Everything has it’s price.
This week, German bodybuilder Kevin Vreeburg shared his competitive experience with Manners Magazine. He describes competition preparation as an experience unlike any other. It’s all-consuming and ruthless, yet at the same time adds direction and purpose to life – both sides of the coin become addictive.
He first shares the appeal of the stage:
“I love the adrenaline of a competition. The moment at which you can show what you have worked so hard for is brutal but gives a great rush. A rush that you soon want more of.”
He competes in Men’s Athletic Physique, and says that the endeavor is anything but healthy, as it includes dropping down to around 5% body fat.
“You can become quite selfish if you are not careful and that is something I caught myself last year. Relationships come under tension, social opportunities are at a low level and the goal comes first.
“The gym sessions will become more difficult as you get lower and lower in your fat. Your energy levels will be lowered and you will feel tired faster, but stopping is not an option.”
But Kevins says that the real danger is not in the physical taxation of prep, it is in the mental and emotional void which occurs after the competition. He says athletes can fall into a psychological ‘black hole’.
“You learn a lot about yourself during the preparations, but the danger for most lies in the period after the competition. There is talk of a ‘black hole,’ because after weeks of struggling, all hectic will suddenly come to an end. Whether it went well or badly: the goal has disappeared. The grip and structure were secretly very tasty .. And now?
“Now everything is suddenly allowed again: that cookie, ice cream, bag of chips, that extra sandwich. It does not matter anymore, because the goal is gone. You do not have a deadline, so for many people self-control and motivation disappears. Athletes arrive in kilos in a couple of weeks, often without exercising, which of course also has mental consequences.”
Kevin says that the most important remedy for this is to remind oneself that the journey itself is the goal. Being objectively driven is an excellent quality, but it is important to understand that objectives come and go – one must strive to stay focused throughout.