Listen to Your Gut
One of my clients sent me a message that she was feeling very discouraged. When we spoke a little I found out why.
She read a post that someone wrote about reasons why people shouldn’t do a bodybuilding competition, including that if they weren’t prepared to win the whole thing they were wasting everyone’s time, including the real athletes.
Whether it’s a blog post telling you to stop before you even start because you’re not good enough, or someone “looking out for your best interests” who says going to the gym is too time consuming, or a family member who is “worried” that all this healthy living stuff is never going to work, the best advice I can give is to disregard all the noise and listen to your gut.
Don’t let anyone stop you from reaching your goals. This is your life and you own the choices you make from start to finish, so you have to follow your own passions even if they don’t make sense to friends and family.
Regarding the person’s sentiment that unless you were able to win you should never step on stage in a competition because you’re wasting real athletes’ time, I call bullshit. When I trained for my first competition I did it to lose 50 lbs., not to win. My fit body was the trophy I was after.
And guess what? When you enter an amateur competition there are no “real” athletes; everyone there is some variation of a fitness novice until they earn their pro card.
It took me three years of training, entering competitions (and failing) before I was able to actually win one. Those fails were invaluable experiences for me because it gave me a chance to learn what didn’t work – with my posing, the type of posing suit I wore, the types of exercises I needed to work on and the types of foods that worked best for my metabolism.
It’s important to understand that most things don’t work out perfectly the first time and that failures should be viewed as feedback. Get curious. “Those women have more poise on stage than me. What are they doing differently? What muscle groups are they working on? What are they eating before they go on stage?” Once I was able to answer these questions I was able to improve.
Another big obstacle was that voice between my two ears saying that the “real athletes” would beat me every time. I had to recognize that that was just fear talking and also a bit of laziness, because if I knew everyone was going to be better than me anyway why try so hard, right? Once I gave that excuse up and realized that I could win just as easily as the next woman my trophies began to pile up.
Sometimes my clients will tell me about friends who tell them that it’s wrong for them to eat chicken, green beans and brown rice; that they should be drinking shakes all day or trying the latest fad diet. Fortunately my clients trust me enough to say, “Thanks, but I’m going to stick with what Lisa’s telling me to do. She knows my body.”
When my brother was losing 90 lbs., people in his office said they were “worried” he was losing weight to fast. I asked if any of these worried people were doctors. He said no, his doctor was thrilled that he was getting healthy. So I told him to just politely ignore the worrywarts.
The truth is when you are getting healthy it tends to freak people out, because change is scary. Husbands are sometimes afraid that their fitter wives are getting more attention from the opposite sex. That co-worker might feel pressured to get in shape because you are. Sometimes people are just haters and they think that by putting you down and killing your joy it somehow makes them better.
Tune out the naysayers and stick to your goals. You’re never going to please everyone so stop trying and do what’s right for you. If they aren’t onboard with your success, don’t talk about it with them and find some new friends to hang with instead. Get around some positive people who are just as hyped up as you are about reaching your fitness goals.
When you decide to follow your heart and roll towards your goals like a giant freight train of determination you are also giving people around you permission to do the same.
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Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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