Guest Blogger : Kriszta Kiss
Last year when I started with my coach the plan sounded so easy to follow and execute: mini-cut, transition into off-season then start preparing for the 5th of July Regional Qualifier. Little did we know back then, that the world will turn upside down.
The decision to jump from a PCA First Timer show straight into the NPC Federation for me seemed a huge step. New posing style, new posing heels, bikini. A different ball game and I felt the pressure to do well because this was my goal for 2020: step on a 2bros stage and place. Luckily when the lockdown was announced, I was only 1 week into prep, so instead of blaming the virus, I took it as a blessing in disguise the extended time to grow and improve.
I always try my best to stay positive, look at the bright side of things, and in all fairness, this worked for a good few days, but let’s be honest, it is quite hard when you cannot see your loved ones and on top of that no gyms are open.
Going to the gym helped and still helps me deal with everyday pressure, stress, and frustration. It keeps my mental health in place. Familiar right? The majority of us who love, live, and breathe this sport will agree with me.
But this time around the garden was my gym when the weather was nice, and the living room when it rained. This was one of the obstacles I had the go through.
I never did home workouts and I saw my living room as a place designed to watch movies or gather around with my friends/family. I had to remind myself thousands of times that this is temporary or close my eyes and envision myself on stage to get through the workout without a breakdown. Looking back at it, training in my garden was always more efficient as it wasn’t involved in my daily life up until the lockdown.
I needed a good few days to be at peace with what was going on and adjust. After overcomplicating the whole thing and thinking that the only way to progress is to be productive 24/7. I found the key, going back to the basics; paying close attention to the amount of time I’ve spent sleeping, had a target for my water intake and steps, nutrition, focused on the mind-muscle connection when it came to training. Actually without noticing I created the routine that helped me nail all these aspects as well as have time to rest and go to work.
I hated waking up early in the mornings but working from 7 in the morning ‘forced’ me into getting to like it. The idea of going on a walk when everything is quiet and empty, getting to see the sunrise, and having 1 hour purely for myself and my thoughts. Plus I preferred to train and do my walking early in the morning while fresh and not after a 12-hour shift, drained with little to no energy left in the tank.
Obviously, all the shows were either postponed or moved towards the end of the year which kept the fire burning in me. I didn’t know when I will be stepping on stage, but I was sure that it will happen. My coach and I decided to start a mini cut a few weeks before the gyms opened up again to put me into a great position, plus we knew that eventually, the new dates are going to be released soon. This is how I started my official prep for Ben Weider which took place on the 3rd of October in London.
This prep was a challenge. It made me look like I never looked before, but this meant that I paid the price for it. Lots of moments when I was fighting with my body. I had to keep going when I felt tired and sore from all the cardio on the stair master. I had to wake up and train when sleeping felt better than ever, and yes, towards the end my cravings got super high, and scrolling on food pages on Instagram didn’t help me either.
The way I see prep is a fight between your mind and body and you can win the battle only with your mind. You need to be mentally strong enough to say ‘no’ and keep going on in situations where you would rather stop and take a break. I am my own biggest enemy. I critique myself a lot, compare my physique to others on social media and this was my biggest mistake during the second prep, but also affected my mood and confidence during this second one. The tough parts were all the ‘you are not good enough’ moments. My ‘dark moments’ how I call it. These made me doubt my abilities, question if I gave my all even when I knew it very well that I did.
Unfortunately, I didn’t place at the Ben Wieder. Although I knew that I have to be leaner, it was still a tough pill to swallow, especially because every friend of mine was placed, but me. Yes, I was sad, disappointed, wanted to call it a day after my novice class, and go back to the hotel room and just eat my cupcakes. But this was part of the process, part of my journey. A wake-up call to push harder, and a test to see if I would stop right there or keep carrying on with my head held high. Looking back, I wouldn’t change this for anything. I signed up to do a competition and be judged on the way I looked on that certain day. I got that. It shook my confidence, but I kept thinking of these: second-ever show, first show with NPC, got over my binge eating and I’ve got this! Sometimes going down on memory lane and reminding yourself of all the obstacles you overcame and how many things you achieved is the best motivation and push.
The last piece of the pandemic prep series was the Mecca Classic. The last show of the season here in the UK, last chance to qualify for the British Finals and the 2021 Pro Qualifiers. A part of me went with it because I wanted to prove myself that I can get in leaner (I had 4 weeks instead of the planned 5 to do this), a part of me wanted to get the regional show out of the way and leave the focus on the pro qualifier for next year.
The last few weeks made me feel grateful and lucky that I got to do another show. The pandemic coming upon us with its second strike left so many people around me with no chances of competing in or outside of the country, so I tried to soak in every minute of the last days/weeks of this prep.
Makeup by Sorayu @raysofbeautybyrayray
And then lockdown was announced again. Exactly on the day when I was supposed to start my peak week, which meant that either they cancel the show, or bring it forward to Wednesday. So in less than 24 hours from 7 days out, I jumped straight into 4 days out, then unexpectedly on Monday, I found out that actually, I am competing on Tuesday and not Wednesday. Madness!!!
Here I experienced first hand why it is important to be ready earlier than peak week and save yourself from stress in case the show day gets moved. Regardless of the last-minute changes and pressure, I placed 3rd in a huge lineup which is my biggest achievement up to date.
Was 2020 crazy? Yes, but I wouldn’t change it. It taught me not to take anything and no one for granted. To appreciate the little things and to always have a plan B just in case. Grateful for getting the chance to showcase the hard work that was put into this and ready for another challenge this second lockdown (hopefully not for too long) with a bigger, better, and improved physique as a comeback!
By Kriszta Kiss
Thank you so much to Kriszta Kiss for guest blogging and sharing her journey to the stage with us. We cannot wait to see you sparkle in 2021! Buff Bombshell