Over the past few years i have been fortunate enough to train alongside and prepare some amazingly talented athletes and i always start by giving them the same advice and i thought i would share it here. If you are competing because of a trophy, then you are in the wrong sport. You have absolutely no control of who is standing up next to you on the day. You also have no control over the judges opinions in such a subjective sport and if you think its a sport that produces clear cut winners and runners up then you are unfortunately going to be disappointed at some stage in your journey. In 2012 when walking to the finals of the NABBA world championships in Dublin with my training partner Charlie Duca who had just competed earlier that day he said to me that the results weren’t that important because he was happy with what he had presented on stage earlier that day. Here i had a 3x NABBA overall world Champion being quite relaxed with how the trophy presentation was going to go and it made me realise a few things.

Now don’t get me wrong, i am not one of these people who think that you are a winner just for getting up on stage. In actual fact i think that many people actually set the bar far too low for themselves. For me the judgement comes on the morning of the show. When you look in the mirror and you have a look at what you see and reflect back on the last few months of your preparation. I tell everyone that i prep that they are in competition with their theoretical twin. The twin that did every single aspect perfectly to get themselves in the best possible shape. The one who squeezed out every last rep, who didn’t have that extra teaspoon of peanut butter or who didn’t do 5mins less cardio than they were supposed to. The one who didn’t press snooze on the alarm and cut a planned session short and the one who didn’t fool themselves into thinking they were doing all that they possibly can to be the best that they can. Now when you look in the mirror on the day of the show, deep down you know how far you are away from that perfect version of yourself and if it isn’t too far (there will be a difference. Nobody is perfect) then you should be quite proud of yourself. You are not trying to better your best, you are trying to reach your maximum potential. Your perfect score. After that moment, it doesn’t matter so much how the places fall. You are already a winner or someone who need to work harder next time by the morning of the show.

You could be a future world champion or standing next to one. You could be on the outside of a huge lineup in a show that has run overtime in front of a panel of judges who are fatigued after working tirelessly for hours on end to try and get it right. You might be hard done by. You might get lucky but none of these things can change the fact that if you didn’t work as hard and put in everything you have then you have already let yourself down because you could have been better. Most people never know when it is their last show. Quite often there is a plan to do another show that will never eventuate. For this reason, treat every show like it is your last. Like this will be the best you will ever be. Your watermark moment.

My advice is to relax about the show. That part is fun. Enjoy yourself. Its your moment but don’t let yourself ever look in the mirror on the morning of the show and have regrets about how your prep went. If you look in that mirror and you can honestly be completely proud of what you have done and achieved then no judge or other competitor can take that achievement from you and if this is the attitude you have had throughout your whole prep then quite often you will be going home with a medal or trophy that says 1st place on it because after all, being a champion is also nice.

Have fun prepping people and please keep in mind that these are just my thoughts. They might not work for you or fit in with your methods but i find it to be the cornerstone of why the athletes i have had the pleasure of prepping have been able to have the success that they have. Do yourselves proud and make the most of each moment.