No one knows this better than a fitness competitor: an athlete who spends months training, dieting and prepping their body so they can step out on stage, impress a panel of judges and hopefully win an award for the carefully crafted physique they worked so hard to build.
Of course, these competitors go to extremes, that doesn’t mean you can’t take some of the strategies that they use and apply them to help you reach your own health and fitness goals.
Read on to find out what lessons Anderer learned while preparing for her competition and how you can apply them to your own goals so you can make the transformation to your fittest self yet.
Don’t downplay the importance of diet
The hardest part of preparing for a competition is sticking 100 percent to the diet. Anderer said. It takes a lot more focus and discipline to eat when you are supposed to and not when you want to. Your eating habits won’t have to be as extreme, but the lesson to be learned here is that if you’re serious about getting in shape, instead of looking for short cuts or quick fixes, you’ll have to hold nutrition in high regard. Go in knowing that your success will rely on developing routine healthy eating habits and increased self-discipline.
You are your biggest motivator
It doesn’t hurt to seek motivation from outside sources, but most of your inspiration and courage comes from within. The mind is an extremely powerful instrument and only you can control it. Try writing personal affirmations to read and make sure not to give in to negative self talk.
Nutrients Are Necessary
During prep for fitness competitions certain foods, like fruit, aren’t allowed. But with their intense daily workouts competitors still need essential nutrients to keep their bodies performing optimally.
Applied in real life, this lesson highlights the importance of eating to fuel your goals. Getting your fittest body yet will require increasing the intensity of your workouts, but while on your quest for a fit physique make sure to avoid developing a mentality of deprivation. Skipping meals or completely avoiding a certain type of food might leave you feeling sluggish and un-energized, which will cause your performance in the gym to suffer and as result, hold you back from reaching your goals.
You Are What You Eat
While prepping for competition things like water and carb intake can have a significant effect on your overall body composition. You can control how your body looks just by tweaking these things for a few weeks. This lesson goes to show just how much what you put into your body will affect the way you look and feel; another reason to hold a high regard for your nutrition.
Treat Your Tastebuds
There are so many different flavors that really taste sweet when you haven’t had sugar for a while. Lucky for you, getting in really great shape doesn’t mean you’ll have to say goodbye to fruit and chocolate forever. However, it does mean that you might have to cut back on some of your favorite foods and replace them with more nutritious options instead. For example, swapping sugary fruit juices for water flavored with fresh fruit or satisfying your late-night sweet tooth with a piece of heart-healthy dark chocolate instead of a bowl of ice cream.
Never Think Negatively
This one is easier said than done, but positive thinking is essential to maintaining the mentality you’ll need to see your goals all the way through. There will be plenty of times when you feel like skipping workouts, but learning to silence those negative thoughts is one of the biggest factors that can lead to your success. Your mind is the most powerful instrument you own and if you can control it, you can talk yourself in or out of anything.
Pay Attention To Portions
Regarding your diet as highly important not only means choosing more nutritious foods, but eating them in the appropriate amounts as well. Competing teaches you about the importance of paying attention to your portion sizes at meal time, as well as nutrient timing and when to eat certain types of foods.
The best time to eat protein and carbs is always around your workout because of the importance of energy for your muscles and for muscle repair as well. Keep carb and protein meals early in the day and fat and protein meals later in the day. Protein was included at every meal to maintain muscle and constant repair.
Don’t Become a Slave to the Scale
Only use the scale when you need to and to go mostly by how I look and feel. You can look and feel amazing and the scale could change your mind instantly. The amount of water your body holds on to is actually hard to believe. Your body is about 70 percent water as it is, and things like water and sodium will make the scale show different numbers. Never let a number on the scale upset you. Trust what you see in the mirror, not the number.
For more Fitness Competitor Secrets visit The Active Times