Have you ever noticed that if you know very little about someone, you seem to always make the same type of small talk? I have a co-worker who, during an ice breaking game with new staff, told everyone that she’s an animal lover. Now, anytime someone mentions a furry creature, everyone always says, “oh Jen, this is right up your alley”, simply because that’s all they remember about her.
I have found that the same thing happens to me quite often. Coworkers, family members you rarely see, random people at the gym, etc. I get asked a lot, “are you training for a show?”, “any shows coming up?”…you get the jist. Sometimes I just wish we could talk about something else, like my own love of furry creatures! Nonetheless, the recent barrage of questions has got me thinking hard about my competition future. It’s also peak bodybuilding competition season, so all the social media posts have me itching (just a tiny bit) to consider diving in myself. But then I remember all of the sacrifices that I made during prep season and how I felt getting last call outs at my last show, and I decide that I should just stick to training for life for the time being. Am I sour over my placing at the show? Hell no. I mean, who doesn’t want first place? But at the end of the day, and after looking at comparison shots a zillion times, I realized that I had no business throwing my scrawny butt up on that national stage beside those crazy female shapes. Great experience and a heck of a lesson learned. So I left that competition with two options: 1. Go back to the drawing board and keep growing and building, and living life with no set goal. 2. Prep for a smaller regional show where my chances of placing well were much higher.
And you already know what I chose. So, why though? Why decide to stop competing for the foreseeable future?
If I choose to do something big, like competing, that will take massive amounts of my time and energy, I refuse to do it halfway. So, I go all in. And the way I look at it is that I’d much rather get my tanned and diet-shrunken butt handed to me by women who look phenomenal and are nearing pro-figure level, than to take top five at a small show that is a final destination for many. Don’t get me wrong, there is great talent to be found at regional shows. It’s just my personal preference. And I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that I am much more proud of my last call-out placing nationally than I am with my first call-outs I’ve gotten at smaller shows. Anytime someone asks me how I did at my last show, and I proudly tell them last call-outs, I have to giggle at their bewildered expression. I am proud. I am proud that I was able to qualify and push myself to reach the heights needed to get to a place such as that. I mean, if you had the chance to run beside an Olympic sprinter, wouldn’t you do it? I know I would. The bottom line is that you should take any and every opportunity granted to you that will better you as a person, as a competitor, or will enrich your life. My shitty placing at that huge show did that. I didn’t get to bring home a plastic trophy and all the glory of being called a top competitor, but I did bring home the memory of clicking my five inch heels across a stage with the likes of soon-to-be IFBB pros. That’s a win in my book.
And that’s how I’ve come to the conclusion that you likely won’t see me posting about competition prep any time soon. I know my weak points as a competitor, and I know those aren’t going to be fixed overnight. I also know my life goals, and those don’t always overlap with competition life. So, for now, I’ll just live vicariously through all the strong females I do follow on social media, who are continuing to grind everyday prepping for shows. And you know how I know that I made the right decision? Because it wasn’t easy. And on the days that I look in the mirror and feel fat or struggle to get my not diet-shrunken butt into a pair of jeans, I can reminisce on the days that I had a clearly defined 6-pack and watered down thunder thighs. But I also realize that prepping for a show just to lose weight isn’t a good reason to put all that work into competing, so I give myself a little pep talk and work harder on my training for life mentality. I’ve also found that I can still participate in #transformationtuesday posts even though I’m not in prep mode. I just am working on a different type of transformation.
I might sound like I’ve turned my back on the bodybuilding lifestyle, but I promise that’s not the case. I still love the feel of pushing myself to the limit every time I step foot in the gym. I still flex in the mirror to see if my hard work has paid off. I still hit my quarter turns between sets of lat pull downs to see if my back is growing. I still revel in the feeling of knowing that I can push my body to great heights, that I can perfect my physique. I just get to have a heck of a lot more fun doing it now. Sometimes I choose a nap over an hour of cardio. Sometimes I skip my own workout to teach a group fitness class. And sometimes I just give myself an extra rest day to spend more time enjoying time with the boyfriend. My current goal is to perfect my workout/life balance and be a prime example of moderation. I want to completely love my body, whether I’m in my size twos or my size sixes. I’m learning that if I want to keep that junk in my trunk, then I’m going to have to be alright with not having six-pack abs. It is true that you can’t have it all, all the time. But you can most definitely be happy with everything that you do have in the present. It’s gift. Don’t waste it.