Competition prep can be a HUGE struggle. Waking up, making sure food is prepped and getting your workouts in while trying to still live your every day life can be exhausting. I found myself (quite a few times) thinking that there was absolutely NO way I would be able to do another round of HIIT or make sure to get that last rep in. At times like this, I would tell myself, "someone out there is working harder than you". Almost instantly, I would push myself that much harder to do what seemed impossible in my mind. Other times, I would shut of mentally - usually when doing my HIIT. I used music as a way to get lost in the 35 second interval that left me breathless and, more often than not, on the verge of tears.
My body would try to tell me no, but my mind always came back with YES. When times get tough and something seems impossible - just remember, you always have more gas in the tank,
2. Sacrifices seem much bigger at the time.
There were numerous times I wanted to go out with friends and eat & drink to my little hearts content. But, as you could imagine, I was quite limited to what I could ingest. When possible, I brought my own prepared food and gallon jug. I brought food to Dodger games, parties, family events, etc. At first, it was a pretty big deal to me. I did not want to stand out and be different. It got easier to bring my own stuff and people usually understood why I was doing it.
It was extremely difficult at times to go out with friends and watch them eat and drink. Even going on dates with my husband became pretty non existent. We could've gone out, sure - but it was really hard to eat my food and watch him eat a burger and drink beer without me. Sometimes, I would think, "man, it would be really nice to just have a random date and go eat or do something fun." But then, I wouldn't have my prepped food with me. This made things pretty hard to be spontaneous. Sometimes, I really missed just being a normal girl.
Looking back on the sacrifices I had to make - not going out as much, staying sober, eating my own food, staying in so I made sure to get enough sleep, and always making time for my longer workouts - it was all worth it. Sure, you miss out on some things, but most the time, it'll all still be there once your competition is over. The drinking, the food, the parties - they come back around. Standing on stage and feeling like a champion - that is usually once in a lifetime. What feels like a big sacrifice at the time really isn't.
3. Confidence is imperative.
I stress "loving your body" a LOT. Becoming a figure competitor, I had to deal with a ton of new (and SCARY!) situations. I had to rock a micro bikini on stage in front of a ton of people, I had to tan nude with a crowd of other women, I got my first Brazilian, and I had to step up my weight game with all the other guys in the gym - just to name a few scenarios.
I loved my body before my competition, but I still had some hang ups with the stretch marks and loose skin at times. Going through competition prep, I really learned to LOVE my body and feel confident no matter what. I am way more comfortable being in a bikini (or even nude) than I was before. I can honestly say, being naked with a group of women doesn't phase me and I don't have any problems with rocking little to no clothing in public. While I loved my body before, I am on a whole new level now! Pushing myself into uncomfortable situations has really helped to improve my own self image and confidence.
Who couldn't use more confidence? Especially if you have to get up on stage with other beautiful women! =)
4. Family is forever.
My family is great. They have typically always been supportive of me and all of my endeavors. During competition prep - I truly found out how lucky I am.
Competing is a VERY selfish sport. You have to eat when its time, you have to devote many hours to the gym, you live your life in an "all about you" sort of way for weeks leading up to your show. It can be emotionally draining and you can tend to take that emotion out on your family members. I know I did. I can't tell you just HOW much support I received from my family. From my sisters getting me stage ready to them making a grocery store run at 9:30pm the night before the show to get me olive oil for the day of. Whatever I needed, they provided - and did it with grace the entire time. When I needed a pick me up chat, my family was there. Through the struggles and times when I felt like I couldn't give any more - they encouraged me and kept me sane. And they did all of this while dealing with my prima donna attitude! =)
The day of my show, everyone was there to cheer me on. It meant the world to me. Even three of my very good friends made the trip to cheer me on. And when I got home, my brother in law had set up a banner and balloons to celebrate. He even went to a fit bakery and purchased healthy desserts to binge on post show! This experience really just reminded me how lucky I am to have my family and good friends' support. Without people to hold you up when all you want to do is sink down low - life would be incomplete. To my family and friends that supported me - I will be forever grateful!!
5. Nothing Is Impossible.
When you want something bad enough - you will work to SMASH that goal no matter what. It takes hard work - DAY IN & DAY OUT. There are no "rest days". Every day is an opportunity to push forward and be one step closer to achieving whatever it is you want.
When the opportunity comes to slack off or you really just want to go in the opposite direction - you have to decide what it is you really want - and in turn, you have to accept the consequences (good or bad) from that decision.
Plain and simple - YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING YOU ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR.