As the days tick by to the Finals, us dieting bodybuilders are (we hope) getting leaner. With the shedding of body fat comes some odd and sometimes interesting experiences. Here, from the (increasing discomfort) of my office chair, are the good, the bad, and the weird of getting leaner…
Sitting down in one place for any length of time is no longer an enjoyable experience. In the car, on a chair, even on the sofa. It’s just… not comfy. Take a cushion with you at all times. Or at least one of those little inflatable pad things. (What’s that you say, they’re for people with piles? Oh well, whatever works!) And as for sitting on anything like a wooden bench, a garden chair or a stool… brother, please!
The body doesn’t want to be stage-lean. Why would it! So it teams up with the brain to try a few cunning tricks aimed at getting you to eat more so you put some body fat back on. Of course, it goes for the calorie-dense stuff. It’s not going to encourage you to eat more broccoli. Hence why yesterday I found myself wanting – really, really wanting – a fish finger sandwich. I do not like fish finger sandwiches. Given a choice of all foods, it would be way down there on the list with, oh I dunno, cheese scones. I can’t recall when I last had one and I can’t think when I last wanted one. But, sure enough, my brain tried to tell me yesterday that a fish finger sandwich would be just the thing.
Along with the random cravings comes super-sensitive-suggestibility levels. This is why I can’t fathom why dieting bodybuilders willingly watch things like the Food Network, or Man vs Food, whilst dieting. Sounds like self-induced torture to me. I’m so suggestible when dieting hard: a line in a book, a lyric in a song, an overhead snippet of conversation and all of a sudden my brain is saying “yes! yes, that food/ingredient/brand you just read/heard/saw? YOU NEED THAT IN YOUR LIFE!” I don’t, of course.
Stop the noise!
Is it just me? Or is noise… noisier, when you’re dieting and getting lean? In fact, all external stimulus seems pretty draining. Why that would be, I have no idea. It’s not like it takes energy to hear police car sirens wailing, TVs turned up that little bit too loud, or people standing outside your house having in-depth conversations about local gossip. But it sure feels as it it does! Just…. shhhh.
Ah, baths. Lovely hot bubbly baths. Bliss, right? No. Not when you’re getting very lean. You lower yourself in, lie back gingerly and finally get comfy. Then you have to sit up to turn the tap off/add more hot/increase the volume on Netflix. Ay carumba! What is that pain in your coccyx? Ah yes, it would be… the interface between bathtub and bum.
Hoodies in August?
It’s sunny outside. But I work inside, and I sit pretty still for prolonged periods of time. I end up feeling so cold that I’m currently wearing leggings, a hoodie, long socks and woolly slipper/boot things.
I’ve given in to the lure of the nap. Some afternoons, I just can’t function past about 4pm, so I go to bed for a nap. The flipside of this is that I am often awake and at my desk by 7am these days so, you know, it all evens out.
I don’t practice yoga, but there’s one yoga-esque move I can only do when I’m pretty lean: the crossed-legs bit of an “eagle” pose, where you wrap your lower legs around and behind each other, wrapping your foot around the ankle (this is why I don’t do yoga, I can’t even explain the moves to myself) The lady up there ^^^ is getting her eagle on. Quite possibly you can do this all the time, I certainly can’t.
And one last funny one…
…walking my dog this morning, I went to pop his lead around my waist as I sometimes do when I have no pockets in my clothes. Evidently it’s been a while since I wore clothes without pockets on a dog walk. The lead fell right down off me.
By the way please don’t take any of this as a poor old me whinge, I know full well this is my choice for a hobby a choose to pursue – and, what’s more, I know full well that I’ll be back up to comfy bodyfat levels once I’ve finished competing this year. No drama! Just – hopefully – a bit of a fun insight into bodybuilding life.
Let’s hear from you – other bodybuilders and anyone else who’s had to cut weight for a sport, or who’s lost significant amounts of weight for health or lifestyle reasons (like my mate Chris – have you read his 14 stone/88kgs weight loss story yet?) What funny (or not so funny!) tales do you have to tell from the edge… ?
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.