After the Off Season: 5 Tips for Success
The other day I met with my coach to discuss the plan for the next few weeks. My off season is officially over! After my last competition in November 2013 the plan for “off season” was to put on more muscle in preparation for 2014 competition season. Now, its time to see what I did all winter and start shredding! I am not going to get into the specifics of what I ate and how I trained but I wanted to share a few re-realizations I’ve had in this journey.
The image to the right compares my starting point from last year to this year. It wasn’t until I placed these images side by side that I could truly see my progress. I knew I had added muscle but when I look in the mirror, I often see Nikki from July 2013. I am excited to begin stripping away the excess body fat in the coming weeks. I will be competing in a few local shows in August as I prep to make a debut in a national level competition later this year.
Whether you are trying to burn fat or add muscle mass I feel the following 5 tips (in no particular order) are just as important as your diet and exercise.
- Take Pictures
- Mirrors and scales can trick you! When you take and compare photos it is easier to really see your progress. The scale cannot tell you how much of your body weight is fat (even if your scale has a body fat calculator, the electric versions are not always accurate). Also, because we see ourselves everyday, the mirror often is a liar! Additionally, constantly weighing yourself can create an unhealthy obsession. So many variables affect our body composition and cause fluctuations throughout the day. I suggest taking selfies weekly, biweekly or even monthly and save them. You may like what you see, you might not; it doesn’t matter. Periodically compare the photos side by side and assess your progress. In addition to photos, it is also helpful to track your measurements like chest/bust, waist, hip, arm and thigh.
- Take Notes
- Similar to taking photos, it is important to track your workouts and food choices depending on your goal. Using an app or good old fashioned pen and paper will help you visualize progress in another way. Tracking how much you lift in a particular exercise will help you realize how much stronger your are getting. If you are in the process of bulking or growing you need to eat to support that. Apps like myfitnesspal will help you keep track of everything you eat and display a chart outlining your macro nutrient percentages. I am all about goal setting and in my opinion these first two tips are essential to successfully reaching your fitness goals.
- Enjoy the Journey
- Have fun! Celebrate your victories and trust the process! Your journey is just that, YOUR journey; don’t compare your progress to someone else’s. This is not a competition… even if you are preparing for a competition. Focus on a becoming a better, healthier you!
- Be Positive
- Negativity doesn’t help anyone! No one likes to hear incessant complaining… they say misery loves company… well, good luck trying to find that company with a bad attitude lol I recently re-posted a quote that’s appropriate here: “When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” (Eckhart Tolle). #keepitcuteorputitonmute
- Don’t Quit
- Don’t give up!! You can achieve anything you put your mind to. Quitting will not get you to your goal(s) any sooner so don’t do it. Failing or not reaching your goals is not a good reason to give up; use those situations as lessons. “In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time.” (Anthony J. D’Angelo) OK, so you “failed”, you are now one step closer to figuring out what DOES work. Keep going. You got this!
I hope this has been helpful! I’ll be checking in and posting more progress and event information as I get closer to competition. If you have any fitness related questions, do not hesitate to reach out. Also, visit my eShop if interested in purchasing training and/or meal plans. 🙂 I’m also working on some t-shirts… look out for that in the near future!