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The 2013 OCB Pine Tree State ~ Bodybuilding, Figure & Bikini Championships are less than week away, and I’m freaking out a little. I’m not really all that nervous about stuff I *can* control, just stuff I can’t. Like whether my body is going to do what I want it to do over the next week.

It’s been a hard year. My thyroid (I have an autoimmune thyroid problem) acted up, causing all kinds of issues. Then I suffered a series of illnesses that made it very hard to diet. My doc sent several vials of my blood away for food sensitivity testing and changed my diet (bye-bye dairy and gluten and a whole bunch of other stuff!), and I am glad to report I feel soooo much better, although my thyroid is being pesky right now, darn it! And let’s not even talk about the body changes that come with entering a new decade, oy vey.

So anyway, I am not in the condition I hoped I would be in at this point. It’s OK, as I am planning on competing in shows after this one, when I will, in fact, be in the condition I hoped to be in now.

Enough about me: What’s been so fun about this particular prep isn’t my own transformation — it’s been watching the transformation of 5 other people at my gym who also are going to be taking the stage: 3 new figure competitors, 1 new bikini competitor, and 1 new bodybuilder.

Your first show prep is a scary, adrenaline-fueled adventure. It’s a never-ending experiment on your body. I’m so proud of every single one of them — seeing them gain new confidence in themselves has been a rewarding experience. People who aren’t in this sport or who haven’t attended a show might think it’s all about vanity, but it really isn’t. The confidence I’m talking about doesn’t come from looking in the mirror and admiring yourself (although witnessing the changes you have made certainly is gratifying). No, it’s more about mental toughness, pushing yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of, doing stuff that scares you, and putting yourself out there — taking a risk. In fancy terms, it’s about self-efficacy

From Wikipedia:
Self-efficacy is the measure of one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.
Self-efficacy affects every area of human endeavor. By determining the beliefs a person holds regarding his or her power to affect situations, it strongly influences both the power a person actually has to face challenges competently and the choices a person is most likely to make. These effects are particularly apparent, and compelling, with regard to behaviors affecting health.

Once you have set your mind to a big, all-encompassing goal like competing in a bodybuilding or figure show (and believe me, it’s all-encompassing!) and you see it through to the end, you learn just what it is you are capable of — you learn to trust yourself to see things through. It’s quite a gift, and it makes my heart swell to see other people gain this self-trust. I’m so stinkin’ proud of them and I can’t wait to take the stage with them — even if my butt doesn’t agree with me.