This was hands-down the hardest week of prep. I’m sitting here at 6 days out on Sunday afternoon while my daughter is napping, and I can’t help but reflect on the week. My husband just finished off a Capriotti’s cheesesteak and chips in the seat next to me as he works on his football recruiting. He was kind enough to text me to ask if he should just eat it at the restaurant or bring it home so I could run to the gym for posing practice. He probably didn’t know what the “right” thing to do was because I’ve been a bit of a loose cannon the past few days. So instead of posing right now, I am just sitting and relaxing and writing, and I was fine with him enjoying his lunch next to me. Man it looked good.
I think my body finally said ENOUGH on Wednesday, the day after my 36th birthday (which happened to be the strangest birthday of my life). Do you know how weird it is to eat a 1/2 grapefruit as a your “birthday cake.” Now whenever Gianna sees me eating my daily 1/2 grapefruit (a fibrous acidic carb that helps to promote digestion), she starts to sing “Happy Birthday to you Mommy…” then asks to share it. God bless her, she wants ALL of my foods and turns down her chewy granola bars and moist homemade banana pancakes covered with peanut butter so that she can eat cucumbers and “Mommy’s eggs.”
Mind-racing nights tossing and turning, afternoons filled with low energy and brain fogs, a few bouts of tears while lying on the sofa after a long day juggling my job, my training and my family, this week my motivation and energy were at an all-time low. Thank goodness for my coach who helped me through some tough times. Joe won the Overall Bodybuilding Champion last March at the NPC Gladiator, so he knows a thing or two about these feelings and emotions (that’s why I hired him).
“It’s completely normal,” he said. “It’s always those last few weeks too. I swear it’s your mind trying to trick you into giving up and just eating more. You should be proud. I usually only see it when people push themselves into really good conditioning. My other client had it last week but he is leaner than he was last year on stage already. His body is trying to fight that. But you have surpassed last year’s conditioning and now I think your body is like ‘hey, when are you still pushing?'”
That simple text reminded me that this IS normal for the stress that I am putting on my body. These feeling are what can make or break a competitor. These last few weeks, especially last week, challenged me more mentally than any other. Today, I am holding strong at 129 pounds. I started prep at 136ish, and my goal is 127 by Saturday. I’ll get there. My diet has been pretty boring. Minimal carbs and only in the morning. Lots of lean proteins (mostly fish) and greens for days. At night, I get to eat 18 whole almonds, and it’s the highlight of my day. My sodium and water levels are normal. I still add salt to my foods, and I still drink 1.5-2 gallons of water a day. During a typical “peak week,” carbs are slowly added towards the end of the week to start to fill out the muscles more, which have become depleted and flat over the past few weeks. Since this is my first of 2 shows in the next 3 weeks, my second show being on May 14th, my “peak week” will look like a normal week on my diet, and we will reserve a lot of the fun carbs for the week of the second show. We want to make sure that I continue to progress even further over these next 21 days, so my best “package” (a term bodybuilders use to refer to their physique) is for that Sunday.
Regardless of the food, this week is still so incredibly exciting. I’ve worked for over 100 days to prepare for this show. I’ve done over 80 hours of lifting and 60 hours of cardio during that time. I’ve taken a total of 10 rest days. Most of the hard training is done. This week, my exercise schedule will be light. I’ll focus more on light lifts, moderate short cardio sessions and lots of posing. I’ll get a little pampering too. Hair, nails, and nice blow dry before the infamous dark spray tan is applied on Friday afternoon. You know the one. Friday will be devoted to rest, reflection and a stress-free day. I trained for this show as hard as I could. I gave it everything I had in me. I know that my physique has surpassed the one that I brought to the stage last fall, so I’ve already won there. I’ll have my husband by my side supporting me, my friends and family in the crowd. I’ll go out there and give it everything I have left. That’s all I can do. At the end of the day, it the training and the challenge that drives me. In this 16-weeks, I’ve been mentally challenged like no other. Now all I want is the hardware to prove it. 6 days and counting…here goes.