After being overweight for almost all of my life, I reached a big turning point in 2006 when I joined a Thai Boxing gym and discovered the world of fitness. That not only enabled me to finally lose weight and get into great shape, it also brought a wonderful new passion into my life.
Then in April of 2011, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I hit another major turning point when I went to the Sydney Health and Fitness Expo. Because of our interest in fitness, Fabian and I decided to go and see what it was all about, pretty much on a whim. It was our first time there ever, for both of us.
Even though fitness was a big part of my life at the time I was pretty much doing my own thing, training hard and eating clean, and I wasn’t too interested in any of the famous personalities of the fitness world. Once I went to the expo however, that changed. I was lucky enough to get to meet some incredible women there like Jamie Eason, Ava Cowan, Monica Brant, Amanda Latona, Lindy Olsen, Michelle Bridges and Justine Switalla, and even chat with some of them.
Being inspired by these women and what they had to say motivated me to change my direction, which ultimately led me to set myself the goal of competing. But that wasn’t the only turning point it provided me with. It also taught me, for the first time, the enormous power of inspiration from role models.
Since that day, I have taken a big interest in fitness competitors, fitness models, athletes – a whole range of people in fact, because I have found that their inspiration drives me to work harder and achieve so much more. Not only that, it energizes me each and every day and makes each day exciting for me.
Last night (Wednesday) I received an email from Jo Rogers from Style on Stage, who is making my suit for my upcoming Figure competition in nine days time. She was giving me an update into when it would be ready, and was explaining how she is so busy at the moment that she hadn’t slept since Monday night. She has been running on minimal sleep for several months now because this is the busy part of the year for her and she has hundreds of suits to get out.
I am so inspired by her incredible work ethic, and as I was reading her email last night it got me to thinking how much the type of people that I draw inspiration from has changed over time.
In the beginning it was pretty much just fitness models and competitors, simply because I wanted to look like them. Over time however, a few of them were dropped from my list because I found their attitudes or other personal qualities to be disappointing.
Now I find that I look up to people and am inspired by people more for their inner qualities than how they look on the outside. Although of course if they are people who are also involved in fitness then that’s an added benefit. The qualities that inspire me are those that I find admirable and that I want to excel in myself, like work ethic, mental toughness, knowledge, overcoming the odds, breaking negative belief systems, proving detractors wrong, grace, and so on.
If I had to write a list of my top role models at the moment it would include names like Fitness competitor Oksana Grishina, Figure champion Erin Stern, Olympic athlete Lolo Jones, trainer and natural bodybuilder Layne Norton, former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins, actor Will Smith, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. As you can see, quite a wide variety of people. Of course this is always changing, and I’m sure that even a month from now I will have discovered someone new who also inspires.
I come across inspiration every day because I look for it. The email from Jo Rogers is a perfect example. People we hear from on Facebook, even movies or things I see on TV or YouTube can inspire me. Heroes are all around us, you just have to open your eyes and your ears.
Having inspirational people to look up to has changed my life. It has changed how I feel every minute of every day. I used to lead a very disciplined fitness lifestyle before, but since discovering the power of being motivated by inspirational people, it’s different. It doesn’t come down to discipline anymore. They drive me to push myself in the gym harder than I otherwise could – because I want to, and they energize me so that every day is so exciting that I can’t wait to get out of bed each morning and get into it.
A lot of women who are trying to lose weight and get fit tend to focus only on what exercise they need to do and what diet they need to follow to get results. They overlook the power of motivation. If their exercise and diet were only 25% effective but their motivation was high, they would still get to their goals, but without motivation even the best program will fail. I take time every single day to look at articles, pictures and videos of my role models to draw motivation from them.
Don’t ignore the power of inspiration, not only will it push you to achieve so much more in all areas of your life, it will make your journey so much more exciting and enjoyable!