Thursday, February 21, 2008

THE JOURNEY TO THE COMPETITION STAGE - MY PERSPECTIVE.

Today I’d like to share my views on life as a bodybuilder/figure competitor (BB/FC). Please don’t take this as a lesson or a sermon for its not intended to be that. Its merely my opinion, written from my perspective. There will undoubtedly be parts that you will disagree with, just like there will be parts that will ring very true.

When you choose to become a BB/FC you choose a sport that is in fact a lifestyle. Training is paramount and requires a high level of dedication not only to make sure that you do every scheduled session but that you give it 100% of your effort both physically and mentally. Yep that’s easy to write but put it into practice and it becomes a LOT HARDER. Life will always throw up events and situations that will intrude on your training time so you need to be flexible and willing to change your routine if that happens. There will be times when you just don’t feel like training. Bad luck!! Suck it up and just do it. You cant afford to be giving yourself days off because you don’t feel like sweating or grunting that day.

Then there’s the diet. A big challenge for many FCs. In the off-season there is some flexibility but the basic principles still apply. If you’re training for muscle growth your diet must support this. If you’re leaning down for comps then again your diet must support that. The restricted diet affects your social life (Friday happy hour at the pub after work??? – NOT LIKELY!! - unless your comfortable having diet soft drinks/soda etc and just watch everyone else drinking). It affects your free time as your food prep becomes more time consuming (Grab a protein bar + an apple for a snack – NOT LIKELY). It affects you mentally as you may suffer cravings, or you might be fighting feelings of deprivation or you might just be starving hungry. At some stage you’ll probably cheat and then you’ll beat yourself up over it. Yep on many levels the diet is tough.

What about all the other factors around BB? Are you lucky enough to have a partner who’s also into the sport and has some understanding of what is required to be successful? If not, you may still have a partner who is there with you and supporting you all the way – maybe training with you, eating similar to you – all those little things help. But what if your partner has no interest in the sport and no intention of supporting you with your diet or training? They may resent the time you spend training because its time you’re not spending with them. They may miss being able to sit down to a normal meal together and maybe having a glass of wine together. They may look at your shrinking size / loss of boobs / muscles appearing and they may not like how you look. How do you deal with all these challenges and this negativity?

Its important to understand that BB/FC is an “its all about me” sport. At the end of the day you have to decide how much of “you” you give to it. Yep there are stages at which you have to give a LOT of your time to it but there should always be some balance between that and your family life. Partners need to feel like they still matter and that you still enjoy spending time with them. Listen to what they have to say and negotiate a happy middle ground if you need to. Sometimes you may just have to say “If you cant be positive then please keep your opinions to yourself.” It may sound brutal but if it avoids an argument and lots of bad feelings then it’s a good thing.

Finally to be successful, never never never lose sight of your goals. Have your end date (comp day) firmly in mind and physically noted on your calendar, in your dairy, on your blog …. EVERYWHERE. Count down to it on a weekly or even daily basis.
Feeling a bit down or overwhelmed? Get out those progress pics and take a good long look at them. Cringe at your starting pics and then take major delight in your most recent pics.
Read back over your Training Journal and take pride in your level of commitment to that point. Give yourself a big pat on the back for how far you’ve come.
And keep going … one small step at a time. Get to the next meal, have it, stay on track. Next training session: visualise the muscles working, imagine how good they’ll look on comp day. Smile (even if you feel like cr*p).

Remind yourself that you are a strong, determined and focussed person who doesn’t give up when the going gets tough.
Remind yourself that the harder the task, the more rewarding the achievement.
Remind yourself that you’re on a journey and its just as important to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.
The glass can be half full or half empty. You choose how you view it on any given day. Make the right choice and you’ll succeed.

Cheers

Magda

10 comments:

stacytoby said...

magda, you're a bloody legend. So insightful and so true!!!!!

that email's coming, don't worry!!!

Charlotte Orr said...

Great post Magda!

Cat said...

Great post, loved it.

:-)

Magda said...

Stacy take it from me, whilst it will be BLOODY HARD at times, at the end it will be more than worth it. I look forward to your email.

Charlotte and Cat, thank you. I'm no expert but I pick up quickly on how things are beyond my (short-lived) experience and I wtite from my first year's experience.

I really enjoyed exploring how I felt about this issue and I even discovered some new "home-truths" so it was well worth it.

Magda

Shar said...

Thanks for giving us your perspective Magda.
Good to read about the experience from someone elses eyes and how it affect you.

Shar x

Antigone said...

Hi Hun :)
Great post, There is even sosmethings that I can even relate to!I have trouble with my hubby he is unsupportive and doesn't help with my motivation!
Thats why blogland and all you lovely ladies are such a huge support system :)
It's so wonderful to have you back :)
Have a great weekend hun :)
Em:)

jodie said...

Awesome post Magda! Got a lot out of it.
Jodie
xx

Magda said...

Thanks Shar. I hope I didnt sound too negative but I had many hurdles to overcome so it wasnt an easy ride.

Em its great if your partner is on side and helping you along the way. If they're not, it can make a difficult task even harder. My husband & I had th BEST talk when the comps were over but until then it was definitely a case of "the less said the better".

Thanks Jodi. I hope it doesnt put you off maybe taking up the challenge yourself one day. :-)

Cheers

Magda

Michelle said...

Great post Magda!

Magda said...

Thanks Michelle

:-) Magda