Back in December I committed to my first bodybuilding competition prep. I mentioned in previous blogs I never started out my fitness journey with this type of extreme goal, but my goals evolved over time. I have the type of personality where I am either 100 percent committed to a goal or I’m not, which is why I waited a considerable amount of time before deciding to pursue this. I’ve been pretty transparent with my journey mainly to show others what it truly takes to achieve a certain level of leanness.
I am pursing this goal for the challenge and mental growth associated with it. I am looking to improve my discipline and see a process through. As an athlete my desire for the end state is surpassing other things that would normally stall the progress of a typical fitness goal. My priorities have shifted and I focus on training and diet more than other things at the moment. Basically I have time to devote to my job, and my competition goal. Of course I continue to feed my spiritual side, but other than that, there isn’t time for much else at the moment, but I am ok with this.
Despite having to reprioritize my life, I do crave some balance. My friendships and connections are extremely important to me and I also still have a passion for traveling. I enjoy exploring and soaking up different atmospheres. I wasn’t initially sure about traveling for fun while on contest prep, but I have managed to do it twice already and absolutely enjoyed both experiences.
January I traveled to Los Angeles to attend the #blogher health conference with a friend and this past weekend I spent a couple days in New Orleans with another dear friend. The key to both trips was preplanning and arriving prepared. Those two things made it easy to stay on track with my diet and while I was in California I was able to work out at a local gym because many places allow you to purchase guest passes. You should try it sometime while on vacation! For my New Orleans trip I restructured my normal training splits and managed to be able to take the weekend off, which worked out well. I share this part with you because I want to explain things are completely doable.
Diet and training aside, traveling while on prep opened my eyes to some new insights. I guess I never realized how much vacations or just being out of town centered on eating out and drinking alcohol. I’m not saying these things are horrible. I mean let’s be real about this. Food is good and eating at amazing restaurants while enjoying a good drink at a bar is all part of a vacation experience. With all of this said, I used these trips as an excuse to shift my focus on other things for a change because I’m extremely passionate about my current goals.
I realized I don’t have to drink alcohol to have a good time. I sat at a bar in New Orleans with one of my good friends sipping on sparkling water, but laughed and was thankful to catch up with such a good friend. I love live music too and New Orleans is the perfect place for entertainment. I honestly felt fine soaking up good music and good company. The conversations we had were amazing. I enjoyed walking around downtown LA because the weather was amazing and it really beat being in rainy Louisiana for a few days. Not waking up with a hangover is also a plus. The last time I was in New Orleans years ago I didn’t remember much, but this time my eyes were open to so much history and the people watching was amazing! I made it a point to have more meaningful conversations with complete strangers both trips and it was a lot of fun! You’d be surprised how talking to complete strangers can add value to your day. I used to be a complete introvert, but I’m learning to get out of my shell more.
I walked by many restaurants, bars and even a few bakeries (I have a sweet tooth by the way). Instead of focusing on what I “couldn’t” have, I enjoyed the amazing smells and felt happy that I am in my current physical state to pursue a sport I have developed an incredible passion for. Maybe it has something to do with me being extremely overweight and out of shape at one point in my life, but regardless I am in love with my current goal.
The best part of traveling while on contest prep is I still got to spend quality time with good friends who are supportive of my goals. It has been important to me to not isolate myself during this journey of mine. There’s no reason to at the moment. This lifestyle of mine can really be taken anywhere and it truly is the best feeling to know I stayed true to my goals despite being away from home.
Yes traveling while on contest prep takes a little extra effort, but I enjoyed navigating accordingly and essentially living the best of both worlds. I didn’t feel I was missing out on anything because I still had a wonderful time away for many reasons and I will return to both places at some point when I’m not on contest prep. Basically the food will be there next time. It’s really that simple!
What I see over and over again talking to people with fitness related goals is we all tend to over think things. It’s not that complicated. You really just have to figure out what your true desire is. It’s absolutely ok to take a pause and go on a trip with the mentality that you just want to enjoy yourself. I have done that many times with the understanding my progress will stall a bit, but I never had true timelines for any of the things I wanted in the past. This time my goals are a little different and I don’t want to be in prep for any longer than I have to so I’m all in with a different mental focus. I only have myself to blame if I don’t follow my plan and I remind myself of this daily. You just have to understand fitness results happen with consistency over time. Always be willing to accept the outcomes of the choices you make.
Once you embrace a completely different lifestyle you will be amazed how different goals will continue to drive you. I am fully committed at this point. After nearly two months of work I have no desire to undo any progress. I have also realized I don’t have to hide and never go out while on a contest prep. As long as you have people in your life who support you and want to see you succeed it will not be awkward to say no to food or drinks at the table … trust me on this one!
I’m definitely ready to keep pushing. I still feel great and I sit here writing this with a huge smile on my face thinking about the wonderful times I had on my last two trips. Both trips were worthwhile for different reasons and I’m glad I didn’t allow a contest prep to keep me from traveling.