How IFBB Pro Julie Lohre 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 IFBB Olympia immediately after tearing my ACL for the third time. I began competing in Figure and Fitness over 15 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. Becoming and IFBB Pro 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 in my online personal training programs. 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 IFBB 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 in the Crossfit games, 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 dip 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!