This post may not get me any fans. Its just my honest truth about what I have learned being in the fitness industry for the past 3 years.
1. Competing is hard!
I’m not talking about getting on stage, though getting up the nerve to step on stage in 6 inch clear stripper heels and an itsy bitsy bikini is certainly not an easy thing to do. I’m talking about weeks and months of eating chicken out of tupperwear, not going out with friends, and dealing with people who think that you are starving yourself (You’re not, and most of those people are only projecting their own issues with food onto the lifestyle you chose) You give up relationships, you give up time out with friends, you give up sleep, you give up time with your family, you give up alot. You also invest alot and gain alot personally. Most people have issues with your life style because its not something they can do, not because its something you do.
2. You are not going to become famous
People like dana linn bailey, kai green and phil heath are the exception! The chances of making a living to support yourself with this sport are slim to none. I am an active member of the fitness community, however I am not a sponsored athlete. I would love to become sponsored by one of the many companies I love however I also do not and will not ever become a sponsored athlete of a company I cannot support or believe in. That being said, competitions and organizations prefer sponsored athletes (uh oh…. there’s one of the truths the industry won’t like). Showing up at a show and competing with a slew of sponsors will definitely get you noticed and make sure you place better than non-sponsored athletes. I have been at shows where I am positive the best physique for the category did not win…. for a few reasons. Either its their turn for having put in their time, they may even be a brand new competitor with no following and the least physique but they have a list of sponsors on their bio. I have a question: How is this your first fitness competition and you are already sponsored by a list of companies… not only that but you have no social media, and no following but you are sponsored by some of the biggest companies in the industry (yep, people lie) However if you are “sponsored” by a company that the organization wants weather real or supposed you will get noticed. … that does’nt mean that you will continue to win, you’re just good for the organization. The best does’nt always win. And most competitors work full time jobs with kids and make major sacrifices for their sport. A few of the pro’s in my organizations national competition coming up are begging for donations right now in order to compete….
3. Competing is Expensive
That being said I have seen people win in victoria secret $70 swim suits. But registration for a show generally runs into a couple hundred dollars, with tanning, make up, hair, suits and costumes you are looking at a minimum of a 500 investment per show… and that does’nt touch on training, or photography or any of the extras that many see as a requirement. There are many ways to save on competing but you also need to know that not using the sponsored “teams”, official “makeup and tanning” etc may work against you. People in organizations talk. If you’re doing it to prove something to yourself then make sure you check out my post on ways to cut costs HERE.
4. Its an industry… deal with it
Like any money making industry the fitness industry is there to make money. Every organization is trying to get the most competitors (registration fees and sponsored companies) and the most sponsors, magazine exposure and recognized athletes as the next. Some are more focused on the competitors then others. Some are more objective then others. Except it is still an industry based on money. If you do not fit their version of a pro athlete or do not have enough push and clout behind you it does not matter if you are the best physically… if you are not marketable then you are not going to get it. its just the truth. This is a subjective sport. Subjective to the industry professionals and the organization you choose to compete in.
4. Drugs are prevalent.
When I first decided to compete I cannot count the number of people that asked me or my mom whether I was on drugs! I compete with the UFE. Its a drug tested drug free association… sorta. Anybody that knows anything about bodybuilding knows that even the pro’s in a drug tested organization are not necessarily drug free. It only means that the steroid using athletes have learned when to cycle off their chosen poison in order not to get caught. That being said if you decide to compete in a drug free association without drugs know that you will have to work twice as hard.. and twice as long. Does’nt mean its not possible, just means that 12 weeks of working out and dieting will not make you win against 6 months of roids…
5. Know why you are doing it.
If you are competing in order to prove yourself to yourself, as a goal, or just to feel good about yourself DO IT!. But just know its addictive. That how I started. It was a goal. Now I want to win, and ya, I am working my arse off to get it. But the chances of stepping on stage and winning your first competition are slim to none. The chances of becoming a professional fitness model or bodybuilder with sponsors enough to never have a real job again… probably less than 1%. The sport is amazing. It is an amazing industry with fabulous motivated individuals striving to be their best. But it is not a means to an end. It is promoting a lifestyle, one that can be healthy and one that can also mess with your head. If you do not know where you want to be, what you are and why you are doing it. Dont.