Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Crossroads

I'm at a crossroads regarding my Figure career. I need to make a decision and pick a direction ... but I'm really struggling with the decision.

As I've pointed out before, in order to be a true contender for a Pro Figure card, I need to gain more size. The original plan after pulling out of Team U was to take this off-season to build up my back, delts, and legs. However, I'm now re-thinking that plan. It's been 2 weeks since I decided not to compete, and in those 2 weeks, I've slowly gained some weight. I have no idea what I weigh, but my clothes aren't fitting the same way they did a couple weeks ago. That's normal and expected, since I'm not sticking to completely structured diet plan. (Yes, I'm still eating clean, but I'm not weighing everything I eat, and I added some carbs back in.)

The issue is not the fact that I gained weight, but more about how I look with the increased weight. When I add size, I lose some of my shape and become more stocky-looking and brick-like (easy to do since I'm only 5'1"). When I'm on stage, I have a great v-taper with a small waist. Right now, I have no discernable taper. I know that if I continue with my original plan of adding size, I'll look like a brick for at least 8-9 more months ... and I'm just not sure I want to look so stocky. I understand that the off-season is typically a time to grow and to work on weaker areas in order to be more competitive the next year, but do I really want to deal with my own negative feelings about my body for most of the year just to hopefully improve a placing next year?

With the addition of Bikini, I now have the option of potentially switching divisions and competing in Bikini. I could have a smaller frame - less bulk - but still be competitive. The issue with this is that I'd more than likely need to lose a lot of my hard-earned muscle. Plus, I actually enjoy lifting heavy and feeling myself get stronger.

A third option is to remain relatively lean in the off-season, and continue to compete at the local and regional level. Will I be satisfied remaining at the same level? Most likely not ...

So therein lies the conundrum. Which direction do I take?
I'm curious to hear your thoughts and opinions. Have any of you faced this decision? What did you decide was right for you? I'm listening ...

6 comments:

  1. I think it comes down to what will make you happier most consistently. It does you no good to bulk up, even healthfully, if it wreaks havoc on you mentally. If you can come to terms with that, and embrace the challenge to bring a more muscular frame to next season, then go for it! But if you can stay leaner year round, and present a streamlined feminine look for bikini - it's kinda like having your cake and eating it too :) And you can still lift heavy and be strong without building bulk. The two aren't necessarily linked to one another.

    Whatever you choose to do, I'm sure you'll excel at it!

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  2. hmmmm....honestly, i cant see you doing bikini...i think you have great symmetry for figure and i know you will continue to do well in it... and like you said, you like the muscle. As far as bulking over the next year? I dont really think you need to put on THAT much more muscle??? I think you should be able to stay relatively lean during off season and still build a bit??? What does the big guy think?

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  3. Hmmmm, that's a toughy. I really like you in figure, but it doesn't matter what I like.....you have to like it. Did you get any feedback from judges telling you to add size or suggesting you give bikini a try? Maybe you could try bulking/cutting phases off-season so you don't feel so blocky?
    Don't worry....the right decision will come to you;-)

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  4. It's really hard gaining that extra weight during off season. I gained 20lbs from my contest weight but I kept telling myself the extra pounds are required to build muscle. My great friend Deke is taking a year and a half off to gain. It's been nine months and he looks great! He's doing a state level show, not trying to go Pro yet. Its hard deciding on a plan. I struggled with gaining too. I wanted to stay lean but I knew if I wanted to build muscle I had to eat more than my weight in carbs and carry some fat. A girl friend of mine keeps asking me how my lats have grown and my arms. I tell her I ate, ALOT. She won't listen to my advice because she wants "to stay lean." Sometimes it wasn't a big deal to have more pounds on me. I still received compliments that helped me stay motivated. So though you may not feel comfortable in your skin while gaining, you can hide the parts you don't like with clothing. Just sacrafice once again but with a different perspective. If it's size you want, I say go and get it girl! Because if you want your Pro card you know that's your goal and you want it bad enough! Just tell yourself it's what you have to do to get to your best!

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  5. Honestly, I agree with Angela and I can't see you doing bikini. You would have to lose a lot of muscle for that... And would you be ok looking like a "normal" girl? The thing is that if you decide to fight for the pro-card you might stay bigger for maybe a year but once you are done you can get lean again. I just worry about the regrets if you decide to give up on the dream of being a pro Figure. Getting leaner is always easier than getting bigger...
    Anyway, it doesn't matter what I think. It matters what your heart tells you because you are the only one that knows the pain (emotional and physical) that you have to go through.

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  6. I've done both and if I could gain muscle i'd stick with figure. It's more controlled. There's no flirting or willy nilly posing in figure. You know your job and you do it.

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