Posts tagged ‘lifestyle’
It has been a while. I think I have not posted here for years. Maybe because I was discouraged from the last competition and maybe because I don’t feel that drive that I once did that kept me enthralled in a healthier lifestyle. But two weeks ago, I attended the Red Clay Writing Institute in Athens, Georgia and the workshop reminded me that I am a writer. I think that I forget! Not only do I want to write again, I am more willing to share some of the stories that have not been shared in the past. I have written a very short story about my first bodybuilding competition and those who have competed will relate. Here it is. My first post since October 2014.
She stood behind the curtain backstage. As the MC called her name, she found herself shaking and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Her hand moved across the back of her suit as she made sure it was still in place. She looked down at her chest to see if anything was sticking out. The last thing she wanted to do was flash the audience. The MC ended his introduction and she stepped with one foot in front of the other until she was fully past the curtain. Good thing she had a little sip of wine because she was about two seconds away from passing out. The music was turned up loud and she looked out at the crowd but the only thing visible were the bright lights, the row of judges in the front of the auditorium and her boyfriend. Making her way across the stage in those five inch heels started to become easier with each step.
The first pose was one that she practiced over and over again with her coach. Left hand on her hip, right leg out to the side and a big grin with eyes on the judges. Her muscles flexed as she held the pose for a few seconds, but her face still looked relaxed. If only the audience knew how painful it was to hold those poses. She walked to the right of the stage and turned, showing her well-earned striations. Then she moved to the middle again with her eyes on the crowd. This was no time to be nervous. She had suffered through grueling workouts and walked a very fine line between fat loss and starvation for twelve long weeks. As she walked to the left, she thought about all of the food she was going to eat after the night was over. She turned around and showed off the v-taper on her lean back, and back around to display her six-pack abs. None of the women were as lean as her. After the T-walk on stage she went behind the curtain and her coach congratulated her. Never in a million years did she think that she would compete in such an event!
All the women went out together and followed the instructions of the judges. “Quarter turn to the right, quarter turn to the left, face the back, face the front.” They were up there for what seemed like forever. One by one, the award winners were called out on the stage and she heard her name. Fourth place! Not bad for a first timer. She was inspired beyond measure and she was inspiring others. Just a few years ago she was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. The next day she talked to the head judge and asked for feedback. “You were just too lean. That was extreme. Nobody wants to see that.” Did he not realize how hard she had worked for her body? His words cut her like a knife. In her mind, her muscles showed her hard work and dedication that none of the other women had. But in his opinion, she should have been softer. Forget that! If she was going to do this, she was going to go all out. She could be “soft” by just not working out, but this was bodybuilding for God’s sake. When she was obese no one told her to lose weight so she could be healthy, but here she was talking to a man who promoted a healthy lifestyle telling her that she went too far. A Black man who should have been supportive of his Black sisters.
It was in that moment that she realized no matter what you do to your body there will be people who don’t like it. Too muscular? You look like a man. Too soft? You are fat. Small ass? Get some butt injections. Breasts small? Get some implants? Hair nappy and too Black looking? Get a relaxer to look Whiter. Bodybuilding taught her discipline and pride and she learned to love herself for who she was no matter what the judges thought or anyone else who decided to judge her body.
Are your fitness goals a reflection of what you really want to do? Too many people make the mistake of doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Your friend decides to go on a 10 day cleanse and only drink their food, so you give a shot. Everyone is trying Crossfit so it must be for you, right? People are jumping on the Paleo band wagon, so that means low carb and no bread is the way to go, correct? Wrong. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you have to do what works for you. If you do something without your heart being in it, or because someone else wants you to, you will surely fail. You might actually complete the task, but you have to ask yourself will you be happy.
If you are like me, you need a goal to keep you going. I have to have something in the forefront that makes me get up and train and eat a balanced diet. Right now, my goal is to encourage other women and to be an example of living healthy and being happy. It is not about a number on a scale, or getting shredded for a competition. It is about challenging myself to reach limits that I did not know were possible. Bodybuilding is a part of that, lifting weights is a part of that, spin class, yoga, running…and the list goes on. I decide what I want to do, when I want to do it, and when the time is right. Who knows what my next journey will be, but I am sure that it will be done in my time and with passion.
So just remember that you need to think in terms of your LIFE…not just for the short term. How can you live this way for life? I have tried many ways, and I will share with you what works for me.
- Having friends who are active and encourage and support my lifestyle.
- Reading and researching the areas that I have an interest in. Don’t just go blindly into a training and eating plan until you know what you will be facing.
- Keeping everything in perspective. Life is too short to worry over every little thing. If I have an off day, I just get back on it. Yes, sometimes my whole week is off!! But, I never give up. If I fall off the wagon, I eventually get back on.
- Sharing my struggles with others. People need to know they are not alone in this journey.
- Flexible eating. My plan is to live a LONG life. I am not going to live it without eating cake! If I want it, I eat it in moderation and add it into my macros. Food should not be thought of in terms of good or bad. Think about food in terms of meeting your fitness goals and you will have a healthier relationship with food.
- I have stopped comparing myself to others. This becomes very hard when you do bodybuilding competitions. You are judged subjectively and can’t help but see how you compare to the others on stage. Comparing yourself to others can lead to depression. I had to realize that I have a unique body that is a result of my genetics, and my lifestyle. I have to work with what I have, and if it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for me!
Learn to love yourself enough to strive for health and you will be just fine. When you live healthy, and do what is true to your heart, you feel better!
“You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” —John Green