In 2008 when I decided to compete it was for a totally different reason than the one I have today. Last year, I was without focus, drifting along and looking for a new challenge in my health and fitness lifestyle. The thought of standing on stage in a bikini was way out of my comfort zone and it was probably the toughest goal I could come up with.
The challenge I embarked on was reaching the goal of being in the best shape of my life for one day in May 2008. It was an enforced diet and training regime with a scale number as the measure of success. In order to make that number in time I was hungry, exhausted and emotional for many weeks. But I didn't mind because I knew that the reward would be worth the pain.
But actually, it wasn't. If my first experience was all there was to competing, I never would have contemplated doing it again.
This time things are different. Of course I want to look better on stage in May 2009 than I did last year, but my measure of success has changed.
To compete this year, I will use the months of strict discipline to set up a new lifestyle. I will use the results of each day/cycle/week/month to determine my ideal carb and calorie levels that will provide fat loss AND emotional and physical well being. I will monitor the effects of all the variables including training, cardio and rest. I will pause along the way to identify my ideal off season weight and then work at getting back there after comp in the sanest, healthiest way possible.
I will explore different ways of 'peaking' for comp day before the big event. These next months will show me when I look best after carb loading (I think it is 2 days afterwards when my muscles are still full but the extra water is gone).
Most importantly, I will enjoy the ride, maybe even more than the destination. Last year, it was like waiting for 16 weeks for the best present ever (let's say a gorgeous Pandora charm bracelet), having it for one day, and then being made to give it back. This year I get a small piece of the present every day (a single beautiful charm) with the bracelet being finally completed on show day. I know that I will have to give some of the charms back, but I can do it in my own time and still come out the other side with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Now that sounds like a plan!