Wednesday, May 25, 2011
2 Main Things it Takes to be a TRUE Competitor
I've been thinking lately of how blessed I am to be able to do what I love... Compete! And not only compete, but be able to compete as an IFBB Professional now! It's an amazing feeling to know "I've made it!" There is now, however, an added pressure of deliverance. I MUST bring an amazing routine and package to the stage each and every time I step on stage because .. well, I'm a PRO! It's expected of me. And I expect nothing less of myself. With all this added pressure, it sure sounds like it sucks the fun out of competing. I'm doing everything possible to still go about what I did before being a pro, in that I will simply do MY best given MY situation at the time, and enjoy the process to the best of my ability! If I don't, it would DEFINITELY not be worth the time on stage, because that one day...those few minutes, pass with the blink of an eye and it's all over and time to train for the next show. Now people that know me, KNOW my passion for fitness. I honestly believe people think it's EASY for me to do what I do! While I do have a natural born gift and DESIRE to better myself and love to lift weights and push my body to it's limits... it is NO WHERE NEAR EASY! Even for me. So I want to let you in on a little behind the scenes of what it takes... There are 2 main things I believe it takes to be a true competitor. #1: Dedication. You have to WANT it!! This is something you have to live out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! What you do in the offseason when you think you're not getting ready for a show DOES affect what you bring come competition time. It is MORE than a full time job (although I do have 2 other full time jobs, both being a registered nurse AND competition trainer/coach/choreographer which I think people forget about also!)! It's a job that requires you to work overtime day in and day out, and your overtime pay is that trophy the day of your show. #2: Investment. This is both Time & Money! As I said above, what you do 24/7 affects how well you do on competition day. Things people typically don't think about too. Getting your body fat as low as possible, while maintaining full muscles, and still having enough energy to walk on stage in high heels, then perform a 2 minute EXHAUSTING routine of flips, strength & flexibility moves requires so many factors to be in place. Things like lack of sleep, high stress levels, emotional roller coasters, not drinking enough water, eating too much or not enough of specific foods all can have a dramatic impact on your physique. The closer to a show, the more discipline needed to get that last little bit of fat off and your skin to tighten up, and remember, all while keeping your muscles full and energy up! Talk about a juggling act!! So there's lifting weights, cardio, stretching, routine practice, gymnastics that all take up actual time away from home. Also, factor in the time it takes to cook all those meals- then with cooking comes lots of dishes (not to mention all other household chores and bills and all the fun grown up stuff you have to do) - and with all that, comes MULTIPLE trips to the grocery store each and every week. You also need to take into consideration you skin.. which needs to be clear and exfoliated weeks before the show so the tan applies even and smooth. You need to get your hair done, roots done, ends trimmed... run through your routine in costume to make sure it stays in place as it should and is properly functional. Walking across stage in a sparkling bikini, sounds easy enough, right!? NOT! Add nerves, posing, HIGH heels, and possibly oil on the stage and you've got a recipe for disaster- IF you don't practice.. so again more time involved to practice for the physique round. Plus worry about things like your finger and toe nails being done because you're judged on being the TOTAL package, from head to toe! Hair, Makeup, Suit, Tan, Nails, Poise, Presentation.. EVERYTHING! Also, For one show, one weekend getaway... everyone thinks it's almost a vacation. Once you're there you spend the entire evening before the show shaving, then putting on a few coats of tan, cooking all your food for the show day, then trying to get some sleep without messing up your tan. The next day is all competition, get up before the sun comes out to get your makeup and hair done, more tan, competitors meeting, physique round in the morning and routines and finals at night. Then get up and drive home the next day. Very rarely is site seeing involved. You're too tired, and have too much preparation to do to make sure everything is in order for the stage! So with that comes the money investment! For one show, one weekend getaway... everyone thinks it's almost a vacation. They forget that you spend all that money in gas to drive there. Then you have to pay for the hotel for the weekend, which to get a kitchen is never going to be $100/night (and as a competitor, you MUST have a kitchen, it's not like you can eat at McDonald's). You've already invested at least $60 in your tanning supplies, $50 in a manicure and pedicure, another $60+ in getting your hair done, $400+ in a 2 piece competition suit, $400+ in a routine costume. Then if you add getting your makeup done professionally at the show you're looking at another $100-150. It adds up! And FAST! Adding that up you are already looking at a minimum of $1260. So it's not easy. It's not a vacation. It's draining on the bank account. You invest ALL of your time and constantly are thinking in the back of your mind "Is what I'm doing going to help or hurt me come competition day!?!?" BUT it's what I DO! I wouldn't have it any other way!