at this early stage anyway. I have a major sweet tooth and as with most things in life, when I know I can’t have something I want it more so it makes for very testing times but I always keep my eyes on the prize. Even last weekend I had a bad few days mentally with a few things and it really made me question whether I wanted another year of competing, living such a restricted lifestyle and making so much sacrifice. I have these times now and again and I know when I do I just need to shut off for a couple of days, have some time to myself and get my head back re-focused. This year it’s easier in that sense because I remind myself of the elation of last year’s competition and I know it’s all worthwhile.
Anyway enough of the whinging as overall my body feels on top form. The body certainly feels better for getting lots of goodness inside it and I’ve felt more energised, stronger and fitter in my training and I am starting to see very small progress in the shape of my body the last few days. The fat on my stomach is slowly starting to shift and on the back of my legs (the two places it seems to hit first when I put on a few pounds). It’s those small bits of progress that keep me motivated and as you pass week 3 I tend to find I see those developments more so it eases the frustration.
January 2016 to January 2017. The start of both preps.
In terms of my diet I’m currently on 1,800kcals per day. This is the same as what I was on for the latter stages of my off-season and given I’m only small in height, this is plenty for my muscles to keep growing but without putting on weight. My macro breakdown at the moment is 40% protein, 40% carbs and 30% fats. We want to try and keep my carbs pretty high for as long as possible to make sure I’m still able to train well and keep my muscles pumped. I’m training 6 times a week at the moment, 5 of those hypertrophy training and 1 cardio based Bootcamp which is something I did throughout off-season.
At this stage I’m not adding in any additional cardio other than if I go out walking on a weekend. We will save that for later on in prep when I need to get leaner. I’m allowing myself a weekly re-feed at the moment, generally on a weekend. Up until this weekend that’s been a clean meal still but just more of it really. This weekend however I went away for the weekend so I did allow myself a steak baguette and fries last night. I also had a tiny piece of birthday cake. All of which I fitted into my 1,800 kcals for the day and just compensated with my other meals for breakfast and lunch.  
One good thing about being in my second prep season is that my coach and I know more about what works for my body and what doesn’t based on last year. My body reacts well to a weekly re-feed and until the latter stages of prep that doesn’t always have to be 100% clean. So I’ll see how I go week by week for now, I’ll be having a weekly re-feed but whether that will be a clean re-feed or a cheat meal re-feed I’ll assess each week based on how I feel. Our aim is to drop 1lb per week on average which will bring me in nicely into my first competition at the end of May. So far, 3.1lb loss so pretty much perfect progress.
One thing I’m aware of this year is comparing to fellow bodybuilders. Last year being my first year I knew pretty much nobody that competed and it was good in the sense that you didn’t see what everyone else was doing which I do think helps because naturally when you do know a lot of people on prep, as I do this year, it’s easy to think oh maybe I should be doing that or maybe I should stop doing this etc. I’m also very aware that I want this blog to continue to be an honest and raw account of my bodybuilding life and last year was very much that. This year I am aware that I have fellow bodybuilders who read my blog so some may read and disagree with some things that I do.
I think it’s important for everyone to remember, whether you’re a bodybuilder or not, that everyone is different and what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another and whilst the end goal is the same, there are plenty of routes along the way so you should never feel pressure from other people. It’s something I keep in mind when following bodybuilders on social media, to remain non-judgemental as just because they might be doing something different to me, it doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong and vice versa.
So, 3 weeks down and 18 weeks to go. Overall feeling pretty good. No major issues too far (apart from craving a bar of Dairy Milk as I type this) and more determined than ever to make 2017 an awesome year on that stage.
Thanks for reading. Hope you’ve all had awesome weekends.

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