Whatever it takes…

Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes
You take me to the top I’m ready for
Whatever it takes

Imagine Dragons

Doing ‘whatever it takes’ is often praised as the highest level of determination and a mindset many people try emulate… don’t get me wrong, I’ve said it, and the Imagine Dragons song gets stuck in my head as much as the next person’s. I think we need to really examine this approach however, especially when it comes to your physical and emotional health.

Having a willingness to put in the time and effort to reach your goals will always be something that I respect and strive for. Often, the number one excuse people have for not being able to accomplish something is that they don’t have time, or they haven’t made it a priority. The flip side to this, is becoming so engulfed and obsessed with achieving in your objective that it begins to cause you harm. As with many things, there is a spectrum and a balance that should be the focus, rather than feverish determination to do ‘whatever it takes’ no matter the cost.

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Within the last few months, I’ve noticed several athletes/public figures in the fitness industry that have recently posted about their health and wellness struggles. Three women in particular, who were competitors that did ‘whatever it takes’ to earn their Pro Card within the first year of their careers, are now experiencing major thyroid/metabolic issues and have even ceased training altogether. I am not blaming or shaming these women or their coaches. However, I do want to point out that this is a trend that should not continue. These women dieted so restrictively, and for so long, that they have caused major health issues for themselves. Their weight has rebounded to the point of almost being considered medically ‘overweight’, they are not able to have a regular menstrual cycle, and psychologically they must deal with the repercussions of their actions. Sure, they all achieved their goal of becoming a Pro as fast as they possibly could – but at the cost of their long term health. Two of the three women have stated they are done competing for their foreseeable future. It has been my dream to become a Pro competitor in the IFBB since I began competing in 2013 – but I have always maintained the belief that my health will always be my top priority. How can I proclaim myself to be a Pro in the fitness/health industry if everything I do is a detriment to my own health?

Now that I am back to training for my own competitions after having my daughter, I am even more aware of the choices I make. I want to set an example not only for those who are currently competing and future competitors, I need to be a healthy role model for my daughter. I don’t plan to compete until next summer, giving my body plenty of time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth – I also plan to return to the natural bodybuilding federations. I have always been a natural competitor, but I chose to compete in non-drug tested federations because the shows are larger and the fitness industry doesn’t tend to care whether you are natural or not – they care about winning. As years have gone by, the competitors in non-tested federations have become larger and larger; to the point where I feel I can no longer contest them. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, research what has happened to the Figure division especially.

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We as humans need direction and goals – they keep us motivated and help us to continue to progress and learn. We cannot let them destroy us however, simply for the sake of saying that we accomplished them.

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