A big winter shout out to all my fit hunnies!
In South Africa we are smack bang in the middle of winter and I know this, not only from the cold weather but more so, from all the open treadmills during peak hours! Shame on you! Does your gym membership even still work, huh? Tough question I know! But here is a rude awakening, the gym is definitely still open, JVL is still catering for all your nutritional needs and you are getting one day closer to summer right now!
With that said...even though we really cannot complain about the weather we have had up till now, I have noticed that so many peeps are falling ill with the dreaded winter flu. Mr. Sniffelscame early this winter and I am writing this especially to my fellow fitness competitors out there. As competition season is drawing near, I need you all to stay super healthy, hydrated and taking the maximum amount of those JVL vitamins that you possibly can.
Imagine working to achieve that physique for months now and come competition season, you just get an immune system overload and crash! Ah shame, I feel ‘ya pain! You are surely not alone!!!
When I made my first international debut I was terribly ill so much so that I really did think that all the prep, flying and mental preparation might have been in vain. Take a 26 hour flight, an overcrowded cheap seat plane ride and a depleted body and you will certainly get one sick puppy! When we arrived in Las Vegas Jacques had to take me to the Doctor because we really thought it was that serious. Who goes to a Doctor in Vegas without wanting to get treated for alcohol poisoning!? Needless to say, Coach Jacques came to the rescue and bought me every single vitamin, mineral and herbal tablet with a high mix of digestive enzymes. The day of the show I was still sick, but much better after a 4 day high dose of Jacques’ natural concoctions! After winning that show with a bloated stomach, I went on to also another pageant a week later on. I guess I was just too determined and you just cannot keep a skinny girl down! Then, last year at my Pro debut, same exact thing! A day before we flew overseas the Doctors’ cleared me to fly! Phew! (Like I would have stayed...?!!)
So you see, I fully empathize with all your e-mails and messages I have been receiving asking me what you should do, how you can prevent this and most of all...should you still push through and compete.
(First competition I won whilst being ill)
You just do not say “no” to me. Especially not after I have given it my absolute everything and more. So from the above, it’s clear what my opinion is, but remember that I got better and on the day of the show I was not 100% but I could say to myself that I competed amidst all the obstacles that came in my way. I know that if I was still ill on the day of the show to such a state that it would be dangerous for my health, I would not have competed. But I felt strong enough, to not only compete, but to win!
(The Second Competition I won that year after being sick)
Some might say that this is due to Performance Anxiety...
Here are a few tips that may help if you think that this might be the reason for you feeling this way:
Reduce Performance Anxiety before the Event
- Recognize that pre-comp jitters are normal;
- Prepare both mentally and physically;
- Visualize your goal.
Reduce Performance Anxiety during the Event
- Focus on the task at hand rather than the outcome. You only compete with yourself;
- Force a smile. Really.
- “Strut your stuff” on that stage like you just don't care about the outcome. After all, the outcome is inevitable and not within your control.
Reduce Performance Anxiety after the Event:
- Review the race and recall the things you did well.
- Acknowledge, but quickly dismiss things that hindered your performance.
- Design a training program that will focus on your weak points in your physique after you have objectively analyzed your post comp pics.
But, hello! Have you seen me on stage...that’s where I live...where I am at my happiest?! No anxiety there...all smiles, posing and flicking of my hair! Personally, I am of the opinion that your body is just under immense pressure, your immune system is running on empty and even though your mind is pushing through, your body has had enough. When your body is in such a dieted state, your immune system is often compromised the days before the show.
(2012...in sickness and in health...we shall train!!)
So my personal advice would be;
- If you are sick to the extent that a Doctor is against you straining your physique further by competing, then rest. Take time to reflect on how hard you have worked, how far you have come and make peace with the fact that some outcomes are just unpredictable and life cannot always be controlled;
- If you just feel a bit under the weather the best suggestion would always be to rest. When I was that ill, I did not train for 2 weeks before the comp. In fitness heaven, that’s gym-suicide. But hey, it turned out well for me. I found that my body responded so well to resting and I actually maintained my lean muscle mass. If you work hard and prepare long before the time, your muscle memory and conditioning will pull you though;
- Stop using artificial supplements and only focus on a high dose of Vitamins, Minerals and organic food and supplementation. Try to take a controlled intake of a multivitamin, fish oil or other omega-3 sources, joint support, and echinacea root extract basically anything for healthy living. Don't go off throwing back cough medicine either, take small dosages of them if needed and let your body do its best to fight off the sickness itself. Sweat it outsista’!
- Keep that water intake high, this will allow your body to clean out wastes and dispose of any dead bacteria or virus cells found in your body. Yes; I completely understand that you want and/or need and/or have to cut out water at this stage, but whilst being sick, that is not the route you want to go! If you are looking that good you do not have to dehydrate to that extent anyway!
- Get enough rest, sleep as much as you possibly can so that the body could be rested and strong to fight whatever needs a beating! (I’m sure I have placed an emphasis on rest by now...yeah...moving swiftly along!)
- But, as always, consult your physician first...as sometimes Doctor does know best!
“A study found that adults who slept for less than seven hours per night were almost three times more likely to develop symptoms of the common cold than those who slept more than eight hours per night.”
“...know that being at altitude has been shown to decrease immunity, though typically only after being above 10,000 feet for more than a week.”
(When the Pilot announces that you are now above 10,000 feet...drink water, vitamins and sleep, LOL!)
I have found that I have conditioned my mental state to such an degree that my mind will just tell my body to keep pushing through even though my muscles might be aching or I might be slightly ill. As fitness athletes we have bulked up our mind to be the strongest muscle in our bodies, do not let this muscle destroy your career and health for good. Be conscious of your mind, body and soul at all times and allow yourself the gift of healing!
Best of luck for this season and remember to smile and wave!!!
Yours in health,