Well, here we go again. Prep for the Vancouver Pro Show on July 6, 2018 has officially begun. My last competition was on July 1st of 2017 where I placed 4th at Canadian Nationals. Since then, the goal has been to build as much muscle as possible while staying relatively lean so that when it comes time to diet again I’m at a good starting point. From the outside looking in, it may appear as if the time between shows or “offseason/improvement season” (as many refer to it), is a time to lay off the training and diet and take a break from it all. To some extent that is true. There are cycles to this sport that allow for longevity and recovery, but the underlying goal is always the same: BE BETTER than before and WORK HARDER than the rest.
With that goal in mind the last 36 weeks have remained very structured and disciplined. I have kept fasted cardio in my routine. I have kept 41 out of my 42 meals of the week clean (with the exception of Vegas). I lift weights 5 times a week, and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve stayed up past 10:00 pm. I will say though that I’m slightly nervous that I’ve kept it so consistent that my body may not respond as well as it has in the past to prep… but I suppose time will tell. The truth is, I’ve never been as excited as I am this year to prepare for a show. The idea of successfully starting (and finishing) this prep has been the motivating factor behind the 36 weeks of those 4:30 am wake up calls and 9:00 pm bedtimes. Trust me, it’s often not excitement or motivation that gets me out of bed that early in the morning; often it’s simply discipline and routine.
As excited as I am for the next 16 weeks, I’m even more excited to be sharing this experience through this blog. When I started this website, the whole point to “Competing with Crohns” was to create a forum that would enable people to get a bit of an inside glance into what preparing for a fitness competition looks like, and more specifically; what it looks like when you have a chronic illness. For example, there have been points in time along the way where Crohns has nearly sidelined my goals and I’m aware that regardless of circumstances, life can change on a whim. For the most part though, the disciplined diet and fitness regime that this lifestyle demands benefit my symptoms. I’m hopeful the next 16 weeks will see that remaining true. Of course I am beyond grateful that I am able to start this prep with my body and mind being in such a good place. I see what IBD could, can, and has done to others. I see what it does to their minds, their bodies, and their lives. My motivation stems a lot from the fact that I have this incredible opportunity to get fit. I am aware that I am privileged. This lifestyle is a privilege, and I have a privileged life. I do not forget that, and I continually remind myself of that when I get tired or my motivation waivers.
To all of those of you that have shown your support along the way, it does not go unnoticed. Thank you. And to each of you that are out there fighting the battle against whatever obstacles life throws in your way; refusing to succumb to a “victim mentality” – you are what true inspiration looks like and stronger than you know.
“This isn’t simply about aesthetics. This is about living my best life. My body used to control me. Competing allows me to control my body. I get to tell it what to look like, how to move, what to do. Those with IBD probably understand on every single level just how empowering that concept really is.” – Janine Kruse