My school district’s winter break is ending. (We get an extra day off Monday because of some aggrressive weather we’ve got going on today.) Sleep deprivation and being too busy begins again on Tuesday. I spent the last couple of weeks lesson planning my entire second semester in anticipation of reduced energy (and brain function) as I get deeper into this prep. I am passionate about this flipped-mastery format I’m using in my geometry classes this year. I’m fully invested in it because I believe this makes sense. I believed in it 15 years ago, but had to wait for technology to catch up. There is no way I’m going to let a bodybuilding contest prep interfere. For me, it’s just a stage and a photo. For my students, it’s a required course with a high-stakes exam also required for high school graduation. No comparison.
This was a tough week, hunger-wise. From one day to the next, food volume was constant, but my physical reactions changed. Some days, I sailed through without much distraction – other days the hunger was hard to ignore. I think it depended on whether I was actively busy that day and/or what the lift was that morning. Doesn’t really matter – this is part of the process. What really gets to me some days is the tracking. That can be a grind because I’ve been doing it since June 2009. There were periods when I didn’t track. After a while, I missed it. But this flipped-mastery structure has a lot of detailed work involved with it and I get overwhelmed – especially when my reserves are a bit depleted from the diet. When I’m feeling stressed about tracking, I revert to eating what I ate the day before, in the same amounts, so that if I don’t log it, I’m not deviating much. In the evening, I will log the whole day. Because I used the same foods, in the same amounts, logging goes fast.
Lifting last week was uneventful. I follow Coach’s spreadsheet. Lifting is something I look forward to each day, but honestly, nothing is happening right now that’s newsworthy. Just showing up and getting it done. I’m a bit hyper-focused on form and paying attention to any odd pains here and there. Left hamstring has been cranky for several weeks. Not too painful, but something is a tiny bit strained. I’ve been working around it if I can’t work with it. Since I’m in prep and dropping weight (I’ve lost about 10 pounds since October), I feel like I need to be mindful of these things. I don’t think I’ve lost much muscle, but being lighter has changed my relationship with gravity a smidge, and that changes how much weight I can handle for some movements if my body weight was a factor.
I’m not allowing myself to be too precise about things in the kitchen just yet. In fact, it would be awesome if I could be a bit sloppy for this whole prep. (There will be daily ice cream for as long as possible, although I’ve switched from my standard ice-cream sandwich to a lower calorie fudgebar. And this time, I’m not tracking the creamer I put in my coffee – and I won’t. Ever.) Granted, “sloppy” in my perspective probably isn’t that sloppy compared to regular folk, but this thing is a slippery slope for competitors. I don’t concern myself if I’m not perfect. I can imagine other competitors being appalled at my attitude. And to that I say…
Here are some of my personal realities as a post-menopausal bodybuilder:
- I’m already months ahead of my last prep and will be improved on stage in July. If anything were to happen to derail that, I’d probably pull the plug on competing in that show anyway because it would be a life thing that needs to be handled. I lift for self-care. I compete to have a goal for the lifting. That’s all there is to it.
- Pretend for a second that I actually don’t get last place again in this next show. What happens next? I go home. I rest. On Monday, I start lesson planning for the new school year that will start a couple weeks later.
- What happens if I do get last place and believe it was because I wasn’t super careful during my prep?? I go home. I rest. On Monday, I start lesson planning for the new school year that will start a couple weeks later.
- Now really pretend – what would happen if they let this 55-year-old woman with wrinkles and a bit of saggy skin win her first show? A big show where women fly in from other states to compete? Where figure pros jump over to bodybuilding to compete?? I go home. I rest. On Monday, I start lesson planning for the new school year that will start a couple weeks later. And I’d probably quit competitive bodybuilding because I can’t afford to compete at the next level.
See what I mean? I’m can’t be motivated by competing anymore. I’m motivated by the process that ends the day before that competition. I’m not sure I’m even motivated by that some days – those “hungry days” do make me question my life choices sometimes. But I’m pretty stubborn about follow-through. Fierce, actually. That’s genetic. I like to think I get that from my Viking ancestors. 😉
Not sure how often I will be able to update the blog, but I think I will try to do a better job now that the prep is becoming more demanding on me physically and emotionally. I have a smart coach and the prep process with him is about as healthy as a contest prep process can be and this is part of my sport. But remember – what I’m doing is NOT for everyone! No two competitors are the same, either, so they shouldn’t be coached that way. The science of fat-loss is the same, but as a competitor, I’m taking my body-composition to an extreme that is not sustainable or optimum for general fitness. When my show is done, we carefully plan a way to get back to what is considered sustainable and optimum. Ok? K.