As I think back to our wedding last year and the vows we spoke to each other, the promises we pledged to each other and the commitment we made, I don’t think either of us anticipated the kind of support we would be soon providing to each other so early in our marriage.
I write this as I sit here at the dining table while Chris is in the kitchen preparing his own meals for the week. He knows now it is safe to be in the kitchen as I have finished my meal prep. “Is it ok for me to be in the kitchen now?” he asks as I am cleaning up. “Yep, it’s all yours” I respond as I waltz out of the kitchen with my 5th coffee for the day at 4pm in the afternoon.
This is our new normal. It has taken us some time, but during my preparation for my first body building competition we slowly worked out how to best manage my new priorities into our lives. Yes you read that right, MY priorities, that’s exactly what is was. You will hear quite often people refer to body building as a selfish – self-absorbed sport. You are of course ultimately being judged on your appearance at the end of the day and the preparation to get to that stage is grueling and intense if followed properly.
Your life ends up revolving around your training and your nutrition and the activities that support the success of those. For most people this is a strong shift in their daily routine and lifestyle and ultimately ends up impacting those around you. Your partner, your family, your friends even your work colleagues will all notice changes in you – both positive and not so positive aspects of it from their point of view.
As I am nearing the end of my first competition season – I have a mere 6 weeks in total left and then it’s all over, and I am starting to reflect on the past 18 weeks of official prep I have completed. I remembered what it was like for myself when I was supporting Chris through his prep and all the emotions and changes that came with that, and I started to wonder what it was like for Chris supporting me. Was it the same? Has he gone through the same struggles as I went through trying to support him? Have I been as crazy as he was at times or was I even worse? I figured for the sake of a healthy relationship that I should ask him and start to talk through how HE was actually feeling and how was HE coping given for the past many months I had for the first time – made myself my absolute priority. I was also very intrigued to see what it looked like from his point of view, as I don’t think I was ever THAT bad…. But I wanted to find out to be sure.
So here it is – for everyone’s reading pleasure, I interviewed Chris and have documented his honest un-censored responses. He has not been able to preview the questions, they have been asked point blank and I requested he answer immediately and honestly.
It’s worth noting that Chris refused to be interviewed until I agreed to play him in “Words with Friends” the online scrabble game…
Questions for Chris:
What’s the hardest thing you have found so far about supporting me while I have gone through this process?
“Trying not to eat a heap of shit in front of you because I know how hard it is when people do that. That is seriously probably the hardest part. I think also because you were heavily tracking during your offseason while I was in prep, once I finished I couldn’t just let loose you know – I still had to be mindful and keep myself on track for your sake. There were plenty of times that I just didn’t wanna hear about comp prep but sometimes you just have to pretend you are interested you know?, I didn’t want to bring your mood down and ruin it for you. You can still be supportive without being a blatant ass hole about things. Just because you are not interested doesn’t mean you can’t support someone, so I made every effort to still listen even when I didn’t want to.
Was there ever a point in time you wished I wasn’t doing this?
“Yeah – when we looked at the bank one day and there was literally $50 bucks in there – that was literally the only time. Knowing the cost of comps, bikinis and traveling was still ahead of us was scary knowing that at the time we had just finished renovating our house and put it on the market and had little to no money to our name. The stress of worrying we would run out of money and the thought that you wouldn’t be able to compete when I was able to go through this when we had money and didn’t have to worry – that was a bit fucked up. This was your dream before it was mine and the thought that after all this time you wouldn’t be able to compete because of money upset me.”
Given you have competed yourself – do you think that helped you prepare for the type of support you needed to provide me?
“Yep – 100%. Knowing what training and depletion you would be going through at some point in time and knowing that once you are closer to comp how you’re mental and physical state would be. Knowing that there would be days that you would literally be too fucked to do anything and you just can’t think either. Knowing that dealing with stress would be even harder for you during this, it made me more aware of the threshold sort of thing.”
From your perspective how do you think my moods have been through this prep?
“Roller coaster ride *Lots of laughter* But reasonably good. You were good to laugh at… you know the cheese grater incident and the many times you would just stand in the kitchen lost. It’s hard to be prepared for ..those types of mood swings but you just have to expect it and pick it up and run with it”
I know it might be hard to recall…but what are some of the craziest moments you have witnessed during my prep?
The cheese grater was definitely a big one! (Chris then continues to mock me pretending to play out the whole cheese grater incident) *Imitating me* “THIS is a TRIANGLE grate and I want the RECTANGULAR one! WHERE IS IT!?? – THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING”
And the night you had a meltdown when you had to start being reversed (reversing is when you start slowly adding food back into your daily total calorie intake) with your food and just seeing you trying to deal with mentally eating more food when it feels like you should be eating less was hard. It was a big mental shift you had to overcome and it was hard to watch that.”
What are you looking forward to the most with me finishing up my prep and transitioning into my off season?
“Seeing how much you can grow in your off-season and being able to actually celebrate our anniversary and more SEX! And just a bit more of a relaxed vibe like we can just get up on a weekend and go out for breakfast or go to a movie and get a drink without having to worrying about what you are eating.
Do you have any tips for anyone who is playing a supporting role to an aspiring competitor?
“Well – it’s like we were talking about the other day, it’s a two way role. The partner has to remember the competitor… they don’t just want your support they NEED it. This isn’t something you can get through on your own easily. You should do your best to support the person you love doing what they love whether you compete or not. You have to remember for some people it may be the only time they compete or some it may not be but you have to remember it’s not permanent. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You never know when you are going to need their support.
And finally – after all I have put you through, do you still love me?
Of course! I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t love you. We got through this together.
End interview *queue soppy hugs and laughter*
Chris vowed to me he would be there – he inevitably signed up for this and he was forced to navigate his way through the highs and lows of the goals I had set out to achieve. It’s worth sparing a moment for those who didn’t sign up to this, the friends the family members the work colleagues, those who may not necessarily completely understand nor have they pledged their undying love for you but continued to support you the best way they knew how throughout.