Thursday, April 19, 2012

I have a dream...

Ever heard of Barbara Mencer? She is a physique competitor. Her story is inspiring.

She didn't start on her journey to fitness until she was in her 40's. She wasn't horribly overweight but her body fat percentage was unhealthy. She joined a gym and 6 months later she lost 16% body fat and dropped 20 pounds. Getting into shape changed her life. She entered her first competition and was hooked. This is her:

So, why am I sharing this with you? Because I would love to be a figure competitor. It's on my bucket list. It would be awesome if I could compete by the time I'm 40. That gives me 2 and a half years.

Sometimes I get frustrated by people who don't understand why I do what I do, in terms of diet and exercise. They seem to be overly critical of the way I eat or how much I train. This is the first time I've really voiced that fact that I actually have a goal to compete someday, so maybe now that I've come out with that dream, it might stop some of the insanity. Then again, it might just make it worse.

Barbara Mencer (above) said it perfectly:

Her trainer told her she would get a lot of "advice" from friends and family but to simply thank them for their concern and ignore their suggestions. Good call!

[I'm not quoting her exactly here, but pulling out pieces of a statement that I can relate to]

"Prepping for a show can be very lonely - long hours in the gym, eating meals out of sight of family and friends who didn't understand this journey I was on and who made endless comments about what I was eating - or not eating"

WOW, I certainly know what THAT'S like!

People always assume I'm dieting to get thinner. Which of course leads to the fear that since I'm so thin already, I'm on this unhealthy path of self destruction. But it couldn't be farther from the truth. If these "assumers" actually took the time to understand what it is I am trying to achieve, and what it takes to get there, they wouldn't be jumping to conclusions. But, it's taken me a long time to see it from a holistic standpoint, I don't really expect them to get it.

I'm not trying to get thin. I'm actually trying to get bigger in some ways, and yet smaller in others. I am trying to build muscle, and shed the fat covering the muscle. It's not unhealthy. Quite the contrary, in fact. Because to do this sort of thing, you have to have an exceptional diet. There is a science to how and when you must feed your body. And doing it right can also boost your immune system. You don't get into competition shape easily. It requires a certain amount of effort, sacrifice and determination. I used to think that getting the diet right was the hardest part. Now I think the hardest part is swimming through the sea of negativity that surrounds my habits.

Generally, it's the know-it-all's that have the loudest opinions. Of course, you'll never please these people either way. If you're "too fat", they'll criticize your diet and amount of exercise you do. If you're "too thin" they'll criticize your diet and amount of exercise you do. You see where this is going, don't you?

My love for fitness and health started out as merely a quest to lose extra weight gained during pregnancy. Actually, all my life I've held a certain interest for it, but it never really blossomed until after I started watching what I ate and working out. I realized how much better I felt. More energy, improved mood, higher confidence. Eventually it evolved into a passion.

My passion mostly lies within weight lifting. The idea of women lifting weights is not often a receptive one. People have this mental image of manly faced women on stage flexing obscene amounts of muscle.

Competitive athletes have several divisions as options to reach the stage, not just bodybuilding.

This woman is a national heavy weight bodybuilding competitor. This is NOT what I am trying to achieve.

 This is a top figure competitor. See the difference. She still has a feminine shape, yet she has defined muscles and is very lean.

There are also bikini competitors, which look a lot like the figure competitors except they aren't required to get as lean and therefore don't look as muscular.

So you see, there are different levels you can take your body. It's about your own personal preference and capabilities.

I am very interested in all things fitness. That's me. For my husband, it's all things techy. That's him. For a bird lover, it would be all birds. For a cook, it would be all food. And so on. You get the idea. The point being, we are all different. That's why we are called I-N-D-I-V-D-U-A-L-S.

You don't have to like what I do. You don't have to agree with my goals. You can continue to wonder if what I'm doing is healthy or not. I don't care! Because every time you question if what I'm doing is good for ME, you are really questioning what's good for YOU.

Live your dream. Let me live mine.

1 comment:

Carmen said...

I will be in the front row cheering you on when you do enter your first competition.