Friday, July 14, 2006

The Truth about Figure Competitions

I had some nice comments about the pictures I posted from last year's WTF competition, and they compel me to write about what it takes to get ready for a competition. Here's the thing you need to know: competition ready is NOT anything like real-life fitness. Period! So if you're a woman who compares herself to the pictures in the magazines and you always feel like you come up short, you're not doing a fair comparison. It would be like me watching a TV show mom be nice to her kids all the time, and thinking, "Why can't I be that good?" It's not reality!!!

Ok, so here's what happens before a fitness competition. For at least a month before the comp (and for up to 3 months before, if you really want to do well) you eat clean all the time. You write down what you eat. You have no cheat meals. None. Oh, and while you're doing that, you do weight lifting, cardio, AND plyometric drills so that you can shock your body into discarding any excess fluff. You are also drinking about 1-1/2 to 2 gallons of water a day, and you're taking a natural diuretic of some kind so that your body won't hold onto water.

Based on doing this, you're going to look good -- really good. But wait, there's more! About 3 days before the competition, you're going to severely limit carbohydrates, because they encourage your body to hold onto water. And you're also going to limit your water intake, which is super hard to do now that you're used to drinking gallons per day. And you're still working out, which gets harder as you're feeling tired and thirsty. If you have access to one, you'll also sit in a sauna to force that last little bit of water out.

I did all of this, and it was amazing what those last 3 days did. I should have weighed myself to see how much I dropped, but I'd guess it was about 3 pounds in 3 days. My skin felt all dry and icky (and because I'm a lotion addict, that was hard to take), but body wise -- I felt ready to go.

So see -- none of this is real life or anything you'd do on a regular basis, any more than a sit-com mom is a good standard of parenting. Would I love to look stage-ready all the time? Sure! But am I willing to pay that price on a regular basis? No way!

1 comment:

Miss Fit said...

You are a very beautiful woman - contest ready or not.

I was watching a Bowflex commercial the other day and the gorgeous guy was saying he looks the best he's ever looked at 41 years of age and it only took him 20 minutes a day on the Bowflex. He looked "comp ready" to me and I'm sure it took a whole hell of a lot more dedication than just 20 minutes a day. Why doesn't he mention the sacrafice in diet? It just drives me nutso!

Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge!