Thursday, July 28, 2016

Injuries, Sickness and Setbacks in Your Fitness Plan

by Kris Pitcher

Once we decide to move forward on our path to health and fitness we don't envision anything getting in our way. Our determination is strong, we have a plan of action, and we've aligned ourselves with success.

Whether we are a competitive athlete, or we're taking back control of our health metrics, we will all at some point face bumps in the road. These may come in the form of  an unexpected illness. From the common cold to cancer and everything under the sun...illness happens.

Injuries are even more common. We might face overuse injuries, an old injury may resurface as our activity increases, or the worst yet - the acute injury.

Setbacks come in all forms. Work may need to become a priority. You may be facing family issues which require your attention. Or something in your plan just may not work. Some component or dynamic may just simply not mesh.

How we deal with these inevitable occurrences determines whether we move forward, or hang up the towel. There are times when more important life issues take priority. Let's face it, competing is a hobby. Running marathons is not going to move your career ahead. Prioritizing what's truly important becomes key.

Those events will be waiting when things settle down. Dealing with injury or sickness is a little bit different. Working through overuse injuries is possible, and requires a mental shift. We need to change the way we move, our range of motion, and the exercises we're doing. We might need to commit to some rehabilitative movements, some rest, or even time off.

When we're sick, we need to allow our immune system to do it's job. Undo stress (exercise) will likely put us further back than just resting and allowing the body to deal with what's ailing you. Rest is difficult for most, and a healthy immune system requires rest when it's being taxed.

Sometimes our systems just don't cooperate. We might be experiencing hormonal shifts, systematic irregularities, or other anomalies interrupting our progress. These are often issues we need some medical advice, assistance, and correction with. Your contest or event can wait. Your health comes first.

Putting aside the notion that "more is better" is the first place to start in getting your head around dealing with any of these setbacks. You might have your heart set on a specific event, date, or milestone when you are faced with your setback.

Knowing you can manage through it, control what you can control, and maintain perspective on what truly requires your attention in the moment is not only helpful, it's critical. You only have to do weight management as long as you want it to work...which is forever.

If an injury or requirement of your attention comes forward, you have to assess priority. We have time. Do the things you can do, control the things you can. Engage in the amount and type of activity you are able to do, when you are able to do it.

Most of all, give yourself a break. You are the one putting the pressure on yourself, no one else is. The pressure to perform isn't "out there", it's internal...and you control that. Reset your expectations, your timeline, your mindset.

You can successfully overcome obstacles with attitude. I recently heard a CEO say, "It's not the crisis which defines us. It's how we respond in the crisis which defines us." This is so true.

Setbacks are going to happen, you will find yourself in "crisis" at some point along your path. How will you respond?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What it Takes to Lose

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?

Being willing to lose means walking on that stage with humility. It means respecting the sport, your federation, the judging process, and your fellow competitors. Competing at the highest level means continuing to show up. And waiting your turn.

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.