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  • Jill Louise Foley

1 Year Post Steroids and This Is How I Feel

I feel like myself.

My mom described it as having an alien take over my body. I feel as though that describes it pretty perfectly.

I never really thought about what I was doing to my body. The only thing on my mind was winning and gains. The freaker and the bigger I got the more I wanted my body to change, it became very addicting. Being praised for being strong/beastly/badass intrigued the idea of steroids. It wasn't until I competed in BCs for the first time that I realized if I wanted to be competitive in this sport that I would need to take 'the juice'. Steroids are part of bodybuilding it's ment to be utilized as a tool, often it becomes abused. I had been training for 5 years seeing progress along the way of course but right when I added gear ZZZOOOMMM muscles didn't stop growing. Nor would I ever stop eating. All I thought about was lifting. Such a simple life. Eat and Grow and Lift and Eat and Grow and Sleep and Eat and Grow.

But then the side effects of steroids started to come around I started to get extremely depressed, ashamed of my body, I felt my demeanor change (the alien was taking over). Okay so not so much an alien but yet an unfamiliar hormone causing more 'masculine' behaviors. I dressed more like a boy, my voice became deeper, I cut my hair short (I love short hair regardless), I became impatient (also happens when I get hungry) and oddly enough I was mistaken for a boy.

Now I can only speak from my own experience, I became so offended when I received these comments. Are you transgendering? Being mistaken for a man, but yet I was the one taking a male hormone. Hormones are what make us up, I was creating the problem, I was causing my isolation and depression. I had to look at myself and just be honest. Jill is this what you want? What message do you want to send out into the world? Are you being authentic to yourself? And the answer was No. I felt like I was holding a secret in my stomach and when anyone wanted to comment on it I would snap at them, or internalize my feelings and go to the gym. Whenever I wanted to escape I would train. I did that for a long, long time. I never gave myself a chance to feel my reality, I used beating my body up with weights to numb my emotions. I felt alone in my journey. That exactly what negativity thrives on making you feel alone. That is why I can't help but share my experience in hopes to help someone else that might be feeling the same way.

What made the switch in my head? I competed at BCs about 30lbs heavier then the other ladies in my line up. I placed last out of 5 just qualifying me for Nationals. I looked at my physique next to the other ladies...

Well one thing is for certain I don't shy away from that MUTANT title. I look pretty jacked. I obviously had made leg day my bitch for few years. I look big and that's because I was training like a reckless bodybuilder while putting male hormones in a female body... ta da look what I made: BIG JILL!

After BCs I kept having people referring to me as a female bodybuilder and how I should go into body building. There is nothing wrong with body building but it just wasn't how I saw myself. I always envisioned myself competing in women's physique, mainly because DLB (Dana Lynn Bailey, my hero for a very long time. I still love her I just recently became my own hero.) competed in women's physique.

Now a large development of my mental growth shines through in my training technique. Because I always trained like a bro. When I started weight training about 9 years I began training with male body builders/big guys and me being extremely competitive (I grew up playing on my brothers football team and pretty much hating the fact that boys are stronger than girls. I chose not to believe that.) Okay where was I yes... I competed against grown men. See in my head that never sounded silly to me, I just pushed and pushed and pushed. I have a feeling these guys found it fascinating and knew I wouldn't say no to a challenge. I've played sports my whole life and I was always very coachable because when I want to master or learn something I commit myself. From each training partner I would learn something. I would have melt downs when I couldn't do something, all I wanted was more more more. I trained like this for about 7 years, I saw amazing strength gains and I built a significant amount of muscle. Add anavar, primobolan, winstrol, nolvadex, arimadex, clenbutrol, a goal to win no matter the cost = heavy/hard/reckless. I believe that showed through on my physique.

It wasn't until I began training at Goodlife I started thinking about my body has a whole. Basically 2 years of mobility, glute engagement and stretching. Let me tell you how humbling this experience was. I remember doing a lat pull down (pulling from my traps, going way too heavy and using momentum.) Taylor (one of the Goodlife trainers) stopped me and asked what I was doing. That was the day I put my lifting ego aside and learnt how to do a proper lat pull down. Now I huge thing I believe about training is if no one has shown you how to move your body properly you don't know how to. So that is exactly what I did, I hired a drill Miki (the Hungarian sprinter.. he pretty much played Yoda in my life). Now to get an idea of the dynamic between Miki and I. Miki is all about proper movement of the body, symmetry, functionality, activation of the glutes and pelvic floor and pretty much perfection. I swear he gets off to the suffering of muscular immobile body builders and constantly saying "oh this is hard for you" in a snickering European accent back up my a lean, shredded, 50+ year old physique. I listened to the man... I had to walk away sometimes and try not to hit him (I was learning all this while using steroids, so much rage sometimes). But like I said I wanted to be the best and my body was killing me. I had shoulder impingement, I never knew how to engage my lower abdominal muscles or glutes (those poor untouched glutes), I was naturally flexible but never stretched. I was a tight mess. Switching my training was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I hate feeling weak, it makes me uncomfortable and I don't like feeling uncomfortable. And guess who had a very weak core and glutes... ME! Thank you Miki for telling me this several times. I GET IT!!! (and I am so grateful).

I learnt how to stretch my muscles, I learnt about trigger point release therapy, what the fascia is (it's a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs), how to engage my glutes/hamstrings/lower abdominals, I learnt how to walk/run properly, I learnt how lift mindfully!!

On top of this I began going to the occasional yoga class. The more aware of my body and my breathing I became the better my muscle contractions became. Body awareness is huge when it comes to bodybuilding. Isolating a muscle is mindful. Making sure you're muscles are recovered and reactive. Stretching is essential for proper muscle contractions. If you're unable to contract the muscle properly you with never sculpt a symmetric physique and that is was bodybuilding is all about 'creating a masterpiece'. In order to do that you need to have all the singular pieces developed. Muscle development takes time, consistency, patience and mind over matter. The more focused I become on a muscle the more I feel the contraction, the more I feel the contraction the more the muscle burns, the more the muscle burns the more I have to focus and breathe into the muscle. This is the biggest thing yoga taught me that I use in my lifting: breathing past pain=the best muscle PUMPS and who doesn't love a PUMP! That's the Cadbury cream egg center of lifting. AKA the best part! And did you know that in order to isolate, breathe efficiently into the muscle and stabilize that body you need to start with the GLUTES!

Weight training transformation from Reckless to Mindful.

That's exactly how I can sum up how I feel. I am mindful of who Jill Louise Foley is. I know what she wants, I know who she is. I am now able to love and appreciate myself fully because I turned myself into something I wasn't.

Sometimes I feel as though I placed myself in a 9 year bodybuilding time capsule.

I'm happy to be back and now I got one hell of a story.

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