So you have been prepping for your show and right now you want to quit.
Trust me I have been there! If you discover that competing isn’t for you, I get it. Maybe you are on the fence. Maybe you need some tough love and strategies.
First of all, during prep, there are a lot of emotions. Being a competitive body builder is hard. It’s HARD. It doesn’t matter if you’re bikini, figure or body building, it’s incredibly demanding. That is what sets us apart from fitness seekers.
Reasons you might find yourself wanting to quit.
1. Restricted dieting. As you get further into prep, the food gets harder. Even doing flexible dieting you still have to be leaning and that means eating less.
I typically question why I ever started competing when I see people leaving Quik Trip with bags of treats. What did I do? They look happy. I am dying. Sometimes I actually get angry!
2. Schedule: Contest prep training schedule is very demanding. We all have to work, tend to our families and obligations. I am up sometimes at 3:30am for my workouts. Many people have to carve out the time to make it happen. It can be very overwhelming and exhausting.
3. Fear of not making it. I usually quit 3 or 4 times per prep. The worst times are at about 5 weeks out. I lose it. I just know I won’t make it. It’s not worth it. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m sick of whatever. Then I cry and refocus. I also freak out when I get my new suit and it doesn’t fit. About 3 weeks out I break down in the gym and cry then I get my eye of the tiger back. So much of prep is mental. We all already know how to lift.
4. Negativity from those who are close to us.
When others question you, it’s easy to question yourself. Frankly, body building is a lonely sport. You often train alone, eat alone. If your friends/family are critical or not understanding it is very hard to sustain the drive to succeed.
Let’s just say.. the bloom has fallen off the rose.
If you end up having a weak moment and derail, that may cause you to want to quit altogether.
I want to share with you some things that helped me considerably in my preps. Let me explain how they were different.
My first show prep was adrenaline driven. The show was ALL I thought about. It was my everything. I had zero balance. I feel like this is common with a lot of competitors in their first show. It’s actually pretty awesome. It doesn’t mean it isn’t grueling, or you aren’t hungry. It’s just different.
Stepping on stage after that prep is a high I cannot begin to explain.
Subsequent preps I try to do with more purpose. I work hard in off season to bring up lagging parts, improve my physique each time. Prep is now very different.
I, in fact have a love/hate relationship with prep. I think it’s incredibly grueling and requires much more focus and strategies than adrenaline.
Mistake number one
I don’t want to be perfect. I want to eat. Ice cream is all I can think about.. Why am I doing this? Do NOT throw everything away for a cupcake. If you are truly, at wits end because of the food, try to find something in your macros that will feel treat like. What I know is after a free-for-all food binge, many clients suffer with remorse. A weak moment can wreck your prep mentally! Trust me. Problem solve! Talk to your coach.
A betchy word about discipline and commitment and being elite.
Discipline and following through on what you said you would do is an elite quality. Every lay person who fails at a diet proves this point. Yes.. that was super betchy. I’m not speaking to fitness seekers who need help with their diet. Competitive athletes set them selves apart from fitness seekers by choice and by their actions.. I’m not being touchy feely here and I’m not apologizing. Wanting to drink with your friends and throwing your whole training away for that is NOT what athletes do. Sometimes you flat out have to remind yourself YOU set yourself apart from the other fitness seekers. Level up!
Before you quit: Ask yourself these questions.
1. Will you feel remorse or relief?
2. Are you quitting for someone else? Because of pressure from others?
3. On the day of your show, will you be upset that you are not there?
4. What will be different when you officially quit? Do you have a plan?
Sometimes I just need to accept that I feel this way and refocus.
How I focus
First and foremost: Reminding myself I chose this journey.
I also want to remind myself I can finish this project …
1. Knowing I am capable to do what needs to be done. Fear has no place here!
2. Knowing my food will be colorful. I will eat things I like and that are fulfilling because I choose the right things to forward this process. My health is important to me!
3. Knowing that it’s going to be very hard sometimes but I will prevail. 🙂
4. Knowing that skipping the struggle isn’t an option.
5. Knowing that I’m going to feel weary, and want to quit but I won’t.
6. Visualizing myself being on stage with my best package.
7. Knowing that others will question me not support me, be rude, comment on my body/food or try to make me feel like it’s ok cheat on my plan. I will prevail because my goals are important.
8. Knowing that everything that tempts me, will be there after my show.
9. Knowing that this challenge is something that very few people actually complete and that I can do it.
10.Knowing there will be times when I doubt myself, feel I won’t be ready, feel I’m not going to do well . I will push past that with the mindset that I am bringing my best. Negative self talk is out of place.
11. Knowing that I can give 100 percent to this goal every single day. I will be disciplined when desire/motivation fails me.
Stop trying to skip the struggle:
So, in my last prep, I realized that I’m pretty much, always wishing I could skip the struggle. It’s not an option. Did I embrace it and work through it? Sometimes. Sometimes I was just angry and questioned why I ever really wanted to compete. Once that light came on for me, I really found myself pulling it out at the end. This is typical Tracy fashion. Getting out of the comfort zone is like me jumping off a cliff willingly.
Sometimes I wish I was flying blind again like I was in my first show.However, I have learned a lot about myself. I find the challenge of prep the thing I most appreciate about doing this sport. My goal is always to bring a better package but now I also have a goal to perfect my prep each time. I grow an incredible amount during this process. It is worth it on the other side because I prevail on the challenges I set for myself. When I step on stage, no one knows all of this, no one cares. It’s my journey.
I encourage you pause and make peace with the rest of your journey whatever it is. The internal struggle is by far the hardest thing about prep. Every prep.
I believe we can push ourselves far beyond what we think is possible. Whatever you decide I wish you luck in your journey!