Are you in a building phase?
Feeling really fluffy? Losing some of your muscle definition? Are your abs a distant memory?
Maybe you’re even sporting a “muffin top” on the rare occasion that you actually wear jeans instead of leggings? Tossing your clothes across the room and throwing a temper tantrum is the norm? (Ok maybe that’s just me lol).
Welcome to the club. Think you’re the only one? You’re not.
I wanted to write a really honest post about how it truly feels to go through a building phase. Since I did one for 16 months- you read that correctly- SIXTEEN – I thought I would share my experience, my body image struggles and insecurities and my thought process and mindset that got me through it.
Was it a struggle at times? 1000000% it was. But in the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, “You have to go whole heartedly into anything…in order to achieve anything worth having”.
You cannot expect to stay ripped up lean AND build muscle at the same time.
Since I started competing in 2011, I have done a few building phases, but never before did I commit to an extended period of time to grow – nothing that yielded results that I was totally happy with and were measurable anyway. In my early years as a competitor, before I knew better, as soon as I hit that moment when I was uncomfortable in my clothes, I felt anxious and wanted to get lean again so I immediately started dieting. Obviously not a good plan…I never looked much different honestly – the building periods were too short.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to spend 16 months in a build like I did – or maybe you do – if depends on how much muscle you want to build. I wanted to build a lot. Either way, it’s your choice and that’s fine – BUT, don’t short change yourself just because you feel a little self conscious and you’re gaining some weight. Trust me, when you lean back down and see that you pretty much weight the same and look the same, you will regret not spending more time growing.
I will not ever deny that watching the changes in your body (gaining weight) is just tough sometimes – male or female, it is tough. I don’t care who you are, at times, the extra weight and change in your body (especially if you’re coming out of a show where you were really lean) is difficult to watch and accept- it can be depressing. There were countless nights when I went to dinner with friends and half of my closet ended up being thrown across the room, I’ve had multiple fits in dressing rooms and maybe even shed a few tears. You may feel fat (even though you’re not if you’re building correctly), unattractive, too big to get dressed up and way too squishy for a bikini on vacation. Some days I love the extra booty and the way it looked and other days I deleted every picture of myself and scolded my friends for taking photos of me with a “bad angle” LOL.
It’s upsetting at times…IF that is all you’re focused on – soooo, redirect your thoughts and change your mindset.
Here’s how I coped and got through those days when I just felt yucky: I focused on the amazing process that my body was going through…I was building something! I thought about the strength that I was gaining, and the empowerment that came along with it – it is such a proud feeling for me. I focused on how confident I looked and feel when could lift more weight than the guy next to me at the gym (very, very happy lol), I remember how it feels when someone watches me lift and then applauds my strength, and when I can bring all 20 bags of my groceries in the house, on one arm, in one trip :)
But mostly, I focused on my end goal and what the result would be. While that sometimes took daily reminders, I never lost faith in my coach, Erik, and his plan for me – and I knew that I was building the right way, for the right amount of time for my body and my goals, and THAT gave me the motivation to hang in there as long as I needed to.
Remember, if you want to achieve what most people don’t, you have to do what most people won’t.
Tomorrow, I’ll post some of my fluffy, fluffier, fluffiest pics at different stages throughout my build for anyone that’s interested so you can see what that looked like :)