Tears, Trials and Competition
Ok, so to really dive in a start my journey from the very beginning. I have to go back a little further than the day I signed up for the Salt Lake show. Before I got my NPC card and hired a competition coach.. before I found myself crying on the couch in the middle of the night unable to sleep another night because of feeling so discouraged, stuck and empty about some things in my life... before my trip to Belize with my Dad in the spring where I processed tons of hard emotions about not having a baby girl (a story for another time). Before the holidays, before I hit a huge plateau in my fitness motivation, before I signed up with another network marketing company because I thought it was the next step for me.... to the place right before I stopped coaching for Beachbody last fall.
You see, I had signed up as a coach in fall of 2016. I had never been more EXCITED, PUMPED and ready to go then before that moment. It was like FINALY all of my hard work with running and doing my workouts from home each week, and all of my excitement and passion for health and fitness was given a purpose and an outlet!! I realized I could really help people, motivated people and inspire them to go after their goals, just like I had realized I could.
I had never been more excited to have something for me! A business, a job, a creative outlet I could pour energy into and fill my cup as I helped people get started.
I dove in head first, learned, grew in my organization, Ran AWESOME support and motivation groups each month, signed up coached to work with me on my team, trained them, be-friended them and started earning my way onto even more exciting trips, events and rewards.
I was having the time of my life.. I was making friends in fitness, I was growing and I was helping others at the same time.
After 4 months I hit a hard point where I had to learn and implement better time management and self care. After 6 months I realized I absolutely could not pour from an empty cup. After 10 months I realized and really felt the weight of having people depending on me day after day... working through their tough challenges, their lows and emotional walls they'd face as they worked to change and grow. From my challenge groups to my customers and clients, to my entire team, there were people needing love and support and motivation. But I didn't let it take me down, I kept growing, I kept getting better. I keep on pushing through.
But the more time went on, there was even more to juggle... You see when you first start coaching, it's a lot about you and your customers. But then it becomes about being a leader, a trainer to a team that's literally hanging onto you to keep going each day (they are experiencing the same hard things as you.) It's also about networking and numbers and doing daily tasks to get your sales up and knowing how to market yourself and use social media.
And while that's all good and fine and part of the experience. . I started to notice the toll it was taking on me. I started to feel anxiety taking over each day... almost like the second I would sit down to start working, it was there and I could feel a mental and emotional shut down come over my entire body.
I started to wake up with it each day, and have to take several steps, one of them being posting to social media and getting my first workout in quickly to help ease the mental strain I'd feel. I also noticed myself taking longer and longer to sit down to do the work I needed to do simply because of the sheer amount of overwhelm I was feeling.
Some of the daily responsibilities to run a successful coaching business for Beachbody included working out daily and following their workout guides and plans, using their products and posting to social media and talking about it. Also sharing about your life and helping people to get to know you, starting, creating, marketing and running monthly support groups and checking in with your challenge groups and your clients.
There is also networking and reaching out to leads for sales, growing your clients and growing your team. You are also responsible for training the coaches and team you already have, participating in your own personal development time, attend team trainings whether in person or online. You'd also follow up and check in with your customers, answer their questions and help and support them wherever they are.
And you are also in charge of marketing and growing your business, your social media, continuing sales, etc. And unless you continued to make sales, re-occurring orders and had a team big enough to start earning you some commissions and team bonuses (which honestly was the most challenging aspect of it all when you're trying to be a really good coach to your clients and spend the time and effort on them that they need and deserve to get good results) Then essentially you are working for free. Which if you love something, that shouldn't matter 100%... but it absolutely still matters! Especially when it's taking time away from being a mom, wife and other important responsibilities in life to be able to work and dedicated time to something. And for all the effort you're putting in, you should 100% be getting paid for it.
And really... that right there was just it for me. I just couldn't keep up. I couldn't spend the time or energy on my clients that they deserved. I couldn't keep working such long hours for free. And maybe if I was seeing more long term success with the clients I was helping, it would have made it work for me somehow, but It wasn't how the system was created. It was built on a bigger numbers game. Selling to LOTs of new people each month and then plugging them into a generalized chart base system that SHOULD help them feel motivated and supported while you AIM to spent MOST of your energy on building a team and RECRUITING in order to make the money you need, want and deserve for the time you are putting in.
SO... I burned out. BIG TIME. I would hit a wall, push past it, then hit another, push past it again... fall on my face in my endeavors, cry, throw a fit, etc. then get up and go at it again. But finally, after 2 years, and TRULY not seeing the system work long term for most of the clients I was helping, I just knew in my heart it was time to go.
Time to take what I had learned, love on it, cherish it for the good things and the lessons learned and the person it helped me become, look at it as an incredibly important part of my journey, and then let it go and move on.
The problem was however, that my heart was so deeply in it. After all, I had been doing beachbody workouts a year or 2 before ever becoming a coach. I was attached, I had seen progress in my own life from it. I had made connections, deep connections. From the coaches I worked with on my team, to my clients, to my followers that had supported and followed me on my journey.
I literally felt like I was who I was because of Beachbody... and letting go was.. well.. like letting go of me. And it was almost like I din't know who I was without it.
But I decided I couldn't stop there. I am always up for a challenge. And my coach who got me started in beachbody coaching was switching to another network marketing company. It had an INCREDIBLE product with incredible heart, a much more systematic program for growth and income potential and the kind of united feel that anyone wanting to be part of something bigger and grow as a person would want to be a part of. So... I said YES!
After doing lots of research and soul searching and feeling out what was in my heart, this just seemed like the next step.. a better system, a clean pure product that was helping people, friends who were there to support me, and a plan of action to help avoid the burnout I had experienced previously.
But the problem is, I was still BURNED out. I hadn't fully filled my cup again. I felt like I had given my all.. mentally, spiritually, physically to my beachbody coaching... and I literally just had nothing left.. nothing left to run home meetings or recruit others or sell a product that I was still learning if I liked and worked for me.
I realized I was just DONE. Done with building someone else's dream. Someone else's company who said I was my own boss, but literally could change products or terms at any moment. I was done trying to keep up and feel like I was in a race to get to the top. I was done trying to represent one product that was "life changing." Done with "And only by taking this product daily will you have the health you need to lose weight, get healthy, reach your goals, etc." type of messages and marketing. Just done with all of it.
Fast forward to February-March of the next year... I was a mess. Even though I had followed my heart and tried to be true to it, letting go of Beachbody, then another opportunity that had friend and family support in it, was not an easy task.
Many days I felt like I had made the wrong choice. Many days I second guessed my decision. Many days I cried the biggest, heaviest tears I had ever cried, and then cried some more.
I felt like I had been on the fast moving growth train with so much movement, excitement, passion and community... and then I stepped off and now was just watching it pass by.
I felt like I had made the wrong choice. Felt like nothing would ever be the same. That my journey was all for nothing... that everything I had put myself through was for nothing.
I guess you could say, as cliche as it sounds.. that I had hit my rock bottom. I was so depressed. I still continued to share my healthy tips and go through the motions of exercise, etc. I would share about my life here and there, tried to change up my routine with going to the gym and trying new classes. Signed up to get my group fitness certification, tried to keep up my running. But it's like all of a sudden it was just all meaningless somehow.
I started getting sick mid-february, and literally caught every cold, flu and sickness that was going around.. seriously for like 10 weeks straight!! I would barely get better and then get sick again. It was nuts. I was such a healthy person, and usually my immune system was a rock. But I think my body and mind were just so worn out, burnt out and then feeling so un-puposeful was taking it's toll too.
That's about the time my sweet amazing Dad volunteered out of the blue to take me on a nice father daughter trip. Bless him!!
I am one of 10 kids and this was not something he often does. In fact, it was so out of the blue that I even asked him while we were vacation why he took me on this trip. He just said it was because I had said I wanted to go! lol. Funny guy. But I know there was more to it than that. I know he was truly inspired to take that time with me and be that angel I needed in my life at that time.
So off we went to belize! It was beautiful, relaxing, adventurous and I had some quiet nights of reflection under the starts and days just watching the ocean to really feel out what was in my heart and mind. I was able to have a lot of peace and a lot of quiet. I realized I had a lot of emotions I hadn't yet worked through.. some of it completely separate from my time with beachbody. Deep emotions related to life and motherhood that I hadn't fully brought to the surface and allowed myself to process... And that's just what I did. My dad and I talked a lot, and he was such a great listener. We got to go on a lot of adventures and have fun days too. But he also gave me lots of space and time to just be.. and do what I needed to that trip. It was truly heaven sent.
One night while I was outside looking up at the stars... I just felt this overwhelming peace come over me that I was exactly where I needed to be. That everything I had learned and experienced and overcome was for a reason... and that I was exactly right in everything I had chosen up to this point. And I felt an overwhelming peace come over me like I never had before. I just knew it was going to be ok.
When I got back from my trip, I jumped into action on something I had felt I needed to do regarding our family life. I started making some plans and put my energy and time and efforts into what I thought was the next step for us. I won't go too much into detail right now, but basically I thought that the next step for us was adoption. (I know, a story for another time.) But somehow I felt like I needed to take some steps towards that, and that's just what I did.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, after meeting with agencies, talking to family who had been through adoption, working on our profile and going through adoption cost estimates, etc. But as we began to move forward, I got my answer and it was not what I was expecting at all. Because it hit me like a ton of bricks.. and it was a NO.
You know the kind of answer that comes when you just know it's not the right timing, or the right step right now, to just the whole thing is just not right. It felt like a heavy cloud over Brad and I and our whole family the more we talked about it, prayed about it and took steps to move towards it. And let just say... feeling like that was the next step to take... and then experiencing those feelings as we moved towards it was confusing as all get out!
So....there I was. Ready to move on and take action in my life, ready to progress, ready to take steps.. and then a shutdown. It was super frustrating. Confusing, and I just REALLY needed a direction in my life at that moment. A GOAL, A GROWTH MARKER, SOMETHING!!
I thought about signing up for a another race, contemplated taking another course for fitness certifications. Rolled around the idea of really amping up my own health and macro business a bit more and really going for it. But I had nothing. No motivation whatsoever. In fact, I think I actually got sick again. Oh My GOSH!!! How could this be happening?!?
One night I found myself on the couch... sleepless again. Not feeling great.. eating an emotional bowl of cereal to calm my nighttime sleepless stomach. And for some reason the though just hit me. And I thought, what if I competed?? What if I just went for it and did a body building competition??
After all, I had several people the last year mention it to me, that I would be great for it, that they had done one and loved it or had always wanted to do one. And for some reason that night.. like 2 in the morning... it went off in my head like a lightbulb! And I thought what if I could!?!
My driven, goal oriented personality just knew it was the next step!! And I went for it. I immediately started google searching bikini competitions... found which one was next in the area.. read through the list of requirements to participate in the show... got my NPC card, registered for my first class.. and started to get SUPER PUMPED!!!
Then I realized I didn't have a coach and had NO IDEA what the HECK I was doing!!! Literally! No CLUE! I googled searched some more and found a coach in the area. Went to their site and filled out the application that night! lol ;) YEP! I was pretty much insane that night!
The next day, the coach got back to me, set me up for my first consult, chatted with me about my goals and was able to get me a plan of action within about 2 days. I WAS THRILLED!!
I had never done anything like this before, ever had someone coach me step by step, done weekly check-ins, had a specific macro plan created just for me, etc. And I was SO EXCITED for all of it!!
From day one, the team I chose was amazing to work with. They were kind, supportive, all about my health and overall well being. They would challenge me, were always consistent with getting back to me and answering my questions. And honestly I can't say enough about how amazing they were through all of it.
The following weeks were honestly just FUN! I got to start focusing on being better, eating better, having a specific targeted game plan to help my body progress, learning different workouts, targeting challenge areas for me, and had a coach to cheer me on through all off it! When I signed up, I had exactly 12 weeks until show day, and I was so ready to take on the challenge and was going to give it my all!!
Weeks 1-4 were kind of a learning curve for me, learning how to prep all of my food each week consistently. Learning to get through written workout sets (I had always done videos or followed a class instructor, so this was totally new and different for me.) I was also getting the hang of eating more whole foods and lean meats and less snacks and cheat meals. I also went from having something like peanut butter banana toast and a protein shake to eating egg whites and ground turkey and having oatmeal. All good things! But just new and different foods than I was used to.
The next month I hit some challenges, I felt like I had overcome some of the hurdles of learning new workouts and being comfortable in the gym and with food prep, but I was VERY SORE! And feeling the affects of pushing myself like I wasn't used to. I constantly had to look ahead at my schedule and what was going on to be able to juggle family life and other responsibilities I had...
This was also a time when started to feel the calorie deficit a little stronger, and it started to get a little harder being around certain foods or going out and having Brad or the kids eat in front of me while I waited to eat my planned meal that was nicely prepped in a container at home. I started to learn I needed to bring my food with me to be on top of the game. Some days were just so busy, that if I didn't constantly have a cooler in the car with me and have at least a prepped meal or 2 ready to go in it, then it would make my day super stressful and have to do more running back and forth to home than I had time for.
This was also still winter/early springtime where I was dealing with some sick kids waking me up in the night or needing extra attention during the day... dr appointments. medicine pickups, etc. And my workouts were getting longer, my food prep was ever demanding, and sometimes sleep was taking the back burner.
And then I got sick too.. and had to deal with a cough and feeling horrible and not sleeping well and getting myself to the dr.
I kept pushing myself, Just focusing on getting though one day at a time. But unfortunately the lack of sleep and the sickness took it's toll.... throwing out some ribs and causing a ton of inflammation in my back to the point that I had to completely rest upper body for about a week and a half.
It was soooo frustrating! I had to keep going to the chiropractor and getting adjusted.. it was hard to sleep. And I could feel the pain in my back and ribs, even when I wasn't working out. So working out was EXTRA EXTRA challenging... even just to do leg, glute and lower body workouts... it hurt no matter what I did.
Looking back now.. I don't know how the heck I got through that. I know a big piece of it was giving myself love and exercising patience as best I could towards myself. I never beat myself up or allowed discouragement to take over. I also had to learn to let go of little things... allow my husband and kids to take over certain responsibilities so I could rest when I needed to, focus on eating well and still just I just doing my very best each day and knew that's all I could do.
After that craziness past... It felt like a had a couple of really good weeks when things just flowed for me. But then got into new territory of started 2 cardio workouts a day. This was ok at first, but definitely for more challenging as time went on. Because not only are you doing this on a calorie deficit, you are also doing your cardio after an hour long weight training workout and then again at the end of the day when you don't want to do ANYTHING!
I did my best to try and do the types of cardio I enjoyed. The weather was getting better at this point and so most nights rather than going back to the gym for cardio, I would just run outside and it definitely helped with my motivation levels since I already enjoy running, and being outside is always such a recharge for me.
The last 4 weeks of prep is when I started some pretty intense carb cycling. I was still able to eat quite a bit of food, but everyone is different and some people don't see results as quickly and their numbers might be more intense or just overall lower. So for me, I would have 5-6 low carb days, and then get a couple of higher re-feed days. I actually enjoyed this for the most part. I had a couple of days to look forward to each week, and I started to really notice a change in my body during this time, so the weekly photo check-ins were HIGHLY motivating and really kept me going.
It wasn't until the last 2 weeks that things felt really intense and hard. I think it was the mix of pressure of the show being so close... tying up loose ends with show day essentials, making sure suit, jewelry, shoes, tanning is in place, posing is on point, you know where you're going and what you're supposed to do on show day, etc. And also the intensity of everything you've been doing nutritional and with exercise up to this point all coming together. It's a beautiful thing.. but also so mentally challenging because you are hungry and tired and emotions tend to get the best of you when you're cutting so hard. Kids seemed extra testy, Brad and I kind of felt like magnets turned the wrong direction at this point, lol... and just an overall feeing of a bit of anxiousness and overwhelm.
The hardest part was kids being out of school and summer starting at this point too. There was more noise and chaos and responsibilities. And life just really needed a pause button for this point in prep for me!! Because it just started to feel like TOO MUCH!!
My cravings and emotions also just got super crazy. I would wake up from a dream where I had literally eaten a whole box of cookies, candy, whatever... and then would wake up in relief!! that it hadn't actually happened. I would drive by a restaurant and find myself literally longing for the taste and the experience of going there... whatever it was, haha.
One of the days... Brad and I stopped with our youngest to a bbq place and I thought I would be totally fine to just have some water or diet soda while they ate.... But they started eating smokey BBQ from R&R BBQ... with all the fixings and onion rings in front of me and I ended up getting into this panic of emotion... I ran to the bathroom, shut the door and just started to like panic cry. Almost like I was having some kind of anxiety attack! I felt like I couldn't breath for a minute. It was seriously so stupid and so crazy! But it had been a long week... I was tired, mom'd out and I just wanted the comfort of more food... smokey bbq tasty food.. comfort food! And it did not fit my goals or plans... so dealing with the emotion is what I faced instead of chowing down.
The last week was all about water and flushing out your body, dehydrating on the last day so every muscle pops and is extra accentuated. None of that was too hard.. and in fact the last week was pretty easy as far as workouts went. you have pretty easy sets, a rest day and a High carb day. So it's almost like it got easier at the very end.
Show day is where the happy place was for me. TRULY... such a fun, exhilarating and exciting day. You're surrounded with team and other athletes who have given it their all for months just like you. You're beatified with a great tan, hair, makeup, nails, a beautiful custom sparkly bikini.. high heels, jewelry.. just all of it. You know you've worked your butt of and you deserve to be there 100%. And it's just great!!
I had so much fun on show day. We took pictures, went out on stage.. which btw is a TOTAL rush!! So amazing to stand on stage feeling beautiful, confidant and so strong. Like BAM! I made it!! And I 100% deserve to be here!! :)
I also loved the fellow team mate support.. cheering each other on every time one of us would go on and off stage... and just the overall ENERGY was AWESOME!!
The only thing I maybe didn't love about competing are the attitudes that some people have that make it feel like nothing is ever enough... Like you have to win or it's not worth it.. Not everyone has that mindset...but the thing is about body building is it's a world of really diving into "perfectionism." Which can serve us to a certain extent in our lives to be more strict and exact and really dial in and amp up your results.... but I think some people get lost in it, and it's never enough until they reach the top or become the best. And they forget to enjoy the ride, the journey and to celebrate how far they've come. They also tend to be the ones who are most judgmental towards others. And unfortunately for some it becomes like one big trap of PERFECTION.
But luckily my team was never that way.. and always cheered and supported and inspired me to want to do better.. but never put me down or made me feel like I didn't do a good job. So it's really important to find people that will do that for you on your journey. It truly makes ALL the difference!!
I absolutely love and treasure my whole entire experience. The good, the hard and the in-between. I honestly learned so much. So much about myself, about what I'm capable of.. how I respond to really being challenged.. my motivation levels, and most of all how I have the capability to do ANY hard thing in my life if I just want it bad enough.
I also feel extra grateful for this experience. Because I feel like it truly helped pull me out of a discouraging, stuck place in my life... gave me hope, motivation and direction... And literally helped set me up for everything I do in my health and fitness journey and in my life moving forward!!
I've also been reminded through this experience, that without growth and forward movement, our lives can so quickly lose direction and meaning. And if we aren't setting goals, working to become better, striving to improve in all areas of our lives... physical, mentally, emotionally and spiritually .. we can start to feel like we don't have a purpose and our life has no meaning. And for me, setting physical goals helps kick me out of that and leads to improvement in all other areas of my life... every time!!
Goals are truly the gateway of success. And only you are standing in your way. Trust your instincts, listen to your heart, don't just follow trends and what others say or what you think you "should be doing." We all have a built in system for knowing when things are out of alignment in our lives... and we just have to be willing to course correct and follow those feelings! Set big goals, constantly work to improve, don't every let anyone tell you you're not good enough or can't do something. Stand up for YOU, follow your dreams and INCREDIBLE things will follow!!