Day 3 of scrubbing and scrubbing and more scrubbing. With a little research on Google, some websites said to use baking soda, lemon juice, or exfoliating with sugar and salt scrubs to get this stuff off. I am not going to have any skin left by the time I am done. In the mean time I am walking around in the middle of August sporting a beautiful orange, blotchy, scaly looking tan! My ankles look like I have dirt rings and my legs look as if I got caught in the downwind of someone spray painting the side of a building bright orange, my arms well they just look like I have developed new patches of freckles or have some sort of skin disease. I think I am scaring some children and it’s not even Halloween yet. When I walk into stores I catch people looking in the corner of the eye but, yet don’t want to stare, I want to turn and say, yes this is the result of tanning gone bad, I don’t recommend using spray paint at Walmart and carry on watching their expressions. Ok maybe just a tad over the top, oh but this now orange sad looking tan didn’t start out this way, just days before it was dark, beautiful and glowing. Ok let’s back up just a bit too where it all began.
Going back just a month, I have practiced my poses 1000 times at home, with my coach, in the gym, in the bathroom mirror at work and danced around my living room to my routine. Preparations over the past week consisted of Hair dyed a lush red, nail tips applied, pedicure, eyebrows waxed, and eyelashes put on, I am now actually looking like a girl. It is finally here, the weekend of my first bodybuilding woman’s master’s physique show. My bags are packed I am ready to board the plane to Miami. Bikini, shoes, hair accessories, jewelry, routine cd, workout cloths going out cloths and of course snacks and food for the plane are all in check. Prep weekend is crazy with lots of appointments and meetings for the show. The day before, liquid tan is applied with a spray gun attached to a compressor while standing in a tent showing all my glory, then stand in front of a fan to dry, then no shower or deodorant, loose cloths only, and no sweating. Then, the morning of the show it is repeated and touch ups right before stage time, hair and makeup are done. Diet, at this point is strict with hardly any fluids and carbs are up.
practice practice practice
The day of the show is a lot of waiting, walking around, carb loading eating rice cakes, peanut butter and chocolate, talking to people, and more waiting it can feel like the longest day of your life. Back stage everyone has free weights and bands to get that last minute pump up. Bodybuilders are taking selfies, posing in mirrors, women are applying glue to their suits to keep them from riding up (not that they are not already riding up), gym bags, cloths, and other accessories line the floor. Energy, excitement and nervous levels are at their highest. Then its show time, I walk on stage giving it all I have got, showing the judges and the audience all my dedication, commitment and hard work over the past several months, I am nervous, and confidant and excited. After my 90 seconds of fame, I smile at the judges and walk off stage feeling relieved. The first thing everyone does after the show is grab some water and some long awaited comfort food. Our team Vegan Beef who won 1st place, gathered for some vegan pizza and vegan cheese cake and I celebrated my first and second placement long into the night.
Now, there is so much focus on the preparation for a show, months and months of dedication, commitment, and training and of course the strain on the bank account. Trainers push to limits you never thought possible, the strict food diet, carbs no carbs, watch fats, eat more protein, lower sodium, weighing food, keeping track of macros, and drinking tons of water. You watch your body change with increased muscle and strength meeting goals and accomplishments. There is so much excitement, adrenaline, anticipation, focus and a lot of mental and physical pressure especially during peak week where it really does turn you into a different person. Yet, after it is all over, no one really prepares you for what happens next? What happens the next day when all the excitement and glamor is gone, except for that tan?
After I am home minus the luggage the airline lost, it is back to routine. I wake up and it’s back to work, back to eating and drinking as I was months prior and back to the gym. Besides the still pumped up muscle body and still orange tan, what is next? I don’t have to carb load, do cardio twice a day or weigh my food. So what do I do now, go back to running 60 miles a week or continue to weight train? Nowhere does anyone prepare you for after your first show. It is chaos and madness before and silence and crickets after, leaving you standing there still scrubbing your spray tan off and thinking now what? Everyone goes their separate ways and I quickly found out there are post show changes that we all go through in some way. Whether new or seasoned professionals some people take a break and not do anything for a week or so, others eat whatever they want and not go to the gym, others get right back into it as if there were never a show and train hard fearful of losing that amazing physique, some still train but diet and routines are not as strict where maintaining is the goal, and others after their first show can fall into a depression because there is now no goal ahead, nothing to work towards, no chaos, feeling lost and alone, petrified of gaining lbs back, binge eating begins and the pounds come back on. The post contest blues.
How can you avoid feeling down and wanting to eat your way through the grocery store all at once? According to Bodybuilding.com they have a few tips to help with the post show blues with some of my own added thoughts on how to figure out what’s next through my own experience after my first show.
1. Don’t look at your show as the end goal. Remember why you work out in the first place, it is to be healthy, to look and feel good about yourself. The show is just an event to show off all your hard work. Yes after a show you don’t have to be as strict with food and training and it is normal and healthy to put on a few of the lost lbs. Remember you are dehydrating and cutting calories to have that perfect body on stage. It is impossible to look contest ready all year round, you can’t be dehydrated and food and nutrient depleted all the time, it is simply not healthy.
2. Don’t binge eat then try and get right back into contest prep weighing food and tracking every marcro in attempts to keep that stage look, it is not healthy in the long run, your body needs to take a break, rest and recoup. Relax and slowly add back some of the foods that you took away. Usually you cut 300-400 calories during prep, its ok to add this back on. Also, allow you’re once a week cheat meals back into your diet.
3. Watch sugar intake. People will eat those sweet treats that they could not have during training and prep however, this can cause mood swings and unhappiness. Stick to eating fruits for extra carbs and sweetness with an occasional treat.
4. While you don’t have to stop completely from working out slow down for a few weeks, go out and do something else, take up yoga or meditation focusing on other healthy aspects. Then go back into maintaining or working on new gains and goals. Work on some of the changes you wanted to see before the show.
5. Remember that this was an amazing experience and journey in your life and should be proud of what you had accomplished. It takes a lot of work and dedication to compete in a show. Learn from mistakes and improvements and take this into your future journeys into health as you continue to grow. Maybe show life is not for you and that is ok to, you can train for something new that may interest you.
6. If you keep all of this in mind ahead of time before going into a show, knowing that once the show is over things will change; it will not be as shocking. You will know how to prepare yourself with these changes and begin a new focus.
As for me, after the show it was a cheat weekend eating stuff I had not had in a long time, vegan pizza, vegan dessert, bread and lots of peanut butter. I personally love the way I look and feel, and plan to continue to train and build more muscle, Sense I was mostly a runner before the show and had just qualified for Boston, I will get back into my running after I cut back quite a bit for training, and stay as healthy as I can be. This was an incredible experience and I got to stand up on stage with a team of amazing vegan athletes all representing something so much more than looking amazing. It was about being able to look and feel our best and doing it without consuming animals. It left me with some lasting memories and I learned so much that I will continue to take with me on my healthy journey and new goals. As for doing another show, it is definitely a possibility in the future.
But, even for me after my first show I went through some emotions and thinking, ok can I go back to eating like I was when running, do I keep the same workout routine, how do I handle putting back on a few pounds? I know that it is ok to have my cheat meals again so, this leads me to this beautiful post show recipe that I put together for dinner. It is fast, easy and full of flavors. I don’t know what the nutritional facts are but, isn’t that the point? I didn’t weigh anything or log in the macros so don’t worry about it and just enjoy eating something that is simply delicious and it is still healthy.
After the Show Cole Slaw Tofu Wrap
This recipe will make enough burrito for the week depending on how much you stuff in each one.
What you will need:
Wraps either square or round (which ever is your favorite, try to pick something organic and non GMO).
Red roasted peppers
Baby kale or baby spinach
Green hot sauce (trader Joes)
For the slaw:
1 bag broccoli slaw
1/2 bad shredded cabbage
1 zucchini spiralized or shredded
1 bag pea pods (trader joes) I cut them in half they are pretty big
¼ cup green relish (yes relish)
2 – 3 tbsp. shiracha hot sauce
2 container of Just Mayo chipotle (yes whole container use spatula to get it all out)
chili powder and black pepper to taste
Splash of tamari
Mike all ingredients together
For the Hummus:
You can make it yourself super-duper easy with only chick peas, lemon juice, tamari and garlic but for this recipe I bought Whole Foods Garlic Hummus
For the Tofu:
1. 1 brick Whole Foods or Trader Joes brand extra firm will work fine, pressed for at least 1/2 hour
2. sliced in ½” and then cut again to look like fries
Sautee in just a bit of water (I don’t use oil but, you can) and lemon pepper seasoning or other seasoning you like, just until there is a nice crust on the outside
1. Lay out your wrap and spread a generous even amount of hummus on it
2. Then lay out some of that delicious slaw yes with relish on top of hummus
3. Put about 3 oz. of tofu on top of that spread out cut up in pieces
4. Layer some red roasted peppers on top of that
5. Then about ¼ of the avocado
6. Dab some of that Trader Joes green sauce on top of that then roll up and put either eat cold, or in a toaster oven.
7. Enjoy this flavor explosion on the palate! You can even go all out and have some tortilla chips on the side.