I’m going to be honest- this week had been rough. So far, it’s been the roughest since I started preparing for this contest. Mentally, physically, emotionally, I’ve been pretty well wrecked. I’ve been stressed about deadlines for my masters thesis and work stuff and making sure I’m eating right and lifting hard and leaning out, learning posing, and I had to part ways with my coach and find someone new to teach me proper posing which led to having forget everything I’d been taught and relearn entirely new cues… and the end result was that this week, exactly none of the things that needed to happen, happened. Except I had a job interview that went really well, I think. But my lifts were terrible, I didn’t lose a single ounce, despite having lowered my macros, and I was, well, an awful moody bitch to everyone in my life, including my incredibly patient and supportive husband, unfortunately. So that sucks.
Up until this point, I’ve felt really positive about my experience leading up to this competition, and I am holding out hope that the remainder of it will return to sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows.
On Fridays, I do my heavy lifting upper body day. I wear a tank top and admire myself between sets, flex on my Friday gym buddy and laugh about it, and generally celebrate the weekend by getting beastly. I love Fridays in the gym. But yesterday, I drove to the gym after a particularly frustrating day at work (I’m a high school teacher, in case I haven’t mentioned that), checked in on Facebook (duh), and then I sat in my car for a full twenty minutes. I could not, for the life of me, bring myself to grab my bag and walk inside the building. So I dropped a text to my gym buddy to tell him I was malfunctioning, and another to my husband, who I hoped was on his way there, to tell him as well. I needed help. I needed to get into that gym, and I couldn’t do it alone. Luckily, between the two of them, they bullied, challenged, encouraged, and gently persuaded me in. I won’t lie, a big ol’ scoop of a particularly intense pre workout supplement also may have played a hand. By the time I walked into the locker room to change, my butt was tingly. Not my hands or my face like normal from beta-alanine, but my butt. Body, you crazy.
I received a hug, vented quickly, and got to business. After warming up, I decided that I needed the mental boost that comes from successfully hitting every lift, every rep, and took a slight deload on all of my lifts. As I’ve tapered my calories in recent weeks, I’ve found my lifts, particularly my squats and military press, getting more and more difficult, and I’ve had to drop my working weight sets about 5-10 pounds in order to complete my reps. Being that I am, in my mind, first and foremost a powerlifter, this has been very difficult on me, mentally. Strength has always been my primary goal for being in the gym, and to feel it suffer is indescribably hard on me. Three weeks out or not, I need to be focusing as much on my emotional and mental state as I do on my physical state. I needed to hit those lifts. I needed to feel awesome. I needed to not fail. I needed to feel success, not stress.
And it worked. By the time my third set of Pendlay rows rolled around, my attitude had taken a complete 180. I was smiling, bobbing my head to some Kaskade between sets, and feeling better with every rep. My brain and my body, for the first time all week, felt like they were occupying the same space. I was whole. My head, my heart, my body, and the barbell were all in sync.
I wasn’t focused on turning in the next draft of my thesis. I wasn’t focused on any pending job interviews. I wasn’t thinking about losing weight. I wasn’t thinking about cooking dinner. I wasn’t feeling rushed. I was there, in the moment, just lifting. And it felt amazing.
Sometimes you have to listen to your body. Bodybuilding is so much more mental than it is physical- competitors always say that, but it’s really difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it. So it pays to remember that your emotions, your mental state, and your attitude is all a part of your body, you are a whole person, a total package. Today is a new day, and I know that even though I have a busy weekend ahead of me, I can face it, and the next three weeks, because I took the time to listen to myself and properly care for myself on all levels.
I try hard not to do that bogus preachy fitness girl be inspirational business that I find so blasted annoying, but really, it’s important to remember to love yourself and treat yourself well.