Competing is a huge aspect in the fitness world and most athletes share their journey over social sites so as to include people in their everyday life. I have never done a competition personally, but I have friends who have and I am always in awe of the process they go through. The different stages, the diet, the multiple coaches they need and especially the week leading up to the competition are all huge aspects in the journey. And who better to walk you through a little bit of background on competing, but someone who has done multiple shows themselves. My best friend Brittany has done 5 competitions and I got to go see her at one of her shows recently. She was gracious enough to let me interview her and pick her brain a bit about the whole process and what she got from it all.
Q: What made you decide to start competing?
A: I have always been a very competitive, goal-oriented person. I ran track and cross-country for ten years and gave that up after completing my freshman track season at University of South Carolina due to various persistent injuries. I wanted to stay in shape and began going to the gym frequently. I was pretty burnt out of cardio and so discovered my love for lifting. Being a distance runner, I have never had much muscle and I loved pushing myself in a new way and seeing my body change. After a few months of learning and training seriously, I knew that my goal was to eventually compete.
Q: How many competitions have you done?
A: I have done 5 competitions in the last 18 months. The last show I did was by far was the best package I have brought to the stage. However, I feel I have learned so much from each show I’ve done. Competing teaches you so much about your body and mind, it is a challenge, but very rewarding in the end.
Q: Do you notice a change in motivation throughout your prep?
A: I am lucky that motivation has never been much of a struggle for me. Most of the adversity I have faced has been physical. Prep does get harder towards the end as carb levels are low and your energy drops; however, I find that I am extremely motivated toward the end of a prep regardless because of the results I am seeing and the excitement of show day approaching! On days that I do lack motivation I remind myself that success is a result of discipline, and the absence of motivation is not an excuse to cheat on my training or diet.
Q: What is one of the hardest parts of prep for you?
A: One of the hardest parts of prep for me personally is leaning out. My abs are always the last thing to come in and I consistently struggle with water retention. When I initially decided I wanted to compete I bulked up a lot. I put on a lot of muscle, but also a lot of fat. I started my first prep at 5’2, 150 lbs, so it took me a long time to cut down for my first show – way longer that I anticipated. Call me crazy, but I have enjoyed prepping for all five shows I have done and have tried to embrace all of the challenges associated with them.
Q: How do your workouts change while on prep?
A: My training actually does not change very much while on prep. Toward the end I will drop the weight and increase reps a bit, but I try to lift heavy throughout prep to preserve as much muscle as I possibly can while in a deficit. I do minimal cardio and focus more on my nutrition instead.
Q: What’s your favorite cheat/prep treat to have while on prep?
A: My favorite cheat meal would probably have to be a bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato fries and a rum and coke. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but when it comes to food, the greasier the better in my opinion. Haha.. On prep I don’t have cheat meals; however, my fat macros stay high so I am able to continue to eat foods I love like bacon, peanut butter and steak. On high carb days my favorite food to incorporate post workout has been kabucho squash. It’s really random, but so delicious!
Q: What is the week before your competition like for you?
A: The changes I see the week before a competition are always so amazing! I cut sodium five days out, add potassium and dandelion root, eliminate all sweeteners and cut water two days out. I typically drop around seven lbs of water during peak week. In terms of training, I usually back off slightly a day or two before show day and focus extra on posing and presentation.
Q: Do you plan on doing any more competitions in the future?
A: I do; however, first I plan to take a long offseason and focus on increasing my strength in the gym and slowly adding muscle, especially to my lower body. Personally, I prefer a thicker look for myself and want to focus on my own fitness and physique goals before I prep for another show. I love how bodybuilding allows you to work toward achieving the physique YOU want, which is different for everyone. Competing and placing well is fun, but it is SO farm from the only measure of achievement when it comes to fitness.
You can follow Brittany’s fitness journey and peep at all her awesome pictures on her instagram. Username is @brittday_fit Go check her out! You will not be disappointed. xo