A little back history, I had originally decided to compete in the Fall of 2014. I found a trainer, started prepping my food, decided on a show and with only two weeks in, I found out that I was pregnant. The dream was put on hold and I was secretly happy. I had an out in case I failed and a reason for the nightly Buster Bar blizzards that I was already missing. However, after our son was born and I had survived the three months of sleepless nights, I decided it was time to try again. More so, I was actually mentally ready this time to succeed.

{picking a show} I probably could have done more research when I first decided on which federation and shows to compete in because there are many options, each looking for something slightly different. But in true Shauna fashion, I found one that fit my timeline {thanks Google} and made the decision before I had even hired my trainer Karen. When I told her that I wanted to compete in the NPC Gopher State Classic she told me how long our prep would be and actually recommend taking a year to build my baby muscles and then complete if I wanted to truly be competitive and place. But me, wait? No way. I “heard” her professional recommendations and we started training.

The bucket list to compete really did start with one show but it quickly turned into two, almost three within weeks. I mean, since I’m already prepping what’s ANOTHER show, right? Thankfully, I decided to be smart with my new passion and take it slow versus going big and potentially burning myself out year one. We added the DFAC Diva Classic four weeks after the Gopher Classic and kept training.

Both federations want a feminine figure with muscle definition and a great stage presence. The posing requirements and time on stage was a bit different but both were similar enough that training simultaneously wasn’t an issue.

{the training} What is your training like? How long are you at the gym everyday? What do you eat? There is so much more to training for a fitness competition than just the time you put in at the gym or in the kitchen. Yes I was at the gym for hours a day, many times splitting my workouts up so I could get it all in. I would wake up at 4:30 am to be at the gym by 5:00 am for my daily conditioning of kickbacks, lunges and abs followed by my 30 minutes of cardio. Then I would bring little man to daycare and head to work. At night after he went to bed I would head back for my lifting and posing practice. On Sunday’s I would spend hours prepping my meals for the entire week, usually as little man napped and the hubby worked.

I knew that the training was going to be tiring and tough, however it was the mental ‘training’ that I didn’t expect or plan for. I didn’t expect to be so tired that my brain would be in a complete mental fog for 18 weeks. I didn’t expect on being so tired that I would literally fall asleep on the floor while playing with little man.

I didn’t plan on truly being away from my family for hours a day or missing out on those early memories with my son. I knew it would take time in the gym but I didn’t really think of the things I would be missing as a consequence of my decision to compete. As a mom, that was a huge sacrifice and there were days that I wanted to quit. Not because I craved certain foods or my muscles ached but because I missed my family. I missed my sons laugh. I missed watching him explore and learn new things. I missed my husband. And when I was with him, I was crabby and short instead of showing him gratitude for taking care of our son while I was chasing my goal. Because at the end of the day, this was my goal, not his and even still he was living it with me.

I also didn’t plan to find and love myself the way that I did. At age 36, I finally stopped believing that I was nothing more than the “bitch” many thought me to be. I finally started to let my walls down and allowed people to know the real me, mainly because I was finally figuring it out for myself. And after some tense conversations and reality slaps in the face, I finally started to treat my husband like he deserved and our marriage has been growing stronger as a result.

This is a mere sample of the mental training I didn’t expect or plan for. I could really go on and on {and probably would have if I posted during prep like I intended to!}. It’s the part of competing that people don’t really talk about, yet it’s the part of competing where I feel like I gained the most.

{to be continued…}

shauna ♥

may you find inspiration in the big picture, but find love in the details

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