Several months ago I ran a feature of one of my figure clients, Michelle Vodrazka, who was starting her prep for the Ontario Natural Championships, held in Hamilton on September 22, 2012.
At the time that article was written, we had anticipated making a running series of Michelle’s contest prep, but the funny thing about life is that it always has a habit of getting in the way!
Without going into too many details, shortly after that article was written, Michelle wound up finding a very troublesome lymph node in her neck, one that had her physician and family concerned. Needless to say, taking care of one’s health is far more important that worrying about preparing for a figure competition. And in Michelle’s own words, “I was mentally very distracted”.
Of course, whenever life stress ramps up, the natural inclination is to say “To hell this this, I’m going to drown my sorrows in booze/ice cream/cookies/etc”. And in the interests of full disclosure, Michelle does admit to having lost a lot of her normally indomitable motivation and drive for healthy eating at this point.
But you know what? Even with the specter of some potentially very grave news affecting her motivation, Michelle still managed to stick with enough healthy habits during this stressful period to not undo all the hard work of the prior 8 months.
Mind you, eating well enough to look healthy vs. eating to prep for a figure competition are vastly different. Once you step out on stage, the judges don’t award compassion points and if you go out there looking like you spent a summer at the buffet line and not in the gym, you’ll be penalized accordingly.
So when Michelle asked me a few weeks before the provincials whether I thought she should still compete, I had serious reservations. She’d been through a lot of stress, both with the health scare and having been dieting for several shows over the 8 months prior, but I don’t like to say “no” before seeing where she stood.
I told her to send me a few recent photos, as it had been several weeks since her last photo update, and that I’d make a decision based on what I saw. Although Michelle definitely wasn’t as lean as she typically was a few weeks pre-show, she wasn’t bad.
Now typically, I don’t recommend any client decide to compete when they give themselves only a couple of weeks of concentrated effort to diet down. However, Michelle has a pretty responsive metabolism so I felt that as long as she cleaned up the diet, she’d actually have a shot!
With renewed enthusiasm, Michelle buckled down and went ahead and competed in provincials.
While this definitely wasn’t the plan we had hoped to follow leading up to the competition, Michelle still managed to pull off a very impressive 2nd place overall in figure open and 3rd place in figure masters, qualifying her for the 2013 Nationals in both categories!
Safe to say, Michelle’s performance on an abbreviated prep exceeded expectation and gave us both a lot of hope and excitement for seeing how she’ll do next year, this time with a full prep phase under her belt
If you’d like to follow more of Michelle’s reflections and thoughts, check out her blog at http://mommefit.ca or follow her on twitter @mommefit.