Welcome to installment number 4 of our competition prep blog series.
This week we are looking at the areas of contest prep that aren't all too pretty. The stuff that never really gets a mention on social media and the not to glamorous aspects that are still all part of the process.
So following on from last week we are all well aware of the term 'Hangry'. Being in a constant state of hunger can create some slightly enraged outbursts. We have all snapped at someone we love purely out of jealousy for the fact they are eating that cookie and we can't. During prep you find yourself blaming others lack of support when really what you need is to give yourself a time out. You chose to do this. It is your goal, not theirs. Supporting you isn't about doing whatever you demand!
It is important to understand that most of your family and friends will not know what your rage triggers are whilst dieting and you can't lock yourself away from the world and hide. Remind yourself that this is your choice and accept that your willpower, dedication and determination will get you there. Not an endless army of friends doing exactly as you would like.
You will soon become overwhelmingly flooded with other, somewhat out of character emotions. Anger is just the start and once it begins to pass sadness is just around the corner. I personally have cried because I dropped some of my rice on the floor and it felt like my life wasn't worth living without those carbs. It's irrational and it is far from who you usually are which leads you to feel like a burden or a drain on those you hold dear. My advice here is to have a strategy pre planned to help you through any emotional distress. Have a list of things you enjoy that can fit in around your prep, have motivational quotes and images on hand when the daily stressors are a little much, or just go train!
You will want to quit at some point, and having plans in place will help keep you on track.
Onto our next topic, fatigue.
Do you ever get in from training after a long day at work absolutely shattered? Haven't we all. Only now, during prep you even wake up tired!
The calorie reduction you are putting yourself through causes your body to conserve energy as much as possible. In a desperate attempt to stop you from dropping anymore body fat it will begin to slow you down. Simple day to day tasks can become grueling chores, taking twice as long to complete and triple the amount of time to talk yourself into doing them in the first place.
Training will become more and more of a challenge as the weeks countdown and it's up to you to keep on pushing through each day.
Motivate & caffeinate!
Using coffee and preworkouts can definitely help you going on through the days. Just make sure you get adequate (good quality) sleep on a night to set you up for the day ahead.
If you have a significant other supporting you during contest prep it is a good idea to pre warn them of the hormonal havoc calorie deficits can create. Not only will you be tired and somewhat grouchy, but your libido will take a dive making sex the last thing on your mind.
During the last few weeks of prep, my idea of intimacy is giving me a well deserved massage while I fall to sleep at around 9:30pm. Rock & Roll!
My top tips to sustain passion for as long as possible are;
Make sure you are getting good quality sleep! Have a meal close to bedtime to prevent hunger disturbing your sleep and supplement with ZMA if necessary.
Keep fat in your diet! Fat is essential for regulating your hormones which in turn can help you to keep your libido.
Everthing that you put yourself through during your contest prep in order to reduce your body fat percentage is going to leave you cold!
You can sleep in a onesie with an electric blanket and a hot water bottle, but if you are lean enough, you will still be cold.
The only times you seem to be warm are whilst training, straight after eating and whilst bathing (note: upon exiting the hot bath, instant chills render its temporary warmth completely ineffective).
You may be construction the best shape of your life, but chances are you will hide it away under hoodies unless it's the height of summer (and your not in Britain).
Try piping hot herbal tea held in both hands just under the chin. Get warm and hydrated all in one.
Again, keep your fat intake sufficient. Fat helps to insulate internally aswell as maintain your hormonal balance.
Buy an electric blanket...... you can thank me later.
Now the finale.
Reduced calories, excessive energy output (through extra cardio and/or longer training sessions) and more than likely less food volume can all lead to the least talked about issue on prep......... the toilet.
Not only will bowel movement frequency reduce significantly but lack of waste product from food to sustain your other bodily functions will reek havoc with your regular size and consistency. Nice!
Keep your water intake high.
Include sufficient fibre from veggies such as; sprouts, broccoli, parsnips and spinach.
Supplementation of high fibre multivitamin or herbal teas designed to aid intestinal discomfort can work a treat.
So now you know.
Hopefully, these taboo topics will give you a little insight and help you prepare for the path ahead.
Keep on pushing!