Bodybuilding is a hard sport. It really is. Yet it can be so rewarding, and nothing makes me feel prouder than watching my friends on stage when they’ve worked like crazy in preparation for a show. What many don’t realize is the amount of time and discipline it takes leading up to a show. People often think you’re in the gym all day and restrict your calories. That must be what it means to train for a show. Hardly. There’s some truth to both myths, but the reality is it’s so much more.
For most the decision to do a show takes place months if not a year in advance. For the novice competitor if he or she is in relatively healthy shape that might mean 3 or 4 months. If it’s someone who is just at the start of his or her fitness journey – needing to lose a lot of weight beforehand – it could mean a much longer journey. And believe me there are many who make getting on stage their goal – even when they haven’t even started their weightloss journey. They see getting on stage as the ultimate prize – the trophy – their day to shine. Whether it be the mom of 5 (or 4 or 3 or 2 or even 1), or the dad who’s worked so hard for years on end only to let his fitness go, getting on stage is a goal of many and it’s planned way in the future. Then there are those who are seasoned competitors. Their competition doesn’t really start 3 or 4 months out. For them, oftentimes, their competition window doesn’t really even stop. It’s ongoing. For those who have their eyes on the prize whether that be to get on the national stage, compete out of state, add muscle and compete in a different division, or achieve their pro card – they’ll continue to train and continue to eat relatively clean not just to maintain but to improve “weak” areas all throughout the year. I can think of several friends right now who are doing exactly that. And it doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a good burger every now and again, it just means that they don’t ever completely derail from their path.
Then there’s people like me – who are somewhere in between. Two comments that always get me – “you used to do those bodybuilding shows…right?” and “why are you training so hard (or substitute with ‘eating so healthy’) when you’re not even competing?” Well, for those who love the sport as much as I do…it’s a way of life. It just is. Though I’m nowhere close to getting on stage and holding myself to the same dietary standard as my counterparts, I’m always “training”. Always. I work just as hard in the gym. I love the gym. I try not to miss, and when I am there, I push hard. That hasn’t changed, and I don’t see it changing any time soon. I like being and looking strong. Though I really don’t like being 47 or aging in general, I DO like being a very fit muscular 47 year old when I’m in the gym because I know there aren’t many. Will I compete again? Most likely. Any time soon? Not this year. I go back and forth. Last night I talked with a good friend, Sue Schmall, about getting older and competing in general. There aren’t a lot of people “our age” who do compete. At least not competitively. Yet at the same time that’s also something that is very appealing about it. There’s something exciting about still doing something that many have written off once they get to a certain age. So, we’ll see.
But about that journey. People who are just entering the sport of bodybuilding for their first time and those who are seasoned – they are a rare breed. Bodybuilding is just as much mentally tough as it is physically. It’s a daily mind workout. How bad do I want this? Can I force myself to push through the last rep? The last set of exercises? Make myself get up at 5 am to get in my cardio when really all I want to do is sleep? Food prep twice a week so I can stay on track? Pack my meals with me wherever I go so I can set myself up to win rather than caving when I’m in the moment and something else looks better? Take my meals with me even when out with friends and family at social gatherings? Skip the Super Bowl parties when my favorite chips and dip will be there? Say no to my mom’s homecooking which I absolutely love when she offers to make it for me? Skip the drinks when out with friends? Make large batches of tasteless chicken when I really just want to eat a huge juicy burger? Being mentally strong when one week of comp prep feels like an eternity and it takes everything in you to remind yourself why the hell you’re doing it in the first place? I’ve been there many times. What sounds like a great goal at the beginning and even well in to comes to a point where I’ve often wondered, “now why am I doing this? This is stupid. It’s selfish. I’m taking time away from my family. I feel vain. What a pointless shallow sport. I don’t even know why I decided to do this in the first place.” Every time. And it’s completely normal. There are going to be days that are harder than others. And there will be moments that you want to break and you’ll look for any reason strong enough to give you enough of a reason to throw in the towel. That’s what I mean by mentally tough.
Bodybuilding isn’t an easy sport. It’s hard.
And for the myth about bodybuilders having to starve themselves. Well, have you ever been on a true bodybuilding diet? For most it’s just the opposite. Forcing yourself to eat another 4-6 oz of lean protein with a side of veggies or complex carbs can. Be. Rough. No joke. Especially when it feels like you just barely scarfed down your last meal. And rather than walking around with a growling stomach you’ll be wondering how the heck you’re going to stay regular enough to digest all the food. And you’ll feel like you’re walking around with a brick inside you. Or you’ll feel 10x more bloated from all the fiber and you’ll wonder if it’s really working because what you feel is just the opposite of lean. That’s when the saying “trust the process” comes in to play. You hear it over and over and over. Trust the process. Trust your coach. And I 150% agree with both statements.
Sure there will be times during comp prep that you might have to cut calories – cut carbs – cut fats. But it’s not always and it’s not with everyone. There is no one standard way of prepping for a show that works for everyone. And to make things even more complicated what works for a competitor might not work again the next time around. A competitor might come in for a show looking like he/she needs just a couple of extra weeks of conditioning. Then they’ll add on the 2 extra weeks for the next show only to find they came in too early. There’s no real rhyme or reason. Honestly, that’s one of the best reasons to work with a good coach. If you’re working with someone who knows what to look for (there are signs), he or she will be able to make adjustments early enough to help “dial you in” in time for the show. Does that mean you’ll come in perfect? No. It just means you’ll likely show up more “show ready” than had you not worked with a seasoned trainer at all.
Again, bodybuilding is a hard sport.
BTW, want a good coach? Shane Heugly. He's been my coach for the last 4 years. He's a good friend and an amazingly talented competition coach. He is busy, but if you are serious, I'll make an introduction. Promise. He's never let me down. Ever. If you aren't looking to compete and want someone who will still whip your butt in to shape, there's Lu. Lu has become one of my very best friends. I love her with all my heart, and my journey started with her. She helped me to believe in myself when I first shed 60 lbs going from a former self-proclaimed middle-aged "fatty" to helping me love my body again. She's all about tough love. Again, I'm happy to make an intro. Just ask.
Side note…where have I been?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to judge the NPC Utah Cup again. I’ve been judging now for around 7 years, and I love it. It’s a privilege and an honor. Snapshot with IFBB Figure Pro Heather Dees, IFBB Bodybuilding Pro and last night's Guest Poser Flex Lewis, and IFBB Bikini Pro and friend, Robyn Maher.
The last few months have been tiring, challenging, and exciting.
She Gear is still my passion. It’s based on my love for fitness, my passion for bodybuilding, and the bond I have with my mom. It continues to be a feel good give back women empowering strength brand. It will always be my baby. But as much as I love it, the financial return just wasn’t where it needed to be, so I needed to look in to other options.
Just after Christmas I got my real estate license. As many of you know Utah real estate is very active right now. We have way more buyers than properties. Homes are selling as fast as they hit the marketplace. It’s a complete change of focus for me, and I love it. I am learning, growing, and testing my abilities every day. It’s so much harder than I thought, but I even appreciate that. It’s a challenge. And its not fitness which in a way is a good thing. It gives me a chance to really enjoy all the many things I’m involved in fitness-wise even more. I joined an incredible real estate team RE/MAX Results The Fields Team – that I’ve admired for years and I’m learning so much every day. BTW the Fields Team has one of the BEST reputations in Utah. With hundreds of 5 star reviews both on Google and on Zillow - it was another reason I wanted to be on their team. I knew that I'd be surrounded by the best. It’s hard and it’s rewarding and it’s fun. I’m being mentored by the best and I am supported by the best. And now having been in the industry for 3 months I am completely immersed in it – oftentimes working 12 to 15 hour days by choice (no lie) because my goal is to provide every customer exceptional thorough service. By being “all in” I know it will help me learn more quickly, provide me more opportunities, and help me reach our family’s financial goals sooner. And I am 150% committed. So...if you need someone, here I am. I'm both a buyer's and a seller's agent, and I worked throughout Utah - mostly in Utah County - but I've also worked with customers in SLC, Heber, and St. George. Already. :) I'm having fun - what can I say? My very first nearly signed customer (who I totally bonded with) let me go having learned at the time I'd only be a realtor for 3 weeks. Being completely honest, it stung. Their loss. At the time sure I was new to real estate, but I'm not new business or life in general. At 47 I have experienced a lot. I have bought and sold personally...many times. I've been in business - professional business - for 25 years - working with prestigious companies like Franklin Covey and Primedia but also in newer up and coming technology start-up companies and as an self-employed entrepreneur with my baby She Gear. And the one thing that any of my friends, customers, co-workers, or even managers can tell you is I love people. I follow-through. I am results driven. Relationships mean everything. Everything. And in real estate that's crucial. You can't maintain a strong relationship without proving solutions and exceeding expectations, so guess what? That's what I'm doing. That's my goal. And I'm trying to make it fun while doing it.
So I know I haven’t been super active on social media in the last couple of months, but that’s why. I haven’t gone anywhere. I haven’t given up. I haven’t thrown in the towel. I’m simply balancing the time I do have the best way I can without completely going nuts.
As things start to level out She Gear will be back in full swing. And I can't wait for that day. I have so many ideas and so many designs I want to release!!! Once I have more financial freedom again I plan to do more, and give all my She Gear supporters GREAT new product. So be patient with me. I’m not going anywhere. I'm here, promise.
In the time being enjoy what’s online. I’ll be running specials every now and again as a thank you for your continued support. It always means so much to me.
Big hugs to everyone and here’s to the start of another GREAT week! I’d love to hear from you, so drop me a line!