Why My Ideal Physique Changed

I must admit, I’ve gotten off pretty easy on social media.  I’ve only had a handful of negative comments on my photos. “Disgusting”, “manly”, “the before version was better”, etc. When out in public I’ve gotten far more looks of disgust, and have overheard a lot of snide comments said just loud enough for me to hear “Now THAT’S too much!”

The truth is, I love it. Why? Because it lets me know that my hard work is paying off. All the hours I’ve logged in the gym have produced a physique that looks noticeably different to the general public.

When I started training for competitions, I knew I would compete in bikini because I didn’t have the muscle mass developed for any of the other categories. This suited me fine – bikini looked fun and pretty. They had shiny long hair, lots of sparkly jewelry, and small, tight bodies. It was a great way to experience the world of fitness competitions.

The morning of my last bikini competition.

The morning of my last bikini competition.

But then something happened. I started training with Kyle, lifting like a bodybuilder under his direction and coaching. I had also witnessed the other categories at competitions and loved their looks even more. I wanted to push myself really hard to gain some substantial muscle mass. In my mind, if I was going to put the time in at the gym, I wanted to LOOK like it!

I set some goals for myself. I wanted my second year on stage to be in the figure category, with the hopes of moving into physique by my fourth (or fifth) year. Well, they were great goals, they just didn’t play out quite as planned. My second year saw me get on stage for both figure and physique after a huge off-season. Judges feedback told me to stick to physique due to the conditioning in my legs, and I was more than happy to listen.

I truly love the physique I’ve built. I’m proud of how my body has changed and what it’s capable of now – things I never thought I would have done. Three years ago I never would have thought I would get so addicted to lifting weights, but that’s exactly what happened. I go to bed excited to get up and go to the gym in the morning – it doesn’t even faze me that my alarm is set at 4am to do so. Rest day is depressing.

My second competition in the women's physique category.

My second competition in the women’s physique category (Sept 2014).

To be fair, I totally understand how my ideal physique isn’t everyone’s choice, and that’s fine. I have my own limits set in terms of my body and how big I want to get. I have no aspirations to become a full-out female bodybuilder, but I respect and admire the hard work they’ve put in to get there. I love the physique category as it still requires a feminine appearance matched with muscular development. I love that it allows me to get lean enough to see all (literally, all) of my hard work. This is MY choice, and my dream body.

Now, before anyone gets fired up, I mean absolutely no disrespect to those who love being in the other categories – everyone has their own dream body and my hope is that you can reach it and be happy. Competing in this category has brought a new level of body image satisfaction to me, which I think is the best outcome possible.

My question is, what prompts people to make comments on other’s social media accounts or to voice their opinion about a stranger out in public?  Does my body impact your life in any way? Nope, it can’t, unless you let it bother you enough (but that’s your problem to deal with and making rude comments probably won’t help).

Once I start seeing all the smaller details in my legs, I know all the work I did in the off-season paid off.

Once I start seeing all the smaller details in my legs, I know all the work I did in the off-season paid off.

Remember the lesson you were (hopefully) taught in kindergarten – if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all?  It still applies as an adult – even from behind a keyboard and monitor, all you brave cyber bullies.

Respect and accept, or stay quiet. Now, I’m going to go train chest and continue to build a great set of pecs in place of my boobs, cause every woman strives for a killer chest split, right? LOL!

IFSig

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
This entry was posted in Body Image, Bodybuilding, Education, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Motivation, Personal, Training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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