One of the awesome benefits to this process has been meeting so many new and great people. As I’ve gotten closer to the date of the competition 2 things have happened. 1) my workouts have gotten more frequent (therefore I’m in the gym more) and 2) I look a little crazy intense and obviously have a lot of muscle going for me. So I think those 2 things have contributed to people coming and talking to me more. A lot of the time it is trainers… which is awesome because they will frequently give me little tips or give their take of nutrition and exercise, but other times it’s just other people working out. Yesterday I chatted on and off for about 30 minutes with a man named Adam who is an actor and had a great build without trying to show off. It was refreshing. He was keeping the movements slow and deliberate and wasn’t grunting or making a big deal of things. After a couple minutes he came over and told me I was inspiring, which always makes me feel great, because that’s basically the point of this blog. We talked about lifestyle choices and making sacrifices, but a big topic was that what I look like right now, and what other people in shows or in magazines looks like on those days is not reality.
So I want to make this very clear. My body fat is TOO LOW to be healthy. This is ok to have happen for a short period of time, but can cause hormone imbalances, metabolic problems and, here’s the kicker, problems with reproductive activities and possible infertility (which is reversible when you gain weight back). Obviously this isn’t the picture of “health”. People on magazine covers and in fitness competitions are at one of the unhealthiest points they will ever be at in their lives. The list of unhealthy things going on is extensive, but here are some that stick out in my head:
- Body fat percentage is too low leading to hormonal and metabolic issues
- Fruit and even many vegetables have been cut from the diet in order to cut carbs and these provide necessary nutrients
- Healthy fats have likely been reduced very low which are needed for healthy brain function and digestion
- Salt has been manipulated to shed water weight which as I’ve discussed before can cause a host of problems including muscle spasms
- Water has been limited for 1 – 2 days dehydrating the body which we all know is terrible for EVERYTHING in your body as every function requires water.
- Possible use of diuretics, further dehydrating the body
- Possible “junk loading” where bodybuilders will eat bad foods like French fries and chocolate to pump their muscles up before the show (without drinking water so they won’t bloat)
- Increase protein intake without the buffering effects of fats that can cause the body to become acidic. An acidic body is a breeding ground for bacteria and cancers. Not good!
Then after they have done this they relax their diet, sometimes too much and gain weight and water back into the system. It takes about 2 days for them to go from looking shredded to looking “normal” or even bloated. Definitely not what you saw up on stage. Yet this is what people are looking at in magazines. This is the inspiration for a fit and healthy lifestyle, these people who know what real health is and ignore it temporarily to achieve the “look” of health while simultaneously being very unhealthy! It makes no sense!
And here I am perpetuating it, so that is what this post is about. I want you all to know that while the way I look right now is awesome, I feel like crap, my hormones are all out of whack, I’m probably suffering from adrenal fatigue, I am supper mercurial (moods switch on a dime – sorry Andre, I know I’ve been hard to handle!) and my workouts and meals are no longer things I look forward to. I am looking forward to rocking it up on stage and hopefully doing well, but I’m also looking forward to going back to eating and working out for real, honest to goodness, health instead of to LOOK good.
So do yourselves a favour and realize that even these “fit” people in magazines are doctored and are not looking that way 90% of the time. So when you look at yourself in the mirror, they are not the comparison ok?!
I will also (if I am feeling brave) post some pictures of myself 2 days and 1 week after the competition to give you an idea of what happens when you limit yourself so much and then retain water like crazy. Sorry in advance if I get too embarrassed to actually post those. But that is the plan.
To your good health and me getting back to real healthy living!