When I was at the gym today, one of the members, who I’ve known for a long time, asked me how long it was until the comp. When I replied “about six weeks and counting,” she knitted her brow and said, “it must be getting really hard for you now – what did you eat today?”
I rattled off a few of the usual suspects before parting ways and it made me start thinking about the key ingredients that are paramount to success in any fitness journey – not just a competition preparation. In fact I think that they’re really one and the same – only with a comp you ride that wave all the way to the end.
Many people equate a competition preparation or a fitness journey with having to be perfect – having to eat the right amount of calories and do an exact amount of exercise with anything less being a complete and utter disaster. However the reality is when you decide to adopt a long term fitness transformation or do anything else that is worthwhile and important to you, there will be slips, backslides and all sorts of challenges along the way.
One of the girls I auditioned with for Masterchef made the top 24. She used up seventy two eggs before she mastered the art of the macaron. She had auditioned for every season. Undoubtedly, she learned lots of things about cooking and Masterchef along the way before she found her eventual success – and it was built on the small things like mastering the art of handling eggs.
The equivalent in my own journey back to fitness and eventually competition has been the setting and achieving of small goals. Doing a push up against a wall doesn’t sound exactly thrilling but when it’s put in the context of my rehabilitation from surgery it becomes an inspiring mini “success” story. The journey is also bumpy and devoid of perfection - it’s been the old “can I do any appreciable lower body strength training with my cranky pelvis” and “damn I wish I had thought a bit more wisely before eating those chips!” There’s also been the days where physio has been my training!
Setting little goals and even weekly and daily challenges for yourself is one thing that has really helped me – I set little goals for my treadmill runs, how I teach a class , how I organize myself and my family to making sure I know what’s for dinner – and when I add up these small “wins”, they start turning into something bigger – momentum!
Once you have begun to build momentum and a positive flow of energy in your life, the insurmountable all of a sudden appears to be a distinct possibility.
This comp prep has been my most “imperfect” yet in so many ways – however it’s also been the most satisfying. It’s not about the dream of a “perfect body” because I already know what that feels like, but rather the journey of a thousand steps and what I’ve learned from each tiny fragment along the way.
Back to the “getting harder bit” – my reality is that due to the momentum I’ve created, it’s getting easier – all of those healthy habits I’ve been working on bringing back into my life are beginning to permeate my subconscious again.
If you’re at the beginning, don’t despair but celebrate every little step, no matter how small – the effects are cumulative!