Once a week during contest prep, I make sure to complete an outdoor run that is typically anywhere from 3 to 5 miles. I find that it helps my quads, glutes, and abs to tighten up and become more streamlined. I notice a distinct difference when I stop going for the run, and on the flip side, I notice a distinct difference when I get back on track with the run. It might be because of the cathartic release of emotions I tend to have on the run. It is just me and the pavement, something that I literally get to pound into submission without any adverse effects boomeranging back to me.
At the beginning of the route I typically take, there is a long and steadily-sloped hill. It makes starting this endeavor easy because the hill slopes downwards as I make my way out of my apartment complex and down towards a smattering of shops and a housing subdivision with its perfectly manicured lawns and vast array of colorful flowers and plants all equally and spatially arrayed. A usual upper-middle class, Dallas subdivision.
As I ran down this hill this past weekend, my ecru Nikes slap slapping the sidewalk while cars rushed by beside me, I realized that the term, “downhill,” is an interesting one in the English language. Like so many words and phrases, “downhill” carries multiple meanings that are actually quite opposite of each other. The act of moving downhill is typically easier than the act of moving uphill. Law of physics. Duh. So when we say, “It’s all downhill from here,” we could be meaning that it’s all a piece of cake. Wait. That’s another phrase I could probably write a paragraph on, especially in my carb-depleted mode at two weeks out from my next show. But I am seemingly distracted. Obviously, the word “cake” to me is like the word “squirrel” to my dog. So back to my point because this paragraph is quickly taking a downturn and going downhill. Which is my point: “It’s all downhill from here” can also mean that everything is going to hell in a handbasket.
So which is it? Is downhill easy or is it hard? Is it good or is it bad? It all depends upon the context in which you use it, like most things in life. That is contest prep. Is it good or is it bad? Is it easy or is it hard? Well, that depends. Depends upon the day, the minute, the movement, the mood, the food. There are certainly many phases of emotions and thoughts that a competitor experiences throughout a contest prep. The lengthier the prep, the longer the list of emotions and the more sway from one to the other that a competitor will experience. I have found that if one does not compete, that same one does not understand this phenomenon.
For the sake of keeping this blog post from becoming a novella, I will simply discuss one aspect of contest prep: the final 10 to 14 days before a show. They are interesting, to say the least. You’re spacey, dazed, exhausted, crazed. You’re excited and then plighted. One minute you love how you look. The next you’re ready to throw in the towel and say not now. You don’t have cravings, per se. At least I don’t. You just see normal food (and by normal food, I mean something as simple as bread and butter or a sandwich or a plum or a slice of pizza) and you start making a whimpering sound. Your face curls into a sad frown. Your mouth begins salivating all over the place. It’s like walking into a pet store to buy your dog a new toy and seeing puppies up for adoption. You haven’t thought about new puppies until this moment when their furry, floppy bodies wriggle about all over each other directly in front of your line of sight. Suddenly, you must go over and pet them, hold them, smell them. You even think of taking one (or three) home to snuggle and be with you forever. But you don’t. You know you can’t. You didn’t want a puppy before you saw the puppies. You have a dog already. So this is just a phase because the puppies are there, in front of your face and under your nose.
And yes, I have just compared puppies to pizza proving that I can take any one entity and link it to any other idea or being.
It’s also proving that my mind is working, sort of. In spurts. But I will conclude with this thought. So many writers are alcoholics. Or they regularly incorporate a drink or two or five during their writing interludes. As a bodybuilder who also writes, I cannot drink alcohol. I also cannot freely eat. So being creative while being in contest prep is quite interesting and often stalling. My ideal situation is sitting in front of my laptop with a box of Cheez-Its open, with the Donald-Trump-orange squares spilled out onto the glass surface of my dining room table and my orange-crusted fingers flying over the keys of my keyboard. My tummy full. My mind releasing. My cells alive.
But I’m starving. Hungry. Famished. Needing nourishment. For food. For words. So as I empty my body of whatever fat stores are left in these final days, I also empty my soul onto the page and find a way to create just like I find a way to lift a weight.
Now…leave me be. I am officially off to watch the Game of Thrones finale and eat my four ounces of red potato that I saved for this hour of bliss.
Jodi Leigh Miller is a Women's Physique IFBB Pro with experience in all divisions. She is a record-achieving power-lifter, posing specialist, certified trainer, life coach, and author. She holds an English degree from The University of Texas at Austin and is a certified educator. She is an experienced, knowledgeable, multifaceted phenom.