I have to be honest and say that I am so lucky to have SUCH a great support network. But why is it so important?
Competition prep is hard at the best of times never mind if you haven’t got people to turn to for support. We have (for the most part) set food and set training so if you’re not careful it can be very easy to alienate anyone around you who isn’t part of either of those factors. What we should really be doing is making sure that exactly that doesn’t happen. Sure, not everyone understands when you’re saying about how hard it is because this is a lifestyle or a single comp choice you have actively made BUT having people around you to talk to and/or distract you and pick you up is so important
Bikini competitions from the outside look (in my opinion) very glam. You get super tanned, put on the most sparkly, embellished bikini you will ever wear, you do your hair and make up all sexy, pop on your heels and strut around on stage in what could be the best condition of your entire life.
What people don’t see (unless they’re really close to you) is the hours, days, weeks and months of preparation it takes to get there. They don’t see the mind games that your prep brain plays on you when you’re 12% body fat but don’t feel Lean enough. Even I had meat cravings last week and I haven’t eaten meat for over two years! Madness!
Most people only share their good moments and progresses on their social media- so you see the ‘YESSSS look at these gains!’ Photos or the ‘check out my cheat meal I love my prep’ photos and statuses. People are less willing to let you in on when they’re having bad prep days, when calories are low but training is high and they’re struggling mentally. I mean that’s totally fine that they don’t want to share that! But what I’m saying is, it’s those days where you really need that support network, someone you can just text and be like ‘hey, really struggling today’ and they’ll chat with you and either distract you or talk it out.
I’ve been away at summer camp for one week of my prep and I managed to prep most of my food for 5 days so that I could stay on track rather than the surprises that awaited in the dining room. The structure to my day was different to how it would be in London so I had to work out how I would be spacing my meals. The first day was very tough but my body soon acclimatised and Unworked through it. It was on the final day where it’s tradition for the coaches/staff to have dominoes pizza delivered in and have a drink to celebrate the end of a great summer together, that I found the hardest. I saved my final meal to eat with everyone so I didn’t alienate myself and just remove myself from the celebrations. I also told myself as a treat I could have a Diet Coke from our tuck shop while everyone was tucking into pizza, wine, beer and cider. We had no Diet Coke….. You know when you’ve thought about something all day and you’ve told yourself you can have it so you’re looking forward to it… And then you can’t, it’s out of your control you can’t have it. I DON’T EVEN LIKE FIZZY DRINKS! I went and boiled the kettle and sat down with a Twinings Nutty Chocolate Assam tea. Whilst yes it was delicious, it just didn’t have the same satisfaction as that treat of a Diet Coke was going to be. After a little while, sat there quite hungry, everyone having a great time all of a sudden I felt oh so overwhelmed, I removed myself from the room and had a little cry. Now, this isn’t a pity party and now on reflection it does sound silly but at the time I found that whole scenario very hard. Luckily my friends at camp are some of the best people I have ever met. Abi followed me out of the room, gave me a hug and was like ‘Charlotte, you’re incredible and I completely admire what you’re doing. I don’t know how you’ve done it here but you’re doing so well’ I needed that. A few of my other friends shared kind words in support too and even though it seems like a silly thing to be getting upset over, they were so understanding and supportive of was wonderful!
It’s those kinds of people you need in your life. No matter how small the problem- because it will feel huge at the time- we need people we can turn to to talk to. Without that support network, it all brews inside your head and makes everything so much worse.
Now, I LOVE competition prep and have very little to complain about. I was actually very excited to get back on prep and everyone laughed at me and was like ‘you must be the only one!’ I don’t just love the body I get at the end of it, I actually do love the whole process, watching my body transform and the intricacies of all the training and food planning. It’s amazing. I have chosen this lifestyle and it isn’t for everyone that’s for sure but I completely love it. I’m just saying, at some point you’re going to need those people around you for support so even though they may not completely understand your training, diet, Lifestyle… Just don’t push them away.
To Mum, Dad, Jessica and my wonderful friends, thank you so much for your support I couldn’t do it without you
Love Char xxx