Assessing Your Physique!

Find out what you need to know about assessing your physique and how to take constructive criticism...
Dear Brenda,

I just finished competing in my first figure show. I am hooked! How can I access my physique correctly to improve on stage? My boyfriend helped me a lot leading up to my contest. Although I appreciated the support, we clashed on the reasons for my placing where I did. I think it is my lack of abdominal definition and he thinks it was political. Did you have someone help you with your competition program or did you do it on your own?

I have been a fan of yours since your ESPN2 days. Was that fun?

Thank you and continued success!


Dear Kim,

I am glad you enjoyed the TV shows. I had a blast filming those ESPN2 fitness contests with all of the cool girls I met through the years.

One of the major perks of getting involved in the fitness industry through competing is traveling and making friends throughout the world. I love surrounding myself with motivated, positive people (just like you!) while striving to reach our goals together. It is hard to find anything else to top it. My favorite thing to do lately is to work on projects with as many of my friends as possible.

The end result is fitness with imagination and polish. Congratulations on getting yourself on stage. You have already reached a major step that many more have attempted rather than accomplished. Good job.

It is almost impossible to be objective about your own physique. You will want a purely impersonal review using a couple of options to consider for optimal self-improvement assessments. Use seasoned veterans who know what they are looking at to give you the valuable insight you want. Your friends, family and boy/girlfriend are not usually equipped with the knowledge or tact for communicating useful motivation or advise largely because of the personal factor involved. It is also difficult for a hard working athlete to dispassionately separate well meaning personal assessments from a loved one without perceived self-criticisms becoming a factor. Are you with me?

You and your boyfriend should not be arguing back and fourth about what may need to be worked on for the next time. What you need from a boyfriend is unconditional support. It is hard enough to hold it all together physically and mentally while training and competing without creating clashes with each other. Avoid the conflict and focus on the goal, which is to take as much of the guess work out as possible so you have a solid game plan to work towards together.

You will see many smart athletes standing in the judge's line after the awards and placings to benefit from constructive feedback for improvement. The judges are trained to professionally assess your physique and presentation. Listen carefully and take notes if necessary. I used to bring my coach with me so I would not fall into the trap of only hearing select parts of my assessment or missing any key tips.

Don't throw out everything and start over when changing things up. Realize there are both strong and weak points to any stage program performance. There is always room for improvement no matter what your level may be and there are always some positive points to use for future shows you will want to make sure to repeat. I have seen athletes unhappy with their placing change every aspect including training, coaching and even apparel only to create problems where none existed in the first place. You may not need some big bold new solution. You may just need to give an existing one time to work and grow. Progress is the goal as always.

A very useful tool is to have someone take digital PICS of your physique at the start of your contest prep training right up until your show. Compare and use these for future information to see how your body reacts during the weeks of dieting and training. The truth is pictures don't lie and friends and family are bias. Study these with a trusted coach and make adjustments as needed with some solid facts. Assess your weak body parts and create a program to address them. Not all parts should get the same attention and time.

The 2002 Fitness America Pageant.

The types of people you surround yourself with are extremely important. If you have people in your personal or professional life that are energy suckers it is only a matter of time before they will eventually run true to their destructive nature and affect you in disruptive ways undermining your commitment to improve. These people can be difficult to pinpoint and clean out of your life but until you do, they will only get in the way of your chances for more positive, enjoyable experiences. Involving the support of positive people into your goals can make a huge difference in the quality of your serenity.

Dream big dreams. The first step in making them come true is by creating the atmosphere in which you want to receive them.

Be sure to also check out:
Up The Ranks: Now? Later? Never? When?

Take care of yourself. It's worth it.