Journey to accelerate XLR8


I am always on a quest to improve my ability to help others.  I have attended various educational classes and seminars, diligently studied proven research on my own, and received degrees and certifications proving my knowledge.  But still I was ignorant.  I have read, recommended, and reviewed what others have done to achieve the body they want, and gained more knowledge through helping others with their own goals.  But still I did not know what I needed to.  I have experimented different exercises, tried various types of equipment, and organized and reorganized my gyms, wanting to create the best place for those looking to achieve the body and mind they wanted.  But I was still only guessing.

Knowledge and experience can be two very different things.  Even though I have been increasing my knowledge, my experience was lacking in one area: how to achieve the body I always wanted.  I have achieved performance levels I can be proud of, but body measurement goals always alluded me.  I have tested and tried different exercise techniques to improve my mood and mind and could provide testimony of what's worked for me for a healthy brain.  But I have never been satisfied at body of the person staring back at me in the mirror.  I thought I had the knowledge to get that body and I thought I had the gym that could take me there, but the only way to know for sure was to go through my own journey and gain first-hand experience in body transformation.  

I have seen that the hardest weight to lose are the last dozen pounds.  I have been a few dozen pounds overweight for nearly all of my adult life.  I had tried multiple times in the past to get to that body I always wanted, but once I put that weight on, I was not able to get it off again.  I decided that this was not only my time to lose those most stubborn pounds, but to gain the muscle I have always wanted yet never had.

So I entered into some National Physique Committee (NPC) competitions that requires competitors' bodies to be as close to perfection as possible.  The NPC is not a runway model fashion show.  The goal is not to be as thin as possible, because your score can go down if you don't have enough body fat in an NPC competition.  The goal is to be at the healthiest level of body fat (plus a good amount of muscle): not too much, and not too little.  This was what I wanted for myself, and the competition was a huge motivator that also aligned with my goals!  

I discovered there were some key aspects to succeed.  Here are a few: 


A reliable workout partner

I consider myself a loan wolf; comfortable with doing things on my own. But I knew from research that we are more likely to succeed in our goals if we have someone going through the journey with us.  So when my friend expressed a desire to do this kind of competition, we decided to do it together! Throughout all this training, I have come to see the value of a workout partner and how much it helps us through the journey to a better body.  They can give motivation when we struggle with finding our own, they bring joy in sharing the accomplishments, and they are a person to be accountable to and for in following the plan. I'm glad that I have a policy that workout partners can attend the gym for free, and I now know from experience how involving others can improve our chances of success.


A good gym

I quickly discovered that how my gyms were set up was not sufficient for my more intense weight training needs.  After my first month of training, a completely redid my gyms, adding equipment I discovered I needed.  Whenever I found my workout needing something, I quickly made the needed change so that my workout routine could continue with little interruption.  

My training wasn't exclusively at my gym.  My training partner worked out at the common big-box gyms and I would occasionally join her.  I took advantage of this time to study the benefits of these gyms so that I could incorporate these positive aspects into my own gym.


Coaches with experience

Coaches, trainers, teachers, etc. can push us farther and motivate us more than we can on our own.  Even with knowledge it is good to have another professional opinion and perspective.  Even though I had a general knowledge of fitness, my team of coaches had advanced knowledge on body sculpting.  Sometimes even doctors need to refer to specialists.  My coaches were truly experts in this area and without their experience and motivation, I would not have achieved the change I wanted.   


Rebounding not relapsing
One of the problems with losing weight is that too often after someone has lost the weight, they gain most -if not all- of it back.  I wanted to learn is how to prevent weight from coming back.  One of the common practices after a competition is rebounding in a healthy way.  There is no point in competing just to have all the weight go back on.  This knowledge is so important to gain because what's the point of helping someone achieve their goals, if they are just going to relapse?  I put some of my life on hold for this training, but as my life returned back to normal I do not want my body to return to what it was.  I've learned how to maintain the gains even when training ends.  


Moving forward
Many experiences I have had in life have not only helped me to better myself, but have also helped me to better understand and help others.  Training for this competition was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced.  I completed my own journey so I could better understand and help others through theirs.  I've applied this experience in my own life and throughout my gym and I plan to continue to apply the things I learned (and train to potentially compete again in the future).  I hope that the knowledge I gained through my experience can help others with theirs.