The Pendulum Concept: Off Season Body Image Issues + Tips For Recovery

I just wanted to pop in today and cover and topic that is talked about often in the bodybuilding/competing realm…

It affects everyone just slightly different but in a nutshell, some competitors find themselves being obsessed, having negative body image issues, binge eating, etc.

Two words… OFF SEASON

I would be lying if I said that the transition to off-season (or maybe never competing again) was effortless and easy for me.  I am forever changed from that process.

It took me about 8-10 weeks, a few sob sessions, a few binges, a few pinches, a few friends and then some to get where I am at.  But I did it and I finally feel extremely confident, happy and I’m loving my not-so-super-lean body.  I wanted to share what worked for me and the way that I visualized my body image recovery process: The Pendulum Concept.

Peep the video for my explanation on that.

1 Stop #FBF and #TBT

You know what, while you are at it, take off the screen saver on your phone of your stage shots.  The more you reminisce obsesses over them, the longer it’s going to take you to see your body with “logical reasoning.” I’m not saying you can’t be proud of your stage package, but just stop looking at all the pictures all the time.  You really need to flood your vision with “normal” bodies.

2 Unfollow Some People

Ehhhhh.  Ouch, right?  Trust me, you won’t hurt their feelings.  If you can remove your feed of the year-round perfect body perception, the healthier you can allow your mind to be.  Sure, there are some people who do NEED to stay lean and photo shoot ready year round, but if you are a competitor (and not a fitness model) chances are you don’t and you are in “off season”… otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this post, amiright?  Okay so, now that we established that…

I’m f*cking serious.  

Unfollow them.

Otherwise, you are continuing to surround yourself with the extreme and will continue to compare yourself to that.  Instead, follow some new accounts who focus on healthy eating, positive thinking, etc.  You will be much more fulfilled. I promise.

3 Change Phrases

Rather than pinching your skin and posing in the mirror every morning (speaking from experience, folks) start changing your mindset from lean to STRONG.  Something that worked for me was to remind myself how amazing I feel during workouts now. I am straight beasting through sets, barely feel fatigue and I’m seeing my strength and endurance improve each week.  It makes me feel empowered and I started saying these things instead of “I miss how lean I was.”

Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. For those of you struggling with post show blues (yes, it’s a real thang) or body dysmorphia/body image struggles, here’s my advice… I wrote down some things I was saying to myself when I felt this. “People are going to think ‘wow she got chubby’ “If you get too thick, you’re going to have to work harder to lean out” “You’re abs are gone” “You look terrible compared to …” “… will be disappointed in you” Ummm. None of that is true and I would NEVER say those things to a friend… so why the hell was I saying it to myself?! This week has been a terrible week for eating as I’ve over indulged quite a bit and plan to in Frankenmuth as well. Instead of beating myself up, I’m saying things like… “You finally have the curves you wanted your whole life” “You are so strong during your lifts now” “You can look however you want to look because you know your body. Enjoy this phase.” “You are inspiring women to be confident AND powerful” “You have energy to do things you love” It’s all a matter of self talk and perspective. Getcha mind right.

A photo posted by K A Y L A T Y B U R S K I (@kaylavashti) on

4 Support System

You might need to rely on your buddy or trainer or spouse.  That’s great, but dammmmmmmit when they say you look great, believe them.  Not “you look amazing!” and you reply with “yeah but I feel so fat now” or “I wish I could still see my obliques though.

STAAAHP, just stop!  Your mind hears all that garbage…

You do look amazing!  You could gain a bunch of weight and still look like a fricken superstar because you would STILL be more fit and fabulous than the average American walking around.  So listen to what they say and repeat it.  A bajillion times. “I look great.” “I look great.” “I look great”…

5 Swap Yo Goal

For stage we have a physique goal and for some that may mean tracking a specific body fat percentage or weight.  In off season, set a new goal, but make it specific.

Bad example: I want to do better in my next competition season; more muscle, tighter physique.  << Bad because you are still worried about your body being lean and being shreddy to get on stage.

Yes, I said shreddy.

What has helped me is to have a performance goal.  This week I set a goal of deadlifting over 200 (I’ve always been too scared) and to beat my Filthy50 time (which I did Saturday, BOOYAH! 18 minutes, bishes…)


These type of goals keep me focused on fueling my body right and give me so much satisfaction when I hit them.  And believe it or not, if I compete again, they will have contributed to a fuller and tighter package.

I hope this was helpful and again, please reach out if this is something you continue to struggle with.

Love yourself, boo.


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