May 10 2012
Is there really a ‘season’ for healthy living, or is it more of a lifestyle?
I have been taking you on my journey to become a figure competitor and I would love to continue to take you on this journey with me by answering your questions. I’m trying to get to as many of your questions as I can!
Here’s a great one, “Cori, now that you’re done with your first competition, are you still ‘in season’ with your diet and your training?”
There are quite a few different schools of thought when it comes to being ‘in season’ an ‘off season’ for figure, bikini and fitness competitors. I prefer to approach it from a more consistent standpoint, being gentle on my body and working with my body naturally.
That’s the main reason I chose to work with my coach, Claire O’Connell. Her approach coincides with my own personal desire to approach this as artistry, with the emphasis being on training naturally in a way that works well with my own body.
Diet and exercise is an important part of my lifestyle. It’s not just something I do for a short period of time. I truly believe that there is no off season.
xoxo ~ Cori
Am I Still “In Season” as a Figure Competitor?
My Preparation Approach
For this competition, I didn’t drop any water. I didn’t reduce my carbohydrate intake. I basically coasted right into the competition with the exact same nutritional regimen I have been following for the past few months. Even better than that, I actually was ‘competition ready’ weeks early.
I was able to compete in a show that I wasn’t even planning on being ready for. I was even able to include some ‘clean’ cheat meals (I prefer to call them rejuvenation meals) in the weeks leading up to the competition.
The rejuvenation meals did just that; I felt rejuvenated. Adding a little extra food and a little sweetness into my diet allowed both my body and my mind to be less stressed. I was able to truly enjoy the competition and the weeks leading up to the competition. I was full of energy. I felt great!
Full Steam Ahead
Because this approach is much gentler on my body than some others, like cutting water and cutting carbs, I was able to get up the very next day and do my regular cardio on the stairs and also enjoy my ‘active rest’ day. My dogs were ecstatic to go on a 45 minute hike in the hills.
I had been missing my sunset hikes with my doggies. The week leading up to the competition I made sure to rest in the evenings, so I had taken my sunset hikes out of my routine. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the sunset with my two best friends again.
The day after that, I was able to get right back into my regular training schedule. 45 minutes of stairs with intervals and a great shoulder workout. I did lighter intervals, but still made sure to include them because I felt so great I wanted to.
Loving Your Diet
I love the food on my competition prep diet plan and that makes it much easier to stick with.
Diet isn’t a bad word. It’s habitual nourishment, a regime of nourishing your body.
The trick is to like, or love, the foods within your diet. If you love how you feel and you love the taste of the foods within your diet, it becomes a realistic part of your lifestyle for the long term.
Since I like the foods within my diet, I didn’t feel the need to go overboard with my ‘cheat meals’ or ‘rejuvenation meals’ in the week proceeding the competition.
I allowed myself to add back in a few foods that give me enjoyment during the week following the competition. Peanut butter, homemade bread, homemade rice crepes with apricot preserves, tomatoes, a little bit of fruit, some juice, coconut ice cream, some extra potatoes, some extra red meat, some extra egg yolks with my egg whites. Nothing too crazy.
I didn’t drink any alcohol. I didn’t eat any candy. I didn’t add sugar and cream back into my coffee. Believe it or not, these things haven’t even entered my mind. I was really excited about the peanut butter and apricot preserves though.
Listen to Your Body
What I noticed is that when I added back in some additional carbohydrates my body became immediately hot. Not just warm, but uncomfortably hot. I was burning up!
I wasn’t adding a huge amount of carbohydrates back in, just a little here and there. Even so, my body was ripping right through those additional carbohydrates! I was overheating!
After a few days, I felt like I had my fill of the additional carbs. I was feeling so hot I was seriously stripping down. I had definitely had enough of that. I decided I wanted to reduce my carbs back to my competition prep diet, which is about 100 grams. Nothing too crazy. Just what my body needs.
I decided to increase my healthy fats and lean proteins a bit instead for the remainder of this week. Next week I will probably become more strict again and go back to my true competition preparation diet since I have another show coming up in 2 weeks.
There is No Off Season
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
― Jim Ryun
Diet is an important part of your lifestyle. It’s not just something you do for a short period of time. I truly believe that there is no off season.
Exercise is important, but it really is the diet that makes you or breaks you.
Make a decision to change your life. One workout at a time. One meal at a time.
Get motivated, then develop your own habit that you can maintain.
Learn from the Pros
We can learn a lot from the professionals. Mindset, the importance of attitude, motivation, perspective. Nicole Wilkins, IFBB Champion Figure Competitor, talked at the Ask Arnold Seminar on March 6th, 2011 at the Arnold Classic 2011 in Columbus, OH.
She gives bodybuilding advice, diet advice, supplementation advice and more. Listen to how she talks about what works well for her particular body, not what will work well for all body types. Also listen to how she refers to this as a lifestyle, not just a temporary diet or exercise routine.
2011 Arnold Classic Winner Nicole Wilkins- Ask Arnold Training Seminar – Training and Advice
Did you try this post? Tell me in the comments!
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments. Don’t be shy! Your comments may help to inspire another. Your questions may help someone else who has the exact same question, but is too shy to ask. I love hearing from you!