Thinking of competing?
Or just interested in knowing what goes on inside the head of someone going through preparations to step onto a competition stage?
Today I’ll be going through some of the thoughts and feelings that go through my head when going through ‘prep’ for a competition...
But before we get into the nitty gritty, an introduction would be a good place to start right?
My name is Jonathan (some call me Jonny, some call me Jon) and I am a personal trainer based in London.
I have been working as such for over seven years now. I took the very scary step of competing as a men’s physique competitor almost three years ago and have been on stage a total of three times so far.
Okay, that’s enough about me, let’s talk competing!
So most people see the end result, which is this ultra defined, ultra shredded individual on stage and in pictures. What people don’t see though is the time, effort, dedication and mental fortitude it has taken to get to this point.
I’m not going to talk for every competitor out there, but I am going to talk from my own experience. The most difficult part of prepping for a competition is mentally staying focussed even when every bit of you is saying “this is hard!”
Nights out with friends become a thing of the past, date nights with the better half may be put aside.
The physical strain however cannot be ignored and the deeper you get into prep the more physical stress there is.
At this point it is all about focussing on the goal, visualising the end result and following through with the plan until the very end. This is where that mental fortitude really comes into play, keeping you focussed regardless of every fibre in your body telling you to give up…
“Don’t give up”
“Don’t give up”
“Don’t give up”
This phrase becomes somewhat a daily mantra, whatever it takes to stay focussed - it’s definitely all worth it in the end!
stage shot from the UKBFF English grand prix 2016
Getting closer to “D-Day” is always a scary thing. At the beginning of prep it feels a longgg time away and you’re able to put it to the back of your mind, but as the days draw near it’s not so easy to keep the nerves at bay.
“Am I going to be ready?”
“Will I look like all those really good competitors I’ve seen on YouTube?”
“Am I good enough?”
“Am I ready?”
All these thoughts, questions and doubts flood your head - making you doubt yourself and your own ability. At this point it could be quite easy to give up, not because you’re not good enough, but because you are scared of failure (even though it’s a perfectly natural human reaction).
For me, giving up at this point would no doubt hurt more than pushing ahead and getting the job done. My response to all these questions is simple, “I am doing this for me, against me”. Regardless of what happens, as long as I have improved throughout the process and am a better version of the person I used to be (whether through better knowledge, a more improved physique, a better understanding of what I am capable of if I put my mind to it) I will be happy.
Winning against other competitors is nice, but what’s even nicer is winning against what you previously thought were your limits…
I urge anyone reading this to apply this thinking to every aspect of life.
You are capable of more than you think, the secret is in taking the step towards reaching and surpassing your so called “LIMITS”.
Check out Jonny on Instagram @lifting.with.jonny