The Brutal Truth About Your Competition and your Expectations

THIS BLOG IS ABOUT PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION! ❤


As a coach, I have lots and lots of brand new athletes who begin their journey on my team.

As their shows grow closer and closer ,it’s common for them to tell me..
“I thought I’d 
1. be showing more muscle
2. look  just like the Instagram competitors
3. be tighter
4. be more defined
5. have more muscle
or some variation of this.

The hard truth is
If you started your prep having not done a full off /grow/build  season, you did it backwards. Yep. I said it. As athletes.. we NEED a full grow season before we begin to prep for stage.
It is very common to see people who “workout” think they can cut down to what you see on the gram. It’s not the same as taking a strategic off season, eating, building, and then cut to unveil what you have built.

In 2012/2013, it was common to see coaches advertise “12 Weeks to Stage”  and starve a sister to stage lean.  It was a simpler time back then because the bikini physique was not pumped , super conditioned or showing striations. It was beachy.  BEACHY.

wonderwoman
This was 5 weeks out from my first show.

Fast forward to the ultra competitive nature of the stage of today. Conditioning needs to be on point. If a new athlete has begun her prep without mature muscle, she will come in lean and sexy but without the visible conditioning she is thinking she should see.

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In every cut.. we lose muscle. EVERY one.  That is real. We work so hard to keep what we have when we are on a cut.  If you are lifting heavy and training with high intensity and keeping your protein higher.. you are doing your best to keep that valuable muscle for stage.  You will not be building any muscle in a caloric deficit.  If you are on the normal path of losing body fat, and your calories are lower, you will be fighting to keep the muscle you have.

If you have very little muscle to start with.. you can certainly come in lean and gorgeous but with visible work to do.

WE ALL HAVE WORK TO DO.

Does that make you unworthy to compete? 
Not at all.
Does it mean you are going to lose?
Not necessarily.
Can you even win?
Of course you could!

Why bother? UGH.. well..

Because this sport is about improvements. When you compete, you must look at what you brought to the stage and work with your coach for improvements.
Do the work and come back with a better package.

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Build build build your physique but know you can get better every show!!

Your first show should be a baseline. It’s a BASELINE.

You gain experience, you gain, knowledge of your body. You gain reality checks and you lose the nerves associated with the competition process. You become less about the madness and all about strategy.

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In 2013 I needed much glute work. I still do! Middle pic is lots of food, lots of lifting  (2016) Final pic is 2017.  I’m a work in progress because I want to get better.

We all have to take the time to build mature muscle to get the IG look. Some of those women are NOT natural and it’s deceiving.  No offense to anyone who is not natty just be realistic!!
There is no fast track to mature muscle when you are natty.

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Ashley in 2015 and 2018. She is lighter on the right BTW.

It’s surplus of calories and progressive overload on your muscles. It’s diligence and time spent to create the physique you want. #science

No magic. Science.
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coach j
Julia Before and at the UFE World Championships in Toronto

Post Show:  Bad sportsmanship is never ok!!
I should have placed.
The judges hated me

I’m quitting my coach for another coach. I should have won.
I’m quitting the sport. I deserved to win, that other girl didn’t.
This show is rigged. The judges have their favorites. 

Boy, doesn’t this sound familiar.  First of all.. being an athlete isn’t’ when you are walking on stage in your sparkly bikini, it’s how you handle yourself. Being a real athlete is about sportsmanship as well as hard work.  Frankly, being pissy because you didn’t get what you wanted actually shows on stage. Yep.. you don’t think it does.. but it sure does.

It shows in your social media. It shows in how you treat others in your show. It shows.
Disparaging other athletes in public or social media reflects badly on YOU. Your friends will always  side with you.  Pro-tip: keep that conversation between you and your coach and be gracious in your placing. Your judges see your social.. just count on that. It looks bad.

Hey.. honestly…There is no guarantee.  Body building is a subjective sport and as athletes we never know who will show up. We don’t really have a solid handle as an industry on criteria.  Each federation seems to want something different or  perhaps the judging isn’t consistent. We already all know these things, yet we choose to step on stage.

No one is entitled to a pro card.  In your first year, not getting a pro card is a good thing. I said it.  I’ve seen many athletes win their pro card on their first show and were not ready to compete at pro level.  They did not do their time coming up and it basically put them out of the competition game.

Not getting a trophy when we thought we deserved one is normal because we all go there with the intention of winning. Sometimes things just don’t go our way.  Sometimes the numbers are tight and it’s literally a crap shoot on who placed higher.

Yeah, sometimes the judges have their favorites. Sometimes they don’t even see you.
Sometimes they don’t like YOU.  Sometimes it sucks.  It’s a subjective sport.

My point here is if you think that the grass is greener elsewhere then you didn’t do your show for the right reason.  Our goals should be to improve our physique and be competitive.  Winning is a cherry on top of the actual cupcake of the competition process.  We can get better and work hard for the next time!  We can try another federation that might be a better fit.  We can figure out where we can work smarter and keep pushing.  Or we can stomp our feet and be mad.  Trust me.. one is easier than the other.

So sorry… but I’m not writing  this to bring you down. I’m asking for you to understand your sport and realize your amazing potential. I’m asking you to focus on what you are accomplishing in a very short time and what knowledge you are gaining in this process.
I’m asking for all of us to stay away from comparisons when you are looking at your  pictures. It is not going to further your progress or goal to compare.

You do not know who will show up on stage next to you.
You do not have any control over the judges likes and feelings. You are in a sport that has literally no criteria and is  subjective.

FOCUS on YOU and your best package. Retool and learn how to apply what you are learning.
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Baby Iggy wants you to know that you are enough.. just work hard!!
Good luck with your show
Coach T

Competition 101: Master your prep mindset

britprep
If you have been training hard and have a show picked out, you will be starting your “prep” about 12-16 weeks out from your show date. Perhaps you are sick of feeling fluffy and ready to get lean! I get that!! This is very very  exciting. It’s mind blowing how quickly things just got real.

You are officially just weeks away from stepping on stage! OMG! 

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 tried to do with more purpose. I worked hard in off season to bring up lagging parts, improve my physique each time. Prep was very different.

body
Thank you for this!

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
cheatmeals

I’ve had coaches in the past tell me to  go eat whatever I wanted right  before prep  because it’s the last meals I would get for 16 weeks. I hate starting like that. I’m immediately feeling deprived and my focus is on what I am going to miss out on, not what I’m gaining. I do not ever want to start prep, bloated,  and mad at myself for a “sanctioned binge”.

Going straight from several dessert runs to turkey chicken and fish effected me negatively. It reminded me of all the “I’ll start my diet on Monday so I may as well eat everything I want” experience.  This is NOT how I want to start an competitive training schedule.

me

How I focus
I choose to start my prep in a positive mental state..

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
Stop trying to skip the struggle:
So, in one of my  preps,  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.
hmmm..
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 a real  challenge 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 to take some time before you begin your prep and make peace with the next part of your journey. If it’s your first time, you can benefit from adrenaline prep and strategies!

I believe we can push ourselves far beyond what we think is possible. I wish you luck in your competition journey! xoxo