Bodybuilding, such a dedicating, devoting, inspiring sport. Men and women, all ages, natural, steroids, dieting, lifting weight, cardio sessions...it takes tenacity and passion. It has become overwhelmingly popular in the last 2 years. Everyone wants to "do a show", be a competitor, call themselves a "bodybuilder". It is so much more. It is a life you live. Not the flavor of the month. Now I don't knock anyone that wants to try it out. That's how I started; I went through a huge personal journey and after a rough time in my life, I regrouped and found a new and improved version of me. I did my first show and fell in love with every aspect of it.
I was sponsored on site at the end of the show. I had great potential. I believe it was because I knew how hard I work so my stage presence was supposedly, "captivating". My body needed a lot of work, in bikini bodybuilding standards and I was just getting started. Show after show, I improved and placed higher; 4th, 2nd, 2nd and 1st, always placing top 5. I felt like I had found my thing!
The big shows, the pro-qualifier, were few each year. I went for the local one, year one to get a feel of what it was like going up against the top in the country. I did not do super well, not top 5, but for my personal growth, journey and all considering, it was something I was proud of. The following year, 15th place and this past year, 8th. Better packages, better presentation and better overall me! However, it came at a price. I have done about 10 shows before these and after each, was fine, came back into my off season with cardio and maintaining health and working on building muscle.
The pro-qualifer show in which I placed 15th, I became very ill after. I was extremely bloated, even beyond, distended. My stomach was incapable of not sticking out. I couldn't eat without food staying inside me. I actually thought I was pregnant, (which wasn't the case). I went to a general practitioner, and a gastrointestinal doctor, and no conclusions were made. All they could see from the blood work was extremely elevated levels of a protein associated with inflammation of the body, as it was so, my body was completely inflamed. I was swollen, all over, 10 pounds then another 5 and before I knew it, I was 20 pounds over the weight of my normal, healthy weight. "Luckily" I carried it well being 5'8", but I couldn't sit well with myself. I decided to ride it out, continue hydrating and working out and doing cardio. It never went away. I tried going to social media posts but I never found anything that worked. After all the blood work and testing, I found myself paying so many medical bills, I just decided to take it into my own hands and ride it out. This lasted from July right after my show, into January. Yeah, how the hell did I do it? I have no idea. I think it messed me up more mentally than anything-seeing myself in the mirror, overweight when I worked so hard to not be.
January I began prepping again and it was hard but I started coming back into form, but this illness slowly went away. Long story short, it happened AGAIN this year, same show. July and now even worse, no appetite but no weight loss, but weight gain. New elevated levels in blood work showing overtraining, strenuous workouts. I overworked myself and under recovered. Which I never stopped and thought about. A morning fasted cardio session 30-40 min, a weight lifting session of an hour to hour and a half, and a evening cardio session of 30-40 again. I did this every day, at usually waking up at 430, and sleeping at 1 am.
This is typical of any competitor. Although some place recovery at a higher importance, I have always been a hard worker that sometimes I forget about resting and relaxing.
Here I am 10 weeks post show, unable to eat more than one meal a day usually consisting of veggies and maybe bananas, sitting at an uncomfortable weight, swelling of my entire body, fevers sometimes coming and going and not able to lift weight like I love to do so much. Damn I looked good in July but at what cost?