I no longer wake up checking for abs, panicking over fitting meals into my busy day, or having an opportunity to take a selfie with an inspirational quote underneath. After two years of not stepping on stage I have found my happy place. It took me about this long to get here, and a lot of non-goal setting.
It doesn’t take long to scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and see extremely driven and hyper-positive chiseled bodies hashtagging how many weeks out they are from competing. As if you didn’t think they could be more driven… yep, each week it seems they are “driven more than ever – ready to kill it!” *eye roll* I read through them while trying to not rain on their parade, or taking away from their extreme (and I know from personal experience) diligence and hard work. You see, if you have never been a competitor, you may not understand the exact adherence and discipline it takes to be successful at it.
Missing family functions, taking Tupperware meals to restaurants, daily double workouts, weighing/measuring/tracking everything you put in your face (even your black coffee), posing practice, dropping thousands of dollars on competition fees and related materials, check-ins and skypeing your coach… always having your head so far up your own ass you forget to be rational about the big picture of life.
Okay okay, at this point you probably think I am being a salty asshole towards all of them – BUT I HAVE BEEN THERE. I WAS ONE. I thought the only way I would ever feel accomplished and successful was perfecting my physique, having hundreds of “likes” and thousands of followers. Critically analyzing every inch of my body and where I could make improvements. Sounds fun right? To some extent, yes. Especially for a competitive perfectionist like myself.
You take months and sometimes years to eat precisely and build muscle (and most of the time a fair amount of body fat that makes you feel massive), to then take 18-24 weeks to diet back down and whittle away at your physique. There is nothing like watching your strength go up, and waiting in anticipation to see those shreds come in when you are in prep. But after a broken foot, a torn meniscus, and three surgeries in the last year I started to realize there was something way more fulfilling…
Now fully recovered from head to toe, I get to enjoy fitness again. Fitness and health in it’s pure form: Mental, Physical, Emotional. I love lifting heavy to keep my muscles and my mental state strong. I take care of my heart with sweaty cardiovascular activities and plyometrics – always trying to beat my own performance from the week before. Hot yoga and I have become besties again, helping me to rebalance and become mobile to keep me chasing after my nephew and my dogs for years to come. I get to lift the way I did when I first fell in love with it: enjoying the process and the work… and a lot of metal music and ass shaking hip hop.
My weekends are no longer spent posing, staying home, going to bed early, and avoiding social scenarios. Instead I hike, fish, eat sushi burritos (or, sushirito if you will.), hang out with my fiance and my family and adventure without anxiety of misstepping on my goal timeline. I love my body and cherish my health. By finding this again, and looking far beyond just aesthetics and the judgement and approval of others has allowed me to relearn how to nourish myself. My meals are 80-90% nutrient dense and follow a macronutrient and caloric goal that fuels my body and allows me to reach my own personal goals (whatever they may be at that current time).
The years of stepping on stage and the glitz and glamour of it are over for me. Trying to keep up with the unnatural athletes that put on those sparkly suits and hit the required Figure poses is a thing of my past. Fitness competing is a subjective sport. All of your hard work can be deflated by the sheer fact of what the judges are looking for THAT DAY. Talk about a spirit crusher.
You aren’t judged on your strength, your personality, your kindess, or even your weight. Looks and presentation – and in some cases how great you can make your ass look without FULLY showing your vagina.
As of now, I get to promote what is important for me to instill in others: Full mind, body, and emotional health.
For me, the recovery from the body dysmorphia I developed took years. As I stated earlier, it was a lot of non-goal setting. The constant battle between wanting to be “lean” again, and wanting to keep up with the boys at all you can eat buffets didn’t do anything for my sanity. I had to have a “come to jesus” meeting with myself and admit that I needed to learn how to be happy in my present state – always. If I want to improve aesthetically, or if I want to improve mentally… I must always have grace and love myself the whole way through the process. Because I am “good enough” right now.
I have a lot of competitor friends, and some of the most amazing people I have ever met are or were competitors themselves. My personal experience is just that – mine. I know that keeping the comparison cycle out of my world enables me to see the big picture. I can enjoy all of the little things without having myself and my looks and attention from others always overshadowing the current moment I am in. A new lease on my fitness life to develop my world into something more multifaceted and inspiring to help heal the mental strain of others going through the same thing. I am able to promote imperfection and adherence at the same time – because there is a time and a place for everything, and it is a delicate balance that we can all only be lucky enough to find.
Surprisingly (sarcasm) I still have a full clientele without posting ab selfies or flexing pictures every day. (Which was a legitimate crazy-person fear of mine) I understand my clients on a real world level. I am a hard ass when I need to be, and a realist when they need that. I choose to coach in a way that leads clients down the path of finding their lifestyle, and really taking a look at what their priorities are. Any and all goals are valid as long as their is a healthy mental place behind it, and it all comes down to following your bliss.
I don’t take myself too seriously (you probably knew that). There is no longer this yearning for constant validation of my body and my lifestyle – because it’s mine. All of my energy goes to enjoyment and helping others find their “happy”.
Never get complacent, but always be developing into the person you want to be – all while stopping to smell the roses, as they say. You get one shot at having this amazing body that does so much for you, so be the first, last, and only one to give yourself approval.
For more information regarding my fitness, nutrition, and life coaching services – please feel free to contact me directly. I am all ears and ready to help!