Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding Balance

Hey Fit Fam ...

This entry is kind of a follow up to my post about "Post Traumatic Show Syndrome".  I felt such relief and excitement to see that nobody (or at least vocally) took it the wrong way.  I really do hope it helped fellow competitors with post show rebounding and depression. But not only competitors...anyone who worked hard to get their body in tip top shape for something (a wedding/event) and wants to maintain their "look" year round!

I had a few people point out to me that they DID go about prep the right way, but once they met their goal (the show was over) and they didn't have another show coming up, they just didn't "keep it up" in a maintenance phase afterwards. Life got the best of them and they fell off track. Super easy to do when there is no specific date/goal in site (I guess I should say this is where we have to teach ourselves that the goal is to be healthy for life). The good news with these particular people (that went about it the healthy way) ... is that it will be so easy to bounce back because they got fit the RIGHT WAY! They didn't mess up their metabolism, starve themselves, restrict carbs, do cardio they can't maintain afterwards, or take drugs or abuse non natural fat burners/thermogenics. So .. if you fall into this category ... inhale/exhale .. it's all going to be okay!! There is no need to get all depressed about any extra "fluff". Give yourself a few weeks to get back on track and you will have a nice maintenance look that you will be happy about! If you didn't, then I highly encourage you to find an educated coach to help you take the necessary steps to repair your body! My mentor/coach/team for my 2014 season was Physique Empire -- IFBB Pro Brandy Leaver.

All this got me thinking about balance though. I have more shows 3 and 5 weeks ... but what if I didn't? What about after November? Will I be apt to fall off track?! After all, it will be the holidays, so I fully expect to not be my personal "best". I will enjoy holiday parities, some fall comfort foods (healthy versions of course) and I'll be going to visit my family for a week and eating some of my favorite "home cooked" and "hometown" foods. While consistency should allow me to enjoy all that with minimal changes to my physique, I still want to have a plan and be able to find a healthy balance so that I don't get tempted to go off track or indulge in a way that will ruin all of my hard work. I'm OKAY with any minor changes my body may make during that time .. but it's my hope that it will be like vacation and not a big issue because of the slow and steady approach that I've taken the past 6 months to get me to where I am today.

But back to this balance I speak of ... how do we find it?? I think it starts out in our heads. We have to be okay with *minor* changes and fluctuations. I said minor .. no major!!! Second ... I really do think that the KEY is continuing to have a meal plan and eat those six small meals a day.  Whether you are choosing to still having the competitors staple food, or something a little more creative, I think the key is HAVING A PLAN and continuing to make healthy choices that are within the macros and eating portioned out food every 3 hours max!  It's all about having the mindset of BODY FOR LIFE! Not body for stage, body for event, or body for someone else!!

I also think it's crucial to still PLAN your cheats in the off season .. if that is the route you go. It's great for people who can't control their eating on a daily basis and are better with a "reward" type system. Where as it may not be good for someone that has binge issues. Those people may do better with a Flexible Dieting approach where they get little cheats here and there. But when there is no goal (no show/event) ... it could be much easier to slip and have a bite of cake, just "one" handful of chips, make trips to that work candy bowl, etc. So continue to PLAN those splurges...otherwise it will become easier and easier to to say "yes" to things you that once had the will power to say no to.  I will continue to have my one cheat meal a week. But if something pops up and I need to have two -- I will. I also may pick a meal or two a week that I have a "clean cheat" .. that basically means that I'll not eat the meal that is planned, but still try to stay within my macros and keep my portion small. Just something "different" than my planned day to day meals that week. I would probably do one of my "healthy pizzas", my buffalo ckn burgers, or a quest bar creation for post workout instead of my typical "planned" post workout. These meals are the way I used to eat before I got serious about fitness and there is NOTHING wrong with them. But you just have to portion and plan. I think doing this will really help with cravings of variety and if I do a healthy cheat mid week ... then on cheat day.. I'll likely choose to make it a cleaner cheat of a home cooked meal, sushi, steak, etc. Just BALANCE it all out :) A lot of people do something similar to this every day ... both on and off prep ... it's called flexible dieting. It works great for many people.

I have mixed feelings about flexible dieting. I totally think it's great if you are doing this and eating mostly HEALTHY foods within your personal macros. It's those that choose BAD foods all the time and call it "flexible dieting" -- having the I don't care what I eat "as long as it fits in my macros" approach -- that I don't agree with. You see these folks on Instagram. They eat pizza, burgers, cereal, etc, every single day. Often don't eat very much all day long and then save their macros for a pizza or at the tend at the end of the day pile their plate full of "stuff" ... just to "fill their macros" for the day. Each their own, but this reminds me of Weight Watchers. It works for people .. but I don't think it's the healthiest. If you do this and keep "bad" foods in moderation .. it can be GREAT. But for optimum results (and overall health) I believe it does matter WHAT foods we eat .. not just how much.

I also know A LOT of people have luck with "reverse dieting" -- where they slowly add macros back into their diet if they were on a pretty low calorie/cab/fat plan for shows, etc.  It's something you should personally research! I don't have any personal experience wight his -- but I do hope to "interview" my coach or an expert in health in the future on some of this topic (and others).  It seems like a great approach. I've seen many girls have luck with this when they want to "bulk". Ease your way into more foods ... then do a CLEAN bulk. I've seen people keep abs year round this way! I look forward to trying this in the future once I find an expert that can guide me. Cause it can be tricky!

Of course continuing to hit the gym is key as well. You cant just stop going. If you don't want your life to revolve around the gym anymore ... maybe try cutting your days down (there are some great full body workouts out there) ...or experiment with "push/pull" days. Experiment some and see what you can get away with while still maintaining (assuming that is your goal that is).  It could be fun! I saw a fitness blogger do a series on her "week of group classes". She went to a different "group class" for 6 days straight.  How fun would that be!!!! I just may try it and blog about it!! Find new ways to stay fit if you want ... just keep moving and KEEP LIFTING!

I am not sure what the winter holds for me. It's a discussion I plan on having with my coach soon. But considering I actually enjoy the "structure" of having a set meal plan and enjoy the foods I eat...I honestly don't know I'll want to change much. It's what I know and what has become habit (and if you read any of my past blogs you know I'm a creature of habit). My favorite thing about having a wellness PLAN is that it takes the guess work out of "what is for lunch/dinner". I've noticed that my life is MUCH less stressful -- despite having to take a couple hours each week to meal prep!

Until then .. it's tunnel vision to that NPC Nationals stage!

What are your favorite "off season" or "balance" tips?! We would love to hear them!!!

Eat Clean. Train Dirty.

No comments:

Post a Comment