Me vs. Me

Letting go of comparisons and redefining “success”

Both physically and emotionally, this past week has been difficult. I have felt weak, sad and discouraged. While I continue to progress and get closer and closer to my stage-ready physique, I am not in the right frame of mind. My energy is down, and my motivation is falling. The stress of this process is beginning to kick in.

Every other Saturday, my team, Team iPhysique, holds posing practice and conditioning. Going into practice this weekend, I was feeling pretty good about my muscle tone, definition and the leanness of my overall frame. Yet, once stripped down into my bikini surrounded by my teammates, both veterans and newbies of the fitness competition world, I could feel myself shrink away. My confidence slowly dissipated as I saw my teammates walk and pose perfectly.

Me vs. Me - Letting go of comparisons and redefining “success”


Maybe I am not working hard enough? Maybe those nutrition decisions that I thought were ok actually were doing more harm than good? Why don’t I look as good as she does? Can I really do this? These were the thoughts that filled my head as I left practice on Saturday. Discouraged and disheartened, I trucked through the weekend, going through the movements of monotonous cardio and mediocre meals. This is not a healthy way to finish my journey. I knew that I needed to adjust my state of mind, or I was going to crumble during the remainder of my journey.

A Subjective Sport

Figure competitions are a subjective competition where the “best” physique in one competition may not be the “best” in another. It is simply based on what different judges believe is the “best” at that show. This is something that I need to remind myself of over and over again. Unlike a math problem, there is no one right answer. Each individual’s body changes and responds differently. In order to succeed in this sport, we must recognize that the journey needs to be focused on our individual goals and accomplishments rather than how we do compared to others.

Me vs. Me - Letting go of comparisons and redefining “success”

Help Me Win Without Winning

This is not an easy mentality to maintain, especially for myself. I am an extremely competitive individual. I strive to be the best and to win no matter the situation—whether it’s lifting weights or setting the table. I turn each task into mini competitions and strive to win each one. Because of this, trying to focus on how I will do individually rather than verse other competitors is quite a struggle. I know that if I walk off that stage on May 3rd without a trophy, I will be disappointed. I know that just completing a competition is an accomplishment on its own. However, going through the countless two-a-days and the structured meal plan and not being awarded for it would break my heart.

This is where I need your help. If you have competed before, whether in a figure competition or any other type of individual competition, how do you deal with not coming on top? What tips do you have? I am calling on you to help keep me emotionally afloat if I do not meet my high expectations.

Stage Makeup

On a lighter note, after team practice on Saturday, I headed to one of my teammate’s apartments so she could do a makeup test run. It was quite hilarious. Not because the make was done terribly or that I felt silly, but because this was stage makeup was intense and super dramatic. While the look was crazy, honestly, I loved it. Getting all the makeup painted on and seeing the dramatic change in mere minutes was so exciting, not to mention entertaining.

As the big day approaches, I’m dealing with many different emotions. Over the last week, I have felt exhausted, depleted, discouraged, strong, weak, positive, negative, and so much more. This up and down of emotion has both helped and hindered my progression along this fitness path. I continue this week working to improve myself emotionally while maintaining a strong and powerful physique. Each day brings different challenges, and working through those, whether on my own or with the help of my support system, is vital. I refuse to let anything break me. I shall prevail, move forward and win. As always, I love to hear from you, please contact me on twitter at @RachaelBruin or leave a comment on the blog below. Thank you for all of your support and interactions, it helps to push me through the last couple of challenging weeks.

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