Finding Post Show Balance

Courtney Plaisted


     Four weeks ago I competed in my first bodybuilding show.  I’d heard the stories from those who have competed in the past, and I knew that post-show was one of the hardest parts of the process.  After four weeks of mental and physical struggle, I can officially confirm that these stories were true.


     Post-show is a constant battle between “treat yourself,” and “get your shit together.”  Finding balance between the two is where you will ultimately find success.  However, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds.


     There are a few factors that contribute to this mental and physical battle.  First, of course, is the battle with food.  You’ve restricted yourself for multiple weeks of prep, and can’t wait to indulge in all of the foods you’ve missed out on.  If you’re like me, about halfway through prep you started a mental list of foods that you couldn’t wait to enjoy after the show.  The second battle comes every time you look in the mirror.  You’re softer and fluffier than you’ve been for weeks, and all of your clothes are just a little too snug for your liking.  The final battle is found in the gym.  You spent tons of extra hours in the gym during prep, but now that you’re in a continuous pattern of overeating, you’re still spending tons of extra hours in the gym trying to “work it off.”


     Finding balance is not easy, and I still have tons of progress to make to completely get there, but here are some reminders that I’ve found make the process a little easier:


1. Remember, you’re not alone

This is one of the most common struggles faced by competitors.  Even if someone isn’t willing to admit that they can’t stop overeating ice cream, pizza, and burgers for weeks post-show, understand that it happens to the best of us.


2. Put another date on the calendar

Give yourself something to work toward.  Whether it be a photo shoot, vacation, or another event, give yourself a reason to get back into your routine and treat your body right.


3. Keep crushing it in the gym

Granted, after continuously over-indulging, your body is probably going to feel like shit, and you’re going to get down on yourself.  But don’t let it effect your workouts.  Skipping the gym will only make you feel worse in the long run.  Remember how good working out makes you feel; use exercise to help reignite that motivation.


4. Stay positive and remember why you train in the first place

It’s not too late to make a change.  No matter how far off the deep end you’ve let yourself go, start again today.  Revert back to the original plan you set for yourself before the show. Whether it be reverse dieting or just getting back to your healthy habits, get started and stick with the plan.  Why did you enjoy training before the competition?  Find this “why” and let it motivate you.


     Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or considering competing in the future, it’s important to recognize that finding balance post-show is not a simple task.  However, no matter how uncomfortable it is in the moment, balance will come over time.  Hopefully these reminders will assist you in finding post-show balance, or inform you of what to expect if you plan on competing in the future.


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