This moment on stage is exactly as I remember it from four years ago. I smile, blinded by the theatre lights, into the faceless crowd. There’s an omnipresence to the announcers voice. I stand tall and poised as she reveals the final results. “…Seven. Four….” That’s all I need to hear. I am competitor number 726. Happiness floods my body. I’ve won!
I first competed in November 2008. After six months of training, I entered and won the IDFA Novice Figure category. With just one show and one win under my belt, I was hooked. I knew I’d be back. I just didn’t know it would be four years, one daughter and a new career later!
With my pregnancy came 40 excess pounds and separated abdominal muscles. It took two years of training to “get my body back” post-baby.
On January 1, 2012 I cemented my intentions into a goal, which I shared with only two people.
I will attain my IDFA Figure Pro Card on November 3, 2012.
Preparing for this show was a completely different experience than last. I no longer had my winning trainer. His east-end gym was now defunct. My competition coach/nutritionist relocated from Toronto, Canada to Sydney, Australia. She was no longer a 10-minute drive or convenient phone call away. My senior level marketing salary (and the discretionary income that came with it) was no longer. Oh, and I had a second full-time job as a mom!
In order to achieve my goal, I would need to adapt to the changes. I soon realized that my losses were out-numbered by my gains. I lost one trainer and gained an amazing team of trainers at Think Fitness Studios. I became more self-reliant researching and learning for myself rather than relying on the direction of others. I negotiated and economized on everything from training to tanning. But the most significant change by far, was adapting to a new very demanding schedule.
During those final three months of show prep, I juggled three full-time jobs: client relations manager, mom and athlete. I worked around the clock to stay on top of my day job, care for my daughter and dedicate myself to my goal. I made sacrifices to make it happen. I reluctantly became a morning person waking at 5:45 for cardio workouts. I ate salad instead of cake at my daughter’s third birthday party. I declined numerous social engagements alienating friends even more than motherhood already had. I traded cozy nights on the couch with hubby for yet, more training. By the final four weeks, my typical day looked like this:
5:45AM – wake-up, pack meals, take supplements
7:00AM – 45 minute cardio sesson
8:00AM – shower, eat meal # 1
8:30AM – 3:00PM – work, eat meals # 2-4, take supplements
3:00 PM – 60 minute weight training session
4:00PM – commute home while eating meal #5
5:00PM – pick up daughter from caregiver
5:30PM – prepare daughter’s dinner and meal #6
7:30PM – help ready daughter for bed
7:45PM – eat meal #6, prepare daughter’s lunch and clothes for the next day
8:00PM – posing practice at home or workout at community centre
9:30PM – grocery shop and cook meals for the next day, take supplements, take progress photos to email to coach, eat optional meal #7
11:00PM – bed
In the final week of preparation, I maintained this schedule while consuming less than 1000 calories/day and often no carbs or fats (not a sustainable diet but one necessary to peak on stage).
Looking back, I couldn’t tell you how I did it. I just did. I think motherhood was great preparation in that way. As parents, we commit to our children and we often just do what we have to do. In fact, I saw many parallels with parenthood during this process. I do know that the support I received was imperative. My husband helped with everything from morning drop-offs to late-night grocery runs and cooking. My sister drove me to Orangeville for weekend fittings. I even had a colleague routinely pick me up in the mornings to get me to 7AM class! If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a family to raise a champ!
What started as a selfish, individual pursuit soon became something much grander. I opened up and shared my journey with colleagues and clients and was overwhelmed by the support I received. Throughout the weekend of the competition, my inbox and Facebook page were flooded with well wishes and congratulatory messages. The common message was one of inspiration – wow!
I really enjoyed having something that was all my own. I liked that selfish time to myself in the gym and encourage all moms to find their “me activity”. But at the same time, I am absolutely thrilled to have inspired so many people with my pursuit, especially women and moms. The most important takeaway I wish to share is that motherhood can be your motivation rather than an excuse. As I raise my daughter, I will have shown her in actions, not just words, that she can achieve anything she wants with hard work, dedication and the right support.
So what’s next? I look forward to returning to normalcy – variety in my meals, rest for my body, downtime in my days and showering my family with affection. We’ll enjoy some much-needed time together before I start training for my 2013 Pro debut!