Making the decision to become a figure competitor has naturally changed my life in a very big way. This is especially obvious from my lifestyle, which pretty much revolves around training, preparing meals, eating, and keeping myself motivated and generally connected with all aspects of fitness.
It’s a very difficult lifestyle that demands a lot of discipline and sacrifices, and it’s one that most people wouldn’t be prepared to have. Unless of course they too had some very strong motivation for doing so.
It’s very easy to look at a successful figure competitor, or any other athlete for that matter, and say, “I wish I could be like her”.
It’s easy to conclude that because she succeeded in becoming a competitive athlete and you haven’t yet, or you don’t see yourself ever becoming one, that she must be somehow special or gifted, and it must somehow have come easier to her.
With a few rare exceptions, this simply isn’t the case. The only difference is that competitive athletes have a goal motivating us that is so important, we are willing to sacrifice more than the average person to achieve it. It’s not a difference of talents or abilities, it’s a difference of will and motivation.
The fact is that in most cases we’re really no different to anyone else. We face struggles and setbacks, we doubt ourselves, we feel pain, we strive to improve, and so on.
For example, as I’m in my second contest preparation at the moment, I’m getting more serious with my cardio training once again. And over the past week or so I have found myself almost dreading my daily cardio workout, since after over a year of training, it still isn’t getting any easier.
This troubled me for a while because keeping a very positive attitude is very important to me, so this negativity was something that made me question my thinking.
But yesterday I came across a video interview of UFC star Chael Sonnen that I had saved on my computer back in July last year, when it was first posted on YouTube. A lot of what Chael said really struck a chord with me back then and I really needed to hear it again this week.
In the video he talks about being depressed knowing what he has to go through at training each day – exactly how I feel about my cardio. It struck me when I heard his words that it isn’t negative thinking at all on my part. It’s simply a normal human reaction that results from pushing yourself to the limit each day because you have a goal driving you.
I realized that it’s actually a good thing. It comes from doing something that most people aren’t willing to do. It comes from not being someone gifted who finds this lifestyle easy, but from being human and finding it hard, of feeling pain but driving through it.
Although I’m not really a Mixed Martial Arts fan, I really got a lot out of this video interview, just listening to what a dedicated, driven, top-level athlete has to say, and I think it’s well worth watching for everyone.
Chael also talks about the power of his goals to keep him doing what he has to do day in, day out, keeping his focus locked on the prize with tunnel vision, and the sacrifices he makes for his goals in terms of his lifestyle. Very motivating stuff!
He’s a very candid character and I also enjoyed him saying that nobody is ever completely sure whether they’re training right, but all he knows is that when he goes home exhausted something good must be happening. That’s something a lot of athletes I’m sure can relate to. I know I do!
Here’s the video below, take the time to watch it and I hope you get as much out of it as I did!