by Kris Pitcher
Competing at the national level takes a lot. It takes lots of support from people around you. It takes a trusted coach, trusted advisers, and trust in yourself. It takes clarity in your goals, requires humility, and readiness to lose.
Stay with me here. We all want to win. We train to win. I train to win. I visualize myself being called into the first call out, being moved to center, and wining. Of the thousand who will show up at the highest level, only five will place in your class, and only one will win. One.
My goals going into a competition are twofold. First, to come in better than I did previously. This is - to beat my best every time. This is the only thing I control. Can I come in tighter? Can I create a better back? Can I lift my glutes? Can I improve upon my physique? This is my primary goal.
Secondary is the goal for a placing. I have zero control over this. At the highest level, everyone is great. Everyone is in shape. Everyone has amazing structure (most better than mine). You never know who will show up, who you'll stand next to, what the judges will be attracted to, or how you'll place.
When you compete at the highest level, you have to be willing to lose. Part of this is being willing and open to criticism. Are you willing to take feedback? Are you open to hearing where you went wrong? Are you able to be criticized, objectified, and picked apart when you ask for feedback without having your feelings hurt?
Are you able to share your placing in a positive way when you get home? Or will you bad-mouth the judging? Will you say it wasn't fair? Or will you rise to your imperfections, your shortcomings, and your structural flaws?
Very few of us can step on the national stage and get that pro card the first time out. It does happen, but most of us don't fall in that percentage. So then what?
Whether it's your very first local show, or your sixth time on the national stage, you should be considering "what's next" before you step foot in the lights. You should have a plan for how you'll train, and eat in the weeks to follow.
You should be ready to absorb the valuable feedback you receive and make adjustments based on it. So, what's my plan?
I know I need to work on my posing, on my presentation, and most of all on getting bigger in key areas. I have received some very valuable feedback, which I'm absorbing. I'm anticipating some additional feedback as well.
Now it's time to get to work. It's time to eat like an athlete, to train like an athlete, and to strategically decide what I'll do next year.
Did the season turn out like I had hoped it would. No, it didn't. I was among some amazing women who earned their way to the IFBB. Some of my friends, made their way, and I am so proud to have witnessed their time in the spotlight. And while this year wasn't my year...I still have what it takes to lose.
And that just might get me a win.