At the moment I am in full gear towards competing once again. I thought it was therefore appropriate to share with you my story of how bodybuilding became part of my life and how it has had such a positive influence on me. Regardless of whether you are interested in bodybuilding or not I hope you will all take something away from this.
Female bodybuilding is a fast growing sport that I first became interested in some years ago when I met a girl who was competing at the time. Her physical and mental strength amazed me, she wanted me to compete and had every faith in me that I would do well, but with competing comes the chance of losing, or not placing or in my head not being good enough, I just wasn't ready for this and it scared me. Years passed and I was still asking myself, should I, would I, could I? In January 2011 I found out that my friend had sadly passed away, I decided that I would compete to prove to myself that I could and in honour of my friend.
The process of transforming your body takes some serious dedication, which I am sure those who are currently doing the Lean Extreme Challenge and others working towards their own personal improvements realise! After training hard and dieting throughout the year, nothing could have prepared me for the 16 week diet and training programme leading up to the competition. I’m not going to lie it was extremely tough and pushed my physical and mental toughness to the absolute limit! I remember some days I didn't want to go to the gym and I wanted to eat chocolate and on those days I would have to have a serious word with myself. 'Remember why you are doing this, it's not forever, you have come too far' and the best one was to think of the thong I had committed to wearing on stage..... I was doing my walking lunges to the gym every day before I knew it! Whatever you are training for it is easy to let things, or even people, discourage us and to let temptations lead us off track, these things need to be met with a strong mind, if you want extraordinary results you must do extraordinary things!
Something that really helped me through was the support I received from a friend who is a former Miss Britain, and my boyfriend. Social support is huge not just for competing but for any goal you set for yourself, this is something we see in the gym at Extreme Conditioning, people helping and supporting each other through the highs and lows of training and dieting. Having the support of friends and family to help you through the lows and celebrate the highs makes a huge difference. When we change our lifestyles, diet or training it can be a big shock to the system, it can be both physically and mentally draining, so having that support can keep you going.
The lead up to the competition was exciting, tan, bikini, hair and lots of sparkly things but inside I was still so scared of being judged, or not being as big or as lean as the other girls, putting myself in front of all those people to be critiqued. We are judged everyday either by complete strangers or people we know. Working in the fitness industry and teaching classes, I put myself up in front of people who I have no doubt judge me, it is just life, not everyone will like you, the way you look, or even understand why you are doing what you’re doing, we can't let this stop us doing something or you will be forever their prisoner.
Competition day came and I loved it, I placed second and even got a trophy! I cannot describe how good it felt, after the amount of time, dedication, sweat and many tears I invested, to finally reach my goal and actually get on that stage. I left with a new confidence and a real boost to my self esteem. This feeling of accomplishment and pride, to me, was priceless, so to anyone struggling with motivation to reach their goals, keep pushing and embrace the challenge ahead because that feeling you get when you achieve them is well worth it!
After taking a precious two years off 'serious' training and enjoying being a mummy I started hearing myself asking those same old questions , should I, could I, would I? I have decided I Should , I Can and I Will, so I have started to direct my training towards competing again, I don't want to have regrets and I want to be MY best. My goals and yours too, should be ever evolving. In the beginning I would have been proud just to get up on that stage, but now I have achieved this initial goal I am still so far from where I want to be physically and my aim this time is to be leaner and more conditioned then I ever have been before, helped by using my experiences, and the confidence and strength of character I gained from last time. Soon some of you will be coming to the end of lean extreme don't let the fact that you reached your goal stop you from making a new one, you should be feeling Fitter Leaner and stronger than ever, this is your opportunity to set new goals, celebrate your high and keep it there, keep training hard, eating right and resisting temptation and you will continue to become stronger, in mind, body and soul.
Have no regrets, be Your Best!