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Weight loss diet weight loss tips weight loss transformation weight loss recipes weight loss smoothies weight loss before and after weight loss motivation fast weight loss abs flatstomach fitnessgirls fitness health keto When I decided to undergo my first competition prep, I literally had no clue what I was getting into. Scared is an understatement of how I felt. People kept trying to tell me what to expect, but honestly, there was no way to anticipate what I’d experience until I actually went through it. Now that I can look back at the process, I am so thankful for every second. In six months, I was able to go from being ashamed of my appearance, to being 40lbs. lighter and PROUD of how I looked. The process was much harder than I could’ve ever imagined, but it showe d me just how much I was capable of achieving, mentally and physically, and taught me way more than I expected. Throughout my “prep” process, I picked up a few mental nuggets of knowledge that I’ll leave here for anyone currently prepping to compete or considering competing: Don’t go at it alone. Make sure you have a sturdy support system backing you up because at some point, this sh*t will get real, and you WILL want to quit. These times are when you’ll need someone to pick you up and remind you of all the reasons you started this journey ( < and yes, it is quite literally a journey). You will also need these people to kick you in the pants when you feel like being lazy. Know that these people only want the best for you, so make sure you show them some love, even when you want to set everything in your world on fire. Maybe it's a trainer, spouse, parent, or random Twitter/Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram friend you've never met but somehow just click with. Find that support system and never take them for granted. The struggle is real, but it's oh-‐so worth it. Competition prep from a distance is a little misleading. At first it seems like it's people becoming beautiful Glamazons posting lots of motivational memes who never have an off day and can make any meal magazine-worthy. Make no mistake about it though, competition prep is honest, gritty, hard work. You will spend more time training than you ever imagined. Your wardrobe will eventually become nothing but sweat shirts and leggings. Makeup will become a thing of mystery. And showering will become the most tedious chore where you seriously debate on its necessity because you know you'll just be working out 8 hours later. All-in-all, competition prep is a struggle. But know that it is a struggle for everyone, no matter how seasoned they may be. The reason to push through all the pain is the reward. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you made it through YOUR struggle and gave it YOUR all. Trust the process. After about week 3 in competition training, your mind will start to wonder if any of the hard work you are putting in is really paying off or not. You may have seen the scale move some or noticed a change here or there, but it isn't the Earth-shattering changes you are striving for or see on all the body-transformation pages and blogs. It's at this point when you just have to trust the process you are going by. Know that with each small change, it is working, and even though it may be slow progress, it will all add up in the end. Don't lose faith and just maintain consistency. Be happy. Competition prep is like anything else in life. If it truly does not make you happy, then it may not be the thing for you. Now I don't mean, if you don't like cardio or dieting then you shouldn't do it. I have yet to meet a soul who lived for endless hours on the treadmill and choking down fish. But if you truly, deep down, feel unhappy throughout the process, then don't keep doing it. This lifestyle should be something that ultimately you enjoy so if you aren't enjoying the ride, get off the roller coaster. There is no shame in saying it isn't for you. Many people live the “fit” lifestyle without ever competing and are very satisfied with their life. Remember to always do you. These things are just a smidge of what I learned during my first competition prep but hopefully they may help anyone who is looking to compete or is in the middle of that process. I would hands-down do it all over again to gain the confidence and excitement for life I now have today.