I watched many family members deal with depression. Of course they never admitted to having such an issue and always blamed something or someone else. And to take a drug or work on this with exercise and meditation was irrelevant because there was nothing wrong, in their eyes.
However, I knew the the negative thought process would never bring the positive results I dreamed of in any area of my life. I also knew I had some depression in my blood line that may have not been due to lifestyle in fact it was chemical imbalances that were off.
My drug of choice has always been exercise and when competitive bodybuilding became such a huge part of my life, focusing on building my physique took over. To me, weight training is euphoric and the side effects have always brought pride and a sense of accomplishment. Manipulating the human body to transform into a work of art is also very fascinating to me. However strength training is not the only thing that matters when it comes to looking like a greek adonis.
The Foods you eat and when you eat them make up 75% of the body transformation process, in my opinion.
Before flexible dieting became such a huge subject in the bodybuilding world, I always counted a calorie for a calorie so I never had to eliminate my favorite foods when training for a competition. I was able to replace foods with foods of the same macronutrient value when I wanted to feel like a human being and not a introvert who ate cold chicken out of a tupperware container. I used to bring my tupperware to restaurants when socializing with friends and family by the way.
I would get my body fat level down to sub 5% for a competition after training for 20 weeks or more and feel incredible. Saturday competition would roll around and I would show my hard work off with pride and integrity. Win or lose I felt like happy with my body and mind and I believed this could be my lifestyle for the rest of my life, until Saturday night.
It was like a food frenzy my mom will tell you. The moment I stepped off stage after awards were handed out, and regardless of my placing I would look for something to eat. I didn’t have to look very far because mamma dukes always had some home made delicious chocolate peanut butter cover treats waiting for me. After I had one piece of cake or one snickers bar, I was already looking for my next binge food. And after eating until my belly felt like a blivet (10lbs of shit in a 5lb bag) and my asophagus was full to the point of regurgitation I would lay down to let everything settle. Settle right into my fat storage that I worked so and diligently to get rid of.
Some depressive moments in my life came from:
- not placing as well as I had intended
- being unhappy with my self, inner and outer.
- Not planning for post competition
The last one is key, because competition has always been my way to set goals and practice discipline. I always felt empty after a competition. What’s next? I don’t HAVE to eat a certain way, I don’t HAVE to be at the gym at a certain time, I don’t HAVE to prepare meals for the week.
So I ate. I fill my empty belly and my empty mind. And it doesn’t take long to put fat back on even though it takes a slow and steady process to remove it. So, after about a week of eating like I was going on Surviver I was up 20 and at times 30 lbs the week after a competition. Yes, 30 lbs in a week. And NO, not healthy at all.
But I am not one to dwell in a depressive state, so I convinced myself I was ok with this extra weight or shall I say FAT. I was now bulking, and the extra fat would be turned into muscle. NO. Wrong again.
As much as I have ever been in an “off season” I always end up with a body fat percentage of anywhere from 3-5% which for me is at about 180 – 185lbs when I step onstage for a show. I was never really happy at 225 or even when I “bulked up” to 245lbs as you see in the attached pic. As a natural bodybuilder, gaining muscle mass after training for 10 years is extremely difficult at the least if at all possible.
The point here – live a balance life. If you want to compete, awesome! But have a game plan of flexible dieting, hard work, discipline and of course a strong head space. Work on your mind just as much if not more than you do your physique. Your thought process with bring you to your reality, so be mindful of where you put your thoughts.
The post competition blues are not just a mental game either, there are physiological happenings that occur from altering your nutrition drastically for any weight loss goal, competition or not.
My days of bulking are over, along with the nights of eating to fill a void post competition. I maintain a body weight range of 195-200 all year round and eat what I want and feed my body what it needs. Im not saying it was easy, I am saying it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too. Literally, look and feel like an athlete on and off the field or stage.
If you need or want coaching on how to transform your body and mind, I have developed a program to accommodate. Visit thisisbodhi.com/programs for details.
p.s. the transformation in the before and after pic was not 16 weeks or even 16 months. It was about 3 years apart, I just wanted to show you me at my heaviest to one of the times where I was at my best.anthonys gym food, bodybuilding depression, flexible dieting, POST BODYBUILDING COMPETITION