Life Balance before Competing

Allison Ethier
Allison Ethier

I have been competing for a while, and love it. I am sure this is obvious when you browse my website, visit one or both of my Facebook pages (Personal Page, FanPage), or follow me on Twitter or Instagram.  My postings are littered with motivational  rants about competing, the competition world, photos of food preparations, selfies (which are completely to motivate me and you to work harder), and various other images surrounding training, being a mom, or just random things I find to be interesting.

Many more people are interested in competing nowadays than when I started back in 1999.  When I began my competitive career there was just fitness and bodybuilding.  No other divisions to choose.  Now there are divisions for every age group, height, and level of muscularity.   Anyone and everyone can choose to compete, but not all should take this journey as quickly as they desire it.

Way back in the day, when fitness was the only option, most girls had a gymnastic background, or dance/cheerleading background.  They were very body aware, and very neurological efficient,  and probably had dabble in weight or trained consistently in gym prior to competing.  If you are athletic you have an advantage over others who have done nothing ‘athletic-y’ in their life.

Fitness is a very demanding division with trying to balance the diet with training like an athlete.   Eating less food, and trying to perform a high powered 2-minute routine are not two things that really gel really well.  Finding the balance between the two can be tricky and many girls have gotten themselves into trouble training too much and eating too little.

See: Metabolic Damage

Scheduling training and food prep time for those who choose fitness was not a big adjustment as they usually had competitive background that logged a lot of training hours, so switching to something like fitness might have been equal or less hours of training than they had experienced in their sport.  Doing the diet, was the new thing, perhaps learning the fitness routine. The work ethic, and managing a schedule while training a lot was not new to them.  They had already done this competitively, or at a high recreational level and were very well practiced at managing both – life, and training.

For athletes they are comfortable in the uncomfortable.
You simply keep practicing, work hard, and wait.   These women had already managed their schedule-work/school and/or family BALANCE prior to deciding to compete.    And again, the most important part of the equation – they were athletic.

Nowadays, you have people who have never participated in sport or trained consistently in anything that requires you to sweat, never lifted weights, and have never actually worked hard towards something physical like this or anything remotely similar trying to compete.  As a non athletic newbie not only are you dealing with your regular life, (work/school, family, responsibilities) now you have to add food prep, training, sleep/recovery and patience.

If you are interested in physique competition, find the balance with training and nutrition in it before you decide to ‘train for the stage’. This is an important (yet often overlooked) part of the physique competition process.   You need to practice managing your schedule, training, food, and everything else that needs to get done before actually prepping for a show.

If you don’t know YOUR balance is with adding training, food prep and recovery to your schedule along with, work, family and other responsibilities looks like BEFORE training for a show, how will you be able to return to balance AFTER the show?

Training for a show adds extra time in your schedule.  For me, it adds anywhere from 7 to 12 hours extra of training and food prep time to my schedule on top of what I have to do already.

Life is always busy, and some times of the year are better then others to train for a show.  Times to avoid competing?  During stressful life changes such as marriage, divorce, new baby, new house, new job, deaths, moving of any kind, financial issues, loss of job, or injury.

Find YOUR balance first, then add the chaos of prepping for a show when other things in your life are stable.

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