By the time this article comes out, competitors will have finished their end-of-year shows. Some will have won a new title. Some will have made up the places. Some will have achieved an all-time best and others will have learned from the experience. All of them will now be navigating that weird time post-competition.
By Scott Goble
It’s not at all uncommon for people to experience what is commonly referred to as the post-competition blues’. While to an outsider this may seem ridiculous, there are in fact psychological studies looking into depression after success, or depression after a big accomplishment. If you have poured your heart and soul into something, if you have approached it with unwavering mental strength and determination, then all of a sudden that something’ comes and goes.
where do you go next?
I know from personal experience that the headspace I occupy after a show is truly unlike any other time of the year. I have cultivated a great mental strength and discipline over the last few months but how do I channel that? Win or lose I have a great desire to improve; yet my body is beaten down and in need of rest. I have an
unusual relationship with food – I want it badly but its ill effects concern me.
I don’t think it’s a full-blown eating disorder, but it’s taken a few steps down that path. I have received an overwhelming amount of support and ego-boosting compliments, but as time passes and my condition fades, so does the ego gratification.
Let’s have a look at how you can deal with this best. The first step is acknowledging that it’s coming. Knowing that you will have a whole lot of extra time on your hands – and it’s neither smart nor beneficial for you to keep training at the level that you have been – is a beginning. From a physical standpoint, you do need to recover. I am a big fan of a structured deload phase, so youre still in the gym post-comp but you’re taking it easy and allowing yourself to heal and repair. This phase is essential, mostly because you are still in good condition and it allows you to show it off. It’s hard to get depressed when the other members are telling you how good you look. All you really have to do is go in and get a pump, after all.
Social media management. This is where you really need to show some restraint. Sure, when you see a great picture of yourself your first instinct is to share it with the world, but where will that leave you in a month? Your best option is to get a photoshoot done in the week after a competition and rotate those shots through as profile pictures over the coming months. If you’re like me, you see about two per cent of your Facebook friends in real life – so what if the others are under the impression you’re in amazing condition year round? Get some pictures of you doing mundane things like going out shopping, eating at various locations and remember to take heaps of pictures of your veiny calves.
Store all those bad boys away, every now and then when you’re feeling a little down, a little neglected, simply apply a filter and post on Instagram. No one needs to know the striations have been replaced with cellulite and you’re currently buried under a pile of empty pizza boxes.
Outside of the gym, you will have more time on your hands. You will no longer be burdened with posing sessions and extra cardio, so use this time wisely. Personally, after my first few comps, I replaced cardio with eating cheesecake. I no longer advise this course of action; in fact, I advise you to occupy your time in a way that prevents you from eating cheesecake.
In the lead-up to a competition its not unusual to neglect certain aspects of our lives: for example, many of us completely ignore our partner. Try sparking up a conversation with them, sometimes they have interesting things to say – even when they don’t, you can always think about what flavour cheesecake you can eat later. Perhaps it s your job that needs more attention. Maybe you are currently in an anger management program because you threatened your boss
PA after she made a snide remark about the smell of your broccoli. Either way. a little more time and effort
in the workplace cant hurt and will allow you to pay off that $500 postshow grocery shop where you bought absolutely everything you had ever craved, despite the fact that you will never actually be able to eat it all.
If you’re a single person, use this time wisely. Guys, all those bikini chicks that were once getting bombarded with compliments, they’re in the same position as you now, feeling a little neglected, strike while the iron is hot. Likewise for the ladies – let that meathead know that you appreciate the chunky off-season look.
Hopefully these tips will help you negotiate the pitfalls of the postcontest depression. If not, you can always go with the fallback plan of smashing all the mirrors in your house and becoming a powerlifter.