Are you considering competing for the first time?
Before making the decision to compete for the first time I would sit and think about a few things to decide if competing is for you at this moment. Online we all see competing as the crystallised bikinis, golden brown oiled skin, 5inch heels and a perfectly carved physique. How ever this is the smallest part of competing and what people don’t always see is the time, energy and effort its taken to get to that stage. I myself know that when I first looking into competing in 2016, I only saw the show day glam and didn’t have an understanding at all of what went on behind the scenes. I was unaware of what an online coach was and the length of time it would take to achieve a physique of those that I looked up to and felt inspired by.
The first thing I would think about before ever deciding to compete is what is your reason for doing it. Are you wanting to do it because you feel pressured by other? Are you doing it to have a few good snaps for instagram and a participation medal? Are you wanting to do it for the glam show day brings? Or are you doing it just to lose a few pounds and potentially have some abs definition for the first time? If any of those reasons cross your mind then honestly competing is not for you at this moment. Competing requires someone who is willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve a goal. Someone who is financially capable of fronting the costs (as competing is not cheap). Someone who is willing to give 100% day in, day out with no excuse for months on end. This is not a quick and easy process and not for the faint hearted.
I would advise someone to first complete successfully a 10-12 weeks challenge of consistent training and dieting. Being disciplined for those 10-12 weeks, no falling off track because you had a bad day at work, or not completing everything that week because you had your cousins, dogs, brothers birthday party. Discipline and routine are the most important factors to a successful prep. Learning to say no to events, turning down the office biscuits, getting up an hour early to complete cardio and steps. Like I said its not easy and no one can do the work for you, you have two be willing to do it all yourself and remain accountable to your coach.
Be aware that competing comes at a number of expenses such a time away from friends and family to concentrate on your goal, feeling tired and hungry in those final weeks and daily activities requiring so much more energy and will power, and also monetary cost. Monetary costs to consider are a coach, supplements, posing lessons, tanning, makeup, hair, jewellery, shoes, bikini, federation registration fees, show entry fees, photography, travel and that’s just to name a few. Don’t get me wrong you can definitely save money in places but this might come at the expenses of what you produce at the end on your debut show. I personally in my first year of competing did not want to do anything by halves as I knew how much effort I was putting in daily to my prep and didn’t want anything to impact what I could achieve and produce on show day.
Are you currently surrounded by the right circle of people? People that are going to encourage you, support you, help you when times get tough and not negatively impact your prep. It is extremely important to consider this as those on the outside of competing may not understand what goes into the process. You might have to sit and explain to family why you can’t have Sunday dinner with them and why you must carry tupperware with all your meals in everywhere you go. You might need to explain to friends why you aren’t drinking alcohol, or why you can’t just skip the gym to get a cheeky Nandos on a Friday night. Boyfriends/girlfriends might need the heads up that your libido might drop the deeper you get into prep and you might not make the move on them, but this isn’t because you’re not attracted to them anymore but because all your energy has gone into your daily task and food is low. Being around the right people will definitely impact your prep and sometimes you might just have to distance yourself to concentrate 100% on you and your prep.
Be prepared to tell your coach everything. You will discuss your monthly cycle, your bowel motions, your adherence to the plan etc. And don’t lie about anything, be honest if you slipped up one day because your coach can then establish why this might have happened and sometimes getting a telling off does you the world of good to give your head a shake and continue to stick to plan. You might find yourself towards the end of prep talking to your coach more than you do your family/partner you live with. You become tunnel visioned and nothing can get int he way of you and that stage.
Now don’t get me wrong we all start our competing journey with the intention to compete to take part and achieve a personal goal of completing a prep and living to tell the tail by stepping on stage. The feeling of stepping on stage and showcasing your hard work after months of prep is amazing and honestly nothing compares to it and the feeling of great self achievement. But I think everyone should have a goal to win! This might seem out of reach for some but I think everyone should believe in themselves so much that they can win or at least place top 5, as this belief truly helps you get through those tough days of prep. Those days when you’re dragging your arse through the gym and scraping your post workout meal off the side of your bowel with a baby spoon. In your head tell yourself that you can do well if you just get through the day and complete all tasks set out by your coach. Theirs nothing more you can do if you’re putting everything into your journey to the stage and abiding by your coaches plan.
Now this in no means is meant to put anyone off the idea of competing as I can honestly say its one of the best things I’ve done. Competing has taught me how physically and mentally strong and disciplined I can be if I give everything 100%. It’s taught me that you can’t expect results if you’re not willing to make sacrifices. Competing has given me a new found confidence and pride in everything I do, and given me opportunities I wouldn’t of been able to of got if I hadn’t of competed. This should hopefully give people a honest outlook of what to expect when competing and enable you to decide if you are in the correct place to take the plunge and start your journey to the stage. This might mean starting with a coach and building on your current physique before starting a prep. Be prepared to get uncomfortable, wether that be with some extra body fat as you grow new muscle or when you get stage lean and it becomes uncomfortable to sit down. Make sure you make the decision to compete for you and you only.