Competition Diary – 17 Weeks Out

My first bit of competition neuroses surfaced this week.  I’ve been coasting through my carb cycling diet for the most part, other than some fatigue and headaches.  It took some time to adjust to eating chicken and broccoli five times per day, but it’s not so bad.  Cardio has been difficult with restricted carbs, but I’ve been as strong as ever when it comes to lifting.

Friday was measurement day.  Here are the results in comparison to earlier in the summer when I first moved to Charlotte and started training:

Date of Measure

8/2/12

9/1/12

10/22/12

12/14/12

Weight

128.5 lbs

127 lbs

127 lbs

123.5 lbs

Body Fat %

19.17%

18.18%

16.42%

14.89%

Lean Body Mass

103.87 lbs

103.91 lbs

106.14 lbs

105.12 lbs

Fat Mass

24.63 lbs

23.09 lbs

20.86 lbs

18.38 lbs

Overall, I’ve lost 4.28% body fat (6.25 lbs of fat) while gaining 1.25 lbs of lean body mass (i.e. muscle!) in approximately 4.5 months.  I should have been happy about this, and I was to some extent, but competing changes everything…

Having a competition date means there is a deadline, which also means I put ten times more pressure on myself to do everything perfectly and meet my goals.  More pressure means more devastation when I feel like I have failed or am behind schedule.  Compared to when I measured in AZ with my coach 3 weeks ago, it didn’t really seem like I had made much progress.  It was hard not to be disappointed that I didn’t make more significant progress, especially after eating so much chicken and broccoli!

Part of a being a mentally tough athlete involves being resilient and having the ability to reframe setbacks.  I still have 17 weeks left to go.  If getting into competition shape was as quick and easy as carb cycling for a few weeks, then I wouldn’t even be close to starting prep yet and everyone would look like a fitness model!  I have plenty of time to be ready.  If I’m following the plan and not getting the results I need to be, then my coach will make some adjustments (which is exactly what happened – in fact, I actually get MORE food now).  The world is not over!

I am also trying to focus on the big picture.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Could I severely restrict calories and do hours upon hours of cardio to drop some serious weight in a short period of time?  Of course!  But that’s not what this is about.  It’s about consistency and sanity, not a quick fix or engaging in a lifestyle I know I can’t possibly maintain in the long run.  I also have to realize that the leaner I get, the smaller and more subtle the changes are from week to week.  Expecting huge changes in only a week or two just isn’t realistic.

So, I had my pity party yesterday, but woke up today knowing that I am where I am and all I can control is today.  So I killed my workout, including 30 mins of sprints on the treadmill (which I hate doing because they are so hard for me).  I have other things to be proud of too – I finally can do unassisted pull-ups/chin-ups; I’ve set numerous PR’s for bench press, squats, deadlifts, leg press, and shoulder press; and I still feel that I am living a life in balance.  I don’t feel limited, restricted, or deprived – I just feel excited about pursuing my goals and appreciative of the amazing support system I have around me, both in Charlotte and in Phoenix. 

Can’t wait to see what changes the next few weeks bring!

First photo taken on 8/5/12.  Second photo taken this morning.  Slow and steady wins the race!
First photo taken on 8/5/12. Second photo taken this morning. Slow and steady wins the race!
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