23 May Competing with Mental Toughness
A lot of competitors want to know how to gain mental toughness. For me, it started at a very young age. I was competing at 9 years old in Jr. Olympics and learned that I was not going to win every race, be the fastest and doing my best was all I could ask for. When it comes to a sport (competing in bikini or figure shows) that can be very subjective, political (at times) and controversial, it’s hard to understand “why?” I don’t hold all the answers but I do want to shed some light on how to gain mental toughness for competition! I started competing in shows when I was 24 (I am 40) and through the years there are some things I have done to help me with the overall experience!
Mental Toughness: Focus on myself
When I’m back stage I don’t “size-up” the girls. What girls look like back stage is often times very different than what they look like on stage. This can be good or bad. I know girls are guilty of this. “Do I look as good as she does? Do my glutes look like that?” But I’m here to tell you that you deserve to be on stage competing just as much as everyone else! It is true that some of us work harder than others and at the end of the day we all deserve to be on stage!
Visualize myself posing! I even close my eyes and perform my routine in my head over and over!
Mental Toughness: Practice! Practice! Practice!
Even as a Pro, I have to practice all the time! You should be practicing your competition routine at least 10 weeks before your show date. This routine that you do on stage should be memorized. Video yourself, take pictures of your posing and hire a professional that knows how to pose you so you will look their best! Just because your best friend did one show does not mean she can help you pose! Before hitting the stage, I practice my routine 10 times (or more) backstage! Girls may stare at me but I don’t care! I am in “the zone” and I’m focusing- I am mentally tough. I let them look thinking I might teach them a few things!
Mental Toughness: Calm your Nerves
To calm my nerveless, I chat with my sis! I know not all of you are lucky enough to have a “look-a-like” partner in crime but you are fortunate enough to train at TwinFitness and experience comradery! If chatting with the other girls on the team help keep your nerves down, then chat away!
Mental Toughness: Be Positive
Surround yourself with positive individuals and stay away from negative girls that bring you down! Negativity will affect your mental toughness during competition. Girls can be mean and jealous! At TwinFitness, our Elite Coaching team, including all of our coaches, focuses on supporting and empowering women to do their best!
We always say to our competitors: “Does it really matter what a panel of 10 judges think of you?” At the end of the day, does it make you a better person? They don’t even know you? Do they know how hard you have worked? Do they know how much body fat you have lost? They don’t’ know anything about you! Do not focus on the negative. I know you have inspired more individuals than you realize and I encourage you to focus on that!”
Mental Toughness: Show Time!
Always go into show with the right attitude! In order to prepare for mental toughness do the following:
- Have fun! I know it’s hard but the more fun you have the better the experience will be for you.
- Don’t ever go into a show expecting to place! You are competing for yourself, do it to improve yourself! Do not to compare yourself against the other girls. You never know who is going to show up or if it’s going to be your day. Let me put this into perspective for you. Out of the 30 shows my sister and I have done we have only placed 1st in 8 shows and two of those 1st place shows were when we won our pro cards. There are many shows that we did not place at all! You compete in this sport because you love it, not to place at every show!
- Leave your family at home. Believe me, I’m the first to have some great family time however, a bikini or figure show is no place for small children and others that take your attention away from your ability to concentrate on why you are there and focus on your mental toughness! Make it a girl’s trip and your experience will be much better! Sis and I travel alone to all of our shows. We leave the kids and hubby’s behind. It’s our girls’ trip and we love it. It’s another way we get mentally tough!
- Take a minute to reflect! In the heat of the moment, when your name is not called to get top 5, you can get very upset with yourself! I’ve been there, we all have! After a day or two, go back and look at pictures. Chances are you will be very proud of what you accomplished! Remember only ⅛ (or less) of the world that does this training, dieting and competing! That fact alone is something to be proud of!
There are many physical ways you prepare for figure or bikini competition. Take your training all the way, and prepare yourself mentally as well. All the training and dieting that got you to the show, will be enhanced if you compete with mental toughness as well. You can walk away from that show, placing or not, knowing you did everything you could to do your absolute best!