The Mental Game

by Ashlee Harrison

As I write this blog post I am a mere four days out from my very first NANBF figure competition in Edmonds, Washington. I have been working towards this goal, slowly and steadily for approximately eight months. It seems so surreal just how close I am to stepping on that stage after countless hours in the gym, counting macros, climbing stairs, and guzzling astronomical amounts of water. To me, what has been most surprising has not been how lean I have gotten, how defined my muscles are, or how good I look strutting around in five inch clear “stripper” shoes, on the contrary, the most surprising thing thus far has been how mentally demanding this has become.

The closer I have gotten to the big day, the more and more doubt has crept in my mind. Thoughts like “I am not lean enough/cut enough/good enough” keep gnawing at my subconscious. These thoughts of self-doubt are nearly impossible to control. Once they start it’s like an avalanche letting go, and soon enough it’s all consuming. However, this is what it’s all about. This is competition! Yogi Berra once said “ninety percent of the game is half mental”. Now the math in this quote doesn’t make sense, but from a competitive stand point it make perfect sense! There is only so much of this that comes down to moving weights around. For most of us that’s where the fun is! But what about those times when just the thought of going to the gym sounds like painful torture? Or when you just can’t fathom drinking another protein shake or another day of the same foods over and over? What about when your body hurts, and you’re tired, and you miss drinking with your friends, and going out to eat dinner at your favorite restaurant, what then? Those are the moments that true athletes, true competitors are made!

How do you get out of a negative head space? Well, for each athlete the answer to that is very different, but what is likely the same is that it has to come from within. Every day when I wake up I reevaluate why I am doing this. As my amazing posing coach, and bodybuilding pro Katy Wayman-White said during our last posing practice this weekend “no one is getting rich and famous off of this”, so go out and have fun! We have all worked hard to get to that stage, and we all should be proud of our journey. When we walk onto that stage we are not competing against anyone else, we are competing against ourselves. If you find the negative creeping in, take a step back, evaluate your goals. Focus on the fun! Remember, this is a hobby! Take some deep breaths and believe in yourself! Realize that all your training and all your dedication has come down to this moment where you get to shine on stage in front of your family, friends, and fans. They hold only the upmost respect for you of your journey. No one is there to pass hurtful judgement or put you down. There is nothing to fear! Fear is a fabrication made up in your mind. Let fear push you, but not destroy you. Enjoy the process, love the journey, and quite the mind.

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2 Responses to The Mental Game

  1. Edita April 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    thank you. i know i will be reading this article over and over again in next 120 days!!!

  2. Bridget Flynn May 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Same! Great reminder:)

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