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Show's Over, Now What?

It’s a little over a week since my 3rd place finish in Pittsburgh and admittedly I am floundering a bit.  It’s probably not a big shocker that many competitors struggle with post-competition blues.  A competitor works incredibly hard for months on end, making sacrifice after sacrifice only to be left feeling a little lost and floundering when the show is over.  Even the “high” of achieving one’s goal doesn’t last beyond a few days and often you’re simply left feeling like, “Now what?” Since January, I have been on some form of a competitor’s diet.  After having overeaten through the holidays, I wanted to jumpstart my competitive season with a super-clean diet.  I also had a spring vacation planned and a few other social engagements that I knew would alter my diet and thus, I embarked on a relatively restricted diet early in my show prep.  That means for the past 7 months food has been nothing more than fuel.  It’s not been for pleasure or social gatherings, it’s been merely something to provide the nourishment my body needed to satisfy my goals.  While that’s exactly what was required to achieve the physique I brought to stage, it certainly can leave a girl wanting.  And, oh boy, was I wanting! Since my competition, just a mere 9 days ago, I have voraciously satisfied my hunger for the treats that I denied myself the last 7 months.  And those treats did not disappoint; each and every indulgence was pure taste bud pleasure!  Knowing we finally had dietary freedom, my husband and I returned to Chicago this past weekend for bottomless mimosa’s and crème brulee pancakes.  And yes, they were everything my mind had made them out to be.  We spent the weekend eating and drinking like the rest of the population and had a much-needed, emotionally connecting good time. But the getaway weekend is over and what is left is brutal reality.  I now have a body that I haven’t seen for about 8 weeks and I am not happy about.  Let’s think about that for a minute…8 weeks ago, I had the body that sits in front of the computer today.  It’s not a bad body, but it’s a not a body that I’d eagerly don a bikini and strut across the stage in either.  So in 9 days, I lost the body I have spent since January working towards and so I wonder, is it worth it?  Is it worth it to work that hard for that long, make all those sacrifices, and then throw it all away in 9 days? In the 7 years that I’ve competed, I’ve always considered a competition physique a temporary state; an unsustainable physique.  However, this season, I have had a stage-ready physique since early June and I must admit, even being without it for 9 days, I miss it.  So I ask myself today, what is more important to me?  Attempting to maintain a stage-ready physique but missing out on the pleasure of certain foods and social activities or having a good, but not stage-ready physique, and indulging in social activities and pleasurable foods? Of course, the honest answer is that I want both.  But I know that for me, that’s not possible.  Can I stay closer to a stage-ready body than I have in years past?  That’s the million dollar question and my new goal.  With that goal in mind, I’d like to ask my readers: Do you stay nearly stage-ready?  If so, how do you do it?  And are the sacrifices worth it?  I love to hear from my readers, please share your experiences. Summer Taylor is a National level NPC Bikini competitor,fitness model and high school Biology, Anatomy and Physiology teacher. She is a Species 2011 calendar girl, a Team Bombshell Athlete and was featured in December’s issue of Ironman Magazine and NPC Magazine and Lonnie Teper has declared her a ‘rising star’ in Iron Magazine