Journey to the Stage 4

Build your inner support system

Within this journey, few things are more vital than an incredible support system. And while it may seem that support is easy to come by when embarking on a journey of health and fitness, this challenge that I have decided to embrace comes as quite controversial to some. Deciding to compete in a Figure competition is not something that people do every day, and to many the idea is a little peculiar. The term “Figure competition” connotes the image of big, muscled, extremely tanned women in very, very small suits. And that will be the image that pops into most people’s heads when you tell them what you are about to do. Not everyone that you meet is going to support your new goal, and that may be the hardest part of the journey. Understanding this is the first step in combating negative criticism.

My support system is building. I have an incredible boyfriend who has been supporting me throughout this entire process. We work out together, cook together, and he lifts my spirits when I feel like I am not going to be able to walk on that stage in 13 weeks. My roommate, and best friend here in Portland, makes sure that I don’t take myself too seriously. She helps to keep things in perspective, reminding me that there are more things in life than the gym. I have incredible parents. They have always been there to support me either with school, sports or personal endeavors. Without others around us, we would get caught up in our world rather than be present in this world.

The most important member of my support team is myself. While surrounding myself with people that love and care for me makes a world of difference, I know that I must be able to be confident enough in myself to push through the hard times alone. Knowing this, I am trying to build up my inner support system. I have come up with some tips that I hope will help myself and others grow within:

1. Develop a mantra and wake up every morning and repeat that mantra.
2. When faced with a challenge whether in the gym or out, stop, breathe and then proceed.
3. Write it down; the physical action makes the mental note even stronger.
4. If you feel as if you don’t belong, as if you don’t stand up around other strong women, don’t be discouraged. No one is perfect, no matter how they look on the outside.
5. Stop aiming for perfection. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
6. Find a balance.
7. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
8. Life is meant to be lived; don’t be bogged down by the small things, so stand strong.

Thirteen weeks until I walk upon the stage. I have two weeks of my nutritional plan under my belt, I have started to work out twice a day with AM cardio and PM weights, and my support system is getting stronger and stronger. I still struggle with finding the balance between training, school, and everyday life, but I am slowly bringing it all together, one day at a time.

Rachael Olkin

Rachael graduated from UCLA in December 2010 with a degree in International Development Studies. She is currently working towards admission to nursing school, where she hopes to obtain both a Bachelors of Science in Nursing as well as a Masters of Science in Nursing.

Rachael is also preparing for her first Figure competition and will share her journey along the way, including her goals, aspirations and struggles.

Find more of Rachael on:

Muscular Development

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