To The Aspiring Bikini Competitor

To The Aspiring Bikini Competitor

An open letter to all future bikini athletes.
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Being a bikini competitor is almost the new norm for anyone who wants to take their fitness dedication to the next level. On local and national stages, their divisions are taking over -- sometimes with 30 to 45 girls in each 6 height classes. Almost everyone is either a competitor, training to become one, or contemplating giving it a shot. What people don’t realize is that preparing for a bodybuilding show is tough. It's serious business and the last word I would use to describe it is "easy." It is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging things I have ever mentally, emotionally and physically done, but after competing in five shows myself, I can confidently assure you it's equally one of the most rewarding. It's worth it. It really is. But before you get excited about the sparkling swimsuits, high heels, tan skin, and hot bod you're about to have, take a listen. You need to read this first.

Before you decide to take the plunge, you need to objectively and realistically evaluate why you want to compete.

I highly recommend not competing if you simply want to “look good” and be “skinny.” Because contrary to popular belief, that “hot” body is yours for approximately one day. Months of dieting, weight lifting, and double cardio sessions just to look your best for one day. I'm not kidding -- one day. Before you know it, the show will be over, you’ll enjoy a few post-show cheat meals and those chiseled abs and bicep veins will disappear. The body you have on show day is not maintainable, so don't expect it to stick around. It won't.

You have to come into this world (yes, the bodybuilding community is something of itself) with more of a purpose -- or else you’re going to find excuse after excuse to give up and give in to your cravings and exhaustion when your show is over. Your body will be changing, and your muscle-defining tan fades to a blotchy, reptile-like appearance, and your perfect show day makeup is wiped off. Plummeting self-image, body dysmorphia, binge eating disorder tendencies, and post-show depression are common once you survive your first season of competing and transition into your off-season. These things are real and more athletes suffer from them than you'd think.

To compete, you should be sound with yourself and everything you are and aren't. You have to be accepting and loving of your body in all stages and forms. Your worth is not equivalent to your physique. You are more than just your degree of leanness or a plastic trophy. If you haven’t found acceptance and self-love, I recommend continuing to train, building muscle, and working on yourself. It's not your time. The stage isn't going anywhere.

So when you think you’re ready to compete, be real with yourself. Are you ready? Are you actually ready for this rollercoaster? Are you ready for the mental and emotional battles you’re about to face? The selfishness it requires? The self-control you’ll be forced to develop? The pressure you’ll put on yourself to succeed? Are you ready for the constant second-guessing? The doubt? Are you ready to commit your time and energy for months on end for one day? For 30 seconds on a stage? To be judged solely on your appearance? Are you ready to climb mountains and dig ditches to better yourself on every level?

Think about your “why.” Find it. Search for it, and make sure it’s good. Decide if competing is right for you for where you are in your life. It’s not for everyone. But when you decide to take that leap of faith, make it through your first bodybuilding prep to the stage, and feel the hot lights beaming down on you, you’ll understand why your “why” matters so much. Competing changed my life, and it can change yours. But know that once you start, you probably can't stop. Thankfully, you won't want to.

Cover Image Credit: Chris Benjamin Photography

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Poetry On Odyssey: A Stress Call

It's the most stressful time of the year!

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It's the season of stress

When people seem the busiest

Final exams, presents and time

Students grades are on the line


Is it really the season of love and giving

Or are people too worried about money and winning

People stress about everything, big or small

It is not healthy all in all


Stress plagues peoples lives

People are too focused on "mine, mine mine"

In the world we live in, what can we do

About not having people or outlets to turn to


In a world with such confusion

And problems knocking at the door

Is anyone paying attention

To the call of the people anymore


Stress may seem overbearing

Or impossible to defeat

Keep your eyes on the dreams

You've always wanted to complete


Stress is just a roadblock

On the road called life

Continue to press on

It will be alright

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