Whether you love it or hate it, everyone seems to have an opinion on bodybuilding competitions. Whether you think they are just vainglorious, or are the pinnacle of the human form you can’t deny their work ethic. I love mass programs. Love writing them, love coaching them, love doing them. As a powerlifter I rarely get to do ’em myself (unless I’m going up a weight division).. but when I do, it shits all over the rest of my year’s training.
Doing endless bulking and stripping cycles, not to mention the mind numbing posing routines requires the entire range of physical skills – Strength, endurance and fitness; AND the intense dedication and mental fortitude to see it through to the platform is a totally different kettle of fish than just putting on a few kg. For women it’s even worse than for men, this shit messes with normal hormonal cycles, and it takes a lot of support and understanding from friends, family and loved ones to be there when the hangry train arrives.
Sooooo…. this year I got Ieva to keep a weekly diary of her experience in the last 7 weeks of competition preparation. It’s honest, it’s raw but it’s realistic. If you want to see what it actually feels like to go through a competition preparation cycle – read on!
So first of all just gonna introduce myself: I’ve been in Maximum Results just over 2 years now. It all started for me maybe 3-4 years ago. I never used to worry about my figure until without me even noticing it I put on a heap of weight. College nights out, working in a takeaway were I used to have my dinner every day as I’d go to work right after college. After denying it for about a year I finally realized I needed to change something as I was getting very unhappy and conscious of my body. I started with body weight exercises and cleaning up my diet. For about 2 years I was noticing the difference but as it went on I kinda wanted more. That’s when I walked into Maximum Results. Started off with classes with Max and PT once a week –I was totally afraid of Max for the first while 😀 😀 Fast forward to around May last year, I was training with him way more than once a week now and he and another girl that I was training at the time with suggested we do a bikini competition. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be able for that!! But he reassured me and I said sure why not I will give it a go! I came 5th last year and once I got off that stage I knew I wanted to do it again! I wanted to give it a whole year and see what we can achieve in that time.
Week 1 was a breeze – I was well rested after deloading for two weeks and ready to rock! I couldn’t wait to get started! Diet was pretty good for the first week also so I really was going around smiling and happy out 🙂
Week 2 – So while everyone is out boozing as it’s race week I am getting up at 6am to do my morning workout. They usually take 30 mins or so – I had two lower body workouts, 2 upper body and one core this week. I also do HIIT right after work and before I head off to the gym for my evening workout. It’s only 10 min long but trust me – it gets you sweaty! I only had to do HIIT twice this week as I would only have to do it when I don’t do cardio in the gym. So all week I was still happy out, delighted with life! Then around Thursday I started to feel a little down. It all got to me watching peeps on Snapchat and all over Facebook having the craic and here is me absolutely wrecked trying to get more fish/beef + veg into me. A real “fuck my life” moment. At times like this I find it’s best to talk to people that understand me and let it all out. After I had a chat with Max and Orla I felt a lot better, I was still a bit sad but a little pep talk and I was good to go again.
So this week it’s getting harder to get up at 6 each morning. Did I mention I’ve got a boyfriend too 😀 I don’t really see him much these days as I am not staying over much during the week as it would be unfair to be waking him up at that stupid hour and in reality all I do is go to work, train, eat, cook and sleep so definitely don’t have as much quality time with him as I would like to. But he so understands and he supports me 100%. So prep is in full swing now and I am on the go all day! Up at 6 for morning workout, work, home for HIIT, into the gym for evening one. Some days I have posing practice with Max too like Tuesday let’s say this week so I get back to the gym again at 8.30. Thursday I had sports massage at 4, then I trained from 5 till 7.30 and I had posing at 8.30. On those days I don’t see the point going home for an hour so I just bring my food in and chill out in the gym. Finally getting home around 9.30. Eat prep food for the next day and finally my “happy place” these days – BED! I got a cold this week too so I was lacking energy- however I knew I could not stop, all the workouts had to be done and no comfort food. Little witch doctor Orla as I like to call her dosed me with herbs to try and get over it as soon as possible. I tend to feel a little sorry for myself now and then especially when sick but then I just have to give myself a kick up the ass and reaslise there is no point in moaning – I’m gonna have to get it done and the right attitude is very important for that!
I also went to wedding this Friday – I wasn’t drinking obviously and I wasn’t sure how that was going to go. However it was actually a really good day – I still got dress up and all that and on the plus side I did not have a banging headache next day J Food suited me too – I just had salmon and veg for my main. My dessert had to go back untouched though L The rest of the weekend I spent in the gym and then just chilling – honestly once I get a day off work it might sound boring but there is nothing else I’d rather do at the moment – catching up on sleep and rest is what I want most!
Week 4 –
What the actual hell??? I can’t believe I am here already! The time is flying by sooo fast! So with being sick over the last few days and just over the last 3 weeks in general I didn’t see much change in my shape. However I am finally seeing it all now. It’s like I woke up in the morning and the abs just popped out overnight 😀 When I start seeing the differences like this it gets easier to motivate myself! We are adding in some extra training this week also so that will make a total of 14 training sessions this week. Some of them are PT, some of them are 10-20min HIIT, some of them are half an hr morning ones and then the evening ones in the gym. I find I am not struggling with my diet this year as much as last year. Yes of course I get cravings when I walk past a bakery or something, however it honestly is not too bad, more than anything I just want more of the good food to be honest! Like I am craving porridge and nuts??! Well I’ve got 4 no carb days this week so we will see how that goes – I tend to turn into a little monster when it really gets to me 😀 It’s actually mad to think how much food affects your mood – on no carb days I try to be as good as I can but I get so impatient and irritated. People must think I’m a right bitch 😀 It can get very boring when you are eating same things day in and day out also.
I forgot to mention that as well as this being my main focus at the moment I am also training for squat comp in October, so I am doing a 2 -3 heavy squat sessions per week also. As we go on with this I am feeling a little more exhausted and they are getting harder, but at the same time it’s a nice change from running up and down the stairs or doing 100s of reps with light weights J
So for PT on Monday I got to do one of Maxes training sessions with squats – it was an average of 4-5 squats at 47.5 kg and front squats at 35 kg on a min for an hour. Obvs these are my kinda weights and not Max kinda weights 😀 I was dreading it like mad but it actually turned out to be okay. Then the walk with the weighted vest for an hour! I fell like such a fool going around the city with this huge thing on me 😀 but it has to be done!
Morning core workouts are slowly becoming my least favorite ones! This morning I had to do 20 to 2 on twisting crunches, DB bench crunches and get up get downs – so you do 20 of each next set 18 of each and so on until you get to 2. Sounds easy right? Well that’s what I thought but it was hell 😀 Today is day 1 of no carb days this week also so let’s see how that goes 😀
I take it all back about what I said of not having cravings etc. After that squat day Monday all my body wanted was food and I was on a no carb day Tuesday. That was the hungriest I’ve been throughout this whole thing so far..
Foxy love joined me for my PT Tuesday too so that was fun J We had 144 sets to do and 1hr12mins of nonstop work!
I had to come back in the evening for posing practice and Orla joined myself and Max for it as we wanted a fresh pair of eyes and some feedback. It went really well and I think I am defo getting better at it. I feel a little outta my comfort zone doing it as I am not very confident. You might think why the hell are you doing it if the whole reason of it is to get on a stage.. Well I like the process off it (believe it or not) but getting up on stage is probably the scariest part! So Orla sent some hippie vibes towards me and she kinda questioned me why do I not feel comfortable doing it. I know why – even though I put in all the work, do all the diets I honestly just don’t feel good enough.. Anyone I know that supports me would say to me that this is silly. But that’s how I feel. There is a huge impact by social media as well. I try to get it into my head that most images you see are just made perfect and people don’t look like that on daily basis but it still gets to me.
Week 4 is complete and I survived 4 no carb days – Wooohooo!!
Today was a long awaited cake date!!! You might think why are you eating cake 3 weeks out?? So basically it’s there to give my metabolism a little kick up the ass! As I’ve been dieting for a long time now with no cheats my body gets used to it so a little cheat like that tricks the body and I won’t plateau and keep losing fat. So Max and I went to this lovely café and I got peanut butter slice and a Ferrero Roche muffin with a huge coffee – if heaven exists I’m pretty sure I’ve just gone there!
To top it all off – went back to the gym and I had to do a 1 RM squat and guess what??! I finally cracked the 80kg! I couldn’t be happier as I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time! To do it on this regime is a little bonus too I suppose as I know that once I’ve got more food and I am not as exhausted from all the training I can hopefully repeat that again! J So Monday has been a good day! ;
Tuesdays morning workout was nasty – so it’s a complex of a walking lunge, step lunge and heaving lunge 4 each leg on a min every min for 30 min – my sweat was dripping all over the floor by the time I got that finished! Attractive I know! 🙂
So week 5 is nearly done – I am feeling good. We are throwing in a lot of extra sessions this week. Posing is coming together also. Other than that I can’t believe how fast everything is happening.
I can’t believe I am this close! Energy is low and I wanna do anything except sleep – however gotta stick to the usual routine. Getting up even earlier (5.40) these days as we added some extra work to the morning workouts too. Food is shit these days as well – I am living on a few eggs, tuna and beef a day. That has me irritated and hating everything and everyone but we pushing through J
Got some updates on the posing rules today and that flipped me over completely as everything we have been doing for the last two months is completely opposite. It’s a right kick in the balls this close I have only 1.5 weeks left to perfect something I have not practiced at all.. But yano what – shit happens – I would love to just get a bottle of gin and a pizza ( I realise I sound like a ragging alco) but what I’ll do instead is go into the gym and do that double cardio session and myself and Max will try and figure it out. I can’t quit – it’s not even an option so gonna have to suck it up and do everything I can in the time I have got left – less sleep again for me 😀 I will need a very good make-up artist on the day to hide my tiredness 😀
Half way through week 6 – energy levels are so low… I was feeling all optimistic again after being down yesterday because of the posing – keep saying I’ve got this! But then I went and did it again – scrolling through Instagram.. And then I see this girl that’s competing in my category – she’s new – and her biceps are the size of my head… She looks absolutely unbelievable! I’m trying not to let it get to me and just keep doing what I can – focusing on getting my posing right, getting all the workouts in and staying positive.
So after yesterdays meltdown of feeling not good enough I am in a way better form today! I was just so tired yesterday, I felt weak and then I had 2.5 hrs of cardio to do in the gym. But today is another day I had a good sleep and bounced back again. I am on a real roller-coaster at the minute as ye can see.. Today is really last day of “normality” if you can call this normality. The dreaded salt and water loading starts tomorrow and I know I will be feeling horrible! Off to do some squats now and some cardio at the end and enjoy my last day of feeling okish and not like I am dying from drowning 😀
Peak week –
Friday and Saturday of water loading where not too bad but since Sunday I feel like I am drowning in the sea 😀 I feel so full – not as bad as I was last year- no where near but still quite uncomfortable. I had a very busy weekend as I had free Saturday so I tried to do all my personal bits and pieces that day as I have not had a day to myself in the last 6 weeks. Then Sunday myself and Max met up and spent the whole day in the gym – posing, massage and tarinig. We were the from 2.30 till 8 pm. I know I am doing all the work but I am so grateful to have Max – at this stage he know absolutely everything about me and he’s probably the best friend I have. When you spend so much time with someone it’s just natural. Good job we like each other otherwise we would have each other killed 😀 So anyways last few days my face is all bloated and I am walking around like a penguin as I am so full of water! But I can see the finish line now! I am so excited I can not believe it’s THIS Saturday!!
As I am looking super bloated now from water it’s giving me doubts again… even though I know once I start stripping water it will all be gone – it was last year – it has to happen again!
Last day of water and I can not wait for it to be over!
Wahey normal amount of water today! Might sound funny but I have never ever wanted to be dehydrated in my life this much 😀 I can’t wait not to feel bloated, struggle to walk and not to force myself to drink that salty water! Also I am looking forward to seeing my abs again J
3 more days – where did the time go! I am feeling pretty good about it. There are few close friends coming to see me on the day and I am even more excited about it!
All that’s left to do now is 2 or 3 more sweaty sessions ( I was in the gym from 4pm till 9 Tuesday night) so it’s only gonna get easier from now on. Then all my pampering – waxing, tan, nails and before I know it we will be on the road to Cork! J
Last day in work today, one more sweaty session a bit of relaxation in the sauna and some posing and that is THAT! I am getting very nervous for the last few hours!
My advice is if you decide to do a show – for sure go for it. It will test your will power, mental and physical strength, give you an awesome body, but be ready to give it 110%! The hardest part for me was always the judgment of people that don’t get it. You will get strange looks, comments on why are you eating this or that, why you cannot always order a meal when you are out with friends/colleagues, gossiping behind your back, missing out on nights out unless you are not drinking, endless hours in the gym, no time or energy for friends and loved ones especially last 1-2 months before competition. But people who really love and care for you will always support you whatever you decide to do!
SO it is all over now and I can not believe it! It’s really hard to get my head around it.. I was working for it for the last year and now it’s all finished.
I did not place over the weekend but the competition was very high this year. Not an excuse but you never know who is going to turn up on that stage with you. Everyone that came with me my boyfriend, my friends, Max and Orla kept telling me how proud they were. I was of course disappointed but I have to let it go and try and be proud of what I have achieved in my own journey. I know judges only see you on the day and don’t know your story and don’t care about it. But I have come some far – I have never ever been in this shape in my life and it was always a dream. I never used to be comfortable with the way I look and now I have competed in a figure competition twice. If anyone would have said to me 3 years ago I would have never believed it! Who knows now what the next 2 years going to bring! All I know is I am hooked and I will keep working on making myself better and someday I will be bring one of those trophies home!
But for now… Few days off, a little bit of chill, getting used to change in a diet and squat competition all coming up!
Till next time 🙂