Why I Compete?
These days there are just too many people that are quick to tell all the reasons you should not compete. People will try to tell you that competing causes eating disorders, body dysmorphia, or that it is unhealthy. First off, while I won’t say getting to ridiculously low levels of body fat is healthy, it is not going to be dangerous as long as you are responsible with your methods. Secondly, competing doesn’t usually cause eating disorders or body dysmorphia, it just exposes issues that were already there in the first place that were likely manifesting as something else. Most eating disorders and body image issues are stemming from some other unresolved problem.
What I don’t hear about enough is why you SHOULD compete! I don’t hear enough people talk about how competing can make you a stronger person. I don’t hear people talk about how the discipline learned from competing can make you a better person. Contest prep not only forces you to continue to improve physically, but also mentally. Each time I compete I find I come out mentally tougher than when I went in. Once you have pushed yourself to the mental and physical limit, other hardships in life don’t seem quite so difficult. You know you can get through anything after you have truly taken yourself as far as you can go.
There is also something to be said for waking up each and every day with a purpose. Far too many people float through life without any sort of challenge or purpose. There is a huge difference between waking up each day and just going through the motions and waking up each day with a goal.
If you allow it, and if done correctly, competing can make your life better and richer. Obviously, if you don’t love competing, you should not do it. However, I think a lot more people would benefit from the challenge, purpose, and discipline that competing brings.