The countdown is on – it's less than a couple of weeks away from the SAF Summer Spectacular! As fitness models, we may have different strategies in the last stretch leading up to competition, but, all in all, we share similar challenges. Some of us increase our cardio, others concentrate on lifting heavy weights, some change their supplements, while others focus on whole foods, etc. As I buckle down and hit every day as hard as I can, I also take the time to see how far I’ve come. My goal this year was to add muscle, lean out some areas I’ve been challenged with ever since my pregnancies, and simply feel in the best shape of my life. Although remaining critical of myself, I can say in all certainty that I am proud of my progress.
Having a busy family life and running a family business, most days require me to be social, motivating, and efficient -- normally a task that comes naturally. But due to the strict dietary requirements and extreme physical regime, this can become challenging and my behavior unpleasant. (I’m not proud to say it, but at times I feel like punching something.) And it’s not that I’m an aggressive person; it’s simply one of the side effects I get from dieting. Some of you probably experience something similar and, thus, all of this combined can most certainly affect productivity and relationships with loved people.
Here are some of my tips to help you through the hardships of the last weeks prior to competition:
Have a plan: Use a calendar and pencil in every single "to do" item in the weeks leading up to D-Day, including the obvious ones such as your workouts, cardio sessions, stage presence, practices, etc., but also keep track of all the other things (i.e., appointments for hair, nails, waxing, tan, alterations to your suit, etc.). By doing so, you are guaranteed to get everything done in a timely fashion and in a relatively stress-free manner. There is no worse feeling than rushing the day before a competition.
Communication: Talk to your loved ones. Explain to them what you are doing and the challenges associated with it. Apologize in advance for any behavior that might be out of character for you. They will then be prepared for the worst. You can also invite them to come and see you at the event. They will feel included in your journey. There is nothing better than sharing your personal victory with your loved ones!
Channel your energy: Find an outlet that allows you to channel your energy into something positive. A good one for me is ACTUALLY punching and kicking things – that’s why I love kickboxing classes! But it doesn’t have to be something physical, it can be painting, playing a instrument, etc.
Ask for help: This is a hard one for me. I am used to being superwoman -- taking care of everything and everyone around me. But nine times out of ten, the people around you WANT to help. If it means alleviating your workload so you can focus on something else for even five minutes, it is worth it. So, don’t be shy!
Visualization: In essence, this is mental preparation and imaging. An easy way to do this is at bedtime – take five to ten minutes to connect with your inner self. Imagine yourself on that stage – how you’ll look in your suit, etc. Practice your walk in your mind and focus on positive feelings. You can also push it further and work all the steps from the line-ups to the T-walk to comparisons. When you have a positive image of yourself, you feel more confident, and by visualizing, you will feel better prepared for what’s coming. There is no worse feeling than fear of the unknown, so take the time to focus on what lies ahead.
Positive thinking: This one I’ve truly cultivated this year. It’s about creating a positive environment for your mind, body, and soul. If you think it, chances are you will attract it. In martial arts we are very focused on this. Our goal as teachers is to enrich our students physically and mentally, sharing our wealth of knowledge of the arts and its culture. We work with partners and learn to support each other, working together in a positive environment. We are constantly reinforcing and motivating each other. In the fitness industry, we are often working out alone, which can prove to be challenging. That’s why it is important to learn how to positively motivate and encourage yourself. It’s all about self-soothing and self-reinforcement. Good ways to achieve this are by creating a vision board or sticking motivation notes here and there in places you are sure to read them. Keep a journal of the positive things that are happening in your fitness journey or log events that have inspired you. Positive thinking helps you to stay focused on your goal no matter how challenging it is.
In essence, although these last few weeks of your preparation seem hard and tiring, this is the time where you’ll see exciting changes in yourself, both physically and mentally. What a great accomplishment to have pushed yourself beyond what you ever imagined possible. Bottom line: everyone is a winner . . . so enjoy the experience! There is no greater feeling than to step on that stage and show off what you’ve worked so hard for. Keep it up girls, let’s put on a good show!
SAF Elite Pro