It’s kind of like Christmas morning, except you can’t eat those soft, warm pecan rolls straight from the oven. My mouth was literally watering as I wrote that sentence. I guess the second plate of white fish, spinach and asparagus I just had for dinner (repeating the same dish I had for lunch) isn’t satisfying my appetite just right. You wait for Christmas morning all year. You plan and prepare, and IT’S HERE, and it’s so exciting. That’s how peak week feels for me.
133 days of training, with a total of 17 rest days since I began this journey in June. Over 100 hours of weight training. Over 80 hours of cardio. Easily 50 hours of meal prep, planning, logging, weighing, chopping, measuring. Countless declined dinner invitations with the reason, “Sorry, I can only have 1 cheat meal this week.” Several mistakes and falling off track with just as many “You can do this” pep talks that I’ve had to give myself. Self doubt turned to self confidence. “WHY AM I DOING THIS?” turned to “I CAN DO THIS!” I haven’t even tallied the cost, but if you’re thinking of training for a show, set aside a few thousand dollars easy. I’m glad that fitness is my only hobby, because competitive bodybuilding is quite an expensive sport.
All of the hours and the emotions and the money and the excitement, and it’s finally peak week.
When my coach told me today, during our last one-on-one training session at the Colosseum in Columbia, that Tuesday would be my last day of weight training, I was shocked. Mixed emotions. Relief and sadness. The weight training is my favorite part of the journey. I think it is so challenging and rewarding. My last day of cardio will be Wednesday, and Thursday is only for posing. I have built the foundation, and now it was time to show off my hard work. Friday would be devoted to REST, to allow my body flush itself of any remaining built up water. Friday is also when I take my polygraph test. Since I am competing in a “natural” bodybuilding organization, I have to prove that I did not use any growth hormones during my training period. Polygraph tests are actually much cheaper than a urine analysis, which is why all athletes test that way initially. If you end up taking home first place, then they spring for the urine test just to be sure.
On Friday, I will get the infamous spray tan which will make me look like I am a cross between someone who feel asleep on the beach for 3 days too long and an Oompa Loompa. Yes, you HAVE to get the spray tan, and everyone knows it’s not supposed to look natural. It’s supposed to make those hard earned muscles look the best on stage. The spray tan takes about 90 minutes from start to finish and includes 3-5 layers of tan. I will just hold my breath and pretend it’s organic.
I’ve been doing a lot of complaining on social media about my diet over the past two weeks. It has been a struggle to go from my flexible dieting lifestyle of building in a lot of the foods I love to being strictly limited to less than 10 foods over the past two weeks. The purpose of this paired-down diet is to limit myself to foods that my body can easily digest: rice, potatoes, oatmeal, spinach, asparagus, white fish, almonds, avocados and eggs. Yes, that’s it. Oh and the first three are like the smallest servings of carbs you’ve ever seen in your life – about 1/3 a cup of oatmeal and a 1/2 of a sweet potato. That’s not much when you’re still training for at least 90 minutes a day. It has been a struggle going from 2200 calories in June to 1900 calories during most of prep to now less than 1600 calories. Damn, I’m hungry. Thanks for accepting my grumpiness. My husband has taking most of the beating, especially at night when he is “loudly enjoying” his sugary cereal for dessert.
It’s all good today. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. What am I going to do on Sunday when all of this is over? I’m going to spend the whole day with my family. I’m going to put my phone in my room and leave it there all day. I won’t need the My Fitness Pal app to track my food. I won’t need to fill out my weight training log to send it to my coach on Monday. I’m going to a Halloween party at our golf club, and I’ll eat whatever I damn well please. I will cook my favorite foods like pizza (with our homemade dough that had been rising since Saturday afternoon), homemade pop tarts and cookies brought down from Levain Bakery in New York City. I will put my feet up and give my daughter lots of extra kisses.
On Monday, I will be back to the gym, but I’ll train like a “normal person,” not a person who has to get in every single exercise on my training plan. I will still eat healthy 90% of the time but I won’t weigh or track anything for a while. I will just BE. Regardless of how Saturday turns out, I am proud of my accomplishments thus far. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The balancing act between wife, mom, full-time employee, and bikini competitor has been one that I am not sure I will ever do again.
For now, It’s time to refocus on the present. 6 days out. Time to keep going strong and full speed ahead. Thank you again for your support and kind words. They mean so much to me. I hope you have been inspired to start goal crushing in your life. That is why I document this journey. The good and the bad. The REAL and the always honest. Tomorrow is Monday. What is your goal this week?