We are currently 8 weeks out from the CBBF national competition! I really don't want to feel like I am repeating myself in all these posts, but honestly everything is going great.
Still haven't dealt with many cravings, haven't missed a workout or cardio session and I have generally been sleeping well with a few exceptions. My days are sometimes pretty long and by the time I go to bed I'm pretty tired so I haven't had any sleep problems like I had suffered in the past. Last prep I dealt with a lot of stress from my personal life and it really affected my mood, motivation and sleep. It was a vicious cycle and it was pretty difficult at times to say the least. I look back and I am so proud that I didn't let my goals go, and I continued to focus on my competitions despite the negativity around me. It wasn't easy, but I learnt so much about myself in that time and it's an important event in my personal growth. It's a good feeling to compare where I was last year during my preps to this prep, and see how far I have come emotionally and psychologically. It may seem silly to some but mental and emotional strength is so important when deciding to do a competition prep. To push our bodies to the limits physically, we really need to be in the right headspace. This time around I barely have any stress in my life and it's making such a huge difference. Motivation is through the roof and I feel like I am actually ahead of schedule at this point! Every morning I wake up and see a little bit more definition. It's a great feeling but honestly it's not as exciting as it was the first time I cut down to do my first competition. The first time is SO exciting because often times you have never seen your body so lean and so defined. Every single day is the leanest you've seen yourself and I remember it used to blow my mind to see how much my body could change from one day to the next. After doing your first competition, you have a good idea of what you'll look like and where you should be at certain points in your prep. You know where your problem areas are and have a better idea of how your body will progress from week to week. For me, my legs and upper abs lean out very quickly, however my lower back and lower belly are the last to be dialed in. It's frustrating but everyone has different problem areas. It's important to adhere to your plan and not get discouraged!
Here'a an update on the shape throughtout the past week - I am extremely happy with the way my back in leaning out!
When people say things like "you can't outwork a bad diet" and "abs are made in the kitchen" they could not be more right. There are many factors that play into fat loss, but diet is number one on the list. I choose to follow a "bro" diet as the fitness industry likes to call it. This just means that I eat clean foods and follow a set diet plan. Anybody who is in the fitness social media world is aware of the rise of IIFYM (If it fits your macros) or flexible dieting. This kind of dieting basically means that they have daily goals for their macro-nutrients (fat, carbs and protein) and they can reach them with whatever foods they'd like, granted they "fit in their macros". This means they can choose to have 50g of carbs from oatmeal, or 50g of carbs from a donut, as long as it is accounted for in their daily intake. I can easily see how people are attracted to this type of dieting because it allows you to enjoy "cheat" food in moderation. The problem is, there is such thing as the glycemic index and without getting into details about it, it basically comes down to the fact that your body doesn't metabolize every carb the same way. I am not knocking IIFYM, I see advantages to both IIFYM and clean eating. I could see how people would be able to stick to an IIFYM diet and not a "clean eating" one. Personally, I could never follow IIFYM for quite a few reasons. Firstly, I have a very big sweet tooth and it can be dangerous. I honestly have a hard time eating ONE cookie, or a small portion of ice cream. You need to realize that these foods we consider "cheat foods" are very dense and high calorie. That means, to fit these foods in your IIFYM diet it's generally going to be a small portion and will not be very filling. For me, sweets actually trigger my cravings even more. I rarely use artificial sweeteners in prep because honestly they accentuate my cravings and it's completely counter intuitive. Another problem I have is that I hate being hungry. Like I stated before, these "cheat" foods that can be fit into macros will be very high calorie for small quantities. Simply put, 20g of carbs from veggies is going to be exponentially more filling than 20g of carbs from sweets. I would much rather fill myself up with veggies than to give into a craving (that, for me, will give me even more cravings) then be hungry half an hour later. I am also a person who likes routine and finds it much more simple to follow a meal plan than to try to figure out the macros of every meal I'm ingesting. I'm very busy these days and I can't see myself spending time trying to figure out what foods I can eat according to MyFitnessPal. I'd like to point out that processed food, fast food, sweets and all those yummy foods generally won't have many vitamins and minerals. If you chose to follow IIFYM it would also be important to track and make sure you are getting your essential micro-nutrients.
It's also a psychological thing for me. I feel much more accomplished, dedicated and motivated if I know I am eating healthy, micro-nutrient dense foods that fuel my body properly. I know that especially in prep when I'm overtraining and exhausting my body, I need to get the most out of the foods I'm eating or else I will feel completely drained. I would have a hard time accepting myself eating cookies and cakes in a competition prep and quite frankly it would give me anxiety. I do want to make it clear than in offseason I am MUCH more lenient and I do enjoy sweets and treats here and there, but in competition prep I completely restrict myself. I'm an "all or nothing" type girl and in my eyes being all in for a competition means eating clean and doing it the healthiest way possible. It puts my mind at ease more than anything. This is just my mind-set when it comes to prep diets and I don't want to offend anyone who chooses to follow IIFYM because I do think it can be a great tool for many people. What is most important is to find an approach that you will be able to adhere to and incorporate into your daily life. Adherence is key, whatever kind of diet you choose to follow.