"It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." Edmund Hillary
As I write this it has been 16 weeks of "climbing". It's been a long stretch. An amazing journey on all accounts. It was definitely my metaphorical version of climbing a mountain and it was such a time of growth for me both personally and professionally. I learned things about myself, others and life that I never imagined would be a part of this journey.
For me, given my history, planning a successful post-competition strategy is not only key, but critical for both my physical and mental health. So if you think of it in terms of you're not going to climb the mountain, slowly, methodically, thoughtfully, one step at a time and then just jump off from the top when you get there. No, you're going to want to be as thoughtful and prepared as when you started out your climb from bottom to top. You're going to rappel off that mountain or cliff using a well-thought out approach...thinking through the details and planning each step of the way to insure that you safely reach your "landing" destination.
I'm not a binger. Never have been. I don't so much struggle with the issue of wanting to go crazy with crappy food post-contest. And while I'm definitely in a state of overtraining right now, I don't desire to take a week or two or longer off from the gym. That said, my body needs and deserves a rest. So, figuring out what that looks like to give my head and my body the two different things they need and desire is going to be a tricky little balancing act. But necessary, for sure. I've already begun to carefully plan and strategize for my post competition period. A few things that are critical to me include:
Having fun stuff on my agenda to look forward to. It's been a long stretch of being supremely devoted and dedicated to my contest prep and I am sooooo ready to have some fun. Not to be read: eat and drink myself silly. But to be able to go out and relax and enjoy being social again is a very big and healthy part of my post-contest plan.
Planning my "rappelling" strategy carefully so that I can get back to a healthy place physically and mentally is also really important. Basically, I will reverse the process on my contest prep plan in both training and nutrition. Everything will be backed out slowly to achieve my most desirable maintenance stage. Sounds like a lot of details probably but for me to be healthy and not stay in crazy contest "I must stay lean" mode, I have to have a solid plan. And on the flip side, I could let it go to hell in a handbasket, but I've never really been that type. My biggest concern at this point is being able to put on a little weight and get to a good maintenance stage without feeling "fat" due to body dysmorphia. Yep, it's something I struggle with and have for my entire adult life. Hence...the need for strategies.
After 17 weeks of putting one foot in front of the other to successfully summit the mountain and reach my goal, it seems like it would be a really silly idea to simply jump off the ledge and hope for a smooth landing. So I think I'll rappel my way back down to "base camp" so that when I'm ready to start the haul back up the mountain I'm in perfect position to have another successful climb.