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!