AC's Journey to the Stage Part 2
So I’m now a mere 4 weeks out from my first UKBFF show, and 7 weeks out from my second. The time has absolutely flown by and it’s scary but also incredibly exciting to think I’ll be up on that stage in just 27 days. Since I wrote Part 1, calories have naturally gone down, cardio has increased (but only slightly) and mentally the whole process has got significantly tougher.
Regardless of the outcome or how I place on 24th, I have learnt so much from this process. Prep is hard. I knew that when I went into this process, but knowing and experiencing are two very different things. Becoming ‘stage lean’ requires pushing your body to extremes and taking your body to a level of body fat it’s not designed to be at. I’ve found the process increasingly psychologically – as well as physically – draining. My cravings for ‘treats’ are through the roof, I’m exhausted 90% of the time, as well as nearly always cold due to my low level of body fat and my hormones and emotions are all over the place. One thing I am immensely happy about is my strength has not decreased significantly. This was on of my greatest concerns going into prep as I love feeling strong. The fact that I have only lost a little strength is also a good indication I have not lost too much muscle mass, which is always something to be happy about. I have however lost almost 7kg to-date through this process! Funny to think I had that much fat to lose!
As I get further through this process I feel very grateful to have so much support from those around me. As I approach the ‘home stretch’ it is their support and reminders of how far I’ve come that keep me going. I am doubly grateful for this continued support as during my low points, it is those closest to me that often receive the brunt of my bad moods and bi-polar emotions. I will note that as much as support from those you love makes the process more bearable, this sport is highly individual and at times selfish and socially isolating. No one person can push that last rep out of you or be there 100% of the time to make sure you stick to your diet or do your cardio. That motivation and strength can only come from you. It is also difficult to be present at social situations, not just because these often revolve around food and drink, but also due to the physical and mental exhaustion that is part-and-parcel of the process.
Up to this point I realise I’ve only highlighted the negatives of ‘comp prep’, but my intention is merely to point out the harsh realities behind the sparkly bikinis and shredded physiques. Onto more positive notes, my bikini arrived last week and I am in no way exaggerating when I say it is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I now own. My posing is also improving daily and when I look back at my practice videos it astounds me the confidence I am beginning to exude. And it is not a confidence that stems solely from how I look, but more powerfully stems from sheer pride in the amount of work and effort that I have put in every single day to look the way I do now. That is perhaps one of the best things I will take away from this process.
Another ‘nugget of wisdom’ I would like to impart to anyone who is reading this is this: please do not be disheartened or discouraged if you do not look like the fitness models, bikini athletes or those you look up to on social media. I can promise you that 90% of them do not look like that year-round, they do not maintain those physiques, and the 10% that do are either genetic ‘anomalies’ or are taking substances that allow them to put on size and maintain lean-ness whilst eat whatever they like. A huge amount of sacrifice goes into looking the way I do now, my life is not balanced and I can certainly say that the novelty of having abs wears off when everyone around you is eating Easter eggs and you can’t have any!
My next blog post will most likely be after the show (eeekkk!) so wish me luck!
Lots of love, AC x