Fitness Show Contest Prep During the COVID-19 Pandemic
You have been dieting for weeks, and some, months on end. You have registered for your show, spent time and money and basically devoting most of the last few months of your life to ultimately reaching one goal, and that’s hitting the stage on show day!
We have, as a nation, been hit with an unfortunate pandemic. More than ever at this time, our health is number one, as well as others around us. In light of this, many fitness shows have either been cancelled or postponed, for the greater good. It’s extremely disappointing. All the hard work, hours training, sticking to a meal plan, may feel like it has all gone to waste. I know a lot of competitors are looking for “What now?” and “What should I do next?” These are very real questions at this time for bodybuilders, coaches, people who are currently in contest prep and most are scared of what the new outcome may look like moving forward under these current conditions.
I think it is important to remember that bodybuilding is a luxury sport. It takes a plethora of things to be in the right place at the right time for one to compete. Money, time, lives are in a good situation, these are all types of luxuries. Gyms are closed, jobs have been lost, income is or may be lower than normal and it’s at this time, you probably just want to throw in the towel and eat a dozen donuts! If you do give up, start treating yourself poorly by eating everything in sight or stop working out, you may regret it.
Instead of completely halting contest prep or giving up, I suggest first off having a good conversation with your coach. As any good bodybuilder knows, their coach knows best, always. Most likely they will have a plan in place moving forward. Ultimately there are many more fitness shows to come in the future when things settle down and there may be a chance for you to still compete down the road. Have this conversation with your coach and lay out all the options. It’s possible you will have to start a slow reverse diet at this time, which means bringing calories back to maintenance, cardio at a minimum and adjusting to home workouts. Another option to try at this time is to run a test “Peek Week”. If your show was at 3 weeks out lets say, and it got postponed, I would suggest running prep until the end at this point. Why? Well let’s be honest, you are so close at 3 weeks out, why not still hit your goals and run a test peek week to see what you are able to bring to the stage come time?! Just because there is no show, doesn’t mean you can’t run a test peek week and see how you would look on that day. I find personally, seeing any goal through until the end, whatever the outcome, is mentally more helpful in the long run than deciding to not see it through until the end. This is going to hopefully put you in a better position to see success long term by preparing now and not essentially, throwing in the towel.
I think it’s also important to know at this time to try and keep things as normal as possible. This includes the above option to possibly run a trial show day and continue to the end of your prep. It not only keeps a sense of normalcy to your life, but it can also be mentally helpful. As many bodybuilders know, this sport is just as much mental as it is physical. When you train your body so hard for so long, you are also training your mind. I think especially during this time, it’s important to not only stay positive, but feel the positivity too! Either option at this point I think is a great idea. Whether it be starting a slow reverse diet in order to keep what you have worked so hard for, doing a trial show day/peek week or simply choosing another show to do in the future (which there are many coming up this summer!).
This sport isn’t easy but I think it’s important to know you are not alone, many competitors have had fitness shows cancelled or postponed. Moving forward is the only option regardless and I think at this time, this will show who is in this sport for the pure love of it, or just to show off for one day on a stage. Whatever your reason is or was, always remember that, your “WHY” factor. Not only is keeping this in mind during these times helpful, but I also think that reminding yourself of the fact that bodybuilding, contest prep and competing is only a part of your life, not your entire life. Life for us all, has changed significantly. Just like in contest prep, things change in order to see change, for the better! I think if we can learn to adapt to this change both physically and mentally, you as a competitor will be better off moving forward. Pick a new fitness show date, find a new goal or better yet, start helping others in this time to stay active and healthy! As athletes, I think we have the power to be able to show others just how much potential we all have, both physically and mentally. Stay strong, stay healthy!
Influential Sports Inc Contributor: Chanelle Biggan
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Photo Credit: Greg Cleaver