Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Future Competitors

As I take more of an interest in online communities, I'm meeting new people and making new friends in all corners of the world. Everyone has a different story and a different background, perspective, and reason for being involved in the fitness community. I'm having such a fun time getting to know people and broadening my horizons. Sounds cliche, I know, but it's so true.

Living a fit lifestyle isn't a new concept by any means. In fact, it's becoming more and more mainstream. I see new Whole Foods popping up everywhere! And nearly every magazine I pick up includes articles promising to teach people "How to lose 10 lbs" or "Get Flat Abs in 5 Minutes!". There's no doubt about it - a healthy, fit lifestyle is "trendy."

With so many people jumping on the Healthy Bandwagon, it's surprising to find out how many people have absolutely no idea about how to GET healthy and STAY healthy. I get questions all the time at the gym about my diet and training ... how I got my arms to look like that, how I lost so much weight in a couple weeks, etc. What they don't realize is that I'm living a Competitor's lifestyle. And it's not mainstream in the least bit.

The intelligent men and women I'm meeting online are also living the Competitor's lifestyle. And they're facing the same issues I've faced: lack of support, ignorance, jealousy, and disgust from other people around them. Online fitness communities, forums, and message boards all provide a safe place for us to meet each other, to share knowledge, and to provide support, encouragement, and motivation. These communities are a place where others understand our unique issues, and support our non-mainstream goals of physique competitions.

I get so excited when I meet women who are just getting into the industry. They have such a high level of enthusiasm. The first contest prep is fraught with nerves, uncertainty, discomfort, excitement, enthusiasm, and doubt all at the same time. It's such an thrilling and ever-changing time, because for many, it's the first time they've ever attempted anything like this. It's a drastic, regimented, disciplined, and limited lifestyle that is not right for everyone. But those who can do it, thrive.

I remember my first prep vividly. Namely because I felt like crap almost the entire 15 weeks. I was completely focused on all the foods I couldn't eat. I'd walk down the aisles of the grocery store, mouth hanging open, fingers trailing along packages of bread, cereal, donuts, and cookies, gazing wistfully at all the shopping carts filled with a wonderful variety of food. I'd designed my own diet, based on some internet research and the advice of some bodybuilder friends. The result: I overtrained and starved myself to almost bodybuilder leanness. And walked away with a trophy.

So I attempted to do the same thing the next year, and didn't understand why my body didn't respond the same way. I was disappointed with my placing at the show, and decided to work with a trainer the following year. That was 3 years ago, and I think I've only just now figured out the best way to train my body for a show. It took Jerry's extensive knowledge and my notebooks from previous preps for us to determine the best training and diet approach.

We're all a work in progress, and we all have the power to change our bodies, to mold them into the sculptures of our dreams. I'm so happy I'm meeting so many wonderful, inspirational people online lately, and hope that by sharing some of my experiences, I can also inspire, motivate, and encourage others to achieve their dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment