Welcome to the weekend!…. Finally! This week seemed extra-long for some reason, either because we’re coming off two shorter weeks (with Easter), or because we’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while. We’re heading up to London to watch an Ontario Physique Association competition. This is the association we compete with, and it’s the first show we’ve been able to go watch this year. There’s added excitement in the fact that our good friend is competing in her FIRST show ever! We’re happy to be able to go cheer her on and celebrate with her afterwards 🙂 This has sparked some thoughts that I figured would be good to share. I know not everyone who reads this is a competitor, or ever plans to be, but a glimpse into the life isn’t going to hurt. So, here are just a few truths about competing (and can be applied to many other lifestyles and goals too):
- It’s a small world that seems huge when you’re inside it. The same way you develop networks for other interests, your network within the fitness industry seems overwhelming – it’s all you get through social media, you follow all the standings during competition season as daily news, and you develop acquaintances and close friends through it. But, if you step back and look at it, it’s a small world. So, cherish the connections you make through it, and be strategic and smart in what you post for the world to see because you never know who is watching.
- It’s consuming. To take it seriously, it truly does become your lifestyle – hey, at least it’s a healthy lifestyle to lead, right? Off season comes with more flexibility in terms of the meal plan, but the basic principles still need to be followed if you want to change your physique – keeping a proper balance of protein, carbs, and good fats all year round will also go a long way in helping make your prep a little easier, meaning meals are still planned out and usually prepared at home. Training doesn’t lessen, either. The off season is when you have the chance to build muscle because of the additional food – “off” season doesn’t mean time OFF… there just aren’t any competitions happening!
- There’s a language to learn. Lean, flat, soft, dry, holding water… the list goes on. There are “proper” terms to describe a physique that stretches FAR beyond fat or skinny.
- People won’t get it. This ties into #1 in the sense that it’s a small world, and you need to cherish your friendships within it – those are the people who truly understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. To most other people, you’re obsessive, narcissistic, and shallow. Well, maybe that’s harsh, but to an extent it’s true. They’ll view it as extreme (which is true), unnecessary (“you’re already fit, isn’t that good enough?”), and somehow it impacts them personally (it shouldn’t). Develop a thick skin and know up front that you’ll run into a lot of confrontation and questioning. And again, show love and respect to others doing it too – they’re likely facing the same judgements.
- You’ll be tired, hungry, sore, and incredibly proud. You’ll beat your body up and challenge it to do things it doesn’t want to do. Training intensely during weeks of a depletion diet will take its toll both physically and mentally. But, waking up and seeing the changes happen throughout the week will encourage you to push through. Comparing pictures from 4, 12, or 30 weeks apart will boost your confidence. You’re accomplishing something most people would never attempt, and you’ll have an amazing reward to show for it at the end – the best body you’ve ever had, which you’ve EARNED. Even better – somewhere along the way you’ve likely motivated or encouraged someone else to work towards their own goal. And THAT is an incredible feeling I can’t put into words.
This is just a short list of things on my mind. Competing (and taking it seriously) is truly a complex life that requires 100% dedication and a lot of sacrifice. But, if you choose to go down that road, the sacrifice doesn’t seem like a sacrifice because you’re working towards your goal. Personally, I can’t imagine living life without a goal. Wake up each day with the desire to be better and work your ass off to make it happen – no matter what context that speaks to you.