Post-Show WOAH

The self-tanner has faded, the manicure is beginning to chip and the elusive carved abs are all but a distant memory. And for all the warnings, jokes and tongue-in-cheek references my coaches and veteran friend competitors made to the "post-show blues," NOTHING could have prepared me for this.

Like most fitness and physique athletes, I consider myself to be beyond the definition of a Type A personality. I grew up a perfectionist, never feeling like my efforts were enough...I never felt pretty or smart or fit enough for all of the activities in my life or in comparison to my friends. To top it off, I'm a Virgo and a first-born, can we say, "tightly wound?"

My parents are two of the hardest working people I know and they taught my brother and I that hard work was what it's all about. That we could achieve anything if we were willing to work harder than everyone else. They also held us to a higher standard and taught us that this was the way to be successful in life. One family rule was that we were not allowed to play sports if we did not make the honor roll. Well, unbeknownst to my parents, I set a standard that I wouldn't be happy with myself if I didn't get on the HIGH honor roll on every report card. That was the kind of pressure I regularly put on myself in all areas of my life.

I was the kid that played elite soccer on 3 teams because I was going to get a scholarship to play soccer in college, I had made up my mind to this fact and failure was not an option. When my doctor diagnosed me with "exercise induced asthma" at age 13 I told him my breathing challenges were simply because I was not "fit" enough and had to work harder. I didn't need need any silly inhalers, I needed more sprints.

Growing up, I thought I was fat and had to train harder. I would go to the field by myself and practice long balls and sprint after the ball after every kick for hours. Needless to say, I was the best free kick specialist on most of my teams all my life; but, spent a great deal of time in a silent hell of dissatisfaction with nearly everything I accomplished...somehow, it was never enough.

I grew up constantly and silently berating myself, feeling guilt for not training hard enough or for eating something I shouldn't have. Those people close to me would get a glimpse of this at times and would ask my why I was so hard on myself. I never seemed to have an answer for them. I just had something inside of me, I just couldn't let myself relax or give myself a break. God no, that would mean I was being lazy or not working hard enough towards my goals, that was the reason I was fat after all...

Entering into the world of fitness seemed like the perfect "fix" for me a year ago. I could get my body in the best shape ever and follow a regimen that would be 100% fool-proof as long as I put in the work, something I knew I could do.

The part I didn't think about was what happens when the excitement of the show countdown is over? What happens when everything you eat post-show makes you feel sick? What happens when ALL you can think about is cake?

I didn't have answers to any those questions. And right now, I'm a week and a half out from my first competition feeling like a bloated mess. My body wants to train and actually has the energy and strength to do so now; but my mind is a disaster. I've sabotaged myself with mindless binges almost daily since my competition. I actually ate an entire bag of chocolate mini rice cakes last week...and then 3 cupcakes the next night and the other cheats have all become somewhat of a blur. I've eaten things til I felt so sick I could barely move. I am certainly not proud...I am definitely ashamed...and yet, this is so wildly uncharacteristic of me it's disturbing. I was so incredibly disciplined, I can honestly say that leading in to my show, I did not cheat once. I did not miss one workout and I was on split sessions most days. It was just non-negotiable.

Last night, like a crazy person, I was talking to myself as I lay in bed feeling sick to my stomach. My voice was that of my body, speaking to me saying, "I did everything you asked. I never gave up. I ate FISH for a week and got up at 4:30 am everyday to get to the gym. I fought so hard for that goal and now you're abusing me like this. How could you do this to me?" If anyone had heard me, they would have thought I had completely lost it, you may be thinking the same thing reading this, unless you've gone through this experience yourself.

They say it gets easier over time and yes, slowly, it is getting better. Three out of 5 meals make me nauseous now, instead of all 5. I'm integrating the proper number of fruits and starches back into my diet and I'm drinking more water again. I'm sleeping better and enjoying that my diet can include things like dairy again. I have to accept that I have gained some weight back and I have to be OK with that..somehow. I need to give myself a break, for the FIRST time in my life, and accept that I'm not perfect...whatever the heck "perfect" really means anyway. I need to know that it's OK to feel a little crazy during this time. That as long as I get to the gym and follow the "80/20 rule" everything will work itself out (though I'd rather it be 90/10).

All that said, NOTHING about this is easy.

This post-show stuff is no joke. If you're a newbie, stay close to your coaches and your fitness friends as you come off the competition "high." Don't go it alone and for God's sakes...stay busy. Know your personality to ward off danger zone behaviors (i.e wandering a grocery store alone) and have an accountability buddy that loves you that will help you through without judging.

Everything will be OK and you are just as fabulous today as you were on the day of your competition (Yes, I'm still convincing myself of this fact, which is one of those most important parts of my evolutionary process). Don't lose sight of that or the reason you chose to compete in the first place. It's all part of this beautiful and crazy journey called LIFE! Loving yourself unconditionally on the good and bad days is really what it's about, after all is said and done.

Stay strong ladies! xoxo


  1. Love you, you will kick this post comp blues... I know you will.. and hell who doesn't indulge a little post show- don't feel like your entirely alone b/c I undulged the entire week of yours how in self pitty until I starting breaking out and then realized dude what are you doing... As soon as you realize those foods are crap again you will be right back to clean mind clean body... <3 We stay strong because we have to... we are different than most people, survived things nobody else can come close to..do not let a few days of eating RICE CAKES and cupcakes own you. YOU are much stronger than that. Celebrate the journey and set some new fabulous goals- you are a FIGHTER. xoxo <3 Jackie

  2. indulged etire week of your show..... bad typing :/

  3. thanks baby...love you...so true and i know that week was tough for you too...you're a fighter and an inspiration to me! xoxo

  4. Omg. I could have written this but u wrote it so eloquently. I'm feeling alot of the same things. I'm trying to stay focused and on plan. Body doesn't seem as strong but neither does my mind. But I know it's temporary. I'll get it back. Remember we've been focused for so long!! Months. Maybe our bodies and minds just need a little break. I'm not gonna beat myself up. I know I can get it back, I've done it once, I can do it again. We have each other. It's comforting knowing I'm not the only one feeling this way. Hang in there. We will get there. One day, one meal, one workout at a time. Perfection is not reality. Being the best we can be is where we should focus. Ok girl!! Love you. Thx for sharing. Stay in touch. I'm
    Here for you. Xoxoxo

  5. love you girl and so happy that you shared your honesty with us. FOr me, it was a post show HIGH that week right after but just about now its starting to sit with me that there is no longer this 'thing' that i have to look forward to and push myself towards. You just have to know how damn hard you worked to get where you are and what a beautiful thing that the body is that it is able to be pushed in that way. Just think of all of those people who can't push themselves in that way--Be thankful for your strong legs, amazing arms, abs, body and mind. It will get better. Just bask in your hard earned effort right now and repeat after me "I AM WORTH IT"

    love you lady...you know where I am if you ever need to vent it out xoxox

  6. thank you my girls. had a kick-ass boot camp class this morning and while i wasn't crazy about what I saw in the mirror, I felt STRONG. I AM STRONG. I am not the same person I was 6 months ago and I know exactly what to do to take care of this body now. I feel good today and am regaining my mental strength again...couldn't do it without all of you thought....love you all so much. xoxo

  7. Amber, I just wanted to tell you that you have done an amazing job! I love reading your blog and hope soon I can find time in my busy life with 2 young kids to start my journey in working out again. I hope you are feeling better now. You look great and should be so proud!!! Many people work out, but few take that step on a stage! I would be scared to death!!!
    xoxox Josclyn

  8. Baby, you hit this one right on the head. Post Show is NO JOKE! Newbies and Veterans alike, we all go through it sometime. The goal is to learn to eat a healthy diet year round. The best thing I ever heard was from super-star Lori Harder. Instead of 'treat meal' or 'reward meal', she calls them, 'on track meals' because that is exactly what they do- keep you on track. I give you tons of credit for talking about this so candidly, you're inspiring women everywhere! xoxo


  9. Thanks Kimmy...you are such a doll...and yes, balance is key. I am definitely feeling much better; but, I realize that show or no show, everyday takes work and a recommitment to the goal of wanting to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. I am enjoying the anticipation of our wedding and of course, want to make sure I'm a buff bride! So there's no letting up :) Good luck at Universe, I will be thinking of you...xoxoxo