It’s been almost three weeks since I competed in the Ottawa Classics, placing 2nd in Bikini short – qualifying me for Natural Provincials. Since the beginning of prep, I was so focused on placing in order to keep my options open. This wasn’t just a bucket list item for me to scratch off, this was something I knew I would grow passionate about. So not placing wasn’t an option.
As I was getting closer to show day, I was starting to make plans. Was I going to go to Provincials if I qualified, or was I going to take some time off to grow? I had these discussions with Steve, my coach and my posing coach as well – they were all for me attending the Natural Provincials. Why? Because it’s a great experience and it’s a way for me to see what’s out there at the next level. So here I am, sitting at 4 weeks out, executing the plan my trainer and I have in place to get to the stage again.
Have a plan
No matter if you are a competitor or you’re on a different fitness journey, have a PLAN! It is incredibly important to set short term goals and long term goals for yourself. When I started this journey almost 3 years ago now, I would set up very small goals for myself. Something that was going to be achievable and keep me on track.
Example: Lose 5lbs within X date.
This made things so much easier and it really kept me on track. Once I achieved these small goals, I set up new ones! But, what’s very important is that I had my long term goal. My long term goal was to compete in a bikini competition and just in general feel good about myself. I knew that this was going to take years of hard work, but it was and it is worth it to me. It’s very easy to get discouraged when you look at the steps it will take to achieve your long term goal(s), but this is exactly why short term goals are going to be the key to your success.
This also is very important. It is important to reward yourself when you achieve your short and long term goals. How you choose to reward yourself, is up to you. But if I can make a suggestion, stay away from rewarding yourself with food! This is the exact behaviour that got me to my highest weight – food reward.
Let’s look into this really quick. Here are perfect examples of when we reward ourselves with food:
- passing an exam / test
- getting a new job
- making your first big purchase
- losing weight
It’s natural to celebrate with friends and family by going out to eat. It’s not a bad option, but if you opt for this option, make sure you plan ahead and you are prepared.
This is simple: if you are going out to a restaurant, take a look at the menu beforehand and chose a FEW healthy options. The reason you should chose a few different options is in case one of your choices is not available upon your arrival. You always want to have a back up plan. Second rule of thumb: do not look at the menu upon your arrival. This makes it harder for you to stick to your original plan. And lastly, pass on the desert (unless you have also planned for that).
Throughout my journey, I have learned to reward myself with other things, such as: gym clothes, every day clothes, shoes, gym gear…things that I enjoyed. Who am I kidding? I mostly purchased new gym clothes. Who DOESN’T like new clothes? Especially when you’re feeling good about yourself!
So remember, set your goals, and once you achieve them, reward yourself!
This is a BIG one. If you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t have much knowledge when it comes to nutrition. And that’s okay – because we ALL start there. The beauty of this stage is that you are about to embark in a whole new world. You are about to learn so many beneficial things when it comes to your health!
This is where coaches come in. If you have some financial flexibility, I recommend that you hire someone. Why? Someone who is knowledgeable and who is passionate about fitness and health will be able to get you on the right track to achieving your short and long term goals. Might I add that it’s also incredibly convenient.
Having to find out the calories you should be eating, let alone making a meal plan for yourself can be incredibly overwhelming – especially at such a delicate stage into your journey. So do yourself a favor and hire a coach! A good one!
Once you’ve done this, you need to think ahead. When you come home from work, or from your workout, you’re likely exhausted. The last thing on your mind is preparing some food – let alone “healthy food“. This is one of the BIGGEST reasons people fall off the wagon – lack of preparation. My advice to you is to cook your meals ahead of time. I myself cook most of my meals on Sundays. My lunches and dinners are usually prepared for Mondays – Saturdays. I usually cook/prepare my breakfast the same morning, and I get my snacks together before work (since this doesn’t take much time at all). This has saved me so many times!
So do yourself a favour, and meal plan!
Set your goal(s), plan out the necessary actions and succeed!
We all start somewhere. We all face difficulties. Most of us at some point have failed time and time again. But the beauty of this journey is that we learn from our mistakes. We learn along the way. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and we keep going! That is the beauty of this journey – you never stop learning!
We are all in this together!
Until next time,