Q: Why do I always feel blue after I’ve competed?

A: It’s not uncommon to feel a little down in the days immediately following a competition. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy to achieve your goals. “That can leave a void once your night onstage has passed,” notes Erin Stern, a two-time Ms. Figure Olympia champion. You might also feel down about returning to a healthy level of leanness. “The tan fades, and it’s normal to gain a little body fat,” says Stern. 

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The best way to overcome these feelings is to have another goal in mind, whether it’s signing up for another competition or setting your sites on a different fitness event like an adventure race. Or it could be something you achieve outside the gym, whether it’s personal or work related. “We’re happiest when we’re in the pursuit of anything worthy of our time and effort, so give yourself something else to look forward to,” says Stern. That doesn’t mean abandoning your workout routine altogether — regular exercise can go a long way toward helping keep the blues at bay.