Will I ever compete again?

Will I ever compete again? This is a question I get asked quite often. Bodybuilding is such a big sport that got really popular in a short amount of time. For me personally, it was a milestone. It was something on my bucket list that I wanted to do but didn’t care much about. After I graduated high school in 2014, I began my fitness journey. I hired a trainer for the first four months that I used to help me learn everything I needed to know before (what seems like people’s worst nightmare) going to the gym on my own. Within those four months, I was talked into competing. They thought I would do well and believed in me so I decided why the heck not. 16 weeks later I stepped onto the stage for the very first time and let me tell you, I was a nervous wreck. I went up on stage so unprepared it wasn’t even funny (you can laugh if you want). I got a cheap $10 spray tan that was nowhere near as dark as it needed to be, had zero posing coaching, saw the stage, blacked out and almost fell back down the stairs till the announcer caught me and handed me water (was it the nerves or the fact that I hardly ate / drank anything that day, I do not know), walked onto stage with my legs shaking uncontrollably and instead of doing my routine in the center of the stage, I walked to the side and had to have someone come up to me mid routine and redirect me to the huge red square in the middle of stage (insert girl emoji hitting herself in the head here). Keep in mind, that this was at Europa…. Yes, my first show was at Europa. One of the biggest expos in the world and I had no idea. Anyway, as you could guess, I got dead last and for some odd reason, I decided to compete again. I took a huge L that day, but I knew I couldn’t end on that note. Long story short, I ended up competing in three shows after that, won three first place trophies and two second place trophies. Lets just say, I was in complete awe. If you have ever competed before, you know that EVERYONE looks so good and competition is tough so I went in expecting nothing and came out with something. It was so rewarding not only knowing that all the hard work, long cardio days and strict dieting pulled off in the end, but also knowing that I could push myself a lot harder and achieve a lot more than I thought. And now for the down fall… for all the things that people don’t talk about or see behind most competitors. And back to the most often asked question I get: Will I ever compete again? My answer is no. Now don’t get me wrong, I praise any and all competitors. This sport is NOT easy and not all competitors have the same experience as I did. My objective is not to portray a negative outlook on the sport, but to make people aware of what could happen or help anyone who might be in the same situation as me. Competing was a lot harder than I thought. Not only was I messed up physically, but also mentally. The number one problem I had during prep and after competing that I want to stress the most was body dysmorphia. I remember thinking how fat I felt / thought I looked and how I didn’t think I was going to place on my show day. Anytime we walked into a gym to do posing practice, the last thing I wanted to do was be in a bikini. Especially surrounded by all these girls who looked AMAZING. Now looking back at pictures, I can’t even grasp my head around how skinny I was… and not in a good way. I had never and still… 4 years later, have never been able to look like that again. And there’s a reason for that. I went to an extreme and it was just simply not healthy. I was at the gym twice a day, doing cardio for hours, lifting on top of that and hardly eating anything. In addition, I (surprise) gained weight post show. Not a lot, but I didn’t look the way I looked before and that messed me up too. I found myself, for years, constantly looking back at those pictures, thinking “why can’t I look like that anymore” or “I wish I still looked like that.” I always thought about how the only thing I had to do to look like that was:
  1. Say no to family / friend dinners unless I brought my own prepped meal.
  2.  Turn down any and all desserts or cheat meals.
  3. Do cardio every day of the week for a longer amount of time. and
  4. Reduce my calorie, carb and fat intake.
In other words… I couldn’t live life like a normal person. The person I was back then and am slowly overcoming, would have been disgusted by the way I am now. But the truth is, the person I am now is not controlled by the way I look. The person I am now has cellulite. The person I am now enjoys dinner and dessert with her family whenever I want. The person I am now is eating healthy foods she enjoys. The person I am now can say yes to a date with her boyfriend. The person I am now doesn’t force feed herself dry chicken to the point of gagging… there are 1,000 other good things I could say about the person I am now, but the most important is that I am happy and I am healthy, physically and mentally. (Picture on the left is right before show day and picture on the right is me now. Unhealthy vs. healthy)

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