There are several characteristics an athlete must have at heart in order to succeed to their fullest potential. The ability to correctly respond to failure is one of them. Within these blogs, you will see me quote from a particular trainer and a particular book quite often. That trainer is Martin Rooney, one of my greatest mentors in this fitness and performance industry. Martin trains out of Fairlawn, NJ and works with a vast number of various athletes. He and I met a few years back when I attended one of his lectures. Martin talked a lot about the philosophies, attitude, characteristics and proper training it takes in order to reach your fullest potential. His book is called Train to Win and to this day it is still my favorite. If you have not read it, I STRONGLY suggest you look it up, purchase it and read it immediately. It has truly influenced me in so many ways.
One quote from the book talks about correctly responding to failure. “An athlete must be able to correctly respond to failure. Failure, or losing as it is seen in competition, is an essential event if growth and enhancement are ever to take place. Without having the ability to embrace and learn from past failures, the ability for an athlete to move forward will be severely limited.”I’m writing about this tonight to give you a little insight as to why I want to challenge myself so heavily for the top spot at this next show.
My first Figure show was the OCB Eastern Regional on May 2nd. It was by no means a failing event for me. In fact, I’d say I accomplished quite a lot. I changed my physique from day one of training, I embraced a new style of training and I became more educated about diet and supplements. Also throw into the mix, posing, buying a suit, finding shoes, setting up the tan, make up, etc. etc. The learning curve on a first show is HUGE. I would also expect that no matter how many shows you have under your belt, every show is a continuous learning curve to improve upon the last.
That is where this thought about growing from failure comes in.
During my training for my last show, I allowed myself three months exactly for preparation. I started training and dieting February 2nd with May 2nd as my finish line. I mentally sweated every moment of my training hoping that I would get my physique to a respectable level in order to compete. I started my figure training with an already muscular composition. My body was in excellent shape when it came to strength and conditioning, however it did not reflect that in body fat. I was not a chubby girl, but I was not anywhere near the level of leanness needed to get on stage.
I never aspired to be a Figure competitor, however I decided back in January to compete because I wanted a focus for my diet and training. I wanted a challenge and I needed to instill “the fear of the stage” in order to drive my commitment home. To me, I found it very challenging not knowing just how my body was going to respond in the time given and with the different variables including diet, training, stress, mentality, etc.
Those three months were long and hard. Understand the dedication, hard work, mental and physical challenges involved in this process. There were so many moments where tears streamed down my cheeks. I was frustrated with the diet, I didn’t like the results of my body fat pinch, I was injured, I had anxiety about the stage and being ready…you name it. Fortunately, I had fabulous support which helped me along the way. I also found a stronger mind set that I initially knew possible because every time I felt weak, I got stronger.
By May 2nd, I was proud because I had reached numbers that I was happy to walk on stage with. Was there room for improvement, absolutely, but my training time was up and I had given it my all for that era. I was also pleased because I was able to look back and see that I stayed the course completely for 3 months. Three months is not a long time, but when you eat, sleep and breathe something for that long and it becomes you. It becomes a long haul.
Long story short, the show came and went. It was a fun and memorable day, but I did not place all that well relative to my competition. That hurt at the time. As I looked back at Martin’s book, I re-read this section. It said… “Look at how athletic events are designed. There is usually going to be one winner, and in many cases, numerous losers. As athletes we find many ways to rationalize loss through a variety of reasons….the problem here lies that instead of really identifying the causes of the loss, we avoid it, and therefore, never grow from it…. There are an unlimited number of reasons why the loss could have occurred. The most difficult step for the athlete is to be critical of one’s own performance and how it could have been improved. This is an important place where growth as an athlete and person occur.”
So, as you can see, my determination stems from this lesson. I am determined to make no excuses. Whatever the reasons may be that I didn’t place better on May 2nd, this time around, I will make damn sure that I do. Do not misinterpret what I’m saying however. I did not “fail” at the accomplishment of the show, but in my personal expectations for the results. Those results may have been fair at the time, but it empowers me and acts as motivation to change and grow.
Day 1 of Round 2 complete.