It’s our second wedding anniversary on Tuesday, and we almost celebrated by spending it at a bodybuilding-related event two years in a row. We were planning on spending Sunday at the BodyPower expo, which is the biggest fitness expo here in the UK. The list of attendees included Phil Heath, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, Kai Greene, Branch Warren, Dennis Wolf, Larissa Reis and Rob Riches, just to name a few.
But we kept to-ing and fro-ing about whether we were actually going, and we left buying our tickets to the last minute. You see, something is wrong with this country because they hold the biggest expo of the year three hours outside of London – very annoying!! When we went to buy our tickets, it was going to cost us more than £100 (US$160) to go, not to mention eight hours on a bus for three or four hours of actual time at the expo.
So we didn’t go. Shoot me. If there had been more female competitors there I probably would have made the effort, but I wasn’t frothing at the mouth to stand in line for 2.5 hours (or so I heard) to meet Phil Heath.
It got me thinking, though, that we would have spent our second wedding anniversary at a fitness expo, when we spent our first at a bodybuilding competition. How cliche are we?!
Then I started thinking how much I have changed in only two years since being married. I had started lifting weights before our wedding, but nothing significant, and I still did a stupid crash diet in the lead up to our wedding (I did a recap of our wedding here and here, and a post about my diet here).
Right after our wedding, despite running every day and eating hardly anything, I gained all that weight back – as fat. I became depressed about my body, because I felt like I was putting in so much effort but had nothing to show for it. I still lifted weights a few times a week, but it was only as a supplement to my running.
It wasn’t until I was forced to stop running because of an injury that weight lifting became the main component of my exercise regime. And I fell in love. I began training hard and heavy, and wondered where lifting had been all my life.
Then, exactly one year ago, I attended my first ever bodybuilding competition to watch my coach and his clients compete. I was still at that stage where I thought figure girls were too muscley, but that day my mindset completely shifted. I admired the dedication and drive of these women, and grew to love the idea of standing on stage myself.
A couple of weeks later I talked to my coach about it, and we changed my diet and training to work towards competing in the 2012 competition.
So… my figure debut should have been yesterday – if we had not moved to London. In all honesty, I’m glad that I have waited. Last year, my training regimen became extremely intense (six days a week, 1.5 hours a day) and my diet was super restrictive and miserable.
Once I pushed back my competition date, I was able to relax my diet and training became much more enjoyable again. I soon realised that I could eat a much wider variety of foods, eat off-plan, miss training days and not do any cardio – and the world wouldn’t end. I felt better and, surprisingly, I looked better.
It’s amazing how much my attitude (and body!) has changed over the last two years alone. I went from being afraid of gaining too much muscle, to doing everything to gain as much muscle as possible! With an extended competition timeline, I was able to stop the cycling of strict bulking and cutting phases, and embrace slower changes to my physique.
The great thing about competing is that the longer you have to prepare, the better you’ll look, so I still don’t feel any rush to get on stage. In the meantime, I can enjoy our anniversary trip to Amsterdam next weekend (where I won’t be cutting!).
By the way, for anyone thinking about starting a nutrition or training program, please get in touch before next Monday so we can get started before I go on holiday!
Have you made any big changes in your attitude over the last few years?