Life During Bikini Prep – I Am Human
Because I’ve been MIA since my Vegas post, this week’s blog is going to be a recap over the last 3 weeks, including this week’s current peak week.
Part of the reason why you haven’t heard from me much lately is because things have gotten tough…At least compared to how things were going the rest of this prep.
To simply put it, it’s amazing how big of a difference a drop of 20 carbs and 5 grams of fat can make, physically & mentally.
Plus just the long haul of this many weeks in a row of a caloric deficit.
I’m still averaging about 1,400 calories a day when taking my refeed day into account, therefor I’m not dieting to any extremes (if you feel like that’s a lot of food, that’s an issue and you should probably contact me).
When I started prep I weighed about 122lbs.
My lowest thus far has been 111.4, so about a 10-11 pound loss (will show before and afters next time).
That puts me at 5 pounds heavier than my previous stage weight 2 years ago (#gains ??).
Now to the fun stuff…
A couple weeks ago I messed up (as hard as it is to admit).
And not by accident either…willingly.
You’re probably going to laugh out loud when I tell you what I indulged on…but I ended up going over my calories by about 400 which is a big deal at this point.
Those darn snap peas and artic zero ice cream got me!
This was the first time in all of my preps where I purposefully went over my macros so drastically.
Sure, I’ve had an extra strawberry or cracker or something that maybe I didn’t account for..but not an amount that almost equaled my refeed day calories.
I’m still trying to figure out what got into me as that just wasn’t like me, especially with how “easy” this prep has gone compared to others.
I did however start my menstrual cycle a few days later which was apparently causing some serious munchies (couldn’t have been more relieved to get that over with when I did)!
Not sorry for the TMI, that stuff matters in this world because I’m still healthy enough to be having one.
Many bikini girls lose their period while prepping because they diet too hard for too long.
I’ve been very blessed to have been coached by the best who not only care about my physical and mental health but my hormonal health as well.
On that note, during that week I have to admit I was the most cranky I’ve been yet.
Temper was short and the word patience did not exist.
Mad props to my husband for putting up me throughout all of this, especially during those few days!
Back to my mistake for a second, I’m also wondering if I let it happen because I’m not afraid of food like I used to be (which is definitely not a bad thing).
A part of me knew I’d be okay and I’d just have a killer workout the next day…but I also hated the fact that I wasn’t giving it my best at that moment in time, and I gave into temptation.
I guess I’m human!
In order to help make up for it, I cut my following two low days by 200 calories each.
It sucked, but I knew I wasn’t going to feel better mentally unless I did.
My first of 2 peak weeks started last Saturday (my second show this season is in another 2 weeks).
If you’re unfamiliar with what peak week is, it’s the 7 days prior to show day where you begin counting water and sodium meticulously (as if you didn’t have enough to count/keep track of already).
To give you a better mental image, this week everything I’m counting combined includes:
- Potassium levels
Needless to say this week takes A LOT of focus, and I’ve found it’s best to have as little going on as possible.
A lot of people also do things this week like cut out artificial sweeteners, dairy, fruit, cut back on water etc. or even carbs all together.
My coach on the other hand feels that it’s better to “coast” into peak week and keep things simple.
If the foods you’ve been eating throughout the entire prep have been working for you, than what’s the point in cutting back on them now?
The less changes made the better.
The group of coaches that I follow and have learned from feel that if you’ve done things properly you should be ready before peak week arrives.
“If you’re trying to cut body fat during peak week, than you’re not going to be ready.”
– Dr. Layne Norton
I have not cut out carbs completely nor will I ever. I’m still eating over 100g of them a day and that’s hard enough.
The body NEEDS carbs. Even on peak week!
In regards to water, I’m getting the exact same amount each day.
For sodium, I’m also getting the same amount each day but it’s purposely been increased compared to what I was averaging previously therefor I’m having to add a good chunk of salt to my foods. Yum??
On Friday (day prior to show) my sodium will drop a touch but water will stay the same.
My workouts have been the same up until today where I will be doing full body circuits today and tomorrow.
Cardio has been tapered back just a touch which has been nice…but at the same time my legs are freaking EXHAUSTED!
That just comes with working them 3x/week for the last 4 months plus 3 HIIT sessions/week and steady state cardio on top of all that.
I’ve been trying to stay off my legs as much as possible this week to help with that, but I’m really looking forward to giving them a serious break ASAP.
The weekend that peak week started, it was all about rest for me (physical & mental).
The salt is used to expedite repair & recover muscles & joints, to detoxify lactic acid, and to stimulate cellular rejuvenation.
If you want my honest opinion, I would have rather gotten a massage (although you shouldn’t this week as that can make you retain water).
I got bored and kept thinking about my to-do list which I’m pretty sure is the opposite of what’s suppose to happen???
That night I went to bed without setting my alarm and made it a point to not wake up until my body did on it’s own.
I slept for TWELVE hours that night.
And on Saturday night, I did the same and slept for ELEVEN hours.
Ummm do you think my body wanted/needed some rest?!?
Saturday I took the day off from the gym and cardio which felt amazing.
Sunday night, I got another 9 hours of sleep.
Catching up on all of that sleep and getting ahead for the week, has made this week go sooo much smoother than what it could have gone (even though it’s still mentally exhausting).
I can’t stress how important sleep is people.
It’s just as important as working out and eating right.
If you’re someone who averages 6 hours of sleep a night or less, that could be a huge part of your weight loss issues.
It must be a priority.
Process of Elimination:
At the beginning of my peak week, I started having some stomach issues again like I had talked about in my previous post.
I was experiencing extreme bloat, uncomfortableness and felt very watery (the opposite of what I should be feeling right now).
The last time I felt this way a few weeks ago I thought it was a certain ingredient in some BCAA’s I was trying, but apparently that wasn’t the case since I hadn’t had them again and I was back to feeling this way.
I sat down Monday night, went through the last 3+ weeks on my My Fitness Pal journal and started comparing things and making notes.
I wrote down my sodium intake, potassium levels, any new foods I was incorporating during the week where I felt like this previously and compared them to the following week where I felt fine as well as to these last few days.
Turns out, it was the new turkey bacon I had recently started eating.
I had only had it during those days where I felt off and uncomfortable.
So I cut it out completely, and now I’m back to normal again.
I really have no idea why I was having issues with this particular food because I’m usually not someone that has weird reactions to foods or gluten or anything like that.
But at this point I don’t care about the reasoning, I’m just relieved to have figured out what was causing the issue.
Journaling my prep so detailed like this time has really helped me learn even more about my body and I’m so glad I’ve taken the notes that I have.
If you’re thinking about starting a contest prep, I highly recommend doing something similar because it could become extremely handy down the road when you’re trying to to figure out what your body is up to.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from show to show, it’s just how important of a role the bikini walk and posing plays.
Attending a client of mines show a few weeks ago and watching the other bikini girls really helped me be reminded and visualize WHY it’s just so important.
The judges are looking for the best overall package THAT DAY.
And if your pose isn’t as flattering to your body as the pose that the girl standing next to you is in, than that’s all the matters.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the perfect lighting and flex going on in your Instagram pictures.
It doesn’t matter if when comparing your Instagram gallery to hers that you might be the obvious winner…
What matters is the package you bring to the stage that day, and how you present it.
Therefor, I’ve practiced more this time around than ever before (by walking around in my heels at home all day long), and I know I could still use even more.
Final Words of Advice
I want to sum this week up with that even though I use a flexible dieting approach, that doesn’t mean there won’t be difficult times (obviously).
I know I’ve talked about how “easy” this one has been for me, but that’s in comparison to my other preps that I’ve been through previously.
I’ve recently started noticing first time competitors who think prep is going to be a breeze just because they use a flexible approach and/or they reverse to high calories beforehand.
While those two factors will drastically help, competition prep is a very long mental & physical gruelingly challenging process.
After 12+ weeks of weighing every ounce of food out on a scale, you’re going to want to throw the damn thing out the window.
Yeah you can eat popcorn and potato chips while using a flexible dieting approach, but you have to measure it first.
Plus, as your macros get lowered, you’re going to want more filling foods so you’ll get less and less “treats” as the weeks go by.
To use myself as an example, even though I got my carbs up to 300g daily and fats up to 65-70g daily during my reverse, I still had to cut calories to obtain fat loss.
No matter where your calories start, cutting calories isn’t easy as they’re going to have to be drastically lower than where you stared to get stage lean.
That’s why the higher you reverse diet the better (it’s not just the 12-20 weeks of dieting that count, but also the months prior to the competition diet that will set you up for either failure or success)
I love this sport because it teaches me discipline.
It reminds me that I’m the one in control of my body and what goes into it as well as that I can do whatever I set my mind to and focus on.
It teaches me what hard work, drive and true effort can do even when I don’t feel like working hard.
It makes me stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.
I can’t wait to get on that stage this weekend and do this for me.
As much as I want to win or at least bring home a trophy, I know that I can’t control who shows up.
I know that I’ve done everything that I could to get to this point.
I also know that I’ve already won because I’ve beaten the old me, and I’ll be bringing my best package to stage yet.
The true competition is against myself, not against anyone else.