Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Believe in Yourself!

Seven years ago, I made the decision to take a giant leap outside of my comfort zone, and entered a Figure competition. A lifelong athlete, the gym was nothing new to me. The degree of commitment, dedication, diet, and training WAS new to me, though! I approached it like I approach most things: I gave 100%. People at the gym thought I was slightly crazy, but I received a lot of encouragement and support.

My family, on the other hand, was slightly concerned about their baby girl. The competitive bodybuilding world was foreign to them, and when my mom asked me, "Why do you want to look like a man?!", I struggled to explain to her that I'd just look like a leaner, more muscular version of myself. My parents remained skeptical and concerned.

My first prep was difficult, to put it mildly. I did my own training and prep, and second-guessed myself throughout the entire 15 weeks. I starved myself, overtrained myself, and essentially wrecked my metabolism in the process. I had no energy, I looked gaunt, and I became extremely crabby and snippy with those close to me. Most days, it took all my energy and willpower just to drag myself out of bed.

When my mom saw photos of me during that time, she became very concerned and often told me that I looked "sick." My co-workers also expressed concern and told me I looked "skinny." People at the gym started to ask me if I was ok when I looked like I might fall of the treadmill.

Instead of relying on my belief in myself, I let the comments and concerns penetrate my outer shell, and I began to doubt myself even more.

  • Was I healthy?
  • Would I have any health repercussions after the show?
  • Was all the mental and physical anguish worth it?
  • Should I quit?
  • Was I just wasting my time?
While the comments and concerns weren't meant to discourage me (after all, they were made because people care about me), that's exactly what happened. My self-doubt increased exponentially.

  • I could've let my self-doubt get the best of me.
  • I could've given in to my severe cravings and shovelled copious amounts of cookies into my mouth.
  • I could've pulled out of the show for no reason.

But I continued to force myself NOT to give in and give up. I gave myself many positive self-talks:

  • "Other girls can do this and so can I."
  • "I CAN push through this workouts and finish the long cardio session."
  • "One bite of a Snickers bar could stand between me and first place."
  • "Yes, I CAN get out of bed."
  • "I BELIEVE that I can do this!"

Those self-talks kept me going the last few weeks, even though I still battled the perpetual self-doubt.

And when I stepped on stage after 15 weeks of pure hell, the first thing that popped into my head was, "I LOVE this!"

2006 Emerald Cup, tied for 4th place!
I realize now that my approach to prep was more damaging to my body than it should've been, and I understand why others were concerned about me. I now have a much healthier approach. My family understands how I need to feel and look in order to win, and my mom has even started armchair judging at my shows!

What I learned from this experience is how valuable positive self-talk can be. Sometimes our own worst enemy is not another person; it's ourselves! If there's something you WANT to do, the most important thing is to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

Believe that you CAN do it.

Believe that you WILL do it.

We all make choices every day. So what kind of mindset will you choose? Will you choose to doubt yourself and to give up? Or will you chose the mindset of a champion and believe in yourself? I encourage you to chose the latter and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

Check out how other bloggers stay motivated and overcome obstacles at Fitness Blog World.


  1. Kari,
    Thank you for this post. Great timing for me to read!

  2. I really needed this post today. :) In fact I was thinking this morning, "I hope Kari posts soon... I love her posts." Your posts are, most often, very timely for me. Depression is an easy thing to slip into when you work day in and day out for something. When it dictates everything you do, eat, drink, etc you HAVE to have something to fight for... And we are always worth fighting for.

  3. You are right about us being our own worst enemy...I know I am mine.

  4. Kari, I love ur post!!

    I use positive self talk a lot at the gym! Most of the time it's positive talk outloud  to myself! My trainer just giggles at me because it's funny to hear me say, "I can do this, I can do this!" as I push through those last brutal reps! He knows I'm envisioning a successful end to the set & he knows how important that is when an athlete sees themselves winning- training to win! 

    As a college athlete, I was taught how to play an entire game in my mind & see myself executing the plays correctly & winning the game! This mental training & positive self talk you do will put you over the top! You envision how you will win, you WILL win!

    I can't wait to hear how you crushed your competition & win your pro card! Positive self talk + positive ppl around you = winning/success!

  5. glad that you believed in yourself...that's your newest follower!

  6. I wish I would have read this the day you posted it, as it was a very sad day for me and I could have used a pick me up like this. Thanks Kari, good luck at team U.