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Thursday, 12 March 2009

Maths is for Nerds Anyway

There are two or maybe three stages in a figure or fitness competitor's life. The first (for some) is how you look off season, especially if you've overdone it. You don't like the way you look in your clothes and you like the way you look naked even less. Your beautiful muscles are covered in fat and your arms look like sausages.

Once you start to lose the fat, you reach the second stage where you look good. You have a shoulder and bicep sweep in your arms even without flexing, your stomach is flat and your arse looks good in jeans. You look great in clothes, and OK naked but you would never dream of standing on stage with that much fat on your legs and arse.

The third stage is when you start to look scrawny and skinny in your clothes. Your chest bones show through your skin, your boobs have disappeared and all your clothes are on the big side. You can't find anything small enough to fit and all your stretch t-shirts and training singlets hang straight down. You look terrible in your clothes but you look amazing naked in the mirror. You can see your abs, your hip bones and veins running up your arms and stomach. You can now stand on stage in a bikini and feel proud.

The problem is getting past the point where stage 2 turns into stage 3. This is especially true if you are 'away from' motivated - your motivation to get lean is because you hate feeling fat. The less fat you feel the less motivated you are.

Suddenly the compliments you have been getting about how good you look turn into people commenting that you are too skinny. When you tell them you have 5 kilos to go, they look at you like you are mad or have some eating disorder. You feel like you are chasing a goal that is extreme and possibly completely unnecessary. In fact, the more weight you lose, the worse you look in the eyes of your friends, your partner and the general population. It sometimes feels like a lonely ride.

I have no miracle solution to this dilemma, other than to name it and recognise it so that when self sabotaging thoughts occur, I know where they are coming from. To the rest of the world I may be working towards being unnaturally thin, but in order to achieve my dream of being in the best condition of my life, I need to go where most people never venture - the cold and bony state of competition lean.


  1. so glad you posted this!! this is my first journey through the figure life and after reading that it is really helpful to me, as i do not know what exactly to expect! i am in stage 2 of what you described and preparing for stage 3, and glad i have some insight as to what it will be like! thanks again!

  2. Hi Katie, I can definitely identify with those stages. Hope your elimination experiment is going well. Have a great day!

  3. Hi Katie!

    My name is Kristin and I've been following your blog for quite some time now and I thought I should actually say HI and thank you for your posts... they are really awesome for me to read and I am really gaining a lot of insight from you, so thank you for making your blog pubilcly available. I am aiming to compete in my first comp this year in September and I am loving hearing about what you are going through becuase it helps me too.... particularly this post, as I am at stage 1-2 at the moment... so thank you and keep up the great work... you are such a trojan and I hope you do well in your competition(s) this year.

    Kristin xoxo

  4. Hey hey big hug right back at you oxox

  5. Yah.

    You just have to perfect the smile and shrug when the "too skinny" comments begin raining on your parade. Forget trying to explain what you're aiming for - they'll never get it.

    Cold and bony, alright - but you forgot LONELY.

    My husband has been telling me for weeks how much he likes me exactly how I am, round tummy, jiggly thighs and all....*sigh*