Getting fit takes discipline. It requires hard work, dedication and at times, it can be challenging.
No one knows this better than a fitness competitor; an athlete who spends months training, dieting and prepping their body so they can step out on stage, impress a panel of judges and hopefully win an award for the carefully crafted physique they worked so hard to build.
Of course, these competitors go to extremes in order to shape their bodies into lean, chiseled fat-burning machines, and since most of us aren't aiming to strut our stuff on stage in competition, it wouldn't make sense to follow the same training and diet regimen they would. However, that doesn't mean you can't take some of the strategies that they use and apply them to help you reach your own health and fitness goals.
You want to feel fit and healthy, and while it might be a little bit vain, you probably want to look your best, too (after all, you’re only human). Fitness competitors know what it takes to achieve all of these things, and the best lessons they have to share will show you how to develop the motivated mindset you need to get there.
Britney Anderer is a New York based certified personal trainer and a fitness competitor who won first place in the figure class C and overall categories at the 2014 National Physique Committee (NPC) New Jersey State Open Championships. She says that all of the hard work she put in to earn that title, and the physique that goes with it, was definitely worth it even though the challenging journey made her question the value of her effort at times.
“There were plenty of times when I didn’t want to do a workout,” she said. “Especially toward the end of my prep when I was off carbs and very weak. But the mind is the most powerful instrument you own and if you can control it, you can talk yourself in or out of anything.”
Read on to find out what lessons Anderer learned while preparing for her competition and how you can apply them to your own goals so you can make the transformation to your fittest self yet.
Don’t downplay the importance of diet.
“The hardest part of prep [for the competition] was sticking 100 percent to the diet,” Anderer said. “When I am not in prep I eat healthy as it is, but in prep there are certain foods you must avoid and you must be strict with portions and grams. It takes a lot more focus and discipline to eat when you are supposed to and not when you want to.” Of course, your eating habits won’t have to be as extreme, but the lesson to be learned here is that if you’re serious about getting in shape, instead of looking for short cuts or quick fixes, you’ll have to hold nutrition in high regard. Go in knowing that your success will rely on developing routine healthy eating habits and increased self-discipline.
You are your biggest motivator.
It doesn’t hurt to seek motivation from outside sources, but Anderer says she found that most of the inspiration and courage she needed to keep going came from within. “I talked myself out of things I knew would ruin my end result,” she said. “I learned to talk to myself and keep myself calm at the times I wanted to give up or wondered why I was doing it in the first place. The mind is an extremely powerful instrument and only you can control it.”