How this IFBB Pro successfully made the post competition transition from
competing to simply living a FITBODY Life everyday.
If you have ever competed in a Bikini or Figure show before you know that incredible high you feel when you walk across the stage. One thing that most women do not consider is how they will handle the post competition transition. Months, even years of hard work culminate in that one fabulous moment. You have been waiting for this day, dreaming about this day and now if it finally here. Come what may you take those steps onto the stage with all the confidence you can muster. With a tan darker than you ever thought possible. A tiny suit strategically glued to hold it on you in all the right places. And the thought of every workout you killed, every pizza night you skipped and every cookie left uneaten lingering in your mind. It was hard, but you did it! This was a challenge that you accepted for your own personal reasons. At the end of the day, it really was worth it!
And then, it is over. Trophies are awarded, photos are taken as you strike that victory pose and the crowd gives one last thunder of applause. Whether you ended up in the Top 5 or were ushered off stage knowing that while you worked hard, you would not be taking home a trophy tonight, you are leaving the stage with a body that you had worked hard to sculpt and if you did it right, healthy habits that will help you stay in amazing shape.
But now what? For many competitors, now comes the hardest part… the post competition transition. Being regimented with your training and nutrition for so long, you can be left with the feeling that you just don’t know what to do. You may decided that you are going to compete in more shows in the future and may start gearing up for the next one right away. At some point though the time will come when you feel like you are ready to hang up your heels either for good or at least for now. For me I was forced into my post competition transition. That time came after I stepped off stage – well, hobbled off stage – at the Olympia immediately after tearing my ACL for the third time.
I began competing in Figure and Fitness over 10 years ago shortly after I gave birth to my son. It was an incredibly rewarding experience full of personal accomplishment and at times, was downright exhausting. It was a good part of how I became a fitness model and led me to begin working with women to improve their health & fitness on a more personal level. I was featured in most all of the major fitness magazines, and worked my way slowly and surely to the top of my sport. Successfully competing at the Olympia and the Arnold Classic were the highlights of my 25-show career. Eventually though, I was forced to stop competing because of multiple knee injures and told that I had to choose… keep competing in fitness and continue tearing ACLs or be able to walk when I got older. The decision itself was an easy one. But it took me a very long time to really come to terms with the fact that I would never step on stage again. Now I had a new challenge, figuring out how to out how to stay fit and healthy and what being fit even meant after I had been in ‘competition shape’ so many times.
I have stoked my competitive drive in other ways as well. I tried my hand at triathlons which I sincerely enjoyed, kicked my own butt with Crossfit classes, got my Namaste on with yoga and even competed in the incredible NBC Television show, American Ninja Warrior. An important part of my post competition transition has been exploring new ways of being active and enjoying working out.
I have worked very hard to maintain balance in my own life and with my own nutrition & training. It has not always been easy, but I am happy to say, that I have found a way to live life to the fullest, to feel great and to maintain within 2-4 lbs of my ideal weight day in, day out. These days, if I need to do a photo shoot, I just tighten my caloric intake for a week or two and I am ready to go. I never allow myself to get too far on either side of that happy body place.
With that said, it is important to me that you know I do not expect myself to ever be as lean as I was for a show again. And you should not expect that of yourself either. The ‘competition physique’ with very low body fat percentages is not a get place to live your life because it usually means low energy levels. On stage, my body fat would be in the 8-10% range as I have a very high lean mass with my weight being around 128 at 5’5”. Now days, I like to maintain around 133-136 with my body fat staying close to 13-15%. This might not be the right place for you though as I genetically have a lot of muscle for my frame. I now stay where I feel great both about where my body is AND how I feel. If I get too lean, my energy plummets and I don’t function as well. Learning to love the body that God has given me and that I have worked so hard on is what I call success.
I put together my FITBODY Lifestyle program to show women how I live my life everyday. It is a great post show transition plan and can really help you make that transition yourself. This 8-week e-plan is a step-by-step guide designed to take you through exactly what you need to do both in the gym and in the kitchen. To find out more, please visit FITBODY.com.
Julie’s Tips to Successfully Transition from Stage to a FITBODY Life!alert-info
Give yourself some grace with your post show transition. Know that this is going to be a process and that you will need time to adjust to things post show.
In the days immediately after your show, be sure to drink a lot of water and watch your sodium intake. I have seen women go far overboard with their diet post show and gain as much as 10 lbs in the few days following
In the weeks after your show, slowly begin adding back in calories if you have been at a calorie deficient leading up to the show. If you go from a strict diet to eating everything possible, you will quickly gain back any weigh you lost and probably gain a whole lot more. In the first week post show, have what you want to eat the night of your show, but the very next day, go back to a nutrition plan that is about 200-300 calories per day higher than where you were at before your show. Week by week, add in a few more calories, 100-200 extra per day at a time, until you reach the point where you are maintaining where you want to be.
Do not stop training cold turkey. Your body is used to a certain level of training and if you simply stop all cardio and training post show, you will certainly backslide with your post show transition. While you do not need to continue the same duration of cardio or intensity of workouts, start the week after your show with 60-70% of the cardio you were doing before hand and begin cutting that back over the following weeks
Speaking of training and cardio, this is a great time to pull your family and friends into activities with you! Share your passion for fitness with them! When training for a show, you were probably doing very specific training that was meant for that goal in particular. Now that you are stepping away from stage, you can workout in new, fun ways that might be more appealing to those around you. Hiking, biking, swimming, etc… They might not be the high intensity cardio you have become accustom too, but these fun activities still count and can allow you to be with people you may have spent less time with while you were prepared for your show
Set a new goal! Once I had recovered fully from my last ACL surgery, I decided I wanted to give triathlons a try. Having never been an endurance athlete, this was way outside my comfort zone! This new goal helped me focus and gave me purpose behind my training. It was an interesting transition, training to be faster at something rather than to shape my physique. As a competitive woman in general it was very important that I had an outlet for my strong competitive drive. While I did not go into that race with intentions of winning, it was a wonderful transitional goal and I felt amazing crossing the finish line!
Find a plan that works for you, your body and where you are at now. Something that balances training, cardio and nutrition. Focus on recovery, sleep and stretching as well. A plan that centers you and helps you focus on LIVING and being HEALTHY, HAPPY & BALANCED in all aspects of your life. Competing is great, but the truth is, there is a big world out there and endless possibilities. Feel great and train to be good at life no matter what your competitive goals. That is what I call the FITBODY Lifestyle.
Julie Lohre and her son Tre Lohre traveling through Europe