Compete or not to Compete? That is the Question...

Only if life were that easy

I have been reading a lot of articles, blogs and facebook statuses about competing and how people feel. I decided to write my own blog about competition and what comes along with it in hopes to help some of you out and put your mind at ease, whatever your decisions are.

There are many people that really want to compete, and there are others that have done it so much that they are starting to feel worn out and defeated when things don’t go well.

I am going to start with the new athletes who have never competed. As a trainer for figure and bikini girls, I see all the emotions with those who are trying to lean out for competitions and it can be quite over-whelming at times. Over the years as a competition trainer, there have been only a few that have handled everything quite well. Most new competitors have many doubts, freak out about the diet, sabotage themselves with bad food and get really angry at the world. I have learned how to help them cope and keep things as positive as I can for these people.

This is very common among competitors, new or experienced. I used to be this way until I realized food is just food and the diet is only short-lived.  When your brain and your emotions decide to work with each other, the diet side really is not bad, unless it is a very extreme and unhealthy diet. This unfortunately is quite common with a lot of competitors during the lean out phase.

If competing is really something you want to do, you have to go into this as a 100% commitment and not half-ass. I say this because I have seen what happens when only 50% effort is given during competition prep, and it can be very upsetting the day of the event. After all the money spent on training, suits, shoes, tanning, food and entry fees, it is a let-down to the competitor when they have realized they did not give 100%. They always wish that they worked out harder, or stuck to their diet better and after the show these thoughts go on and on for weeks. This can lead to depression and feelings of defeat, and it is very sad to see.

If competing has been a goal for you for many years, then it truly is a great goal. BUT, if you don't think you can cope with no alcohol, no sugar, and lots of training and eating lots of chicken and eggs, then you may want to reconsider your decision. This goes back to the previous paragraph about not giving 100%. If it is a one time goal, there is nothing wrong with pursuing it. It takes up a short time in your life and your family and real friends should understand.

Another thing that happens after the first show, or even a few shows is the binge-eating that goes on. I always tell my girls that it is ok to have a yummy meal after the show and even a big hearty breakfast the next day, but after that get your diet back in check and slowly add certain foods back in the diet. Most people unfortunately don’t do this and they go crazy for weeks. Next thing you know is you are 10-20 pounds heavier and very upset. You have to keep in your mind that you can enjoy different food after the show, but you need to keep a balance with it as well to not gain back an atrocious amount of weight.

With long time competitors like me, what happens is burn-out. I have been feeling this way the last 2 years so soon enough my break is coming. A lot of us are chasing our pro cards, and we just keep going and going, which can be detrimental to our goals. Sometimes a long break is exactly what most of us need, but we feel like we are letting someone down or we feel bad for “giving up”, which no one should feel that way. It costs a lot of money and it costs a lot of time with our friends and loved ones when we decide to compete.

Taking a break is not the end of the world! The stage will always be there, and to be honest, sometimes other things are more important like family time, fun with friends and focusing on your body and health.

I need to be honest, I love competing! I love the thrill of being on stage, I love getting lean and I love how strict I can be with myself and I also realized nothing fazes me anymore. My willpower is made of stone now, and diet is really no big deal to me anymore. There definitely are ups and downs with competing, and I still have them. But when I have a goal in mind, I see it through to the end, and that goes with any goal in my life. It is a great feeling to have accomplished what you started, and putting in 100% effort is the best way to start and end your competition journey.

What we need to learn regardless for first time competitors or experienced competitors, is balance. Learn to balance your diet and workouts with regular life. Just because you are on a “diet”, does not mean that you have to lock yourself up in your house and never visit your family and friends again for the next 12 weeks. You have to mentally prepare yourself for food and alcohol that will be lingering around and not let it bother you. Bring your own food or schedule dinner during a cheat meal. I have learned over the years that you can still have a good time without drinking and eating crappy food. The benefits of looking lean and feeling healthy out-weigh the guilt of eating poorly or 2 day hangovers(yes I do know how that feels). I much rather munch on a plate of fruit and veggies then pig out on a bowl of chips and dip. If I do have a cheat, which I make sure that it is real food that is so delicious, I rather eat the calories then drink them. It’s all up to you how you want to approach certain “social situations” that will come up during competiton prep. If you want to do well and have 100% focus, you will find a balance and learn how to cope.

It's all mind over matter, and the mind will be hard to deal with. You can't let yourself feel defeated before you even start, and you can't let other drag your dreams down and stomp on them. Letting your mind get influenced by others is not a good thing, and you shouldn't allow it.
Now the hard love from me:

It's only 12-14 weeks of your life, suck it up and stop acting like a silly twit! Get over your food issues and keep your eye on the prize; your hot ass in a tiny suit, showing all the non-believers that you actually did this. There is nothing better than that feeling! Trust me, it is so awesome!