3 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Competing

I was inspired to write this post by a fellow blogger, Donloree Hoffman (find her hilarious and inspirational blog here: http://www.donloree.com/).  She wrote a post called Five Amazing Things I Learned From Gluing a Bikini to my Arse.  After reading it I realized that I’ve learned a lot from my experiences in the competition world as well.

1. You are capable of so much more than you know.

When I first developed an interest in competing, the competitors’ bodies seemed completely unattainable.  I did not sincerely believe that I could ever look like them.  But the idea of pushing my body to the next level of fitness kept eating away at me until I decided, “Darn it, I’m going to do a competition.”

When I was prepping to step onstage for the first time, I was a total mess.  I was cranky (sorry friends and family), anxious, and did not believe in myself.  I hated doing twice-daily cardio and had a really tough time sticking to my diet.

Fast-forward to today My attitude toward everything has changed dramatically.  I don’t mind doing 2 cardio sessions plus an hour of weight training each day. In fact, (most days) I look forward to it.  I don’t mind eating cold tilapia from a plastic Ziploc bag in public.  And I don’t get nearly as nervous about stepping onstage as I used to.  I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and it keeps getting better each month as I track my progress.  I’m a changed woman! 

You, too, have the inner strength to achieve any fitness (or life) goal you want.  If you want it bad enough, there is nothing that can hold you back except your own doubts/fears.  Drop your excuses.  Excuses don’t impress anybody. Push yourself further than you think you can go.

2.  Asking for help is okay

When I tell people I pay for my workouts and diet plan, they often say, “Don’t you know your body well enough now that you could just train yourself?”

Answer: No!  First of all, that isn’t a safe idea.  Prepping for a competition pushes your body to its limits and can become dangerous if you take it too far.  Having knowledgeable, experienced coaches watching over me keeps me safe and healthy. 

Furthermore, I cannot look at my body objectively.  I need my coaches to look at my progress pictures and determine what changes to make in my training and diet.  Like many women, I’m too self-critical when I look at myself in pictures.  I have a hard time seeing the “big picture”.  I put my trust in my coaches.  So far it’s worked out great!  Sometimes I don’t understand why they make certain changes, but I TRUST them, so I follow the plan. 

If you’re not getting the results you want, or if you keep trying new diets and buying the latest fitness fad DVDs or books to no avail (a couple years ago, that was me!), ask for help.  Find a trainer, either online or at your gym.  It has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

3. Focus on YOUR progress

I enjoy following the competition world and cheering on my teammates.  But sometimes I catch myself scrutinizing my photos in comparison to the competitors that I look up to.  I have to force myself to stop doing this because it’s not helpful for me.  The journey of another competitor doesn’t affect my own journey

The same goes for you.  Don’t compare yourself to celebrities, friends, or coworkers.  You can certainly use them for inspiration and motivation, but when that morphs into jealousy or you find yourself wanting that person to fail, you must stop these thoughts in their tracks.  Go back and look at your own progress and remember how far YOU have come.

 

Update on my contest schedule:

I competed at the NPC Jr. Nationals in Chicago earlier this month, and had a great time.  Here are photos from the stage:

Here are some of my Bombshell teammates eating a delicious meal after the night show:

I didn’t place very high, but I’m okay with that.  It was only my third competition to date, and just attending nationals is a big deal.  I got helpful feedback from my coaches and I’m working hard bring a better package to the stage in a little less than 4 weeks when I compete in the NPC Arizona Open.  I’m excited to compete again in my home state because I don’t need to pay for a hotel or plane ticket!   Wish me luck as I prep hard for these next few weeks.

Good luck with your own fitness journey!  And if you’re in the Phoenix area, come check out the AZ Open on July 21st!

“I’m not working out – I’m TRAINING!” Plus Upcoming Competition: Jr Nationals

It’s the final week before I fly to Chicago for the NPC Junior Nationals where I’ll compete for the chance to earn my IFBB Pro card.  I’ve never been to Chicago and I’m so excited!  Although most of the hard work has already been done in the gym and kitchen, the final week is very important for last-minute adjustments, packing (very careful packing – I don’t want to forget something important!), practicing posing, double-checking my flight times, arranging hair and tanning appointments, etc.  

Goals for the show:  I don’t have any specific placing goals because it’s my first national show, and I know that everyone competing will have been working just as hard as I have.  I want to focus on looking better and presenting myself better than I did at my previous show in Atlanta on March 17, 2012, where I placed 4th in my class (against an amazing lineup – the girl who took first in my class recently turned pro!  Awesome job Tiffany!)  In high-pressure situations, I perform better when I keep my “blinders” on and ignore what everyone else around me is doing, instead focusing on doing the best I can. 

This final week of prep has been mentally and physically tough.  My legs are very tired, I haven’t gotten quite enough sleep, and every time a commercial for IHop pancakes comes on the TV at the gym, I force myself to look away because I want it so badly!  My metabolism must be on fire because I’m hungry ALL. THE. TIME.  Even 15 minutes after a meal!  And I’ve been consumed with thinking about the show, visualizing my posing over and over and making lists for everything – things to pack, things to buy at the grocery store, things to email my coaches about. 

I Don’t Have Motivation to Go to the Gym/Eat Right

Lately I’ve been thinking about motivation.  Why do some people have an abundance of it, while others do not?  A big part of my motivation comes from how I think and talk about my healthy habits.  I don’t just go to the gym for fun… I go there to train.  Same goes for my eating plan – I don’t care if I have to eat cold tilapia and asparagus, because it’s fuel for my training.  I don’t care if it doesn’t taste good – if I want to have an awesome, high-intensity workout, I NEED it! 

So if you’re lacking motivation, try choosing a specific goal – a half-marathon, a triathlon, a bike race, an upcoming event like wedding/reunion, etc., because then you can tell people “I’m training for _____, and that’s why I’ve got to hit the gym after work.”  Additionally, tell people about your event/goal, because then you’re accountable!  They’ll ask you about it, and you’re going to be embarrassed if you say, “Oh, I gave up on that.”

I hope everyone is having a wonderful June so far.  I’ll take lots of pictures at Jr. Nationals and write a blog about the experience after it’s over.  Follow me on Twitter for updates there, too:  @LegallyFitKatie