Establishes a long term goal. Long term goals make the short term goals worth it. Suddenly, it becomes easier to go to the gym and you get more satisfaction out of it because you know it all leads to that stage. There is a personal pride with sticking to your training and controlling the outcome of your body. You also over the years get to see progress and change from growing a booty to insane amounts of muscle-mind connection. This aspect is probably why I still choose to compete. I love getting that lean to be able to see my hard work and dedication. I love knowing how long it took to reach and how it is a never ending quest. I also really enjoy showing people what a body can look like by utilizing more of a flexible dieting/mindful approach rather than strict diets.
Another great thing about this sport is the people you meet. I have met some of the most amazing inspiring men and women through competing. You bond with these people. You motivate each other and support each other. It is so amazing to watch others journeys over the years and see their bodies change. It is like a family and I am blessed to be a part of it.
You have to stick with your short term goals. You can no longer give into excuses. It consumes your thoughts as every passion should. But be aware of that. You're in a caloric deficit which can mean a decrease in overall energy levels. Depending on your prep style you can really alter your hormone levels leaving you with straight will power to follow the diet. When will power fails and you eat an entire pizza you can be left feeling worthless while wearing your fat pair of sweat pants.
It also becomes a mind fuck at a certain point….. I know stay positive. You start to be really technical about your body. Judging it and your work ethic. A lot of the times, you start to think you're not lean enough, that you will not be ready in time.
Remember to compete for you. Compete because its fun to see all your gains. Compete because it's the goal you chose to help keep you motivated to become a healthier person. Compete because it gave you the drive to not give into going out drinking every weekend. Compete because you want to treat your body with respect and having periods of motivation and a goal are a requirement to success.
I personally think competing can create a loo of disordered eating behavior and a lowered self-esteem. If you don't walk into a good coach, environment, or self love you will likely just create more disordered thinking. For example if your don't love your body already. Well when you step off stage and start to put the body fat back on it can leave you feeling like you look like a beached whale. This happened to me my first couple shows. I did not walk into them with any self-love. I had a hard time putting the body fat back on mentally. I asked my coach at the time to take my body fat almost every other day. I would feel guilty and binge frequently post show. When in reality I looked great. My image of myself and what I felt "hard work" should look like were totally off. On season and off season have completely different goals and it was hard for me to realize that those physically do not look the same. Now, I find joy in both but still find the off season the most challenging to accept and nurture.
You will not be able to go and do everything your friends do. I know it is social to go eat out and party. When your competing though you have to have these moments in moderation. It can be a struggle and it does not make it easier when your friends tease you about it. My advice….find better friends. Ones that support your goals will help find alternatives. From finding healthier places to eat out, not pressuring you to drink, and not telling you to watch them as they stuff their face with thousands of calories. This is hard. You have to find a balance.
Another thing….do your research and know what you are willing to do and not willing to do. Find a coach that matches with these goals. Will they ask you to take any legal or illegal substances? Water deplete? Sodium load? Diuretic? Cutting steroids? There is a time and place for chemistry experimenting. But are you willing to? Is your coach qualified? What are the health effects short and long term? What are your goals? Is it needed? My personal opinion is that drastic things or supplements are not needed for bikini girls. I personally got into this sport to become a healthier happier person and all those intense strategies personally do not fit my goals. Plus, I think I can look just as good if not better than some of these girls that take anavar and all this other crap. Seriously, think about why you are competing. And do your research!