Doing the rounds of blog land recently and have noticed that there seems to be a lot of negativity going on in the Figure comp/training/dieting world. It seems certain people are scouring blogs to try and take down anyone who enjoys improving their health and physique through structured training and nutrition.
Having goals is actually perceived as a negative by these people. Maybe this negativity has come about because these particular people were not successful at their own goals, and are envious of those who are, and those that enjoy the process of achieving them? Why shouldn’t you have a goal, something to drive you to improve and achieve? How someone can see this as a bad thing is beyond me.
It was also mentioned there is no such thing as a ‘bad food’ just the way you think and perceive the food.
Let's look at this more closely. That "certain people" are scouring blogs to try and take down anyone in the figure world is highly misleading. From where I sit, you're looking at one comment, left on Kristin Gleeson's blog by Shelley Stark and you're looking at a thought provoking post about goal setting, written by health and fitness commentator, Katie P.
Both of these bloggers have successfully competed in more than one Figure Competition and are more than qualified to discuss their post competition experiences and aren't afraid to be brutally honest about their struggles. In no way are either of these bloggers "bagging" other Figure Competitors, but rather challenging beliefs in a positive way - what I call "fierce conversation".
It takes some emotional maturity to have a fierce conversation, often they contain things you don't want to hear at the time, but ultimately, you're grateful that you did.
Let's look at Katie's posts on ditching goal setting - this is a really thought provoking post and I'm really glad she posted it. I think the world needs more posts like this which invoke critical thinking and discussion. There's no shred of personal attack in these posts rather an invitation for constructive dialogue. I think if a goal allows personal growth and you keep benefiting after achievement of the goal has been reached, then goal setting can be a good thing. I agree that sometimes setting short term goals can mask longer term problems. Thank you to Katie for making me think!
Let's break down the notion that there is "no such thing as a bad food, just the way you think and perceive the food."
There is a mention of double whoppers and cheeseburgers which, when compared to other things are relatively devoid of nutrients that we define as health giving - no question about it and no one in their postings is arguing this fact. However, what would your perception of a double whopper be if that was the only food you had available to you on a desert island and would ultimately impact on whether you lived or died? The perception of the Double Whopper in this situation would be correctly labelled as life giving (though, personally I hope I never end up in that situation, but hopefully you can see my drift!)
Kristin recently mentioned on her blog that she was excited to be setting new goals toward another competition, having just completed her first (2) and having thoroughly enjoyed the experience. She was asked this question by a fellow blogger:
“Why do you have to have a goal, competing or other, to wake up each day with excitement and a purpose? Isn’t living a happy, fulfilled, contented life purpose enough?”
I found Shelley's comment to be interesting. When I did my initial physique transformation, the recommendation post comp or post 12 weeks was to set another goal straightaway, to be leveraged. As a coach, I've seen many girls lurch from comp to comp as a means of controlling leanness and who punish themselves with a rarified sub RMR intake, rather than facing some of the harder truths about living lean for the long term, which include learning to love yourself no matter where you are along the journey and learning how to honour yourself with choices that bring your body towards peak performance.
I have written lately that I am questioning the purpose of Figure Comps - I think the concept of being judged on your appearance by an external source is highly overrated, especially if you're up on stage in the best physical condition of your life. I even wince when saying "best" - because I would say my best physical condition (where I kick butt in the gym ) looks a bit different to my Figure look. I find it sad that comping can affect people's perception of what is truly important so much that they feel they can't stay with their friends, enjoy a meal with their family or miss a training session. I'm disturbed that practices such as extreme dehydration are accepted as techniques that are meant to make you look your very "best. "
I'm proud that I've remained dead set against this outlook with any of the comp girls I've prepped. That said, you couldn't have stopped me from doing my shows, so I do understand the appeal of competing and encourage anyone who is really keen to get a coach who doesn't embrace any of the above practices (and this is not to toot my horn because I'm not currently accepting any new Figure Prep clients) If you're competing for your own self satisfaction and to see how far you can take yourself, regardless of how you're judged then it can be a worthwhile endeavour. It really depends on the context in which you're competing. Be aware that there's almost always a bumpy road post comp with your eating patterns - how well you recover is more dependent on developing skills of waking up with the feeling of " Isn’t living a happy, fulfilled, contented life purpose enough?” as opposed to setting the next goal.
I’m a little confused. I mean, what do you think it is that makes a ‘happy, fulfilled, contented life’? Sitting on the couch watching tv and munching on Macca’s, simply existing?
Neither of the two bloggers that I am referring to sit on their couches, munch Macca's and simply exist as part of their mantras for living a happy and fulfilled life. I train with Shelley twice a week and she is a fit, vibrant chick who can lift some seriously heavy weights. Katie does RPM, lifts weights and practices meditation and yoga - hardly people that are "simply existing"
I don’t feel its right to bag those who enjoy the challenge of competing and the process that goes along with it. If that makes them feel great, that’s awesome. If it’s not for you, that’s fine too, but don’t go suggesting to those that do enjoy it, that they should be happy just ‘existing’ without the challenge of improvement and competition.
Nobody is bagging anyone who enjoys the challenge of competing but I have to ask how does one really gauge what "improvement" is in the Figure World? You're not judged on whether you're strong or fit or fast, you're judged on your looks! This is also a huge problem with fitness magazines - I've been told as a writer, after suggesting an accomplished athlete for a feature article - "she's not pretty enough, we only want to profile beautiful people in our magazine". Needless to say, I'd rather be associated with publications that promote performance over physique any day of the week.
Some comments may be thought provoking and initially seem abrasive, but take pause - they're coming from a place of concern and of love. We're all on different journeys, different paths and each one is just as worthwhile as the other. If someone had said the same thing to me in the thick of my bodybuilding phase, I probably would have slapped them - but I have had the gift of time and growth to see things differently.
I find it really interesting that it is perceived in the first place that if you're not competing or having physique goals, you're off in a corner somewhere eating a pile of crap. Eating "piles of crap" and letting it all go isn't what ditching a diet and learning how to eat more intuitively is about. Putting food in a morally neutral perspective is part of the journey and this is what Shelley is alluding to. Eating well because you want to look after yourself is part of this journey - which I see in Sue's comments about eating consistently and eating healthfully - basically they're both talking about the same thing, in a different context.To sum up, I don't see negativity as such, just a different opinion. And whilst we may not always agree on everything, life would be pretty boring if we all thought the same way.
I would invite everyone's thoughts on the matter!