I have 2 disclaimers for this blog post:
1, I wrote this blog weeks ago but it never felt finished and I think that’s because I still had some “learnin” to do about this whole process.
2, this blog is long, but hang in there, there’s some pretty epic shit in here.
Well here goes nothing….
“This is bullshit. I’m never doing this again.”
Those were the last words I said to myself while walking offstage of my last bikini competition.
You see I had just finished my 3rd show in 6 months…I was emotionally drained from an eating disorder raging out of control, physically considered malnutrition from months of restrictive dieting and training, and to be honest; I hated everything about competing.
I hated the politics. I hated my body. I hated training. I especially hated the constant internal battle, “am I lean/big/good enough” song that played in my head over and over each day… I was done and maybe even a little heart broken.
Putting on a brave face for my last competition 3 years ago
So I’m sure you’re wondering why in the hell, would that girl ever get onstage again?
Well, it’s because THAT GIRL was broken and THIS GIRL is strong.
It’s been 3 years, a two year old, and 1 long ass road to get to the place I am today.
I’ll be honest, when I first stopped competing, I so badly wanted to hate bodybuilding, but the truth was, I still loved it.
I love the mental challenge of it all. I love watching your body transform, and at the end of the day, you’re asking something of yourself for weeks that most wouldn’t attempt in a day.
It’s pretty incredible don’t you think? To ask more from yourself than you think you can give?
I began training for my first show while broke, basically living out of my car, starting a new business, and working 3 jobs in a new city.
The gym was a haven for me. It was the only place I felt strong and in control, in a very turbulent time of my life.
I prepped for 12 weeks going in, and back then there wasn’t macros or reverse dieting; there was tilapia and a treadmill- not much else.
I was so focused and never missed a rep, a minute of cardio, or a bite off my meal plan.
I won my class the first show I entered and I went from the girl who was just happy to be there to the girl who “had to win” her next show.
“Itty bitty” me at my very first show
It was like a monster was born overnight.
I became obsessed and my life suddenly only had room for competing.
I hired a new coach, that had hundreds of proven winners, and even though deep down I knew that coach could care less about me or my body, I just thought this was the only way to win.
The weeks of restrictive dieting created a nasty relationship with food: anything off my meal plan terrified me to eat because it was “bad” but I would obsess over food and it would bring me to 5,000 calorie binge eating episodes followed by 2 hour long cardio sessions trying to “erase” what I did.
i somewhat pulled it together enough to compete again in 2 shows back to back, but my body had taken a toll.
I had dropped down to 7% body fat my first show and then immediately gained 30 pounds by not properly reverse dieting.
My next show I prepped for 22 weeks straight and this time around my body would not respond to any changes we made with diet and nutrition.
As you can tell my body changed A LOT in between those shows! This was my heaviest weight to date and also my worst hair color 🙄
By the time I was 4 weeks out from my last show, I was only eating 30g’s of carbs a day and doing 1-2 hour cardio sessions daily.
My hair was falling out, my face made me look like a walking zombie, and my hormones were badly damaged; I started to have early menopausal symptoms. (I was 25 at the time btw)
But the physical changes happening to my body, surprisingly didn’t phase me.
This was just another example of the “dedication” and the “focus” bodybuilders had to have….it was an example of how even your own health and happiness can mean nothing to you if you think you’re doing what it takes to win.
At my last show, I got 3rd call outs (call outs are a placement system in bodybuilding). I didn’t even go out to talk with my family and friends after the show. I just stood in the backstage bathroom and cried.
I don’t think I cried over my placement, I think in that moment, it just became very clear to me how lost I’d become.
I felt weak, broken, angry, and most of all; I felt like a liar. Here I was parading around as this “health” advocate and the things I was doing to myself, I would never allow a client or friend do.
I was mentally and physically destroying myself for a trophy? Never again.
I started intense therapy for my eating disorders (yea, I had 3 to be exact). I started researching macro nutrition and metabolism repair and for once, found a balanced and happy approach to food. I began multiple types of training styles and once again found myself back in the gym because I loved being there.
I also found my calling as a coach. I still loved bodybuilding, but I found a new passion and a new strength as a coach, because I was determined the same thing that happened to me would never happen to any athletes I trained.
Doing what I love! In 5 years as a coach, I’ve never had one athlete on a fat burner, restrictive meal plan, or do excess amounts of cardio. So proud of my team!
During my competing days, I was told I had done too much damage to ever be able to conceive, so you can imagine my complete surprise when I was blessed to become a mama; only 1 year after receiving that news.
I owe everything to my son- he saved me from myself in so many ways.
Becoming a mother taught me to love and respect my body for what it can do; not just what it looks like.
Being a mom also teaches me everyday that he sees everything I do. I have no choice but to try to be the best example I can be, every day.
Which after what feels like a novel (thanks for hanging in there guys), brings me to the whole point of this blog; why am I getting onstage again?
I’m getting onstage again because for 3 years, I thought I was gave competing my best and I wasn’t.
I didn’t love my body. I didn’t compete with the focus on health first and results second. And to be completely honest; I just never got to compete the way I wanted too.
I still sometimes think back and forth if I should challenge myself like this….
Mentally I have to be in constant check with my balance and having a positive and healthy outlook.
But then I think about THAT GIRL and how I was right, she couldn’t handle it.
But THIS GIRL, this girl can!
We all deserve health and happiness. We all also deserve to follow our dreams.
I’m stepping onstage to prove to myself and all the other “that girl”s out there; that we can do both!