My Experience with Fitness Competitions

Why I’ve decided to not compete in fitness competitions:

Hey guys, long time no post!

I’m not usually one to put my personal business out for everyone to read, but I feel like this is something I have to share.

I’ve recently competed in the bikini division of an NPC fitness competition. This was my third competition. I honestly decided not to compete after the second competition, but I had made friends with these great girls at my gym who talked me into one last competition before I go into an accelerated nurse practitioner program in the fall.

I knew before going into the competition prep that it’s not really healthy. I knew that I did not enjoy prepping for competitions. I knew that I did not need to lose weight or fat (I was at a healthy weight BMI for my height). However, I wanted to be there for my friends, and I figured one last competition wouldn’t hurt.

I did a 14 week prep, which, in retrospect, was way too much for me. I did not have that much to lose to begin with, and I lost a lot of weight really fast. I would classify myself as a bit of a perfectionist. I tend to take whatever I do to extremes. It is something I am working on changing.

I started off at about 122 pounds and quickly dropped down to about 116 in the matter of a few short weeks. Then, I was stuck at 116 for a few weeks, but suddenly my weight plummeted down to 110 rather quickly. I had not changed my diet or exercise so I was highly surprised by this sudden drop.

Toward the end of prep, I was pretty exhausted and run down. I had no energy to do much of anything besides workout and cook food. I also had a week where I was just so depleted and “depressed”. I was just sad. I could not cheer up for the life of me. Nothing was exciting or fun or interesting.

I was feeling this way towards the last 3 weeks of the prep, but I did not want to stop because I had already ordered my suit and bought new heels and the whole nine yards. Looking back, I probably should have just stopped prepping and focus more on the pressing health issues at hand, but I did not want to be a “quitter”.

What also made things even more difficult to back out of the competition was that a huge group of people from my gym were coming to watch the show and cheer us all on. I knew I would feel guilty or like a loser if I just quit with only three weeks left of the 14 week prep.

So, I pushed through and some how made it through the last 3 weeks. Competition day came, I did fairly well. I placed 4th in my division. When it was all over, I looked at my little plastic trophy and all I could think was “wow, this totally was not worth it at all”. All of the social events I gave up, all of the pain I pushed myself through, all of the dieting I did, all of the cardio and weight lifting and days of complete depletion — and all for what? Some recognition by random judges? All to say, “I did it!, I competed and placed!” . All to say I was able to push myself to my lowest weight yet? To be able to write on my instagram, “qualified npc bikini competitor!” ?

I understand that people love competing, and I am not knocking or belittling anyone who competes. It’s a great thing to have goals and to accomplish those goals.

However, for me, I found competing to be unfulfilling and disappointing.

And the darker side:

3 weeks post competition, and I am at my lowest weight ever. I am 106 pounds and the body fat machine at the gym won’t even register my percentage. It says “error”.

This is extremely unhealthy, especially for the female body. We need fat to function, reproduce, protect our organs, conserve body heat, and much more! I’ve cut back immensely on my workouts. I’ve upped my caloric intake, but I just continue to drop.

I have noticed some disordered tendencies in my eating too. Without meaning to, I pick diet foods. I still count what I eat and weigh and measure. I try a bit of some food, decide it’s not worth the calories, and throw it out. I am really struggling to just let myself go and eat whatever. It’s hard to get out of the “prep mentality”.

I am making huge strides to change my mentality, because at this point, it’s affecting my long-term health.

Low levels of body fat and hormone levels lead to osteoporosis later in life. I do not want to be hunched over and immobile later in life. I do not want to become permanently infertile. I want the option to be able to have children in the future. I do not want my long-term health to suffer for short-term bodily aesthetics.

So, I am working out less! I’m following an online program to cut back my workouts. I am slowly ratcheting down the length of my workouts.

I am allowing myself to indulge more.

I am probably going to start minnie maud protocols to restore my health.

I am making myself go out to eat at least twice per week to places I would have forbidden in the past.

I am challenging myself to eat “bad” foods.

I am filling my mind with positive and uplifting information.

I am reading my Bible and remembering that only God can judge me. It is a great reminder that we are more than our bodies, that our souls are what matter. Nourishing your soul can make all the difference.

Competing has really brought out a super perfectionist side of myself, a side of myself that I do not like. It is so unhealthy. I’ve never had such disordered thoughts before. All I can do is hold myself accountable to changing and setting a good example for everyone else thinking of competing or struggling with getting back to “normal” post competition.

There are so many bigger and better things I’d rather put my resources towards than worrying about what to eat or how my body looks. I have big goals in life that I plan on accomplishing, and I will not allow this small bump in the road to hold me back from my full potential.

Has anyone else experienced this? Please leave tips/advice/stories below!

God Bless!

Danielle