In just a minute, I am going to unveil to you the “secret weapon” to success that has taken me over 10 years to realize. Knowing what your vision, dream, desire, purpose in life is very important. The steps that I am about to share with you can be applied to anything and everything in your life. Then taking these steps and putting them into action towards your personal goals, you will be on your way to having the life of your dreams. I am going to use competing in a fitness competition as my example.
First, I want to congratulate you for taking the first step towards your goals of becoming a fitness champion. I’m serious! Although I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you personally I already know that you have the makings of a true champion. How do I know this? Well, for starters, many people hear about something that excites them — something that they are truly passionate about — but they don’t do anything about it. They just sit on their gluteus maximus and let all their dreams fade away without a second thought, only to regret it later. But you, my friend, are very different. Instead of letting a great opportunity pass you by, you will take immediate action to make your dreams a reality.
Invest in yourself! It’s the single most rewarding and worthwhile investment you could ever make. There’s more to competing in fitness and winning than meets the eye. As with most sports, the pros make it look easy, but it’s not — unless you have help. Over the years of competing I learned a lot about myself and I think this experience has shaped and molded me into who I am today. All because I made a decision to follow my dreams and take immediate action. I learned the secrets it takes to succeed in competition, which I am excited to share with you. Remember that what you get by reaching your goals is not nearly so important as what you will become by reaching your goals.
The Secret Weapon is YOU!
It all starts with your attitude! Success is a process that begins from within. Wanting success is the first step to attaining it. Also, having the courage and conviction to back it up. Many of us are programmed with limiting beliefs about ourselves — what we can do, what we can be, what we deserve, etc. Your beliefs dictate your behavior. Whatever you believe about yourself and your circumstances directly impacts the reality you create in your life. If you have a positive mental attitude, your expression and body language will reflect your confidence and you will develop the drive you need to succeed.
Take it step by step by developing a plan. Set specific goals but remember to be detailed. Focus on perfecting one aspect of your preparation at a time. For example, building a more symmetrical, defined physique is important to you, train hard and give your body your full attention or maybe you want to work on your stage presentation along with your articulation and speech delivery. There are different levels of goals: a big goal would be to have a defined, tone, symmetrical physique and a smaller goal would be to work on your flexibility. Break it down into small pieces and devote time to it everyday.
Write down everything you do. During my competitive years, I learned the importance of keeping a contest diary. In this journal I kept track of virtually everything I did for preparation. I monitored my training, nutrition and supplementation schedule. This will allow you to evaluate what is working and what is not. After every competition I talked to the judges about how I could improve and I noted these suggestions and plotted a plan of attack to overcome these obstacles. Within a year I was able to track my progress and develop a step-by-step plan that took the guess-work out of my contest preparation. Down the free diet and exercise journals here:
Make your weaknesses your strengths. It makes no sense in going into competition with weaknesses in your presentation. Work on your weak points until they are no longer a liability. My lack of flexibility use to be my primary weakness so I had to reevaluate my training to incorporate an intense flexibility program. I remember after an hour session with my gymnastic coach pushing and pulling on me, it felt like I had been through a grueling workout. So, maybe your flexibility is fine but you are lacking in coordination, strength or balance, whatever your weakness, make sure you prioritize your “game plan” to focus on improving this area.
If something is not working, fix it right away. The definition of insanity may very well be doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result. So, if you’re looking to move up to 1st place, you must make some changes for improvement. Whether your fitness routine needs a higher level of difficulty, or your nutrition and training program is not allowing you to achieve the physique you want, then change it by taking a different approach.
Video tape your practice sessions so you can pinpoint your problem areas. You can learn a lot by watching yourself on video. A video will show you whether you have enough strength, flexibility, endurance, flashy moves, style and personality in your routine. Along with full execution and proper body alignment. I also advise video taping a dress rehearsal, as if you were actually being judged, in all your outfits, especially your fitness outfit. I have seen women almost fall out of their competition attire because they didn’t practice in it prior to the show.
Details! No detail is too small to be overlooked or forgotten. Make sure to cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s. It could make the difference between 1st place and 2nd place. Everything matters — the way you gesture, smile, talk, your hair, makeup, skin color, your presentation. One competitor was a top contender until she put on high heels and tried to walk. Remember, stage presentation is a big part of the whole package. From the minute you walk on stage you want to capture the judges attention. You want to create a regal image with your carriage and posture, exert a radiant smile that everyone is held captive by and an air of confidence that comes from being prepared.
It’s very difficult to be successful if you don’t seek out help. Put together a “winning team”. When I was competing I learned a great deal of valuable information from working with specialists such as personal trainers, choreographers, nutritionists, modeling and pageant consultants. If you are serious about winning a national fitness title, then I encourage you to do the same. Assembling a winning team of experts can be expensive, but it’s the price you pay for success. Here’s the members you need on your team: a personal trainer who will help push you to another lever to get your physique in contest shape. They should also implement plyometric drills, stretching, balance and endurance into your training program. A choreographer will assess your strengths and help you design a routine that is creative and energetic which focuses on a high level of difficulty including strength, flexibility, and endurance.
A nutritionist will assess your program and design a customized plan to help you achieve your desired physique goals. This plan should include a complete nutrition and supplementation program that is easy to follow. One that is able to provide fuel for better strength and recuperation abilities, while decreasing body fat. A pageant consultant will help you with the finishing touches such as your stage presentation — walk, stance, turns, eye contact, gestures, body language, and overall appearance. Don’t forget about hair and makeup. I recommend possible hiring someone to either do it for you on the day of competition or have them teach you prior to competition.
Don’t forget about your visualization. Without the mind, the body would do nothing. The mind must be used to visualize the way you want to resculpt your body and the way you want to perform. Research shows that progress can be increased by more than 50% when you supplement your training with concentration and visualization. For example: I would visualize myself walking on stage. I could feel the energy as my heart was racing but I felt confident. I saw the judges smile and the audience roar as I got into opening position. The music starts and I feel the power and strength in every move. I feel every beat of music, every detail of my routine from facial expressions to the euphoria of a perfectly executed routine. Then, I would take a bow, nod to the judges and wave to the audience. Backstage graciously accepting the congratulations for a great job. I cannot stress the importance of this kind of visualization. It works because such visualization helps the subconscious brain formulate a plan that will realize itself in time. Now, that you have all the tools, it’s time to start putting them to use. Good luck and I will see you at the finals!