Well after a tough campaign I walked away with 2nd place at the 2017 Northern UKDFBA regional qualifiers grandmasters class in September and an invite to the UK finals later this year. It was a tough run in for me this time with a lot going on in my personal life in the background.
I am writing this on the day after the show having enjoyed the usual post-show meal of a curry, doughnuts and ice-cream and a little wine to wash it all down.
What have I learnt? I know what it takes to control and build a body, get it toned ,how to diet, what and when to eat, when to train intelligently, how to keep a focused mind, how to help others. I've learned to really understand and know the love and support of others supporting me in turn. The number of my friends who stopped to wish me good luck, stop traffic on the way past to yell their best wishes out of the car window ( the queue behind didn't really appreciate it), who came over in the gym or dropped me a note on Social Media really did keep me going. My Mrs got used to it all in the end.
I have also learnt a lot about what not to do, who not to listen to, how not to train, seen bad advice on diets, I've seen people follow insane eating plans, exercise in very strange ways either very inefficiently or sometimes dangerously and sometimes throwing good money away!
Being perfectly honest I feel good but battered right now as it really did take it out of me. It's made me realise how much effort and sacrifice it takes not just from me but from all those around me especially my family. The amount of times I have had to make apologies because of the time spent in the gym, or the insane times of day I was out doing my cardio makes me appreciate even more the impact I was having on them.
Even eating became a balancing act, no longer being able to eat with those I love, privately or in social situations, always having to make excuses as to why I couldn't eat most foods or even had to bring my own. It's a whole life commitment if you want to become an athlete and a champion.
Tracking what you eat becomes a normal part of your existence and when it gets down to it even weighing ingredients at times is needed. I can't tell you the amount of times I walked down the biscuit or confectionary aisle in Sainsbury's or Tesco (other supermarkets are available) and just looking at what I can't eat. Your nose becomes hyper-sensitive to food and cooking in general. In the end almost nothing you would normally expect to eat and drink is possible for you to ingest...but that's the sacrifice you make to be a champion.
And now post competition I can once again concentrate on my life, family and my other goals I have planned and getting back to a normal balanced healthy diet post competition. Its like coming out of a deep dive, under control, steady and sure.
A careful reverse, recovery back into the normal life. Staying healthy, eating healthy and now giving my experience and knowledge to others.
Is it for everyone? No, but then again as someone pointed out to me the other day if it was easy everyone would do it.
What an adventure!