We sat down with our athlete ambassador Rachel Jacobsohn (www.instagram.com/racheljacobsohn) for a Q&A on how to stay focused pre-comp and WBFF comp prep tips!
How do I stay motivated during comp prep?
Staying motivated during comp prep has to come from internal drive. Hopefully you have made the decision to compete for reasons that are close to your heart, not to satisfy anybody else or any other craving. I personally find initial motivation for prep is quite intense as I enthusiastically hit my macronutrient goals and tick off training session with energy and relative ease. However as calorie intake decreases and training (usually cardio) increases there is usually a point where I find myself struggling more so than in the initial few weeks. This struggle can be both a physical and a mental challenge and anyone who has competed can relate. The degree to which you feel the pinch depends entirely on the individual as calorie intake and training levels vary depending on the intensity required for you to reach the aesthetic requirements of your division.
Staying motivated comes down to looking after myself physically and mentally. To achieve this I limit the negative physical impacts of prep as much as possible by correct supplementation, plenty of sleep and water and most importantly ensuring I am guided by a coach who is well educated and holds my health in his best interest, not my comp placing. If I am feeling better physically I undoubtedly feel better mentally, although there is a point where the physical effects often become beyond uncomfortable in the final few weeks. It is at this point a sense of confidence and self-assurance is vital. I remind myself everyone is completely different and that my biggest competition is myself. In the past I have compared myself to my competition and I can say from experience that this is a complete waste of time and it achieves nothing except self doubt.
My biggest motivation is focusing on myself and my weekly progress – it IS a sport focused on physical appearances and if you are putting in the work behind the scenes it WILL show. Stay true to this and the mental strength will follow.
Tips for comp prep
Stay accountable – to your coach AND to yourself.
Drink plenty of water. You literally cannot have enough and it helps hunger cravings.
Organise your bikini and/or costumes EARLY. You do NOT need this stress in the last few weeks!
Ask someone to come along with you on your competition day to carry your bags, help pump you up and provide post stage chocolatey goodness. It will be needed.
Plan your meals and prepare them in advance to ensure you are not tempted to fall off the dieting wagon!
Be nice to your friends and family. At the end of the day no one cares about your prep as much as you, and its important to understand it is a choice and its not everybody else’s fault you can’t eat an entire block of chocolate in one sitting.
Take weekly photos and don’t judge progress from the scales alone. They are shifty devices which do not take into account hormonal fluctuations and have a horrible habit of making you feel worse even if you physically look leaner.
Do not compare yourself or be tempted to social media stalk your competition. Its a waste of mobile data and energy!
Remember to focus energy on other aspects of your life – your relationships can disintegrate if you do not put the effort in to keep them. Not everyone will understand your journey and it may be hard when you don’t have much energy but making the effort to even just grab a coffee with friends rather than a big carby dinner will be greatly appreciated.
Don’t get so caught up in the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey. While some days may be harder than other, appreciate the small wins and take note of how your body reacts to different methods of training and nutrition. This is valuable knowledge for the future and it’s exciting to see the changes you are working so hard for. Enjoy it!
Favourite “cheat” meals during comp prep
I track my macronutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates) throughout my comp so I do not get the opportunity for big ‘cheat meals’. My calorie total is worked out for the week depending on my progress with high and low carb days. My macronutrient goals change as my body responds to being in a calorie deficit and this is constantly monitored and adjusted by my coach.
That being said, post comp I always head straight for a burger, pizza and ice cream! Top picks are Grill’d Burgers, Crust Pizza and Gelato Messina. Can’t go wrong! I also enjoy fitting these into my macronutrients as I reverse diet post comp – that is, slowly add calories back in incrementally while monitoring my weight and measurements.
Goal setting and staying focused
The most important thing for goal setting is that you choose them then write them down! I set my goals by choosing training, academic (as I am studying), career, financial and personal (something to build character such as participating in volunteer work) challenges at the start of the year and then put them up on my wall at home. Make them SMART – specific, measurable attainable, relevant and timely and jog it all down! With a pen, not an iPad or your phone! I’m quite a vision learner and having my goals displayed on my wall help me remember them and the work required daily to achieve them. Writing them down really does help too – I was given this advice a couple of years ago and it has been invaluable. It is actually proven to increase your changes of achieving them by 80%!
Prior to writing this post I looked my current goals for 2016 and my progress towards achieving them so far. Already I have achieved half of them and I am well on the way to achieving the others! Stay focused and be realistic of yourself and the time frame, but make sure you are ambitious. Just because something seems unattainable don’t write it off, make it a long term goal rather than short term goal and set smaller challenges to set you on the right path. I strongly believe your goals should be so big they scare you! Reward yourself for the small wins and pick yourself up from the knock backs. It’s how you react when things don’t go your way that make you stronger coming into your future challenges!