Competing in a bodybuilding show is grueling journey of discipline and self-sacrifice. Your mind and body are tested for endless weeks to achieve a look for one day.
You have accomplished something that most human beings would never dream of achieving. So why are you feeling so miserable?
In the days following a bodybuilding, fitness or figure competition it’s not uncommon to ride a rollercoaster of emotions. One moment you feel on top of the world and the next you feel deflated and down on yourself. Why are you feeling so miserable? One moment you’re happy as can be and the next you want to bite someone’s head off for making too much noise when they chew. One moment you look in the mirror and feel positive about what you see then later the same day you see something different and your mood immediately shifts.
It’s difficult enough to deal with emotional responses to the physical and hormonal shifts the body goes through as it transitions from a pre to a post-contest diet however, there are a few other non-hormonal components which may also contribute to the post-contest blues.
After spending months utilizing vast amounts of mental and physical energy in preparing for the big show, you may feel like you don’t know what to do with yourself once that show has come and gone.
You may feel “fat” as you watch your body slowly (or not so slowly) move from shredded to softer can be hard to come to terms with.
You may be feeling let down. You most likely had high hopes for your contest and you probably had a clear vision of how you wanted to appear onstage and where you wanted to finish. In the end, if things didn’t go exactly as you dreamed they would, this might be a little hard to deal with.
You may be feeling a bit impatient because as a dedicated competitor you are more than ready to take the lessons learned, get out there again and prove yourself. If you’re itching to compete once more and it’s going to be a while before the next show rolls around, you might feel a little bummed out.
You may be feeling crazy! Some turn into unstoppable eating machines or some spend lengthy sessions on the computer comparing our contest pictures to other competitor’s pictures. It can be a downer when you really look at yourself with cold hard eyes and realize that you may have gone slightly nuts in your post-contest days.
So… what should you do?.
It’s critical to watch your processed sugar intake. Taking in a lot of simple sugar can also cause mood swings and severe unhappiness. You may find it very difficult to return to more disciplined eating once you’ve finished your pre-contest diet, but this may actually help you feel better faster.
Try not to obsess. Yes, there are other things in life besides competing, training, dieting, looking in the mirror, etc. Enjoy spending time with your friends and family. You don’t have to fixate on your body 24/7 to be a successful competitor.
Always remember where you came from. For bodybuilders in particular, the drive to do better is always pushing us. It’s all too easy to be harsh and critical on our bodies in an industry where our bodies are critiqued so harshly. Of course you need to be critical to be able to make improvements, but it’s always important to take a step back and remember where you started.