As I sit here reflecting on last weekend that I spent at Cathy Savage Fitness studios, I can’t help but feel such a sense of happiness and pride for the fact that I am a part of a team that positively impacts the lives of so many women. This is my 4th camp attending as a coach for CSF and every single time, I leave the studio with a fresh mind and invigorated spirit.
It is so hard to describe to my clients and others in my life what it is that I do this weekend at “Camp Savage” In fact, it can be quite a challenge to simply describe what it means in general that I compete in fitness competitions and Coach for the team as well.
Me: ” I compete as well as coach women for fitness competitions”
Others: “Oh cool! so you are a body builder?” or “Cool so, good luck in your show this weekend!” (when I was explaining on Friday to my clients about Camp Savage) or “how much weight do you lift during the competitions”
Of course people who have no idea about what it means to compete in fitness competitions are confused by what exactly it means. I have been involved with CSF and this lifestyle since 2011 and every time I go to explain to someone what it means, I know my explanation leaves that person some room for wonder and questioning.
I, in no way, get frustrated that they don’t ‘understand’ what it means because being a part of this lifestyle and competing in shows is not something that everyone knows exists. The confusion on their faces and the questioning is just something that I am used to, and I am fully prepared to explain in the best way that I can.
I am proud to be both a fitness competitor AND a coach and simply explain that the reason I love doing this is because of the entire mind/body transformation. The confidence that these women gain from going through this process is beyond anything I have ever seen. The act of getting on stage is just the icing on the cake for all of the hard work (spiritually, mentally and physically) that these women put in.
The sport of competing goes WELL beyond simply getting on stage. Training and immersing yourself into this sport entails a complete mind, body, physical and emotional transformation as well. When I was first training for my first show, my goal was to get on stage–that’s about it. I still to this day have no idea even how I placed, nor at the time, did I care how I did at all. I did it to get up there. This is half of the battle when deciding whether or not competitions are the right thing for each individual.
Sure, I can train and diet my butt off and do all of the ‘homework’ necessary to get to the show, but the physical act of getting on a stage in front of hundreds of strangers in a tiny little bikini? This is certainly not some people’s ideas of ‘fun’ Now, how to explain this to others is a whole other story
Camp Savage is a weekend that is so much more than simply learning about getting on stage. It is a weekend that brings together women from all walks of life who have one common interest-Fitness and their Health. These women all have a passion for fitness and bettering themselves. They all are here for some reason-it is not just a thought they woke up one morning and said “oh sure I think I’ll attend Camp Savage this weekend” No way.
These women wake up and know that they want to obtain some goal. Every single woman that walks through that door has a story. Some have overcome great illness, some have had very unhealthy past competition history, some have no support, some have already made an enormous weight loss transformation. Some women come to camp thinking “I will learn how to compete” and they leave having an entire new outlook on life. It is so much more than simply putting on heels, getting a tan and throwing on an expensive, sparkly suit. Some women are part of CSF and will never compete! Its about having a support system and immersing themselves in a healthy, happy, lifestyle transformation.
I have been part of this team for 4 years and the stories, journeys and triumphs that I hear during this weekend never cease to amaze me. I am so proud and humbled to be a part of this team coaching. The support, camaraderie, tools and wealth of knowledge the CSF staff shares made the competition a life changing experience.
Is competing for me?
A big question I get a lot is “why do you compete? You don’t win any money so what’s the deal, Naomi?”
Well there are definitely some things you should know before you just decide to participate in a competition. I learned all of these points once I joined CSF so if you are thinking about it and don’t know everything-that’s OKAY!! You will learn every single morsel of info along the way.
- #1 tip would be don’t just do it for the actual competition. What I mean by this is, If you are going into this idea of a competition hoping to place #1 I would erase that idea out of your mind. When you make the decision to train and work towards a fitness competition there is so much more that goes in to it than simply what you place on stage. Committing to this is a goal in itself and you have to allow yourself to love the love the process and your body. It is so so important to put in your best effort and learn to appreciate the results you get without worrying about how other people are judging you. If you go in expecting nothing and do end up placing, it’ll be that much sweeter!
- #2 tip would be to Find a reputable Coach. I knew when I made the decision to finally compete, I was not going about this solo. It is so important to find support throughout the process with someone you trust and has a reliable reputation. You should do your research thoroughly and network with others to find a company and coach that aligns with your beliefs. I knew that beyond a coach, I wanted a team/network of women to do this together. I didn’t want to do this solo, hence why I joined CSF so I would be surrounded by like minded women. I also knew I didn’t want a coach whose methods would be insanely hard to follow such as eating tilapia and sweet potatoes every meal, cardio 5x a week and having insane ‘week of show’ methods. Competing should involve some moderation and balance AND fun.
- #3 tip which is a great one to piggy back on #2 is making sure you have a support system. There will be haters-as with anything in life, when you are so focused on a goal, you will have people who will try to stand in your way; whether they are jealous or simply don’t want to see you succeed, you must stay focused on the task at hand. It is so important for those around you to ‘get’ what you are doing. You will have plenty (if not most) not truly understand what it is you are doing or why, but you should be prepared to give a confident, clear answer. You will get questioned as to why you can’t eat certain things or drink alcohol or why you have to spend $$$ on a bikini you can’t wear to the beach. At the end of the day its your choice, not theirs and if they can’t hang, they shouldn’t be in your life. I would also suggest to keep your bi*chin’ to yourself. You can’t expect to have everyone support you if you just spend your days complaining about why you are doing what you are doing. Keep it to yourself. You made this choice, not them.
What Have I Learned from Competing?
I have learned quite a bit about myself from competing in fitness shows. Some good, some not so good, but at the end of the day, every single thing that happened was a learning moment. All of these tid bits I have learned stick with me long after a show is over and they will really help motivate you and also give you some insight into what to watch for!
- Increase self confidence. The act of competing can be a very vain sport, yes you are training yourself, getting in front of hundreds in a tiny bikini and showing off YOUR hard work. How can this not be a self centered sport? Be aware of the entire process and ensure that it is not changing you are a person. If you surround yourself with the right people, coaches, mentors, friends and other fellow competitors, this sport has the ability to give your self confidence a HUGE boost. When I made the decision to compete I was stuck in a horrible, emotionally abusive relationship. Seeing my body transform was just the icing on the cake for giving my the self confidence to move forward. I had believed in myself all along, but it took some serious self love and going about the journey in the right way to give me that push. Remember that you are in control of everything that you feel and own it!
- Get out of your comfort zone: So, I’ll be honest, getting on stage in a tiny bikini scared the daylights out of me. I didn’t even think I would follow through with it when I started training. I was getting tired of explaining to people what I was doing and having the same reaction “Wait, what are you doing? And why?” However, after a while, I was so proud to share my journey with others in hopes of inspiration and motivation for them to get out of their comfort zone and follow something they have always wanted to do. Take this experience and use it as a fresh starting point for you to follow anything you want in life!
- Inspire others. I would highly suggest you share your experience via social media or even start a blog or join some fitness forums to share your journey. You will be so surprised at how many people will be inspired and motivated by hearing your personal story. Try to not just go through the motions, but really take each day and enjoy every moment. The dedication, focus and the self control you are putting in is so beyond what most people are willing to do so use it to your advantage.
- Don’t take it to seriously. You don’t have to be the girl at the BBQ walking around with a gallon jug of water. It may be hard to believe, but you can still have a life AND train for a fitness competition-the goal is going about it in the right way, with the right coach/team. I know that competing can be temporarily quite extreme as compared to a normal lifestyle so try to be open minded and you certainly don’t have to go around with your nose up in the air letting everyone you know you are training for a fitness show. If your friends invite you to a movie and dinner, GO! You don’t have to sit home with the excuse that you have to go to the gym in the morning. You still can do all of the above. Choose something healthy on the menu, see a movie, spend time with friends and take a nap the next day if you’re tired. Work hard, stay humble and enjoy life along the way.
When it comes to competing in general, I tend to really avoid all outside nonsense. I think that as healthy as some of these competitors claim they are and as healthy as we can come off–there are plenty of unhealthy habits and body image/disordered eating patterns that can accompany what it takes to get on that stage. What I mean by ‘avoiding outside nonsense’ is that when training and dieting, people will talk. Girls will talk to each other about their diet “how many starches are you on” “how many days of cardio are you doing” “How many servings of fat are you taking in” It is just ENOUGH already. There is no need to compare what YOU are doing to prep for a show to another girl. We see all sorts of things backstage. Girls popping hamburgers and fries the night before to get more ‘vascular’ to girls not eating at all the day of the show. The extremes of this sport can reach a very unhealthy place which is why I try to block out all of the bull. I stick to my plan and that’s all I know. I also know that you need to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise to succeed here.
The way you go into a show is like any other event. You are training for an event. After the event, you will go back to your more balanced, healthy eating habits! Its as simple as that.
This sport is certainly not for everyone and that is what I want to get across here. THINK about why you want to compete. Is it for you? Your family? Your friends? Your Boyfriend? I love competing and will always be a part of the team whether or not I have a show, but I have to say that there is a lot of sacrifice that comes along with it . You need to think about YOU and YOUR LIFE. Obviously, I will send you right along to Cathy Savage Fitness, who without-I wouldn’t be competing at all.
Competing can be the most exciting, amazing, phenomenal experience, but at the same time one of the loneliest, scariest and most challenging. Get on that support system!
LOVE YOU ALLLLLL XOXOXO