This past weekend I competed in my first figure contest at the Hercules Competition in NYCâ?¦ and won first place in figure novice!
I was excited and happy to be competing, which is interesting considering Iâ??m actually kind of shy and donâ??t really like being in the spotlight. I think my confidence came from the fact that I did everything I could possible do as far as training and dieting (which means following all of Stuâ??s contest prep instructions to a T), and the fact that (at 36 years old) this is the best shape Iâ??ve ever been in. This entire contest prep has been an educational, sometimes stressful, always challenging, and surprisingly insightful journey for me. Here are just some thoughts about my contest prep and background.
Iâ??m Cat (girlfriend of The Mighty Stu). My interest in weight training began about 2.5 years ago when I met Stu. Before that I was doing mostly cardio. Actually, Iâ??ve only been regularly going to the gym for about the last four years; once I hit my 30â??s and my metabolism slowed down. Never in a million years did I ever think Iâ??d have the guts to get on stage in a bikini & heels and compete in a figure competition.
I didnâ??t really think about entering a figure contest until I started seeing the weekly progress made by 2 of Stuâ??s clients this past spring. I saw their weekly pictures and the changes Stu made to their diets, and then the improvements the following week. This inspired me to see what I could do, especially since one of his clientâ??s was a figure competitor. I also realized that with Stuâ??s knowledge about training and nutrition I could get into the best shape of my life. I also wanted to see if I was mentally tough enough to handle a contest prep. Lastly, I broke my arm snowboarding a year and a half ago, and was determined to get the strength back in my arm; training for a contest would force me to get to the gym consistently.
So, contest prep started in March of 2011, I had 15 weeks until the Hercules. Stu created a workout and diet plan for me. At first, getting into a routine was a little difficult. Iâ??m a last minute person and I like variety. Sticking to a routine took some getting used to, but I adapted, I had to... My diet highlights included my after work out pop tart, my Metabolic Drive protein bars, and my cottage cheese with banana protein powder (yummy!). Surprisingly, there was a decent amount of variety in my diet. A number of times throughout the contest prep I seemed to have hit a plateau, then I would freak out, Stu would calm me down and adjust the plan. I have to admit, the first 9 weeks werenâ??t so bad, I think I handled those first 2 months pretty well (not sure if my family would totally agree with that though). It was the last 5 or 6 weeks of training that this contest prep seemed to become LIFE CONSUMING. There were many days I was in the gym for a total of 3 hours a day. I felt like the only thing I did when I went home was prepare dinner and meals for the following day or go food shopping. Those last few weeks were HARD. Everything else in my life took a back seat to training and eating; my family, my friends, my dogs, everyday life itself. Iâ??m still trying to figure out if I could have managed my time better during those weeks. I also had more freak outs than usual during that time, sorry Stu!
In the end, all the hard work paid off and Iâ??m proud of my accomplishment. More accurately, mine and Stuâ??s accomplishment. Stu has always said that bodybuilding is a team sport, now that Iâ??m on the other side of a contest prep, I get it. Stu was instrumental to my success at the show, heâ??s my coach, trainer, and boyfriend and I couldnâ??t have done this without him. My sister was also at the show (I got her the trainer pass) and she was completely responsible for my hair, makeup, accessories, and tan touch ups. She clamed me down at least twice the day of the show. I really couldn't have done this or made it thru the day without Stu & Araceli! In closing, my contest is now over and Iâ??m enjoying a few days of eating and off from the gym! However, I do find myself missing the routine of writing everything down and I'm overwhelemed by choices of what food to eat... I find myself going back to my "diet" food!