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JillFit Coach Emily Saunders: Why I Compete

By Emily Saunders

Competition season has arrived for the Jillfit crew and it’s SUPER exciting!  We have both seasoned and first-time competitors hitting the stage in Figure, Bikini and Fitness Model competitions all over the USA.   This is a really fun time of year for all of those involved, BUT don’t get me wrong, it is also a major challenge.  The final tweaks in diet and workouts, making sure suits, tans, hair, travel, drug testing etc are all lined up and ready to go can be quite stressful.

Physique competition prep it is by no means easy, glamorous or sexy.  The last two weeks leading up to a physique competition are exhausting and involve sweating out workouts while subsisting on a low-carb relatively flavorless diet while slowly counting the days until show time.  This is also the time when pre-competition jitters set in and can get the best of us.  It’s not uncommon to question the decision to compete right up until the time to walk on the stage.  Almost every competitor I know has considered throwing in the towel at some point during those twelve weeks.  So what gives?  Is it really worth it?

The short answer:  YES!

There are so many life lessons and things to learn about oneself during the preparation process.  It is so easy to forget what’s really important while getting caught up in the last minute details and stresses so I want to re-focus on the things that REALLY matter in the long run.  I like to take stock myself when things start to get crazy, and I encourage all competitors to take an introspective look into WHY they compete, especially when things start to feel overwhelming.

Here are five values/skills that physique competition preparation has instilled in me and I find that when I am in the throws of competition prep, they act as good reminders. They stick with me LONG after the competition is over, and hopefully they can help you if you just getting started :)

  1. Increase self confidence, all by yourself:  Competitions can both build and crush confidence- sometimes simultaneously.  Being aware of the challenges at play and being able to suck it up and know that yes, you’ve literally worked your butt off and look like a million bucks is invigorating.  Hold on to that and remember, you are in control of how you feel about you!
  2. Get out of your comfort zone: The idea of showing up on stage in a tiny suit is at the least daunting and to some flat out terrifying.   However, I have witnessed time and time again how obtaining the goal of competing in a physique competition can empower competitors to take risks that result in great success in other areas of their lives.  Use the experience as a spring board- and GO FOR IT!
  3. Build self discipline:  It is no secret that competition preparation requires an incredible amount of self discipline.  From weekly food shopping and preparation to planning workouts, bed and wake up times and managing tricky social situations that involve booze, junk food etc., there is an immense amount of discipline required for competition prep.  Many of my clients have told me that the process has helped them to become more organized and diligent in other areas of their lives.  Use those new found skills for the long term and watch your life become more manageable!
  4. Inspire others: Whether or not you know it or not you ARE inspiring others through this process. The dedication required for twelve plus weeks to prepare for a physique competition is a commendable accomplishment no matter the level of understanding that those around you may have.  Use the opportunity to inspire someone else to make a healthy lifestyle change.  How rewarding is that?
  5. Realize that trophies don’t mean everything: Stepping on stage after 12 plus weeks of hard work is a major feat in itself.  Winning your class is a great accomplishment, but so is knowing that you set a goal and you did it!  And next time?  Compete with yourself rather than those around you.  Judging decisions will always be subjective, but if you know you look better than you did the last time you competed or before preparation started, then you area absolutely a winner and have so much to be proud of!   In life we will not always get first place, the big promotion, the perfect significant other, the A on the test etc.  BUT we can realize our efforts and how they have paid off and be proud of ourselves nonetheless!

I am so proud to be a part of a group of such talented women!  I have learned so much from the other Jillfit Coaches as well as my ever dedicated clients.  Here we go girls, ROCK that stage!! ox Em

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