Morning After – Post Competition Blues

The morning after your competition you wake up to find an oompah loompah colored woman that resembles you in many ways staring back at you in the mirror.

*blink*

Leaning in closer you realize its actually you. How did you get here? And now what?

*blink…blink*

For at least the last 12 weeks you have been in contest prep mode; every moment, morsel of food, and workout counted and was done with extreme precision. You lived your life with the discipline of an army sergeant; nothing was done frivolously. By the time most people were waking up you had already had two meals, worked out for at least an hour, and prepped the rest of your meals for the day.

You were unstoppable and knew exactly where you were going.

Suddenly you stopped and have no idea where you are going.

Enter post competition blues.

My post competition blues were filled with emotional eating, self loathing, feelings of listlessness, and complete emotional isolation. Looking back I wish I had put a plan into place for the weeks and months following.

Here are some practical suggestions to combat post competition blues:

  1. Goals. Take time the week or two prior to your competition to set goals for after the competition. They don’t have to be fitness related, just something you would enjoy doing.
  2. Celebrate your success. Plan an event or something that is significant to you to celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t be shy about it either. This could be a night out with the girls, a weekend away with your significant other, or whatever speaks to you. Honor who you’ve become in the process.
  3. Keep a routine. Suddenly sleeping in, not going the gym, and eating whenever seems like it would be pure bliss, but after learning such discipline it messes with your mind. Create an after competition schedule that is more relaxed but still structured.
  4. Create a community. The weeks leading up to your competition people are cheering you on and coming out of the woodwork to congratulate you. When you’re on the stage you feel the love and support of everyone, then suddenly you’re in the stadium all alone and your voice echoes in the vast emptiness. Ask your closest friends to check in on your after the competition. Tell them that you are going to feel lonely and that you will need them.
  5. Treat yourself with non-food items. I purchased a fabulous Lululemon hoodie the week before my competition as a gift to myself for competing. Every time I put it on I remember what I accomplished and how proud I am of myself. It is a constant reminder of how fabulous I am and it doesn’t leave me wanting more or feeling empty. To this day, it is one of my favorite things to wear because of what it symbolizes for me.
  6. Journal. Get your feeling out on paper or on a personal blog. Don’t let them stew and swirl until you can’t keep them in any longer and they come out in random, unhelpful ways. Let yourself feel it all rather than stuffing it down and covering it with food like I did.
  7. Plan to indulge in food treats. Its been literally months since you had a candy bar, chocolate, or anything that remotely resembles a cookie. Eating the whole bag in one evening is not a good choice. Leverage the self discipline that you learned on this journey and schedule out your treats. Mentally it will help you know that there is more and you don’t have to hoard all the treats because this is your only opportunity to eat them.

I wish I had more of these in place when I competed for the first time. It may have saved me from bursting into tears in the stationery aisle at Walmart. A crying woman in Walmart is scary on a normal day; imagine an oompah loompah colored woman crying in Walmart! I may have scarred a few small children for life.

How do you combat post competition blues?

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for posting this! Great advice as I’m getting ready to do my first show in July. I’ll be sure to have a plan for after the show.

    Have a great week!

  2. I’m beginning to sense how important this will be. After all the anticipation and mental hype, I imagine it could be tough. I’ve started thinking about it already. I’ve got my new healthy cookbook present-to-self all wrapped up. I will give it to myself like it’s Christmas morning the day after my show! And I’m already thinking about transitioning to some more endurance-based athletic goals for over the summer – balanced out with weight training – to take my fitness outside for a few months. More thinking still to do. But I don’t want to catch myself flat-footed. Your post is full of great ideas. So thank you!!

    • Yes! Same here Susan! I’ve been plotting out some races I want to do next. I printed the entire schedule of races for my metroplex and surrounding cities and have begun highlighting the possibilities. I may even do a quickie 5k the day after my show to throw a wrench in the middle of my pizza/burger/monggo day 😛

  3. Donloree – thanks for this post! We are so concentrated on the stage that we don’t think about how we will feel when its over! I think I would feel aimless! Planning has begun, but this has motivated me to be more proactive. Great advise from the great DL once again!

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