As some of you may know, last weekend I competed in my first NPC bikini competition. I couldn’t be more pleased with my performance and the physique I brought to the stage. My goal for this first competition was to place in any category. I wanted to have a competitive physique. I was eligible for three categories: true novice, novice, and open. I entered all three categories and placed in all three! As esthetic as I was walking off that stage, my immediate thoughts went straight to my next competition. I walked off that stage HUNGRY! And not for food…I was hungry for more! More competitions, more prep, more improvements.
As soon as I finished my posing routine, I knew EXACTLY what I needed to improve upon. Like many other first time competitors before me, I “blacked out” during my routine. Ok, maybe not a total black out, but it’s definitely a blur. I remember going through the motions, being shaky and uncertain, but faking it all the way. The funny thing is, days later when I finally saw a video of my performance, I didn’t look nearly as off as I had imagined I had looked! All the hours of practicing and visualizing my routine had paid off. When it came time to step on stage, I went into autopilot.
Prepping for this competition and for my next (yes, I’m still in prep mode), was a decision I spent months making. When I first started training two years ago, I caught the “bug” to compete early on. The only thing holding me back was me. First came doubt and uncertainty. I thought that I could never build the physique needed to compete. I mean, look at me. I’m a small person, always have been. Even in the bikini category, known for softer lines and less bulk, the women have a strong muscle foundation, lean lines and striations.
Later on about a year into training, I still had the urge to get on stage. At this point, I realized that it was a possibility, but my muscle foundation wasn’t there yet. I knew if I started to cut too early, I would lose muscle and when it came time to step on stage, I wouldn’t be competitive. I spent the entire next year training with the goal to build muscle for my eventual diet and competition prep. This meant eating above my “maintenance” calories. It meant not training to see a 6 pack, but training to build a fat burning, PR setting, endurance machine. That year was spent not worrying about the way I looked or the number on the scale, but working on packing on the most muscle.
The amount of dedication it takes to step on stage will build character and grit others work years to earn. And at the end of the day, no amount of motivation from your loved ones or coach will get you through. The motivation to continue on when everything gets heavy, when you’re exhausted mentally and physically, and all you want to do is throw in the towel, the only person there to motivate you is you. You decide which road to take. You decide whether to proceed or whether to quit when life gets real.
I encourage you to set goals, spend each day working toward that goal, never giving up when the odds are against you. There comes a point in time where you need to be your own motivation!