To all my young ladies out there (mid/late teens to your early 20’s)– I’m not sure how to address what’s on my heart so I’m just going to go for it- #heartspilltime You do not have to compete in ANY COMPETITION to be fit, healthy, or strong. You have a lot to accomplish besides getting stage lean at this point in your life- like making good grades, getting into college, making friendships that will last a lifetime, and finding a career that can help you pay your bills, your student loans (God help us all- I’m still paying them and still have a ways to go- I’m almost 28!), and making a living so you can enjoy life and get your feet planted firmly on the ground during your early adult years.
Now with that being said– if you feel compelled and competing is a strong desire in your heart- by all means GO FOR IT. I just hope you have a healthy mindset and can look at the sport through a very realistic lense. Getting stage lean is a BIG DEAL. It takes a lot of time, sacrifice, strategic training in the gym, and a very clear understanding of what you’re doing and WHY. You push your body to the limits and are compared to others who have done the same by a group of judges who will analyze your every feature. It is a YEAR LONG pursuit. You are either working on increasing calories or decreasing them, and your workout intensity cannot cease. Sure you can take brief breaks here and there, but when you hear “it’s a lifestyle”, it really REALLY is.
I also hope that the reason you stepped foot in the gym for the first time was not because you had a competition date set that you had to get ready for.
I am a firm believer that competing in physique competitions should always be “Step 2”, never “Step 1”.
What I mean by that is– I believe that a desire to improve your overall health, strength, and fitness JUST BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO should be the reason you decided to change your lifestyle (Step 1). Finding out the way you love to train (because it’s not in the gym for everybody!), what your strengths are (because we all have unique strengths!), and how fitness bests fits your day to day life should be how you start off your journey to be more physically fit. Then there may come a day where you say “You know what– I’m ready to take this a step further” (Step 2). After thinking about it long and hard and doing some research regarding coaching, training methods, and the financial commitment that is about to ensue- that’s when you should take the leap.
And hey- at the end of the day, this is simply my opinion, someone may read this and completely disagree and that’s okay. I’m speaking from the heart and from personal experience and simply hoping to reach some young women that are tossing around the idea of doing their first competition. I promise you, when I was 18 and in my early 20’s- I knew I wanted to make fitness a part of my day to day life, but I was juggling a lot of priorities at the time and trying to become an independent adult. I trained for a little over a year on my own, researching how to eat to support muscle growth, and gaining a lot of strength by resistance training. My competitive nature coupled with participating in individual sports growing up (showing horses, running cross country) made competing in physique competitions a good fit for me personally.
I didn’t look in the mirror everyday and hate what I saw when I decided to do my first bodybuilding competition. I loved the changes I made and my competitive nature wanted me to push harder and take it a step further, I saw it as a challenge and nothing more. I was not unhappy with my body AT ALL. If you are looking for competing to strengthen your wilting confidence, I promise you it will only make it worse. I would love to help any young lady that wants to start out and make some initial goals in the gym and start eating differently to make positive changes. Simply message me if you want any advice! A few small changes combined over time can yield BIG results!
The motivation behind this post was sheer concern for your best interest if you are reading this. If it reaches and helps ONE person, then this post was worthwhile. Please shoot me a message if you want ANY advice. I’m not a nutritionist and I’m not a personal trainer (yet!) but I have a few years of experience with eating/weight training–I’ll help in whatever way I can!!