It’s the question that everyone asks, whether you are a veteran competitor or deciding for the first time. The questions may be different, but the answers equally as important.
For the purpose of this blog I have decided to focus on making the decision for the first time.
First, you need to ask yourself why, and you may have a number of answers to this;
I want to gain muscle
I want to get on stage
The bikinis look nice
I want to show off what I have worked hard to so far achieve
I want to use it as a means to lose weight
I want to do it to get skinny mini
I want to improve my confidence
I think it will be a fun and challenging experience
I only wan to do one show to say I have done it
I want to win
I’m doing it because my friend is and we are doing it together.
My trainer talked me into it
Not all of these reasons are what I would call ‘valid’ for choosing to step on stage in the first place, and perhaps a combination of these actually make up your answer.
For me, the answers were; having a purpose to train, fun, challenging and the encouragement of a support network. The combination of a desire to prove it to myself, the support of my friends also doing it and already having a basis of training and some healthy eating habits (that required some education) are just one combination of good reasons to get on stage.
I have seen from some competitors that if their reasoning to get on stage isn’t for the right ones, they can be let down by either their results, the outcome after the competition or overall they do not enjoy the process.
Choosing to embark on the journey to stepping to stage is a lifestyle change, it’s not one change it controls your diet, when you eat and drink, training and in turn this will impact your energy levels, enthusiasm and social events. You have to be prepared to do this, and if you don’t have a support network they can make it very hard for you, make you question why more than you might have done your self and leave you doubting yourself.
I have seen some people choose to do an event in the aim to ‘get skinny,’ yes by making it on stage you will certainly achieve that result, but if that’s your aim you need to learn proper food nutrition and information. I have learnt so much about how to fuel my body but know that getting ready for a competition is not the way I want to keep doing it in order to be ‘skinny.’ Eating the right foods will get you that way anyway and you just need to find the discipline in yourself rather than using a competition as the driver. It’s like a person quitting smoking, they wont put down the smoke if they want one because you tell them not too, the same will go for your choice to compete, your trainer will tell you everything you need to do but at the end of the day if you don’t want to do it for yourself you wont do everything they tell you to do.
There are a number of other questions you should consider prior to taking the plunge;
Who’s going to train me
Can I afford it
can I commit to it (the training the diet)
do I have that support network
what will hinder my ability to do this
First off, finding a good trainer is of uttermost important. A good trainer will be there for you 24/7, they will consider your needs, concerns, lifestyle issues and hurdles and adjust what you need accordingly. They should also be able to help you both training and nutrition wise and ensure the two are executed correctly. A good indication is of their past experience training other competitors, and it should go without saying, but research them. On top of all this you need to get along with them and they need to believe in you. If you feel like your trainer doesn’t think you will make it then you probably wont, you wont feel confident in yourself and they probably wont do everything in their power to help you. And once you find your perfect trainer, stick with them.
The affordability of a show often isn’t considered until after you have decided to do it, but if your budget is tight this needs to be a consideration of top priority! Often a trainer will allow you to pay them in instalments so that can make that area easy, but if you don’t already take protein powders, pre workouts and supplements, then you need to add this into your budget. Not to mention a stage bikini, shoes, runners and competition tan. Getting your hair, nails and waxing done. You might need to pay someone to do your hair and makeup, get posing lessons or PT sessions. You may need to join a gym in order to start and their might be a team track suit as well. If you find you generally eat cheap to prep meals like spaghetti or chicken Kiev you will also find your grocery bill significantly increase. There is also the entry fee to consider as well, and photos or videos of your time on stage. All of this can total anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. This may not be in everyone’s budget! The enjoyment will quickly dwindle if you are counting your last dollar in your account each week.
If you have booked a holiday to Bali scheduled to return two weeks before the competition then this season may not be for you, and that’s okay you can’t do everything. You have to come to terms with this and perhaps choose a different season to start you debut, the extra prep time could give you longer to mentally prepare so this can be a positive!
You will also find that if you don’t have the support network this will make your goal very hard. You might not discover the lack of this until you actually start. Everyone may tell you they will be there for you, until you actually start having to say no to the wine at the parties and they can’t understand why. In this case, you need to be strong and remind yourself why you’re doing it with photos of your idols and countdowns.
Then finally it might be just you that needs to overcome yourself. If you’re a smoker, then what’s the point in all the clean eating and training and then continuing to do that to yourself? You may need to consider ceasing this habit so that you can do this.
At the end of the day some of these sound very hard to achieve, but like anything if you want it bad enough you will make the sacrifices and you will be committed.
People ask me how I do it, but the truth is I love it, I love how it makes me feel and enjoy eating all the vegetables. I love getting up early and starting my day with a workout and I love pushing myself so hard that I walk out a little funny. I get excited counting down the week until the big day, and the only things that come out of my mouth about the process are positive.
If you tell yourself you can’t then you wont, if you tell yourself you can then you will.
This doesn’t mean I find it easy all the time, but I don’t want people to know if I struggle, I like to keep vulnerability away from people sight. But I do find it hard to get out of bed some mornings when its dark and there is a frost, and I do whine to myself when I realise I’m out of veggies and need to go to the supermarket again so that I can eat right the next day. But these are all apart of the commitment I made to myself,
At the end of the day the only person I will let down is myself.
And the only person that can do this is YOU