Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prep Approach

Although I now lead a Competitor lifestyle, I didn't always. (To read more about what I mean when I say "Competitor" and "Normal" lifestyles, check out Straddling Two Realities.) In that blog, I talk about the differences in how Competitors and Normal people approach life. As I'm entering a sort of post-contest/pre-contest phase maintenance phase, I started thinking about some comments that have been made to me about how I "change" when I'm in prep.

Based on these comments, I've deduced that people think that I change when I start prepping for a show. What they view as "distant," I view as "focused." What they view as "obsessive," I view as "determined." When I'd meet people in my off-season, they got to know me as happy-go-lucky, smiley, hyper girl. When I'd start prep, they'd suddenly begin to see tired, dragging, "no-fun" girl. It's not that I changed; it's that my focus in life shifted from Normal into Competitor mode. My personality was always the same - optimistic and slightly quirky - but all my attention was suddenly focused on my competition.

Now some may argue that there needs to be a balance. That competing shouldn't be a completely selfish sport. And for those who can truly balance it, I envy, respect, and admire you! My rationale behind my approach is that I not only want to compete, I want to WIN. And I want to know that I gave everything I had to deserve the placing I receive at a show. My goal is to turn Pro, and if I don't try 100%, I'll never truly know if I could've made it.

All of the top pros in any sport dedicate their lives to their goal. Some even sequester themselves and cut themselves off from loved ones during prep for a competition. Are those drastic extremes necessary? Maybe for them, they are. After he won the Olympia in 2009, Jay Cutler talked about how he sequestered himself during his prep for the Olympia, and he believes it was necessary for him to do that in order to accomplish his goal of becoming regaining his Mr. Olympia title (clearly it paid off!).

I don't sequester myself during prep, but I do focus more on myself. I realize some people may feel left out, and I try my hardest to let them know how important they are to me. Someone once told me that if I continue to compete, I'm going to die alone, surrounded by a bunch of worthless trophies (think he was bitter?!). My solution? I met someone who shares my passion and support me at all times - during prep and during off-season.

So my question for you competitors ... how do you approach prep? Do you sequester yourself? What's your balance? Share your thoughts with me!


  1. I am a newbie at this but i think that in order for me to mentally get through prep is to try and incorporate some family time into my week. When i was in prep last year i got crap from my family constantly for not being around enough...so im learning to do what i need to do for me first and then whatever time i have after, i hang out with the family :)

  2. And thank god hubby is so supportive of me and pushes me and is not resentful in the least!!!

  3. A support system is SO important! I've done it without one, so I know it can be done. But I firmly believe that my strong support system this year made a difference.