I recall my first figure show, wow, it's been almost six years now. I wrote about it here and many of you that follow my articles have most likely been entertained by my writing antics on competing. It is hysterical thinking back at that first show. I came into it completely unprepared and still left in awe at the fact that I had come in last place.
I had no competition tanner on, no competition suit for that matter and I had never even gone to watch a show beforehand. I saw the flyer in my gym and said, "Where do I sign up?" At the closing of that show I was livid believe it or not, screaming politics and oh how those judges just despised me!
Seriously, it's a trip thinking about it now, I was offered their expertise and I laughed at it. Who were they to tell me. There was my chance to improve. To learn, to grow and become more knowledgeable in what it took to compete and what I needed to do to get there and I was just not hearing it.
One Year Wiser
So, I decided to take one year off, smarten up and take it all in. I began to research and sought advice and critique from other fitness and figure competitors. Many of them became like mentors to me guiding me towards the best direction for me at that time.
I sought a nutritionist as well to help me clean up my very disturbed competition diet. In competing it's wise to understand that you are going to be "critiqued" along the way. This is a TOOL; it will help you grow as a competitor.
Contest Diet Forum Threads:
It is a blessing to receive critiques and should make you feel privileged at the chance to better yourself and work on what you need to improve. You are lucky that some will take time out just to give it to you. This is also a good sign that perhaps they may have taken interest in you and would like to see what you do with your given information.
Too often I see women - mainly new competitors - storming out of shows crying the same tears I did almost six years ago today. Putting down the very people that THEY asked for feedback from. If you don't want to know the answers, then do not ask the questions.
From My Standpoint
I have been training a few girls in competition prep for the past couple of years now and one of the very first pieces of advice I give them is that if you do not enjoy competing, I mean, really love it, then do not compete. Do NOT set such high expectations for yourself for the first show. It should be viewed as a learning experience.
This is the time to have fun with it all and see what it's all about. Then, if you place well at the end of the night, you will feel even better about yourself for not laying on the pressure to begin with. Now, as you have come into the show relaxed and carefree, you are also possibly going home with an unexpected trophy and that is the most rewarding feeling to have.
Isn't it always great to have great things happen when you least expect them? On the other hand, if you do go into the show, wanting to WIN and you do not do as well as you prepared yourself for. It may just leave a bad taste in your mouth for competing in general.
I have taken the wisdom from many veterans when I first started out and I was not ashamed to ask at all. I have lived by so much of the advice I have been given, I have made what I have learned my own and shared it with the women that I know and continue to teach and learn myself every single day.
I know that my first show, was like seeing the light. If it were not for the constructive criticism that I was offered after every show, how would I know how to go about bettering myself for the next time I hit the gym? What could I possibly strive for with no set goals? What would I push myself to do? What would your next step be, if you didn't even know in which direction you were going?
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
Still Learning Today
I just competed in my first NPC show this November; I received some of the best critique I have ever heard in my competitive years. It all made sense and it was advice I could actually work with. I learned many new things about MYSELF... things about my own body that I had never even noticed, how to pose myself correctly to show off symmetry, or my best side or how to hide imperfections.
I now know that I have one shoulder larger than the other, since I had never posed before it was not ever as obvious. But, now I know I need to work that other shoulder even harder to level them out. For the day of the show, I was told just to drop my right shoulder a bit while I was posed to "appear" well balanced for the time being.
Lagging Body Part Articles:
Simple and effective advice; constructive critique! I was also told NEVER to wear platform shoes but shorter heels on stage. I was told that my legs were already very long and I did not need them. I was by far insulted, HELL, I would have burned them right then and there if it meant a point reduction. I want to win. What do I need to do? PLEASE, tell me because I am listening. Listen to these judges, believe it or not, they are not out to get you.
If competing is for YOU, if it is what you want to do, then take your critiques as a gift, a learning device. There is a tremendous difference between constructive criticism and an INSULT! Be sure you are getting your advice from professionals; who are there to help you advance.
There are, sadly, also a large amount of people who would love to see you fall. So, in closing... take a DEEP breathe, let this all in and GROW to be the best competitor YOU can possibly become.