Everytime I reply "no," I always get the "But, why not! You look great!" response. Well, it has nothing to do with how I look, but how I might think that I look.
Now, this post has nothing against fitness models who do choose to compete. I have TONS of girlfriends who compete and absolutely love it! To each their own-this is not a debate!
After all, competitions are a way for those who have worked so hard to show off that hard work.
But, these are just my personal subjective oppinions behind why I am happy not stepping on stage.
It is all in the way you look. Duh. Just like beauty pageants (which I cannot stand either), fitness models are judged by the way they walk, their stance, and, most importantly, their look or physique.
I dont need the approval of a judge to tell me whether or not I have won or failed in my fight for fitness.
I have traveled a long road-battled and won against a eating disorder, gained 50lbs, lost 50lbs, fought an obsession with being too healthy (yes, its a real thing), gained a little back, had a baby, and then got into the BEST shape of my life. To me, no judge can ever dare put a number on THAT.
It is not balanced. Training for a competition is pretty extreme. It starts off normal, but as the weeks dwindle down, things tend to get a little crazy. All of that training and dieting can throw off your body's balance of hormones. Low levels of body fat can be pretty harmful, especially to a woman.
Some of my friends whom have competed have trained to lower their body fat percentage so much that it caused infertility for them and it took years to allow their bodies and hormones to get back on track.
It messes with your mind. Dana Linn Bailey posted the image below on her Facebook page recently after competing at the Arnold bodybuilding competition. She said that "It's extremely hard to handle your body's bounce back after competing. Emotionally and psychologically it fucks with you!"
You can't blame her. After months and weeks of preparation, when everything is over, what is there to do? Your body is completely in "comp" mode and now you must find a way to ease out of it. It can definitely take a toll on your mental health.
Fitness becomes your #1 priority. You start counting down weeks to the competiton and as those weeks dwindle down, so does your social life. Next thing you know, every spare minute is spent preparing for the big show. You HAVE to train at THIS TIME. You can't eat this or that-so don't even ask! As a fitness blogger, I find myself sometimes pushing my family away here and there to hammer out my articles, so if I were to train to compete, it breaks my heart to think how I might react. Your family might begin to miss you.
There are some dark sides to the industry. Being someone who has battled a diet/eating disorder and body dysmoprhia for years, I am not sure if I could handle the constant standing in the mirror or selfie taking to make sure I was "lean enough" to step on a stage. I cannot handle and will not handle that worry anymore. This was baggage for me and honestly, I just can't. Mainly, because I have no idea how I would react and if I could snap out of comp mode.
IFBB Biniki pro Ruthie Harrison shared her story on developing an eating disorder due to competing. In her own words, "Four months later, during the competition prep for my first show under a professional trainer, I developed an eating disorder. What started in the same way that many competitors consider a usual occurance: a week of extreme dieting followed by a weekly cheat meal, a post show binge here, a "refeed" there; ended in full blown Bulimia Nervosa, a disintegrated metabolism, a wrecked body, and a self-deprecating and fragile girl struggling to reassemble all the shattered pieces."
I have a family now to look after and I have to make sure that I am 100% well and doing the things that will better me-not regress my long and hard fought battles with body insecurities.
I do not to teach my son that there's a price or award of good health. Sure, winning a prize, money, or a trophy is a definite feel good thing, but I want to teach my children that getting in good shape & health is truly priceless.
I also want to teach my kids that just because you have abs does NOT mean you are healthy. During my phase when I was counting every single calorie that I put into my mouth, I wasn't healthy- I was obsessed. And before that, with my eating disorder, I was a mere 100lbs and was throwing up everything that I had eaten, but I was in good shape.
Basically, I want my kids to know it starts from the inside out. You simply cannot judge someone's healthy by how they may appear on the outside.
Lastly, I'm not a fitness model-I am just a wife, author, and mom, and I am definitely okay with that.
If you choose to compete, that is awesome and more power to you girls! These are just reasons why I won't be.