Self Care Like a Pro

May 13, 2017

Becoming an IFBB Pro was certainly one of the most incredible experiences of my life! Some people know from day one that they want to compete for this title. I’m often asked if I ever had a doubt that I would make it this far. To be honest, when I started, I didn’t even entertain the idea of winning a show, much less becoming a Professional Athlete.

My journey to the OPA stage started in 2012 when I woke up and decided that I wanted to be a Figure Competitor. At first my concern was that I would be uncompetitive because of my age, but after some research, I realized that there was a master’s class within the OPA. For me, competing in this sport was the perfect avenue to show myself what I was made of, to test my limits and to also help me through a difficult life transition at the time. Of course I liked the physique that went along with it, but that was never the reason why I started.  I admired the determination and dedication of the figure athletes at my gym.

I trained for close to two years on building the figure frame that the OPA judges were looking for before starting my first contest prep in May 2014. Working hard in silence, I got up every morning at 5am to train and this dedication improved my confidence tenfold. After enlisting the help of a one of the best contest prep coaches in Canada, Adam Headland, from Team T-Rex Training, I earned 10 first place trophies which included 3 overalls titles. I became a Canadian National Figure Champion in 2016 and although I didn’t win a pro card like people had hoped, I was floored at the results! Looking back now, I realize that I had a limiting belief that one can’t just go into their first Nationals and win a pro card! I worked for 3 weeks on letting go of that resistance and believing that it was possible for me. This made winning an IFBB Pro card at North Americans that much sweeter of a victory indeed!

Working through limiting beliefs is an important factor on how competitive you will be in any sport. Before starting my first contest prep, I had some limiting beliefs about sticking to my diet for 16 weeks and this was not going to serve me well at all. I worked every single day on the mental shift necessary to change my beliefs and I did so by creating my own performance statements. Exercising the “muscle in your head”, so to speak, with sets and reps made the rest easier and fun! There’s a saying that anything worth having is hard to get and I think that’s true only I you don’t believe you are deserving of it. With some reflection, there is an unconscious mental script that is self-sabotaging your best efforts. Most people struggle through prep and believe that it has to be so, but I know it doesn’t have to be as painful as people think or make it out to be. I am not saying that contest prep is a walk in the park. If it were that easy to get to the pro level, it wouldn’t be as sweet a victory. It really is about your personal journey to the stage and how your self-awareness grows.

The success that I’ve had in this sport I credit to consistent practice of mental conditioning and Neurolinguistic programming. What I love about competing is the laser focus it gives you and I now know that Self-Care and Peak Performance is what I am incredibly passionate about. The mental aspect of performance is a key variable often not included in weight loss and contest prep coaching, and is a service available to my clients too.

Essentially this involves learning how to condition your mind to feel, say, and do the right things, at the right times for peak performance to achieve your goal no matter what the circumstances.

Below is my Personal Self Care & Peak Performance Program:

  1. Set your tone for the day with 15 minutes of guided meditation for physical or general well being.
  2. 30 minute walk at lunch time while listening to an inspiration talk.
  3. Performance statements getting ready to go to the gym to motivate me and between sets if I am struggling or tired.
  4. Inspirational talks while I train.
  5. During prep, I do 10 minutes of foam rolling, breath work, and then visualizing my stage performance in full detail like a movie from the 1st person perspective.
  6. 25 minute guided meditation before bed and I often fall asleep to it. The topic can be about anything I am having a challenge with at the time, be it getting in the zone, sticking to my diet, believe in yourself or mental imagery for sports.
  7. Some days I don’t have a chance to get this all in and that is OK. If there is only one thing you can do, I would focus on meditation upon waking, as this is the most beneficial time to set your tone for the rest of the day. I also highly recommend getting your own personalized script based on your personal challenges, limiting beliefs and goals. It is incredible the changes that happen naturally when included these tools. And best of all, it only requires you listen. Life becomes so much easier without even trying and you’ll start to notice that you’re having more fun. Just imagine the competitive edge it will give you too!

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