My Journey to the Stage – THE FINAL CHAPTER!!

I DID IT! Last Sunday, on the 26th May I competed in the INBA Brisbane physique titles in the largest bodybuilding show in Australian history!

To say I was exited was an under-statement – The feeling of achieving quite a difficult and challenging goal was AMAZING and all of the hard-work, sweat and carb lows (although they were fairly few) was more than worth it!

For my final blog on this topic, I thought I would make a list of things I didn’t know (and you may not have known) prior to competing as well as other interesting tid-bits from my journey;

  • The competitors were ALL absolutely amazing, gorgeous specimens who put in hours upon hours of training in the gym and meal planning and prepping just for a few minutes on stage; so whether bodybuilding on any level is your thing or not, you have to admire the dedication, commitment and drive these people have;
  • I religiously kept a photo log of my progress so that on those days where I felt like progress just wasn’t happening, or wasn’t happening fast enough, I could look at how far I had come (Also, now I know why fitness fanatics get a little obsessed with ‘selfies’ – time to go and unclog my phone!). If you are on your own journey, make sure you take ‘beginning photos’ as you will be amazed when you look back;
  • Big goals take sacrifice – There is no way around it. If you want to achieve something you never have before, you must be willing to make sacrifices – the bigger the goal, the higher the sacrifices. As you would have read early on, I had to decline many invitations to outings I would have loved to go to. Even something as simple as an invitation to pop over to a friend’s house on a Friday afternoon had to be declined because I was either going to the gym, or I didn’t want to place myself in a position where I may be tempted to de-rail myself.
  • I didn’t realise how many extra bits of tiny morsels of food I consumed each day. As I said, prior to the competition, I was a really healthy eater and often already weighed my food to keep portion sizes in check, however I exercised hard and allowed myself the odd little thing as I knew I would be burning it off. I had to say good-bye to those little crusts, cups of tea (unless, of course, it was green tea), those little sneaky mouthfuls of snacks from the kids’ packets etc and that’s when I realised those little extras can be quite plentiful!
  • Support people who encourage you, understand when you have to say no and never let you lose sight of your goal are crucial. On that note, I absolutely 1000% dedicate my stage appearance to my amazing hubby, Nick. When someone is prepping for a comp like this, everyone in the house-hold has to make sacrifices. It meant eating separate meals, saying no to that very odd time when we were child-free to a lovely lunch out together, listening incessantly to talk of the comp, taking progress photos, constantly being badgered to look at my latest selfie to see if my delts were growing or my abs were showing more, etc etc etc. I had a motivational poster on my fridge with pictures and quotes to spur me on throughout the comp. Whenever I was having a weak moment, Nick would either lead me over to the fridge to look at the poster, or read me the inspirational quotes so I didn’t lose sight of that goal. These times were rare as I was very focused, however there were times when I questioned what on earth I was doing this for! Sooooo, thanks so much Nick, you were my rock and I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive person;
  • “Dialling in” in the final phase does not mean for pizza;
  • Our lives, activities and social plans nearly ALWAYS revolve around food – “Shall we go out for dinner”, “Should we do a picnic in the park”, “Do you want to meet for morning tea” If you think about it, we are almost always driven by when we are going to eat/meet for a meal etc etc
  • This type of comp makes you realise how mentally strong you can be. I cannot stress enough to anyone, no matter what type of health or fitness goal they have, your biggest challenge will be your mind. You can physically do almost anything you put your mind to, it’s your mind that will give up first. “Come on, you have done enough on the treadmill, you can stop”, “That one little piece of bread won’t hurt you” etc etc etc….If you can fight back against your own thoughts, you WILL succeed. Push them away, remember your goals, don’t let that little devil sitting on your shoulder win. Don’t stop or finish until you are DONE!
  • Similarly to the above point, everything seems to get a little out of perspective in these comps. OK so I here you saying ‘derrrrr’ but I would only recommend someone do these comps if they were secure in who they were first. By that, I mean it is very dangerous to constantly be comparing yourself to very unrealistic figures. By about 6 or so weeks out, I really liked the way my figure was looking (apart from my weak points i.e. upper legs and glutes!), felt I had fairly good muscle tone and, if not for the competition, would have been extremely happy with where I was sitting. By comp standards however, I was no-where near ready to compete and this may have the propensity to make you a little bit cray cray in the head if you were that way inclined!
  • At various times throughout the comp prep, I also found myself looking at other girls who were competing and constantly plastering selfies on face-book with captions like “8 weeks out and still with a HEAP of work to do, off I go to the gym…la la la di la” and you look at these perfect specimens in the photos and think “oh my gosh, if I could look half as good as her by COMP DAY I will be super stoked” hahaha….But what I eventually realised is that:
    1. Selfies can be deceiving and flexing can make someone look totally different;
    2. This was MY journey and as I say to my own clients, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, just go at your pace and focus on your OWN journey and goals;
    3. Sometimes the photos are old, or, unfortunately, they are trying to intimidate the competition (believe it or not, some of these girls can get quite competitive 😉 )
  • Well, I already realised this, but I have AMAZING family, friends, clients and overall supportive network – Love you guys!
  • I would have to slightly dehydrate myself leading up to the comp – NOT one of the better aspects;
  • I didn’t realise I would have quite such a severe reaction to non-organic, totally unprocessed food/drinks post-comp (discovered on the Tuesday night following the comp whilst on a girls get-away!)
  • I can’t re-iterate this enough – prepping for these comps takes a HUGE amount of work, tons of time, incredible amounts of food prep and amazing amounts of organisation.
  • Spray tanning can get really really really dark – I think I stopped people in the streets the day before the comp following my tan application and I was honestly no-where NEAR as tanned as most of the girls on stage;
  • The girls I met at posing classes and on the day were absolutely lovely;
  • Despite being prepared for it, when first walking back-stage I literally stopped dead in my tracks – I had no idea there was so many hundreds of girls around Brisbane and surrounding areas who were so utterly perfect….The gorgeous sequins, the lovely long legs, the perfectly chiselled abs, the flawless hair – There are no words to describe how many goddesses there were at the comp;
  • Similarly, I felt quite saddened for many girls who were visibly upset by not placing – These girls would make you gasp if you saw them on a beach away from the other crazily amazing girls, but for whatever reason, they didn’t place and I hope they can look back and not worry about such a minor detail and be so proud of how incredible they looked on the day.
  • I did fall off the wagon in regards to my diet a few times – As you know from my last blog, I did get sick towards the end so allowed myself some extra carbs and other little things to help me get my energy back. The most important thing to do if you have some slips, is not to let it turn into a bigger thing. Don’t let one little cake or chocolate bar or whatever it is, turn into a day of bad food, or a week of indulgences, or waiting until Monday to start again. This is so important; don’t beat yourself up, just accept it and move on. I still made it to the stage despite these little things and that’s because I never lost sight of my goals.

So that marks the end of my 12 week journey – I want to say a huge thank you to all of the people that have shown me so much support – It has meant so much and you have no idea how each little “like” on my blogs, or each supportive word or comment has helped me get through the difficult times of this journey.

It was my one hope that by sharing my journey with you, you could see that everybody has difficult days when they are trying to reach their goals. What you see on the outside isn’t always an accurate depiction of how people are so if you are on your own journey, and sometimes think how easy it is for others to look a certain way, or to achieve their goals, remember that everyone battles at times to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is the people that dust themselves off and push through those times that succeed. I hope that I have inspired some of you to set challenging goals and go and chase them! I believe in you!

Nerida xx