Well you had to have known that my first real post was going to be about my competition! Now let me first off say that in these following posts i will share with you MY experience as a competitor, my real and honest experience. This journey can be very different for many people. I am happy to share this part of my story because i feel it is unique and I get so many questions from people that are not privy to the whole “fitness lifestyle.” Let me also say, that fitness is in fact that for me, a lifestyle. It is incorporated into many facets of my life, including my daily tasks, what i eat,drink. It affects my relationships, my free time and my family. It isn’t a craze or fad, it is apart of who i am. Since there are so many topics to write on when it comes to the competition I’m going to be talking about it in several parts. This blogpost (Part 1) will be about my decision to compete, the steps it took to start and a bit about my journey. So here it goes!
I have wanted to compete for as long as i can remember, even before i had my daughter 3 years ago. At the time it seemed glamorous, sexy and amazing to me.I was 19, enough said. I saw those women up there and viewed them as “perfection”. “Aha i said to myself, thats what i want to be” I do not recall where or when i stumbled across it but even though i thought it would be amazing to do something like that i also thought there was no chance in hell id ever look like one of those women. Sure i worked out, i ran, lifted some weights, went to the occasional yoga or spin class and swam my fair share of laps in the college pool, but never did i think i would be able to bring myself to that level. I have always loved the gym, from the time i was 16 or 17 years old. I have never been a “team player” and the gym was a place of solace and self improvement where the actions of others would not impede my progress. However, we all know how life has its own plans and i was blessed with a beautiful little girl. The idea was lost but not forgotten.
Which brings me to last summer, I was a newlywed and a “rookie” stay at home mom with a two year old daughter, I had just completed my first sprint triathlon in under 2 hours and was pretty proud of myself! Only a few weeks later I wanted a new challenge. Staying at home with a 2 year old is a full time job but its not exactly intellectually or physically stimulating. I had decided I finally wanted to compete, but this time around it had a whole new meaning for me. It was no longer about being sexy, glamorous, fabulous and shiny. It had become about self improvement, excitement and just a plain old reason to get out of the house. So i contacted my friend and now coach WBFF Pro Samantha Green to get me started on a plan. I was about a week into my diet when…hmmmmm, something is a little “off” here. 9 months later we met our beautiful son. 🙂
Once again, my plan was derailed (for good reason). I knew when i got pregnant that i would begin getting back “into shape” as soon as my son was born and it was safe to do so. In the meantime I researched which shows would be doable after having the baby and thats when i decided to register for the wbff show in edmonton on october 19th. Almost exactly 7 months after the birth of my son. It was crazy and i knew it but i didn’t care and i wanted to do it anyways! Now let me tell you I do not have easy pregnancies. I suffered from PSD (a painful separation of the pubic bone during pregnancy), nausea , extreme back pain and worst of all, antenatal depression. After having my son, my “blues” escalated into full blown postpartum depression. It was difficult to say the least. Physically and emotionally draining everyday but i kept my goal in mind and quite honestly deciding to train for this competition was most definitely one of the reasons i was able to recover from my PPD. The combination of exercise and having a small daily goal of going to the gym kept me sane in an insane way. It was my salvation from daily sadness that could not be remedied by positive thinking or the best efforts made by my husband. It was an internal battle i was fighting alone. The first time I stepped into the gym after having my son was one of the only times id ever felt intimidated in a gym in my life and ill tell you why. For interest sake, I was 135 pounds when I got pregnant with my son, gained 40 whopping pounds with my pregnancy putting me at 175 the day i gave birth to my son. After having my son I had only lost about 12 pounds of baby, fluid etc. Putting me at about 160-165 post partum. It was the heaviest id ever been in my life and even though id already had one baby this was so much different. I did not recognize my body after this baby. My stomach still looked 5 months pregnant, my legs felt huge, swollen and i cried when i looked in the mirror. My daughter was 6 weeks premature and i only gained about 15 pounds with her so this was all new to me. I knew I had just had a baby and my body needed time to recover but my mental state did not help in making me feel any better. So back to the gym, here I am, literally 6 weeks after having my son, and an unrecognizable body. Never in my life have I felt so weak, helpless and out of shape. I couldn’t even run for 5 minutes, do one push up or even think about walking around in a bikini for that matter. I knew I had a mountain to climb, a big one, but it wasn’t going to stop me. So, every day I went, no matter how tumultuous my emotions, no matter how invisible or small I felt. I kept going. I didn’t stop. I followed the plan I set out for myself. Ate my chicken, ran, lifted, slept, ate spinach, ran,lifted, slept, 3 am feeding, slept, 530 am feeding, ate some oats, took care of my kids, ate some more chicken, walked, lifted, 1 am, 2 am, 4 am feeding, slept, ate, lifted….ok, you get the point, it was a lot of chicken, a lot of working out and fitting that all in while taking care of my kids and trying to convince my husband that this was all going to amount to something good. You’d have to ask him how he felt during the process but it wasn’t always easy for us. The logistics alone were difficult, the time i spent working and preparing separate meals for myself and for my family, taking care of a newborn baby and a three year old, not to mention the gym was 30 minutes away in another town, it took a toll, it was exhausting,but I was on a mission. I had to completely start from the most physical and mental low point id ever been and it was nothing but the smallest steps along the way. My first day back was a leg workout. IT KILLED ME. Every fibre in my body ached like never before. It hurt in more ways than one. With only having done a triathlon 9 months prior and now hardly being able to get through a leg workout was embarrassing for me.
During all of this something happened and I didn’t even notice it was so subtle. Everyday was better and easier. Everyday i got stronger and faster. Everyday more confident. Everyday I got…happier, enjoyed my family more and became a better person. Then i realized, the only way i was going to succeed was if i was doing it for the right reasons. My reasons were all different this time than the first two attempts. This time was about recreating myself, it was about being better everyday,not only for myself but for my family and my kids. It was about being a strong and positive role model for my daughter, it was about being positive and supportive for my husband in the best way i could be. It was about beating my depression and breaking the chains inside my own head that limited me from being a happy woman. It was about rebirth. This time i knew i could do it because i had been at the bottom, feeling helpless and afraid. Nothing could have stopped me from coming to my potential,not any distance from any gym, not anytime preparing extra meals or any level of exhaustion. I wasn’t making any excuses or feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t blaming my children for “ruining” my body or pointing the finger at my husband for eating pizza in front of me because i was accountable to myself.
Starting this journey wasn’t an easy decision but it was something i needed to do for myself. Im not sure I could explain it in terms that most would understand but it was partly about proving to myself that i could do something great and just because i had a family that i could still not achieve my goals and still be a great mom and wife at the same time. Some women spend their extra time baking or scrapbooking, some like to shop, volunteer, have careers or take photos. I lift weights. So whether you are the best chocolate chip cookie maker or you have 6 pack abs, as mothers,wives, women, we look for something to succeed at that is separate from our everyday tasks,something to look forward to and something to make us smile.
To be continued…