Journey Back To Strength 15

Faith or Fear

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or Fear
Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a great holiday and are ready to move to the next level this year. I am not sure what that means specifically for you, but for me, whatever comes my way, I can just feel it s going to be something very special.

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or FearAs I approach this next show, an endeavor that is by far the most rigorous to date, I knew there would be a time when my mind, thoughts and concerns would come sneak up on me. I have been doing very well considering all of the obstacles that tried to come my way over the past year. So, in that sense, I am proud of myself. But, I will admit that over the past week, I did start to feel some doubt and fear.

It’s no secret that I have always been very hard on myself, very diligent and sometimes even stoic. Some misunderstand that for being standoffish, but I am solider and simply focus on what my next task is. It’s just the way I have always been.

But there are the hours in between life and the gym (not many of them but enough before I go to sleep at night) that can be dangerous territory for me if I am not focused on something that will enrich my spirit or my mind. That is why I read, listen to audio books or have some form of connecting with my higher/better self, because in a deprived state, on many levels, there are the moments when I just feel scared to death.

Old habits die hard, and I will admit that I used to be so filled with fear of this and that and wanting everything to be just perfect that I wasted precious time. But, I didn’t know any other way. However, when the pain of a situation is enough, you find a way to make things different. That is my experience anyway.

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or FearOver the years, I have always learned the hard way. Always…but I have evolved a lot especially since my last competition and my injury. Because I have worked so hard on the inside and have faith in a power that’s bigger than myself (God), I knew that even though this would be my biggest challenge of my competitive career that there wouldn’t be the same degree of fear.

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or FearBut last week, I was feeling just afraid to fail. I have had that fear every show…without question. This time, I have a lot more weight to lose, so that is the differing aspect for me. Stress is not okay on any level when you prepare for a show, so over the past few days, I had to make a decision and quickly. I knew what was happening, and I had to do some work internally. I could white knuckle it and be frozen in fear for 7 more weeks. OR, I could have faith and let go completely. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. It means shut off all doubt…completely. Because, I have two choices…

I am either going to live with Faith…Or…Fear…

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or FearBecause I lived in fear too many days of too many shows, I am not willing to live in or with those feelings anymore. I will do every single thing that I can do every day within my power to get into the shape I need to be in. I will adapt, adjust and ACCEPT that my current circumstances do not mirror any previous competition prep for me. That is just a fact that I am going to walk through NO MATTER WHAT.

There was a dream put in my heart many years ago….

I know that I am supposed to do this show, because God has put the dream in my heart and because of that knowing, I have faith I will make it. This journey is not about anything I have ever experienced before in my life. It’s not just about winning a big show; it’s about finding my faith, because I felt like my life was over. I sincerely mean that. For this is about a rebirth of my mind, my soul, my spirit and, yes, my body.

I accept that here and there, I will have a few moments of fear. But, I am committed to stretching my faith as much as possible so that I may find peace today and in the days going forward. I made a decision to trust God, myself, my coaches and my friends who believe in me. I also think about those of you that have commented or messaged me and shared your struggles and that makes me even more determined to see this through all the way to the end.

One way to readjust your mindset is to live in the moment…

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or FearI have found that when consumed by fear, it usually stems from remembering something from the past or thoughts of what the future could hold. One is over and the next is not here yet. And, I know focusing on the very things you do not want in your life seems to only bring more of that to you. For example, beating yourself up for over eating during the holidays or worrying about if you will lose weight in time for a show. Focusing on either right now really takes away the opportunity to do something different right here and now. If the best I can come up with is my game plan for making today better, then that is good enough for me.

A few simple tools I use each day to that positively affect my life…

Journey Back to Strength - Faith or FearHere are a just few things I do daily to ensure I cover all of my bases, which creates less stress overall. Sometimes you know you need to do something different but feel stuck. So, these are “new” ideas for you to consider, but they are just simple things that keep me on track.

1. Have a strategy. What exactly must I accomplish today to get the most out of it? I figure out what that is and make a list. Basic, but I need to refer to it often or my mind can get me sidetracked.

2. Food preparation. That is an essential part of everyday. So I make sure all of the things I need are available and in my house every day (i.e., proper food, enough water, clean dishes, stocked on all my supplements, etc.) Having everything I need keeps me out of any situation that can throw off my entire day.

3. What am I training today and at what time? I time everything, so that I am not late or rushed. Sometimes I work out with a partner or coach, but I also must plan for the things I know I need. Posing, hitting specific body parts in ways that really work for me and do them on my own, etc. Being very prepared with workouts is essential.

4. Stay on a specific schedule. If friends or training partners cannot make it or they have something come up, go anyway. Stay the course.

5. Bring an entire day’s worth of food any time I leave the house. I have been in the middle of a freeway that was closed for two hours 2 weeks before a show. Dead stop. I had my food with me, thank God…but this stuff happens.

6. Step on the scale 2 times a week. I won’t go on the scale more than 2 times a week. That whole scale situation leads to unnecessary stress, and I made the decision to not play that game.

7. Sleep! I have a very early bedtime, as sleep is as important as my training and food plan. I am neurotic about getting enough sleep. Without enough, everything is thrown off the next day.

8. I have a form of relaxation, meditation, reading or prayer every night. There is more than the physical body. If that is the sole focus in your life, may I suggest other forms of personal growth and development? Life can feel very empty, even with physical perfection, without daily mental/spiritual work and growth.

This is just my experience. And these blogs only reflect my ever-evolving life. If there is even one thing that resonates with you and inspires you to work to become a better version of yourself, then I am living my life with some purpose. That thought alone puts a smile on my face. And on that note, I will check in again with you next week.

Ava Cowan is an IFBB Figure Professional, a CPTS® and full time online coach and consultant for women of all fitness levels.

Become a part of "Team Ava": Customized Coaching and Consulting for all levels.

Have questions, comments or just want to give me a shout?


Discounts for new sign ups to Ava's Newsletter.