As I called my parents to gush with the excitement I felt after my first competition, the bubble full of enthusiasm and excitement quickly burst. “That’s a little extreme Courtney.” “I just don’t like the fact that you’re on-stage scantily-clad and it’s very narcissistic.” As I sat in silence listening to the discouraging feelings towards something I was so proud of and had worked so hard to achieve- the realization hit me. This stigma is not simply my parents view, it is a view held by many who do not understand the “bodybuilding” world or the fitness industry in its entirety.
So, why did I make the decision to compete?
Training is my sport. I stole this mantra from an IDEA conference I attended a few years back. One of the workshops I chose to attend was put on by Todd Durkin (My inspiration) and Peter Twist. The big theme was to treat training as though it is your sport, to train as aggressively as you would if you were part of a team or a competition. It’s a competition between you and yourself. You train to get better. You train to achieve a goal. You train to be the very best YOU. Competing in an NPC Bikini Competition helps me align my training with my goal- to be the very best bikini competitor that I can be.
I want to inspire and be a role model. Should everyone look like a bikini competitor year round? Absolutely not. Should they feel healthy and full of energy each day and appreciate their bodies. Definitely. As a fitness professional, it is my objective to showcase a healthy “extreme”. There is so much more that comes with a higher level of fitness than simply the physical changes. The mental changes are what drives me and what I hope to draw out of others. It’s a state of mind that allows for greater acheivement throughout all areas of your day and life. When I teach a class or train a client, the feeling of satisfaction cannot be described. If I can push one person 1% harder than they would have pushed without my motivation, I have done my job. Individuals look to those who do their best and who stand out from the rest. I want to be that person.
I have a commitment to the fitness industry as a fitness professional. Competing in an NPC Competition or any competition for that matter, is a big part of what drives the fitness industry. In every field, there are the top competitors in the industry. What do they do to get there? They challenge other companies, they push the industry to higher limits and standards, they are innovators. NPC shows are no different. If you don’t believe me, attend a show. The amount of talent and variety of individuals who have committed their lives to fitness and sharing the gift of health with others is awe-inspiring.
I had to find a way to satisfy the competitive itch that kept nagging at me from deep within. The scratch that I received from competing in my first show cannot be described. I hope that by sharing this, readers who may view the “Bodybuiliding” world as my parents do can re-evaluate the negative labels they place upon those who have dedicated their lives to a way of living that promotes health, energy and motivation. I have to give a big thanks those competitors who push me to new limits and inspire me as well as to the NPC as a whole for providing an excellent forum for fitness professionals to showcase their dedication and commitment.