The After Stage Blues: Conquering Post-Show Depression and Keeping a Positive Off-season Mindset

Posted By Brittany Bull on October 15, 2018

It’s Monday morning after stage and it’s about to hit you.

 

This past weekend, you were posing on stage. Weeks… months… even YEARS, of hard work and sacrifice were poured into an average of 2-3 minutes to create one of the most memorable times of your life.  It’s a moment you have prepared immensely for… but nothing could have prepared you for what came next.

 

It’s two weeks post show day… you’re miserable, you feel lost… and you know that in the upcoming weeks it’s only going to get worse.

 

What you are feeling is most commonly referred to as the “Post Show Blues” or “Post Competition Depression.” The constant torture of “What now?” The depression… Yes! Depression… that comes with watching your “shredded wheat” physique turn into a bad version of mushy, overnight oatmeal. What’s worse, is it’s not just a loss of physical security. The mind games of the mirror more often than not create a feeling of loss on the inside with every gained inch or pound on the outside. It’s something that myself and IFBB Figure Pro, 9x Olympian and Project AD user, Gennifer Strobo, are both trying more to understand and put to rest. And from what we’ve learned, the good news for us all is that it’s completely NORMAL and there are ways to overcome it.

“After success it’s like, now what? Like the astronauts who walked on the moon. What are they going to do now?”

says Strobo,

“It’s a question that eludes us all. I want to try and provide some sort of an answer.”

…. And so do I.

 

TRY TO STAY POSITIVE:

It might not seem like it right away, but the fact that you are feeling so low is actually a high note in this emotional symphony. It’s no secret that we tend to miss what we enjoy the most. If you are finding it hard to find the bright-side, keep in mind that missing something, tells us that it was important or special. It means you truly loved competing and the process was a positive experience.

 

STAY CALM & OFF-SEASON ON:

There is only ONE way to have a successful Show Season, and that’s to have a QUALITY off-season. This may sound harsh to some, but off-season doesn’t mean “Bring on the donuts! Bring on the cake!! Time to get fat… eat what I want… drink what i want…” Honestly, I hate referring to this time as an “off-season” because there shouldn’t be anything “off” about it. Not if you want to be successful. That being said, with more food comes more size. Whether it be quality or not, a lot of us will panic at this point. Watching the scale climb by 8, 12, 15 or even 20 pounds is almost as crushing as watching my 24-inch waist with washboard abs and striated obliques, warp into something that you should only see in a low budget funhouse. This is a hard reality that we all must GET OVER and as the song says, “Let it gooooooooooo!

 

LET IT GO (BUT DON’T LET “IT” GO):

Like I just mentioned, one of the hardest parts of PSB is the idea that the body we present on stage is the body we expect to keep year round. This is simply a ridiculous expectation. Maintaining too low body-fat for too long has been proven to cause a laundry list of adverse effects. Here’s just a few FYI…

  1. Serious heart problems
  2. Lack of energy
  3. Abnormal hormone level fluctuations
  4. Extended time for muscle recovery
  5. Low bone density

… just to name a few. On the flip side, massive weight gain post-show is just as harmful! I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard about metabolic damage, thyroid and adrenal shut down, pitted ademia and even a few overnight hospital visits due to binge eating/drinking. Talk with your coach and be sure to have a set plan for reverse dieting out of contest prep. Set short term goals and continue to check-in during the upcoming weeks. Sometimes a little accountability can go a long way.

SIDE NOTE:

I urge each and every one of my competitors, and I urge you now, to please, please, PLEASE get your blood work done regularly both before and after competition. (But that’s for a different article ;)! )

 

GO AHEAD… TAKE A LOAD OFF:

Chances are, you’ve been go-go-go for awhile now. Between early morning, fasted cardio sessions to all day meal prep adventures to those midnight-thirty training sessions, mixed with a solid dose of everyday living, I’d say you’ve earned a little R&R. Use this time to sit back and reflect on what you’ve accomplished! Allow yourself to reset your focus and shift your attentions to those things that fell to the wayside during prep (job, family, friends, etc.) Heck! Maybe even do something nice for yourself! One of my favorite post show pampers is a good ol’ deep tissue massage. It’s just the trick to help work out all the tweaks and cramps from the past few weeks of putting my body through the ringer.

 

YOU CAN’T RUSH A PREP THANG:

Many of us feel the best way to get over their blues is to get back right back on the horse. I’m not talking about mapping out a schedule of shows for the year; I’m talking about rushing into shows in order to avoid the downhill turn. I cannot encourage you to avoid this enough. You may be under the impression that this will sway these negative feelings but frequently it’s just a sure fire way to get burned out all together. Take some much deserved time off and when the time is right, when LIFE is right, prepare for a competition that you want to do and not one you feel like you need  to do.

 

There are loads of healthy ways to feel not so down in the dumps about finishing a prep and stepping away from the stage. I recommend them all. Keeping a positive outlook and embracing realistic goals is key! Trust me when I say, there will be plenty of shows next year and many more experiences to be had. The best advice I can give, and my final thoughts… The stage, competing… it’s a HOBBY!

Bodybuilding… now that’s a Lifestyle!

 

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