There is a unique challenge in competition prep. It tests you both mentally and physically and there is a fine line between giving it the appropriate attention/time it requires and letting it consume your every waking moment. My first prep absolutely became all consuming, every breath I took had something to do with competing. This past prep I was committed to finding a reasonable balance between prep, my family and work. Here are some survival tips that really helped me:
- Decide how much time your reasonably need to train.
Stick to this time limit and plan accordingly. Do not spend your training time socializing and dragging your gym sessions out unnecessarily.
- Batch prepare you meals at the beginning of the week for the whole week.
This avoids skipping meals because of time constraints or lack of desire to cook.
- Invest in copious amounts of food storage containers, ice packs and a good lunch box.
If you have appropriately prepared your meals at the beginning of the week, packing for a day out should not take longer than 15 minutes.
- A 7 day, multiple daily dosing pill minder will be your best friend.
While you are batch preparing your meals fill your supplement minder for the week as well.
- Create a schedule.
This should include meal, training, and supplement times. The structure will remove guesswork and the constant obsessing over “what is next”.
- Remain social.
Yes, it stinkaroonies to be around fun party food when you are prepping. However, what is worse is feeling completely isolated. Do I recommend going on all night benders, no, you need your sleep! There is no reason though that you cannot invite friends and family over to play board games, go to a park or go bowling.
- Remember this was YOUR CHOICE.
No one is forcing you to compete. There will be times when you are “hangry”, but learning to recognize your emotions will help you to accept them as part of the process and not take them out on everyone around you.
- Enjoy the journey.
This is supposed to be exciting and challenging, NOT a punishment. Contrary to what is often promoted, you do not need to be in constant misery hating life. Naturally there will be days that aren’t your favorite, but the majority of days should be a day of personal development.
Yes, the contest is important and you’ve invested a significant amount of time, money and effort into your prep. However, remember that the contest is only a moment in time- IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR SELF WORTH, YOUR EFFORT OR YOUR PERSONAL PROGRESS.
- Do not compare yourself to others.
Social media is a great way to network. It is also a great way to send yourself into a tailspin of panic and despair while searching other competitors contest and progress pics. Do not compare yourself to another’s highlight reel. Your true competition is yourself, work to be an improved version of yourself each day and you will always step on stage a winner.