So today I did something that objective onlookers would say I am not ready for; I signed up for a competition. Not a body building competition – that’s more of our coach Ilona’s cup of tea – but an Olympic Lifting competition. I started Olympic lifting September last year, so I currently have about 4 months of practice of a sport that takes people a lifetime to master. Oh and I’m remarkably average at it, so you can see why I believe that onlookers think I shouldn’t compete.
Now I’ve been involved in a couple of competitive sports over the years, I used to compete at Muay Thai and I have been part of a coaching team helping my wife (and fellow CoFit coach) Ilona ready for bodybuilding competitions. And from being a spectator in both of these sports I have sat in the crowd and listened to people say “he shouldn’t be in that ring, he’s not good enough” or “she shouldn’t be on that stage, her physique isn’t there yet”. Now putting the obvious aside that these armchair enthusiasts are probably just jealous that someone else is up there doing what they never could I want to question whether or not what they are saying is right.
Now for me it is a resounding “no!” You see in everything else in life we are not expected to get everything perfect first time, we chalk things off to experience, we learn by doing and we become better. So why is it that when it comes to competitions only those who are expected to win should enter? Now I understand this when we reach a world class stage, but still the nature of any competition with a winner must also have one or more people who will lose. The best outcome of any competition is to win, but this is not the only thing a person will take from competing.
For me I am entering for different reasons. I am entering because I want a goal that is bigger than just “learning to Olympic lift”. I want a North Star to guide me when the training sessions get tough. I also want to get the nerves of that first competition out of the way early on, something which my coach Jack Oliver is a big advocate of. And the same is true for anyone else who is going to compete, whether it’s in a performance sport like weightlifting, or an aesthetic sport like bodybuilding. I believe that if I person wants to get up on that stage and show where they are up to, to celebrate their journey so far and to give themselves something bigger than just training as a motivation then fair play to them!
And as for those who would sit in the stands and criticise? Well it’s for the person on the stage to decide whether or not they are ready and nothing these armchair enthusiasts have to say should change your mind! It’s you vs you and win or lose you will grow from the process!
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