So if you haven't heard the news by now, I am pregnant with my first child. My husband and I are blessed with this miracle as I have been told since I was about 11 that I would never be able to birth children due to the extensive damage and Infertility damage I caused with my bulimia nervosa.
When I first found out the news, believe me I was in shock, I still am to an extent. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that in 6 short months I will be a Mom. As exciting as it seems, here is the fact. I am terrified of becoming a mother. I am terrified of knowing my life has to change. From everything, I have known and loved to do now has a change of priorities.
For 8 years now I have been a competitive Bodybuilder. I have trained intensely, I have changed my diet and supplementation, I have financially drained myself to compete and mature on the competition ladder and now everything that I have worked for is halted for a moment. The thing that is most scary to me is knowing that my body is changing. Knowing that I have to put on weight, knowing that my boobs (that amount to about nothing) are now tripling the size, that my abs are becoming soft as I am creating life and my body is changing into something that is hard for me to accept.
Some individuals who read this article will call me selfish and ungrateful for the complaining and worrying I am doing for my physique, however as an individual who struggles with body dysmorphia, it is in fact very hard for me to accept the changes coming my way, but I am taking it day by day.
After discussion with my doctor, coach and husband. I am still training as intensely as I can without causing detriment to the baby. I am following my diet as closely as possible and I am beginning to baby myself a bit in giving myself some time to relax and embrace being pregnant. As time goes on I know I will have to take it easier and understand that gaining weight is in fact part of growing a human.
I have been up numerous nights thinking about how my life is going to change, terrified I will be a shit mother and terrified that I will never be able to bounce back to the life I have known on stage and in the fitness world. I have realized though that all life changes are scary. What is life without risk? Without Change? Without getting out of the comfort zone? It is a challenge, a blessing and a setback all at once. I am blessed to grow this wonderful human and show and teach them all the world has to offer. All in time I will overcome my fears and insecurities of being a mother. I know that as time goes on and it gets closer to meeting my new human that my ideologies and mindset will change and I know that I will get even more excited to grow my family.
For me, I correlate pregnancy like an offseason/bulking season. You can eat more food, train harder, limit your cardio and put on weight. I will take this pregnancy and treat it like a controlled off season. Working out hard, eating right and ensuring that I do everything to keep my muscles and baby growing. Once June comes around, I cannot wait to prove to the world how even as a mom, you can bounce back from a baby, step on stage and become an IFBB pro.
How has life been for me currently? Let's see, watching your stomach grow slowly into a hard lump that starts to slowly protrude out of your stomach is terrifying. Legging are my wardrobe of choice (but let's be real, they always have been) , my appetite has definitely increased, but the cravings have been kept to mostly fruits and salads, not to say that I havent had some chicken nuggets once or twice. Currently I am up about 5lbs at just under 18 weeks. My weight now just hovering around 168-170lbs. Which for me use to be my offseason weight. So not stressing too much about the weight yet. I am loving naps right now, the immense tiredness is unreal. By 2pm I am completely exhausted and literally have to take a power nap in order to function the rest of the day.
Currently I am training about 5x a week (about 45min sessons) and cardio almost daily, my calories have been hovering around 1400 daily right now.
Current Bench: 225lb Current Squat: 315lb Current Dead: 225lb
In comparison pre pregnancy I was training 7 days a week (about 75-90min sessions), taking a rest day about every 12-14 days, cardio about 4 days a week, with about 2000cals daily.
Pre Preg Bench: 315lb Pre Preg Dead: 405lb Pre Preg Squat: 455lb
Lots of changes and lots of goals to look forward to moving forward, I just get to share my journey with my new family as I get back on the road to pro once this new miracle happens to our family.
**NOTE: Please remember this blog is based on my personal experiences and opinions, all individuals may or may not experience of feel the same way about this. **
As I have made mention before and many individuals understand that the shredded physique of an onstage competitor is almost physically impossible to maintain all year long, (however there are those few genetic freaks that are capable). It not only wreaks havoc on the overall health of the body but can cause issues with the metabolism, hormone imbalance and a slew of other health hazards without allowing the body to heal from a contest depletion state.
So I often get asked "What is it like to go from stage lean, to a softer physique?" Honestly it's a mix of pure hell mentally and a feeling of relief and relaxation. Let me explain...
Dieting for 20-30 weeks (Yes, my coach diets me a little bit longer than a standard prep) into a single digit bodyfat percentage and slowly reversing back into a healthy weight and fat range is complete mental fuckery. It messes with your head and the thought of getting additional fat added back onto the body you have worked so hard to deplete is exhausting. Each year I always think it will be easier to adjust to an offseason and each year I find myself more critical of myself compared to the following year.
The fact is though, that's why this sport of bodybuilding is so challenging, because you have to add fat and water weight back onto your body frame to improve for the next season. You have to allow your body to heal and recover from the extensive damage that it has gone through during prep and without recovery and trying to hold onto the consistency of remaining lean can cause detrimental affects (as previously mentioned above).
So the truth is - for me personally, as well as many of my close friends who compete, the first few weeks post show are the worst. You constantly are checking the mirror to desperately hold onto the last few reminisce of the shredded abs that enveloped your stomach for the last few months. You try to excessively do cardio to retrieve back what you lost and the feeling of your clothes getting tighter on the body causes unhealthy obsessions with the scale and dieting. Sometimes I hide behind baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants to hide my weight gain. It's a rough transition and some competitors will do one show and the post show mental health will be the end of the competing days.
As I mention in almost all my blogs, competing is a choice, it is a privilege that not all of us can do. It is NOT a sacrifice, it is an overly expensive hobby that many of you who are reading this (including myself) find a sense of purpose with. It is a sport that test your mental strengths just as much as physical and at the end of the day we spend thousands of dollars to step on stage and pay for the opinion of an individual who tells us we are not good enough. Think about it, I know it's a tough truth to read. It's not a positive thing, nor a negative thing. It simply is a fact of the sport.
So once off-season weight is on and the additional fat is put back on there are many positives to being in off-season. For one, the diet is much more relaxed. Now I am not saying I can eat whatever the hell I want day in and day out. Most competitors like myself, work with a coach both on and off-season to utilize the additional weight and fat gain for overall improvements in the physique.
Off-Season Positives : - Your strength significantly increases - Your mood is 1000% more stabilized - You have much more control over time management - You feel a sense of balance in your life - Saving some additional money
Off-Season Negatives : - Gaining weight (fat and water) - Tighter Clothes - Feelings of "Lack of Purpose (aka regimen/routine towards a goal) - Post- Show Depression (aka Post Show Blues)
The worst thing that personally I deal with during my off-season is when people are stunned to see that I am not stage lean. Some of the things that have been said to me over the years (through my years of competing during my offseason):
- "How did you get fat so fast"? - "Are you sick"? - "Are you pregnant"? - "I thought you competed"? - "Do you not bodybuild anymore"? - " Why did you diet so hard, if you were just gonna put the weight back on"? - "Are your pictures photo shopped, I thought you were lean and muscular"
More so than not, females get this more due to women having a higher estrogen level and genetically carry more fat compared to males. I have developed thick skin in the public eye when it comes to comments. I typically don't let anything overwhelm me until I get home, then I typically tell Kyle (spouse) who then tells Bill (coach) and then they both work their magic to make me semi levelheaded again.
Now I do have to make a note that the comments above have been over the years of competing. My first ever show I did the infamous binge on everything for about 6 days straight after dieting. I put on about 30lbs in those 6 days and it was the absolute worst feeling ever. However after working with a proper coach and having the ability and privilege to compete year after year my off-season is much more under control but it is still a struggle putting on those first few pounds post show.
<<< My First Off Season Post Show @ 200lbs <<< Stage Weight 145lbs
My Third Offseason Pre Show @ 187 lbs > Stage Weight @137lbs >>>>
My Seventh Season stage weight @ 120lbs >>>>> Offseason @150lbs >>>
As you can see from a few of my past years of competing it takes time for your body to adapt into a controlled offseason. Be patient and know that each year your body will change and adapt a little differently towards your goals.