I’m creating a new series on my blog called “A Letter to my Pre-Fitness Self” in which I will post a collection of letters written by women to themselves before they really got into fitness. I want these letters to highlight the struggles, challenges, mistakes, triumphs and victories that real people have experienced and faced during their fitness journeys. I think the letters will help a lot of people starting out on their fitness journeys.
I would love for you to take part in this project. The letter doesn’t have to be long and you are welcome to post it anonymously (or on the flip-side we can link your own blog/social media channels to your letter as a way for people to find you). If this is something you’d be interested in and you think your story can help people, please contact me here or leave a comment on this post and I will get into contact with you.
Together we can make the fitness industry a more transparent, open and welcoming place.
A letter to my pre-fitness self
Dear Joelle (circa early 2013),
You better prepare yourself for this year. It’s going to be one crazy ride and you will look back on it and realise that it was the year you finally decided to do something that you wanted to do without worrying about what other people thought. And as wonderful at the outcomes will be, you will learn many important lessons over the coming years.
This year is going to be wonderful but it will also mark the start of a “new you”. This “new you” is going to make a lot of mistakes in the next few years so prepare to be challenged and accept that sometimes the path you’ve chosen isn’t the best one.
Competing is going to allow you to make the most amazing friends and have the most wonderful experiences. You’ll travel all over the world and do things you’d never have imaged that you’re brave enough to do. Prepare to grow as a person and embrace the positive things that come your way.
As much as you need to prepare for the benefits that will come your way this year, please don’t be naïve about competing. Please do some research about the negatives that come with doing back-to-back competitions in a short period of time. Put your health and mental wellbeing first.
If I could give you only one piece of advice it would be this:
Competing can and will mess with your head and your self-esteem. In a few months’ time you will be in the best (aesthetic) shape of your life. And the people around you will comment on how great you look and compliment you on how far you have come. Please listen to them. As much as your head will tell you that you’re not lean enough, that you need to lose more body fat, that your shoulders/calves/abs aren’t big and defined enough, listen to the people who see your body from an outsider’s point of view. Because you are lean enough, you don’t need to lose more body fat and your body is perfectly proportional just the way it is. Doing these fitness competitions gives you a strange self-perception and makes you overly critical of things that other people don’t even notice. Be kind and give yourself credit where it is due.
This year is going to be all about your competitions and your fitness. Remember the saying “the grass isn’t greener on the other side; the grass is most green where you water it”. I know you will want to give all your attention to your fitness “career” and competitions but please remember the other things that matter –your loved ones, your friends, your university studies and your job. Don’t sacrifice those things for fitness and then wonder why those areas of your life are lacking. Don’t take all the ‘water’ for fitness and competing. There’s enough ‘water’ to go around.
In a few years’ time you will look back at the experiences you had and the decisions you made and be grateful because they helped you to become the person you are in the present. But no matter the experiences and decisions, I truly believed you will mature a lot over the next few years and end up in the same position as I am in now. Just try to minimise the sacrifices that you and your loved ones have to make in order for you to shine on stage.
Good luck for the coming years, remember to be considerate, kind and helpful to others, share your story in the hopes it will reduce the struggles of others and write more bluntly honest and potentially unpopular blog posts without the fear of repercussion because if your posts can help just one person then you’ve made the fitness industry that tiny bit better.