Are you ready for Comp Prep?
Ever wondered how it feels like to be in comp prep? Preparing for a competition be it strongman, powerlifting, physique or even track and field can be tricky and at most times tough. It is a very lonely process. A few weeks ago I posted this on Instagram with the caption “Success is not glamorous, its a lot of hours in darkness alone”.
Even in an interview with Stan Efferding, he mentioned that… “If you want to stay healthy and maintain good relationships, don’t be competitive” but we also know that Mark Bell stated “I rather die doing something I love than be average!”. So which brings us to a conundrum.
Personally I’m going to share with you some of my personal perspectives during comp prep and what to expect of course this is solely from my own experience.
The term adversity is pretty much the same in any language meaning -“A difficult or uncomfortable situation”. Not too long ago in the midst of preparing for the Static Monsters World Championships 2018.
I had a meeting with my former sponsors of five years and they told me that they would not be renewing my contract because “I wasn’t the type of athlete that the average joe would be able to relate to” because of the nature of my sport. Its too hardcore or not appealing to the masses.
I was rather disappointed and upset because for the past few years my former sponsors were the ones supporting my international competitions in terms of covering my flight expenses. I wasn’t just upset but more angry… In my head, my mind went into a flurry of rage with my thoughts going “How could you even do this to me 4 weeks out to my competition (insert expletives). Is this how you treat loyalty and my efforts for the past five years!?” But of course this was just inside in my head
Being dropped from a major sponsor is definitely a huge blow mentally. I’m not going to lie… I was pretty upset, it did affect my comp prep for a week because I kept asking myself. What am I really fighting for and why was I so moody, brooding and upset. Almost like Jon Snow when he broods but without the fur coat.
But I remembered, for the first 10 years I was competing, I had NO sponsors and I still did well. I still managed to hold my own on the international stage. It dawned on me that “Nothing Lasts Forever” and while I may be simmering and raging inside. It made me want to excel even more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being a whiny little bitch complaining “Why does this happen to me??? Bla bla bla”. I was truly appreciative of what they have provided me for the past 5 years but good times don’t last forever. And this my friends is the harsh reality of life.
This could also probably be one of the best things to ever happen to me. For one simple reason that I am now responsible for my own goals and it just lit a fire in me to achieve my set goals. “Success is not glamorous, its a lot of hours in darkness alone”. This phrase was probably the most apt during that point. This was probably one of the darker periods of my life and I did felt alone but nobody died from a lack of sponsorship or nobody even cares about how I feel. Overcoming adversity is life, because nothing will actually go to plan you just have to adapt, flow and basically suck it up!
All I am going to focus on is me doing well and showing up on competition day. Make sure I give my best and give everything that I got.
Balance (Work, Family, Relationships and Training)
I’m going to be really upfront and honest here… I still struggle with finding balance even after 15 years of competing. But as each year goes it seems to get really difficult, never easier. It gets difficult because being an athlete competing at the highest level of competition puts a tremendous strain on pretty much everything in your life. You become cranky on rest days, you become grumpy when you are not getting in your meals or you become a complete asshole in the gym when someone takes away your plates. Basically you just become selfish in the self directed, cold and calculated pursuit of your goals.
All you think about is training, making sure you eat your meals, getting enough hydration, recovery, sleeping and then work. Notice how family and relationships are not mentioned.
Someone ask me before “How do you manage to keep everything together and still be doing what you do?”. The answer is simple… I sacrificed my social life, keep my family engagements to a minimum, relationships will take a back seat which means no dating (then again, I don’t event date) and definitely no late nights outs.
Mark Manson an award winning author stated that “You can’t have everything all at the same time. You can only be good one thing at a time”.
– You can’t be an athlete and maintain a blossoming relationship especially if your partner is not an athlete or doesn’t understand your needs.
– You can’t be a fully functioning person and excel in all aspects of your life because being an athlete will consume your very existence.
– You can’t be an athlete and run a growing business, sure your business will still run but it will run to break even.
– You can’t be an athlete and have full time 9-5 or shift job these would just suck your soul dry.
Like I say… This is just coming from experience and in the event that these does not apply to you. Then you my friend are at outlier and I am truly envious of you and I would love to sit down and pick your brains.
So what balance actually mean? Human existence is all about balance and equilibrium to our lives, but the athlete life is rather extreme we abuse ourselves day in and day out during training. We eat the same food, we keep our relationships on hold or add strain to it, we keep every single thing to a routine and when our routine is disrupted we get frustrated. So what is this balance are we talking about.
But the reality is this… While we seek out balance, perhaps this madness, this way of living or this life we chose as an athlete is our very definition of balance. We are not average joes or the weekend warrior. These societal rules do not apply to us. We define what balance is for us and yours will be different from mine. But that being said, winning a medal or world title does not make you a better husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, cousin or human being. It is just a testament of your hard work and consistent effort. At the end of the day you want to go home and celebrate this achievement with your loved ones, family, friends and close circle of friends.
Don’t be that person who gave up everything and everyone just for vanity, world or regional title and a $20 medal. Make time for people that matter, appreciate those around you and most importantly be relentless in your goals but kind to those around you.
If you are prepping for a competition and neck deep in comp prep. Keep on moving forward and persevere. Nobody achieved greatness by quitting but remember to always find your balance and make time for the important stuff or people in your life.
In the meantime train hard and stay injury free. I look forward to seeing everyone on the platform at the Static Monsters World Championships 2018!