I Won! Now What? (6-Minute Read)

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Connie Pretula

Connie Pretula is an inspiring health coach and Menopause Navigator to mature women, using a holistic approach to nutrition and life.

June 7, 2013

It has been a while since my last post. Even though I took a leave from work, I found myself very busy and took more time to rest, which was a good thing. 

I won third place in my category at the Western Canadian Bodybuilding Competition in Kelowna BC on May 18 2013. My category was Master Figure Class B. 

The day was surreal! I was so excited that I didn’t sleep well the night before. I was envisioning the next day and accepting my trophy. 

The day started early, 6 am, as the hairstylist would be there at 6:45. Once my hair was done had to take pictures for my nutrition coach so she could tell me what to eat. Lucky me, 4 ounces of chicken and only small sips of water. Next was makeup and then dawning my competition suit. 

Once everything was done and I looked in the mirror I was amazed at what I saw, eight months of hard work and dedication had all come together. My roommate and fellow competitor in another Figure category, Valerie Proust, stated it best, she said she was emotionless. Yes, that’s exactly how I felt! We giggled at our dramatic makeup, looked at each other and said alright let’s get over to the theater, it was showtime!

Once we arrived at the venue there were the last-minute checks on our tans, then the glazing so our bodies would shine under the lights and gluing our suits into place, talk about up close and personal with strangers. 

Then you wait. It was an hour and a half before my category was called to check in and line up. Next is the pump-up room. My nutrition coach Nicki Pimm told me to have an ounce of red wine right before the pump up, it gets your blood moving which makes your muscles bigger. 

I wasn’t sure how I would feel while pumping up, would I be comparing myself to others?

Not at all, I was in a zone. I didn’t care what anyone else looked like or what their suit was like, I was there to present “me” and my hard work. 

While waiting behind the curtain to go on stage I was calm, focused and asked the universe to channel my posing coach Steely Springham. 

The moment came! I stepped out and it seemed as if I was on autopilot. I presented everything I had practiced for months, it was like a virtual checklist was in front of me. 

We first present ourselves, then we are brought out in groups and then we are called out once more so the judges can do their final comparison. I knew that if I was in the first call out it would be a very good sign. 

I was called first! When I heard my number, inside I was jumping up and down and saying “f#%k yeah!” On the outside, I was confident and continued to hold my composure. 

Once the judges were happy, that was it, we were done for the pre-judging and could go for lunch and have some water, yay!

We had about five hours to relax, snooze and then freshen ourselves up for the trophy presentation. 

My trainer/coach Nico De Feo was confident I had made the top three. 
The atmosphere was far more relaxed for the evening show. The nervous butterflies had calmed down and everybody feels better once they have had a bit of food and water.
It was time for my category to go out on stage again. We presented our hard work one last time, now they will call out the top five competitors. Yes, I am in the top five! Finally, my number is called for the third-place trophy. I can’t stop smiling, oh wait I haven’t stopped smiling since I first stepped on stage that morning.
Someone asked me if I cried or had tears when I was given the trophy. I said no way, I worked hard for that recognition, tears weren’t necessary.
The one thing I was so glad about was that my mom was there to see me receive my trophy, she said she was so proud of me! 
We all went out for a celebratory meal which included dessert. We were all tired, it had been a long day.
Sunday morning came and now life is different. No menu provided by our nutrition coach for the day. No need to take pictures to send to her. No scheduling of workouts for the week. No scheduling of posing practice. 
I could now eat what I wanted and felt lost, what should I eat? How do I eat clean again, I had been told for 6 months what to eat every day.
There is also the urge to get back in the gym, but the last few weeks are hard on the body and it needs a break.
Every morning after that I woke up and the first thing I did was look in the mirror to make sure my muscles were still there. I was still eating the same way but slowly incorporating some new foods.
I had a week to relax and then get ready to go back to work. I found myself craving chocolate and sweets. Chocolate I can’t resist. But I was feeling guilty for my indulgence. I could feel there was something on my mind troubling me but couldn’t put my finger on it.
Finally, it came to me yesterday morning! I was putting pressure on myself to maintain as close to my competition body as I could. After all many people told me I was an inspiration to them, how could I now suddenly start to put on weight? Also, I would be visiting my old hometown in a few weeks and all my friends wanted to see me and I felt they wanted to see my amazing toned body. I talked to a friend of mine and told her what was troubling me and she quickly set me straight. She said it was not the fact I had this amazing body that inspired people it was the fact that I set my goal and did not let anything stop me. With all the challenges I had faced, I kept going and in the end, won! She said that is what inspired everyone. She said you are human and you are allowed to satisfy your cravings, no one will fault you for that.
I think one of the most amazing things on this journey is all of the people who have been there for me when I needed to talk through emotional hurdles. I am truly blessed.

Thank you for reading my words.

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