Can Competing Be Done In A Healthy Way?

By Emily on Thursday, January 29, 2015 3:20 PM

Have you noticed how many unhealthy fitness/bodybuilding competitors out there? Holy cow it is really overwhelming!!

I assure you that you can compete and stay healthy, not starve, not blow your thyroid and/or adrenal gland and still look and feel great on stage day.

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Here are some of the various things that are happening to people in the competition world that are giving competing a bad name:

-Withdrawing from all social engagements because you can't bear to be around food.

-Taking diuretics. 

-Consuming performance enhancing drugs such as steroids and human growth hormone. 

-Snapping at loved ones during show prep due to extreme mood swings. 

-Wrap your body in plastic wrap. 

-Spending hours in a hot sauna to lose precious water weight.

-Wearing a corset at the gym, while on cardio and even to bed.

-Taking your "depletion plan" and applying it in “real life” to look good at a pool party.    

-Starving because a so called coach said you can only eat 1,000 calories per day.

-Fasted cardio until almost fainting.

-Allowing your diet to consist of only 4-6 basic foods and never deviating.

-Cutting carbs and many times eliminating them completely.

-Eliminating all fruits from your diet.

-Making 3 or more gym trips per day.

-Not taking a rest day.

-Performing 2 or more hours of cardio per day.

-Taken crazy supplements with ingredients you cannot pronounce because some fitness model or trainer said they take it.

-Working out so vigorously that you become ill.

-Obsessively grab your stomach, thighs or butt and constantly comment on how fat you are or point out patches of non existent cellulite that you need to shed.

-Working thru actual pain in order to be viewed as “tough” and not  taking a much needed break. 

-Making a list of the "cheat meals" to binge on for 2 days after a show and then return to your ultra low calorie diet in order to try to maintain the stage ready look.

-Guzzling pre workout like it is your only life line.

-Sitting online looking at other competitors wishing you were them or fearing them being in your class.


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If you are a competitor reading this and you say “So what, I do most of those during prep for my show and so do most of the girls/guys I know”. Then I recommend that you take a very hard look at the devastation you are doing to your poor body and reconsider your methods of competition prepping. I hate to hear from people that have destroyed their health all in the name of a plastic trophy. I can not even tell you how many times I have heard people say "But my big name coach told me that everyone is doing it and that is what it takes to win!". Guess what? Where is that over rated coach now as you have gained 20 lbs, 10% body fat, lost your drive to workout, feel depressed and lost and are still consuming just over 1,000 calories?! They didn't care about your health as you made your way to the stage so why would they care about you now when you are suffering? 

It is very possible to train for a show and do it in a healthy manner. I did it for 4 years and countless shows and earned 2 Pro Cards without sacrificing my health and actually overcoming Grave’s Disease in the process. I never starved, took drugs, felt miserable, ran myself into the ground or sacrificed my social life and time with loved ones. I ate a variety of food and often times was more of a vegan than a meat eater. I felt energized and full of life and even had many show preps that included little to no cardio whatsoever. Some of my fondest memories when competing were going to get my treat meal with my best friend Paula and eating my favorite with her: pizza and yogurt with toppings. I had ZERO guilt and that was hard for some fellow competitors to wrap their brain around!

I urge you to come to this realization:
No show, no trophy, no prize and no magazine or social media recognition is worth losing yourself, your friends and loved ones, your health or your sanity. I have watched COUNTLESS people let their lives be turned upside down after competing. It makes me sad and so frustrated! I watch them lie to themselves about their eating disorders, hiding food in corners and drawers of their house and car, binge on junk food and then break into a "cleanse", constantly reading labels, counting calories, comparing themselves to others and judging anyone that is eating a cup cake or not 10% body fat. 

Metabolic Damage is a new buzz word. It is something that is becoming more out in the open as competitors,especially women; start to talk about the damage they have done. BUT; please do not start to think that ALL competitors are this way or that this is a normal part of show prep. Just because some people and some coaches take things to the extreme does not make it normal or ok. I am here to tell you right now that it is NOT NORMAL OR OK! You can chose to compete and remain health doing it. You need to get educated and find a good coach or team of people to support you. 

For those of you who want to learn more about competing in a healthy way check out my handbook.


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