Nov 26

Competition Blues

When a big event ends it’s a little sad.


What do I DO if I’m not planning and prepping?!

Rest is a good thing, but it can be a hard thing to swallow.  I’ve heard people talk about feeling down after races, weddings, babies… and competitions.  This time around I’m feeling it more than I did before.  I think it’s because I know it’s going to be a long time before I compete again (more on that below).


Today’s Work It Out is my attempt to get over it by focusing on lessons learned at Kentucky Muscle and The Rocky, and getting excited to make improvements.


Season 2 Lessons Learned

1.  Support is Invaluable

Having my trainer and 2 very good friends around throughout the process made it 100x easier.  Surround yourself with positive people, even better if they can empathize.  Heather and Lisa are versatile friends – they were the perfect partners-in-crime in Napa for my 30th and for competing!

Check out the transformation from July to November (photo-editing courtesy Heather):

From Napa to the stage

From Napa to the stage


2. Big Shows are Tough

I’m not talking just the level of competition (though it is harder).  I’m talking mentally.  They are long, long days.  The Rocky show was the most disorganized situation I’ve ever seen.  They let too many people enter, causing the show to run so far behind that my group was just getting on stage for pre-judging when the evening show was supposed to begin.  That show began 2 hours late… by the time we went to stage again I no longer cared even a little bit.

Rock out

It was an exercise in patience, rolling with the punches.  Thank you for the lesson… but never will I ever do a Colorado show again.  In near-ish the future I plan to stick to smaller shows.  If you chose them right, they are still competitive but you don’t end up wasting so much time.  I get that they want to make money, but there needs to be a cut off for entries.  It’s not fair to the athletes or the people who buy tickets.


3. Celebrate Small Victories

Not placing Top 5 doesn’t mean you can celebrate the small victories.  It’s no secret that I hate posing.  It’s as far out of my comfort zone as you can get.  Lisa, who has seen me almost since day 1, watched me in Colorado and said it’s the best I’ve never done.

Now I need to work on GROWING… Open comparisons side


4. Growth Takes Time 

I’ve gained a lot over the past 2 years, but I’m still too small.  I feel like I look big in the gym lifting, but then you put me next to the other women and I look tiny.  My trainer, Steve, has been telling me I need to take a year off to really grow.  Competing every 6 months or so means I cut too often and lose some of the gains I make.

Steve and me

So I’ve decided to listen to Steve’s advice.  I’m taking a year off to grow.  This is contributing to the “blues” because I love having a goal line.

(I’m not always the best listener ← understatement of the year.)


5. Food is Good

My nutrition plan leading up to competition wasn’t so restrictive that I was miserable.  You CAN compete in a healthy way.  It doesn’t have to be tilapia and asparagus (click here for the “why” on asparagus) for months.  You never need to be hungry (I stayed full!).

Towards the end you do need to keep with super clean and avoid anything that could bloat.  For me, that meant a couple of weeks that were heavy on the white fish and asparagus.  I cooked 2 pans of it for Heather and me the day before our competition!

Photo courtesy of Heather

Photo courtesy of Heather, whose spice drawer I could move into.


The happy part about a bulk year is that I get to have alllll the foods!

Heather’s husband, Kirk, help me kick it off right when he made smoked salmon and eggs benedict for us the morning after the competition.  I am still dreaming of this:


“I can’t wait to find out what happens on page number two.” ~Jennifer Nettles, Page #2


Check out Heather’s Rocky recap here.   I’m excited she’s already planning her return to the stage!

Have you ever experience the post-event blues?  What do you do to cheer up?

Who is on your support team?  Tell them how thankful you are this week!



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  1. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta

    I think it is a difficult transition. After training for so long, working toward a goal, I can see that it would feel strange when that goal is completed. Just try to enjoy your off time, listen to your coach, and rest. Restrictive or not, training for a competition like that takes its toll.

    1. Laura

      Wise words… I’m not doing so well on the rest, but it feels good with a whole lot of good fuel (read: no more asparagus). ;)

  2. lucie@swissfitchick

    I can only imagine how difficult the post competition time is, and believe me, I would have the hardest time. I think you are doing great by reflecting all your work and what’s ahead of you. I think as long as you are aware that the time after the competition is tricky, then you are already half safe – at least that’s what I try to do when I feel blue – keep awareness up so I don’t fall. PLUS, try to enjoy your freedom, hang out with your favorite people and do everything what you couldn’t do while competing! (aka: eat chocolate and cheese – at least that’s what I would do :-) )

    1. Laura

      Thank you, Lucie! I definitely enjoyed my fill over the holiday. ;)

  3. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen

    I always get post event blues!!! Post wedding, Post holidays, Post vacation, Post you name it!!! There is so much build up (which I love) and then the fact that the THING I have been working for or looking forward to for such a long time is gone is always hard for me to deal with…not gonna lie I usually get over it with a good cry :)

    1. Laura

      Awwww! I am not a crier, but I actually came close a couple of times. It’s so much heart and soul… and you’re SO tired at the end.

  4. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    It’s always a little anti-climatic when something you’ve been working so hard for is finally done. It’s like, Now what? I get it, and as cliché as it is, time will make it better. I also think a new goal may be the perfect replacement, and I know what your new goal should be: a trip to Cleveland. I will help you bulk. ;)

    1. Laura

      I can feel you twisting my arm… I do like grilled cheese. ;)

  5. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables

    I’m so proud of you girl! I can’t wait to see your transformation over the next year. Come back to Louisville and compete… although they were running behind too it seemed like! :)
    You can always come visit me for a good cheering up. We can have our mini Blend reunion!

    1. Laura

      Thank you!!! I really do want to do a mini Blend on this coast. We need to see each other more than once a year! :)

  6. mary @ minutes per mile

    as a runner, it’s sad when you’ve trained for a marathon for months and then suddenly, it’s over. i try to get over the post-race blues by signing up for another smaller race like a 5k, which helps me stay focused but also get some rest!

  7. Purelytwins

    girl you are doing the right thing for your body! you will be amazed how you will look and feel after a year.

  8. Amy @ The Little Honey Bee

    I can definitely relate to post-X blues. I think the hardest part, as you said, is the transition and change into a new routine. But with most things, it gets easier with time. It is fun to see you posting pictures of chocolate bars on Instagram though :) you deserve ALL the food!

    1. Laura

      LOL! Those Japanese KitKats are going to be the death of me. ;)

  9. Lee

    I feel like that every time I complete a longer race. No real advice, since I usually just sign up for another, but try to enjoy your break.

    Plus, now we can get that Ethiopian food, right? Let’s set a date.

    1. Laura

      YES!!! Shall I bring it to your bedside?

  10. Lindsay @ Lindsay's List

    i think a year will make a world of difference!! here’s to all the bacon!

    1. Laura

      There has been SO much bacon!

  11. Kristina

    I am SO HAPPY for you in your successes! and SO HAPPY you can see there are improvements.

    *sigh* I have DEFINITELY experienced post event blues – in a different sort of way… after my ski accident and subsequent three knee surgeries, I can no longer play tennis (after PT I tried – my knee is not as strong as it once was, and running sideways I just… fall). I am also “scared” to ski like I used to, I no longer feel comfortable on the double diamonds and the jump trails. dealing with the transition from my two favorite sports simultaneously was very difficult for me – especially tennis, it really was my life. I tried to continue teaching for a while, it was hard to BE at the racquet club I grew up in and not play.

    oops. sorry for the novel.

    love ya – I am still trying to figure out a way to see you in December!! <3

    1. Laura

      Injuries are so tough… I still protect my jaw when I’m doing anything with impact.

      I want to see you!!!

  12. Parita @ myinnershakti

    I’m sure you’ll find some awesome things to focus on this year! I, for one, can’t wait to follow along and see what kinds of kitchen creations you come up with!

  13. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    I think that taking some time off after an event can definitely feel anti-climactic, but it’s great to know that you’ll have something else to compete in down the road!

  14. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    Having a support team is SO important. Love the lessons learned. Since I don’t really follow strict training plans for races, I stopped having the post race blues. But I sure did after my first few. It was like, ok, now what. I did that after following a strict 3 month periodized weight rotation as well (Cathe Friedrich’s STS series). But sometimes it can be a little bit liberating not to be stuck to a plan for a bit.

    1. Laura

      Liberating is the perfect word – these past couple of weeks have been so nice.

  15. Jody - Fit at 56

    It is a great post Laura & I do get in so many ways.. but for me, I never missed it once I was done.. yes, the total leanness but nothing else – it was way out of my comfort zone & hard both years.. once I was done, I was glad to get back to regular life! :) I do agree with your trainer though on time to grow – you need that but man, you really made great progress from the first time! AND you all look amazing! WOW on the transformations!!!!

    1. Laura

      Thank you SO much! I do love to get back to it… I’m too competitive for my own good. I need a finish line. And hopefully a sword next time. ;)

  16. Amanda @runtothefinish

    I have written before about post race blues because it is something a lot of people experience. I think some of it is the loss of a near goal, but it’s also the huge excitement and outpouring of love excitement that happen during the event and then …uhh nada. :) Can’t wait to see what you do in this next year of growing

    1. Laura

      That is so true! All the fanfare… and then you go home.

  17. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Post-race/competition blues stink – I think it’s because the next goal is so far away. This time around it’s been weird, since I went straight to a conference (awful idea), then got sick over the weekend, and now it’s Thanksgiving week. I need to get myself back in the gym and on a schedule for my sanity. Next week. :)

    I can’t wait to see what you’re going to accomplish over the next year – I know you’re going to do great things!

    1. Laura

      I still can’t believe you’ve kept going so hard after! I hope you get some down time now. And ski season. ;)

  18. Nicole @ FruitnFitness

    I hope your able to enjoy your time off, especially with Thanksgiving this week. Hopefully the time away from competing will help you to reach your goals. I feel like a lot of times there is a post ‘something’ blues. I usually feel it after a visit with my family. I get so excited to see them and then after its always sad not knowing how long it will be until we get to see each other again, so all the excitement is gone.

  19. Jess @ JessieBear

    Haha you look so cute diving into that spice drawer!

  20. Kierston

    I definitely have and posted on it many-a-times before. I totally know how it feels not to be working towards a goal …and be left with the ‘now what’ frame of mind.

    I have an amazing support system. My family, my friends, my TEAM and of course, my SuperFit :)

    1. Laura

      You’ve always been a good voice of reason there – balance is so important. And the supports!

  21. Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

    After a year of training AND growing, you will be FANTASTIC! The competition might be over – but you have still have a lotta “sprinting” to do towards your next competition a year away! :)
    Cannot wait to see ALL your eats!

    1. Laura

      Thank you!!! I am enjoying sprinting to the eats now. ;)

  22. Randi

    My post competition blues are that I won’t see you backstage at a show next year! :( besides that no blues yet bc like you I am taking off season to grow and build a better physique. I’m excited to take this time to eat and lift heavy!!

    1. Laura

      Awwww! You might – I’m definitely going to come to some shows.

      Building season is the best. Can’t wait to help you out with the bulking in ATL soon. ;)

  23. Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's

    While I don’t know much about the competition world it sounds like you are doing a wonderful thing for you (no matter how hard it may be) and sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing. I wish you all the success for a growth year!

    1. Laura

      Thanks Kelly! It’s a lot of fun to keep being challenged. :)

  24. chelsea

    So incredibly proud of you :)

  25. Anonymous

    I understand you wanting to grow, but let me just say, YOU LOOK AMAZING! Great job and I can’t wait to see what this next year brings you!

  26. Lydia

    I didn’t mean to be anonymous ^ ^ ^

    1. Laura

      Thank you!!! I’m looking forward to some heavy lifting.

  27. Alex @ therunwithin

    I think like anything – the after is always like what???? at least it doesn’t have to be your last!

  28. Jolynn @ Lift Pray Love

    Oh man.. I was horrrrible after my first competition. I bawled my eyes out. I competed in the same class as one of my teammates and she won our class and the overall. I was totally bummed but grew SO much looking back at it. Life is sneaky at teaching us lessons, even when we don’t realize it at the moment we’re in it.

    1. Laura

      Oh no!!! It is such an emotional rollercoaster… and you’re so much more emotional when you’re so tired and depleted.

  29. Hannah

    Even when you don’t have the specific goal of a competition in several months’ time, you always have the goal of being f*cking fabulous. Even better? That’s a goal you win at every day.

    1. Laura

      I love you. Cheers to being fucking fabulous.

  30. calee

    LOL the pic of you throwing the double devil horns = how I imagine you prep for every competition. :) Work it.

    1. Laura

      You know I do! My trainer just looks at me blankly.

  31. Your Trainer

    Thank you for listening. Now it’s time to bulk correctly and lift an insane amount of weight. :-)

  32. janet @ the taste space

    The journey is always the best part. I know it sounds cliche but it is true. And it sounds like you have always been having fun, so you are still a winner. Bring on the bulking! More calories, FTW!

  33. lindsay

    i’m so proud of you for embracing the journey. I kinda think the after part is the hardest, yes? But we’re here to support and sherpa you through and through!

    1. Laura

      I’m so lucky to have your sherpa-force behind me. :)

  34. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    It sounds like you have post-pregnancy depression, LMFAO! Except – FAR FROM IT!!!!! You are seriously my idol! The fact that you can put yourself through these competitions is CRAZY! I know I say this ALL THE TIME but I wish that we lived closerrrr!! We would have WAYY too much fun!

    1. Laura

      Yes… except thank GOD no baby to show for it.

      You should move to ATL. We would make the kitchen explode. ;)

  35. She Rocks Fitness

    I cannot wait to see what happens with this year off for you! It will be really cool to watch you grow. You get after it woman…YOU ROCK! :)

  36. Choc Chip Uru

    You have achieved so much so far, and we are always going to support as you lift and succeed even more :D
    You are inspiring :D


  37. Alex @ Alex Tries it Out

    I completely get the let down. The worst I had it was right after my marathon – with no immediate plans for a next long run in site, I got the blues big time! But it sounds like you’ve got the right perspective on it, and I can’t wait to see how well you do when you return to the stage!

  38. Alexis Hones-Hardy

    I had my knee surgery scheduled for 2 weeks after my first show. Talk about depressing! I came off the high of winning my first show to being miserable. I stayed in bed pretty much the whole time I wasn’t in class or at work. I went to visit my coach at the gym and seeing how down I was he forced me to work out….in my jeans!! Needless to say I felt much better. The blues after a show and prep are so real!

    1. Laura

      Steve was right – you get to tell everyone you’ve got a winning record. LOL! You will be back kicking booty in no time!

  39. Annette@FitnessPerks

    Well I think you look FANTASTIC and I am very proud of you! You’ve worked so so hard!

    I do agree though, that after a big event there is definitely some ‘blues’ that go along with it. Way to keep your chin up! That next comp will be here before you know it….and in the meantime, you get to eat ALL the foods! ;)

  40. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Aww I touched a little on this in my post today. I feel a bit lost at the moment – my last comp was a month ago and I might not be competing for another 15 months potentially! It’s just such a long time to wait when I’m so antsy. It makes training hard because you feel like you have heaps of time, so why even bother trying. Well, maybe that’s just my mentality ;) I know I should be using this time to my full advantage and trying to kill it as much as possible, but it’s deflating when the goal is such a loooong way away.

    1. Laura

      Thanks, Tara! It sounds like we’re in the same boat right now. Too bad we can’t train together! Patience will pay off… and at least it’s time to eat!

  41. Christine

    I’d be dreaming about that too. Yum! I am having the same commotion but in regards to blogging focus – kind of feel I lost it after I completed my marathon. You look great Laura! I love the pics. Especially the musclehead graph.

    1. Laura

      I’ve heard that comparison a lot – I’m begging Heather to write a comparison post!

      Thank you!

  42. Lisa Traugott

    I go through the post-competition blues too! I can’t wait for January, because that’s when my show prep starts. Your two hour wait sounds like quite an ordeal! You look great; can’t wait to read more of your posts.


    1. Laura

      You’re really close then!!! Lucky you. :) Good luck with the prep, and enjoy the holiday treats in the meantime.

  43. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    So excited to follow you in this new journey for the next year- and then see you hit the competition stage to twerk the competition away. I swear these days I can’t converse/tweet/instagram you without using that word. DAMN MILEY.

    1. Laura

      Haha – it’s ALL her fault. Damn twerking ball.

  44. Christina @ the athletarian

    Yay for bulking!! Isn’t eating ALLLL the foods the best?! I totally get what you mean about the blues. I get them post race all the time and find myself hurrying to find something else to train for. Sometimes you just need the break though. To eat. Obviously.

    1. Laura

      It is!!! As much as I wish I was competing sooner, it’s been fun to already be feeling stronger in the gym. Fueled by bacon. LOL!

  45. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Yay for YOLKPORN!!! How could you possibly be blue with all that yellow?! ;)

  46. Allie

    I know what you man about feeling down after a big event! It’s like … What’s next?!

    I know you will achieve your bulking goal though! Way to take the time to achieve it, too!

  47. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

    I get post-race blues a lot, but then I just sign up for more races … which may defeat the purpose to your point of taking a year to bulk! But since I’m not trying to bulk (or become a professional runner!) I prefer to just keep it going, unless my body is telling me I need some time to rest, which usually happens about once per year. Glad you’re going to get some time to enjoy delicious foods and create recipes for us :)

    1. Laura

      I miiiiight have planned an adventure race (or two) to tide me over. ;)

      1. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

        !!!!!!!!!!!!!! So exciting!

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