Trainer tip and transformation Tuesday...Spartan Race edition (it's a long one, please stick around!)
2 years ago, I completed my first Spartan Race trifecta. This past weekend, not only did I turn 40, but I completed my first triple race weekend!! A lot has changed in this time...you can see the physical changes. I'm bigger, not as lean, but I am so much stronger...and it's not only the kind of strength that you see.
2 years ago, I wanted the best of both worlds I was dipping my toes into...bodybuilding and OCR. I wanted to be great at both, because I'm a perfectionist and because my competitive nature was finally emerging from a lifetime of dormancy. The fight to be great at 2 sports that oppose one another didn't work for me. I lacked energy, my nutrition and training weren't appropriate for OCR and my strength wasn't where it needed to be to be as great at it as I wanted to be...though I excelled at the other. For a time, bodybuilding took the forefront because I wanted to prove something...to who? Well, to myself...but it took me down a path that wasn't mentally or emotionally healthy for me and physically I broke down. The next OCR I did after completing the one pictured was my last for 11 months because of my illness, fatigue, and the loss of muscle and strength. After getting sick it took me a while to decide what my focus would be, because I couldn't do both, be great AND be healthy.
I chose Spartan.
I decided that for me it was more my thing. I like the challenge of getting stronger, learning new skills, competing but not having to focus on "winning", and most of all, I didn't have to fit a mold. I could just be in my body as it is and be strong as heck, but not have to count macros or be super-lean. It took the focus off of my body aesthetics and more on how far I can push my mental and physical limits to accomplish a goal...for me, in a healthier way, still have fun and not have so much stress. If I miss a day or two of training, it's ok. If I eat a less than stellar meal, it's ok. If I have cellulite and some fluff, it's ok. I can be my healthy 155lbs of thunder thighs and brawn and it's ok!!! No one is judging me based on the look of my body. No one is judging me based on my style or how pretty I am or how sparkly my outfit is. I'm not judged on my muscle mass or my symmetry or my tan. I am simply out there, in nature, running, walking, crawling, climbing, jumping, lifting, pulling and being a great sportsman. I am out there gritting my teeth, grunting, fighting tooth and nail to finish to prove what? That I can do all of these insane things and more because IT'S FUN! I can jump that fire pit and get a medal for finishing a challenge like no other, chug a beer and stuff my face with whatever I want and not have to turn around the next day and start counting my macros again. For me the freedom of it is why I have left the other world behind. I feel free. Free to be me regardless of what the outside looks like. (I don't mean to come down hard on the sport of bodybuilding. In fact, I have so much respect for those athletes and I am grateful for the opportunities I had and the people I've met because of the sport. It just isn't the world for me anymore.)
I chose my own personal happiness.
So for my trainer tip today...decide what you WANT and give it all you've got. Because you will only be successful if you truly want it! My new goal is to better this weekend's best. I finished 3rd in my age group twice. I finished in above the top 10% of all athletes of all ages. I had a top 20 finish out of all women. Now I want a top 5% and a top 10 and maybe a 1st place in age group...it's within reach...and I know what I have to do to accomplish these goals. Because I want it, I'm going for it. It means changing HOW I train. It means doing things I don't enjoy so much, and learning to trust that I can be good at them. Because with that trust, I can begin to enjoy it too (running and I haven't been the best of friends, but I had my aha moment in those Maryland woods...). Find your passion and pursue it with all your mind, heart and soul. That's how one becomes successful. Choose happiness.