My first contest/competition prep – it’s been quite ride.
I understand and appreciate that all prep’s will be different and this being my first has taught me quite a few things.
I thought I would share with you my biggest learnings and lessons:
1. The importance of a goal
A HUGE and massive learning for me. Even though I was a born organiser and planner I have gone through many years of my life without setting or having solid goals. It wasn’t until last year that I really started making them for many aspects of my life. Having a goal really helped me to focus and execute the steps I needed to take to reach them. It’s the one thing that I would recommend above all in order to (excuse my language) get shit done haha. If you are looking to set them for yourself check out: 5 Steps to Create a Solid Health and Fitness Goal.
2. Turn self doubt into “Can do!”
We all have “off days”, we all have things we are self conscious about (physically and mentally) and we all have times that doubt comes into our heads… the key is to turn those moments into opportunities. This was a big lesson for me. Those times that I doubted whether I could do something I took a second to wonder why?! Why did I doubt myself or my ability or if something was possible? Instead of having that negative emotion and feeling – go down the positive route. Change you attitude into a “You Can Do This” mentality.
Like the sayings go – ‘The Body Achieves What the Mind Believes’ and ‘Your Body Won’t Go Where Your Mind Doesn’t Push It’.
I’m not only talking about using this attitude in the gym, for getting/staying fit or even eating healthily – but in all areas of you life. What is the worse that can happen? You fail? Well, so what – you tried! And you should be proud of the fact that you went for it! As Nike says, Just Do It!
3. Keep things interesting by switching things up
In order not to get bored or stuck in a rut, try new things! There are so many ways of exercising, eating and living a healthy life. Ask yourself these 5 Questions that will help you recharge your enthusiasm, goals and drive.
4. Create a daily / weekly focus
Even when you have a goal it’s so important to have a clear focus of exactly how exactly you will take (daily) steps to reach it. I guess you can see it as setting small goals to reach the big one. In my experience I’ve found that having a daily and weekly focus really helps in the motivation and determination department! For example, let’s say you want to be X amount of weight, or X % of body fat or X dress size – think about the things you can focus on to get there, like working on a specific body part in the gym, eating more protein based meals X amount of times this coming week, or ensuring you always meal prep so that when you are out of the house you always have meals / snacks with you to help you stick to your plan. Whatever it is – create a daily / weekly focus for yourself. This will only help in keeping you driven and disciplined.
At 4 weeks out of the contest I wrote all about this and the very interesting Stanford Marshmallow Experiment.
5. You can always be better
I’ve spent quite some time thinking about and contemplating “Are we ever satisfied?”
Every day I wake up I’m thankful and grateful for being here and for being alive… but I know that I can always be, and do better, which I wrote all about here.
6. Meal Prep is a game changer
Nothing more, nothing less. Check out my 5 Meal Prep Resources for more info.
7. Change your attitude – get out your comfort zone
Stop worrying about all the things that could go wrong and get yourself out your comfort zone.
Something that I keep trying to do each and every day is learning to let go. When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.
To read more about this check out Why You Have to Lose Sight of the Shore.
8. Turn challenges into opportunities
I’m always one for turning negatives into positives and throughout the months I came across my fair share of challenges – both physical and mental.
At 9 weeks out I wrote about how to turn challenges (such as training in the humidity & heat, hunger cravings and dealing with seeing little to no progress in your body) into opportunities here.
9. It’s never too late to change your body and get in the best shape of your life!
One of my favourites!
Since I was a youngster I was self conscious about my body. Not only does this play a huge part in your life but also how you live your life – with regards to self esteem, self image and confidence. It wasn’t until I came across a quote on Pinterest last year that I really sat up, took notice and wondered how far I could actually change my physique, even at 34, if I just put my mind to it and did it.
It’s Never Too Late To Change Your Body tells the story.
10. Hunger is one of the strongest emotions and most of the time it’s all in your head
Nutrition and the psychology of food and eating habits has become a huge passion of mine. I love to learn not only about how nutrients fuel your body, can help it heal and how certain foods can even cause diseases, but also about our emotions, behaviours and feelings towards food. For example, hunger. We all feel it at some point, however I came to realise that the moments I was hungry was usually when I wasn’t doing something, or had a spare moment to think about food. Check out 5 Tips for When you are Hungry or Think you are Hungry for more and my tips to deal with it.
11. Turn fitness and exercising into a fun family affair
Fitness and training has had such a positive impact on our family – not only can I train with my husband, which we love to do together, but we make it a family affair by getting our ‘mini me’ involved, which he absolutely loves. Being the active 5 year old that he is, he loves to have competitions, run races, go biking / skating and take walks together.
He also loves being involved in training sessions and in summer we spent a lot of time outdoors doing fun stuff like this.
Awesome times and building family memories.
12. You are stronger than you think – both physically and mentally!
All it takes is focus, discipline and adopting the mentality to push yourself.
I was so excited to reach a new PR (personal record) in Dead Lifts with the help of my friend, and strength coach, Will – Barbell Strength. You can see the video here. At 3 weeks out of my competition I wasn’t sure just how physically strong I would be but I was in the zone and up for giving it my all and was surprised, and happy, to reach a new PR.
Mentally speaking there were many many occasions where I would have either 1) given up (when I felt tired at the end of a set whilst training) 2) given in (to eating more than I needed to) or 3) just gone to bed (when I was tired rather than spend time writing this blog) BUT… I had a goal and I wanted to succeed in doing the things I set out to do and had planned that day / week. Being mentally strong in so many situations is such an eye opener for what is possible.
13. You can make one of the most awesome chocolate cakes ever without eggs and dairy! MEGA!!!!!
I am a total cake monster. I LOVE cakes – cupcakes, chocolate cakes, birthday cake, whatever – that’s my weakness. Since last year I have been searching for the best chocolate cake made without eggs and dairy. After some searching, and experimenting, we made one which is the best I’ve ever tasted.
Click here for the simple recipe, mouth watering photos and easy how to. Damn that cake – I would love a piece right now!
14. Cooking is fun!
Who would have thought it. The girl who never had an interest in cooking started experimenting and making her own recipes.
Since I went a hybrid of vegan/macrobiotic and was in contest prep I needed to get creative in the kitchen – make new dishes, spice the same food up and keep meals interesting.
Along the way I have been posting quite a few recipes which you can see here.
15. Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself
I wrote more about this on my 2 Weeks Out Contest Prep post.
16. The unexpected can happen
I’ve met so many amazing and awesome people this past year who I’m blessed to call friends and so many things have happened that I could only have dreamed of.
There are big plans for 2015 for which I’m really excited for. Like my mum always said “The World is your Oyster”.
17. Listen to your coach, stick to the plan and stay focussed.
There is no secret, no potion, no trick.
You need to listen to your coach, workout, eat clean, rest and repeat.
Thank you Jerry Koolhoven for all your support and guidance.
I’m so thankful for every single day of my Enercup contest prep.
I have learned more about myself than I ever thought was possible.
I’ve questioned things, found my passion (check out For the Love of Bodybuilding for more on that) and am extremely excited for my next contest – the FlexCup, which I’ll be documenting over the next 7 weeks here.
Photo credit: Jadette Photography