We all know there has been a lot of bad press/social media about competing in fitness events recently. From the horror stories about coaches being bullies and peddling drugs, to the standard of too much cardio and too little food for female competitors, to the downright scary of bodybuilders DYING from electrolyte imbalances after competitions. There have certainly been a fair share of reasons NOT to compete… so why should you?
Let me first say that I love this lifestyle and I love the idea of competing, but I did struggle with it after my first competition. So I’m not going to say it’s all rainbows and butterflies, but there are some definite positives and people should know about them.
So here is my list of WHY COMPETING IS AWESOME!
- You meet the most amazing people –
seriously, the women (and a few men too) who I have met through the process of preparing for competition and the actual day of the competition are the most stellar people. They are inspiring, and honest and oh so motivating. When you really start to get into the whole competition side of fitness you discover that there is a whole community of people going through the same struggles and the same successes as you. You are not a freak, you are not alone and you are awesome too!
- You learn a lot about your body – When you are aiming for the levels of leanness that it takes to get on stage, you start to figure some stuff out about your body by necessity. For instance, I learned that I have always been sensitive to gluten because when I dropped my carbs, I stopped eating gluten… all of a sudden I felt WAY better. I hear this all the time, because by doing contest prep you are forced to pay attention to your body and when things aren’t going as planned (like not losing weight, or looking bloated etc) you start to troubleshoot issues with your diet and exercise and maybe even your sleep, or stress!
- You learn a lot about who you are – This is a tough process. It take some serious dedication and you learn real quick some really great things and some not so great things about yourself. Maybe you have the willpower to move mountains and can say no to free chocolate with ease, but you become a super grouch after 40 minutes cardio. You weaknesses and strengths will come to the surface under the pressure of this prep, and in discovering these you can work on improving those weaknesses and building on those strengths.
- You will see HUGE changes in your body – I can tell you right now there are not a whole lot of things more motivating than having to get on stage in the tiniest bikini of all time. You will work hard and you will get results, and when you look at your stage photos compared to your starting point, your mouth will drop, and I guarantee you will be proud of what you accomplished. You will get to see your body at a level that many people will never achieve, and then you get to look for improvements for next time. It’s part of the journey and it’s a thrilling one.
- You get to be someone else’s motivation – this is my favourite one. We all have people we look up to and have motivated us to take this journey. By the time you step on stage you will be that for someone else! Someone will see you and think “wow, she is killing it in the gym – I can push harder” and they may even ask your advice. It;s an amazing feeling to be able to inspire someone to do something you are passionate about.
With all the reasons I have for competing, I must say that it is not for everyone. You have to make sure that it fits with your priorities and your life at the moment. And make sure you understand the sacrifices you will have to make.
But most of all make sure you educate yourself. (As I say, Eat Clean, Train Dirty and THINK NERDY)
The negative stories we keep hearing aren’t really about competing… they are about people doing dangerous and abusive things to either their own or someone else’s body and mind. The best defence against that is to make sure you know why you are doing whatever it is and you know the repercussions of those things. Be safe, but know that this is an amazing experience and one that I would highly recommend 🙂