Back to (Fitness) School
Everywhere you look there are signs for back to school sales, bringing a collective sigh to children and a sense of shock to parents that summer is indeed coming to an end.
Summer vacation is a time filled with late mornings, no deadlines and boozy barbeques. Usually my summer are filled with bodybuilding competitions, but this year I too took a summer vacation and thoroughly enjoyed my off season vacation.
You know the difference between an honor roll student and the class valedictorian? The honor roll student studies hard during the school year and the valedictorian goes to summer school to advance in math and science.
The same is true in bodybuilding. If you want to be the valedictorian you train hard in the off season…I am not the valedictorian.
I cut back on lifting from 5 days to 3 days per week, my cardio dropped to 30 minutes and included reading Yahoo! News on my phone at the same time, I went on vacation, drank wine, ate out at Indian restaurants and split giant desserts with my kids. And, you know, I also gained weight. Not enough weight to have to up my jeans size, but enough that they became tight.
Towards the end of summer, as a kid, I used to look forward to going to school, even though I’d never admit it to other kids. I liked reading new books and seeing my friends again and shopping for school supplies. The nostalgia of the good times from the prior year got me all excited and rearing to go. And then I had to take an assessment test on the first day of school and got a stack of homework to do.
That’s kind of what last week felt like to me, as I decided to train in earnest for the Las Vegas Musclemania competition to be held in November. I was all excited to do another competition, particularly a new division in a big international show. And then I did my first competition prep training session.
Fuuuuuck. Damn, my trainer schooled me!
My pop quiz was taking front and back progress pictures in a bikini along with weigh in and then was followed up with a leg workout that made me want to crawl in a hole and cry (because God knows I couldn’t walk there.) You know your workout is hard when you’re willing to sit in an ICE BATH for 20 minutes in hopes it will make your muscles feel better.
Hardcore athletes talk about “feeling the burn” (no, not feeling Bernie Sanders) when they work their muscles to exhaustion. I brought new meaning to feeling the burn because I got carpet burns on the balls of my feet by doing mountain climbers in my socks (my sneakers fell off and I didn’t want to stop and re-tie them) and also got burns on my forearms while doing T-bar squats because my arms dragged against the inseam of my leggings and I did about 100 reps.
I also had to dig out my food scale and measuring cups and really follow my meal plan. My trainer, Robin Johnson Jr., is already on my case to get within show weight by the end of this month instead of dieting down at the very last minute like I’ve been known to do.
Since competitions are never done in a vacuum, I had to get my family onboard the Musclemania train. The fact that it’s going to be in Las Vegas is what got all parties to agree to not making popcorn around me or going to Chili’s for the next 16 weeks.
Those of you who know bodybuilding, know that competition prep traditionally is a 12 week countdown, not 16 weeks.
I lied at the beginning of the post. I AM that nerdy kid who takes summer courses in robotics, cause damnit I want to be valedictorian and win the show!
So last week was tough, but I already lost 3 lbs. of my summer fluff and my muscle memory is kicking in. Since this is a completely different federation and division for me I had to go outside Austin to find a posing coach. I’ll be going to Houston in two weeks to sort out my routine and as I get closer to my show weight I’ll get to go dress shopping.
I love school.
P.S. – If you’re serious about getting healthy, but need help getting started, try my S.L.I. Method on my website ShesLosingIt.com. Only YOU can do the work, but I can give you the tools that I’ve learned over the past four years about nutrition, exercise and overcoming excuses.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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