Why do we compete? I’ve never done any type of physique show or powerlifting competition. Part of this is due to the fact that I don’t have the physique or strength to do either, but that wouldn’t stop me from entering a competition, if I were so inclined. Not all people compete to win. Competition can simply be a time to challenge yourself, to learn from those around you and to just live in the experience.
In my youth, I only competed to win. I was driven by rankings and obsessed with winning. What I had to learn was that there’s only one person who’s the best at anything, and that person is usually the best only for a short period of time. What proved to be more valuable to me was what I learned simply in trying to better myself. I look back on the discipline and work ethic I developed from training and really appreciate what it means to try and better yourself. I fondly remember the people and experiences, and it’s those relationships and interactions that mean more to me now than what place I finished.
ChelseaLifts echoed the same sentiment in her video Feelings About the Show & Over-Eating After. She stated how there were comments from fans asking why she would do a figure show without having the best conditioning. These fans are misguided if they believe the sole purpose of competition is only to find a winner. Chelsea stated:
“If I’m not coming in lean enough, why even bother doing the show? The reason I bothered to do the show was we had a vacation planned, I was going to be out there, and if I’m going to do a show to challenge myself and really, really lean down, like way leaner than I was for this show—I want to know what’s going on. I don’t want to waste my time, diet down and dial in my diet and then really just blow it on not knowing how the thing is run, not knowing about the judging, or the process of tanning, posing, everything….Everybody there is doing the show for themselves….”
People compete for different reasons, and not all of those reasons involve a first-place finish. I applaud Chelsea’s efforts in pursuing her first figure show and believe she took away the most important aspects from the experience, namely the experience itself.
Not all experiences end up positive. MegSquats talks about her bikini competition and how it adversely affected her both mentally and physically (see the video here). Not once in the video does Meg mention who won, who took second or who took third. Instead, she focuses on the journey and how bikini competitions were not a good fit for her. Shifting her focus to powerlifting has created a much more positive and sustainable fitness lifestyle. It’s about finding the right intrinsic motivation and then challenging yourself—regardless of the external placings or trophies that may or may not be lauded upon you.