I get a little frustrated when people question why I put myself through the training I do and the competitions I enter. Most people who know nothing about the experience immediately think of vanity and the need for some sort of twisted need for approval. I get how it can look from the outside- we are in glitzy suits all gussied up and getting judged against some physical ideal that the majority of people in the world will NEVER achieve.
I think every person I have ever met at a competition has a different reason for putting themselves through the training and the show, and the reasons rarely have to do with the stereotype above. I have met women who needed a goal for weight loss and the idea of a competition kept them accountable to their goal. Some people wanted to get involved in a hobby that would allow them to meet like-minded healthy individuals who enjoy a clean lifestyle. I have met moms who wanted to feel good about their body's post childbirth. Then there are the career focused competitors who are trainers that want to prove to potential clients that the physique can be achieved with the right level of focus and dedication, or men and women interested in catching the eye of a sponsor who will help them with a fitness modeling job. The list really could go on forever!
I know my initial reason for wanting to compete was a combination of things. I was always an athlete in high school and college. I did track and field and I LOVE to compete! I have always worked out, but a couple years ago, I really forgot about my love for exercise and healthy living. I started a business and got engaged and married all in the same year! I didn't handle the stress well and used food as a coping mechanism. Needless to say, I was not being the person I wanted to be.
A local show was advertised at my gym and the lightbulb went off! I was going to train for a show to get myself back into a routine of healthy eating and training habits. Once I committed to doing the show, I knew I would reach my fitness goals!
After my first show and the great experience I had, I was hooked! I wanted to keep training and pushing myself to see what I was physically capable of. How disciplined can I be? Life is too short to wonder what could be I thought, so I have to go for it!
Now that I have done a few competitions, my goals have definitely shifted. I still want to maintain the healthy eating and training habits that I have learned, but I now want to help others do the same! I am getting NASM certified this spring and plan to use what I have learned to motivate and help others achieve their healthy living goals. I am so excited!
So, when I hear people question why I am doing what I do, all that matters is that I know why. I don't need anyone's approval. I know the rewards my lifestyle gives me. So next time someone is questioning you about a goal you are passionate about- believe in yourself and go for it! Don't let others put doubt and fear into your world- be a warrior for yourself!