Ignore The Haters!

Originally published on RxGirl on Wednesday, 18 September 2013

http://www.rxmuscle.com/rx-girl-articles/9306-ignore-the-haters.html
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Many of you ladies are well acquainted with the rigors of contest prep and understand the level of intensity and commitment required. Some of you are fortunate enough to have a great support network in which partners, family, coworkers and friends are in your cheering section and encourage all of your efforts. Unfortunately, however, some competitors may have to deal with people who discourage them or in some fashion try to interfere with their prep. I have heard husbands complain that their wives spend too much time in the gym or cannot eat restaurant meals with them. A few of my clients have lamented that family members or friends actually got angry with them for training so hard or for being so driven. The less the hater knows about the world of bodybuilding, the harsher the criticism becomes, usually as a result of ignorance and the perpetuation of erroneous stereotypes about bodybuilding.
I once had a client who almost talked herself out of competing as a reaction to her ultra-conservative mother’s opinion of bodybuilding contests. Her mother was horrified by the idea that women actually got onstage in bikinis and was deeply resistant to the idea of her daughter doing such a thing. It did not matter that her daughter was in her 30’s with children of her own. What was so sad was that everyone else in my client’s life was supportive and encouraging. For once this woman was paying attention to herself instead of doling out her energy to her spouse, children and parents, and it met with resistance.

Another frequent complaint, and one which I have heard personally, is one in which the loved one bitches about how stupid it seems to chase after a national qualification, IFBB Pro Card or Olympia qualification. Those who do not compete cannot fully appreciate the reasons competitors have to reach for that carrot. The drive is deep and in most cases incredibly personal. There is no question that competing can be extremely expensive, and it can be very frustrating to deal with less than stellar placings which push us to do more contests in order to reach our goals. It is also true that the allure of a Pro Card can fool some competitors into thinking that attaining Pro status will deliver much more than acceptance into the prestigious IFBB ranks (such as supplement company contracts, magazine covers, etc.). However, if you are realistic and are pursuing the next level of achievement for your own personal reasons, then declare that when someone tries to criticize you. My advice is to dig your heels in and fight for your right to do something that is inspiring and empowering.
Negativity
You may have people in your life who believe that you are getting too ripped and muscular. Invariably the people who make such remarks are not weightlifters, so they do not understand the mentality of those who lift and thus are not comfortable with the idea of building and sculpting muscle. If you are in a bulking phase, your appearance can be especially jarring for those who do not appreciate muscle, and the negative comments are likely to increase in frequency. It’s no surprise that those of us who compete tend to hang out with other lifters in an effort to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who can relate to what we go through and who won’t fling negative comments about our muscularity or vascularity our way.

Perhaps you only deal with minimal criticism but still have trouble processing it. I know that the majority of you who compete have been in situations where family, friends or coworkers have tried to convince you to abandon your strict meal plan, telling you that “just this once” won’t hurt you. They may even resort to accusing you of being a stick in the mud for not caving into peer pressure. It is at times like these that you need to remind yourself of your goals and that adherence to your meal plan is an insurance plan to being on point when contest day arrives. You know that every time you fall off the wagon, so to speak, you jeopardize everything you have spent the past few weeks or months to build. Why do yourself such a disservice only to appease others? Do not bother yourself with what they think, because it is not worth it.
haters
Consider the reasons why you compete and what kind of satisfaction you get from competing. Are you really going to let the people in your life drag you down and criticize you for doing something that you enjoy? Remember that your journey is not only about physical transformation, it is also spiritual. You are all grown women with minds of your own, so STAND YOUR GROUND!

Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

Originally published on mensphysique.com on Monday, 02 December 2013

http://www.rxmuscle.com/blogs/the-business-fitness-modeling-and-showbiz/9773-social-media-a-double-edged-sword.html
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If you are serious about competing and want to build a career in the fitness industry then you have probably been exploring the various social media platforms and trying to build your name and brand. Of course, you want to push for the most followers you can get, as well as build a fan base which boosts your credibility in the eyes of supplement companies. As your numbers grow, your name will become more well-known and you can claim – without bluffing – that you have inspired thousands of people.

However, with more followers come more problems, most commonly the jerks and the haters. I heard an interesting comment from one of my friends today, which was: “The more successful you are, the more haters you have.” I have to admit that whenever I have to deal with a hater, I am rattled by such energy and will never understand how people can go out of their way to spread negativity. I guess you can’t please everyone, and of course there are going to be those who are jealous of your physique and your success. This is when the blocking feature on numerous social platforms can and should be employed. Don’t bother trying to appease such spiritual leeches. They are not worth the trouble.

Some fans and followers (thank goodness, it is the exception and not the rule) develop a distorted perspective in which they believe that they are connected or bonded to the fitness personalities they are interested in. This quickly turns into an obsession, with the fan holding onto a sense of entitlement which can be dangerous. If such a fan feels disregarded, a cascade of psychotic behavior can ensue.

Another dangerous and disturbing situation found in social media circles is the impostor syndrome. There are individuals out there who may claim to be you, and will use your likeness, your name and your titles to build fake profiles. I am sure you have worked your ass off to get to where you are now, so it is time to do due diligence and make sure that no one is taking your good name and wearing it. The small bit of flattery which may be at play is completely eclipsed by the creepiness and the invasion of pretending to be someone else.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people are level-headed and rational. However, as your numbers grow, you must be aware of the issues which may arise and take measures to protect your name and reputation in the industry.

Success As Measured By Social Media

Kim Kardashian nude selfie

While I am grateful for the boost in exposure and the public following I have built as a result of social media, I believe that for many people, social media channels are arbitrary and false measures of success. I will never believe that someone who builds a huge following on Instagram with a gallery of scantily clad selfies has anything to offer the world except spank-bank material. I also want no part of popularity contests which simply look at the number of followers in determining the value of an athlete, and I am bothered by the idea that my knowledge carries less power than the number of bikini images I have shot over the years. I see that several fitness personalities have built their names almost exclusively on sexy selfies, and truly wonder where they will be after people get tired of just seeing hot pics and no intellectual substance to fall back upon. I honestly think that unless they begin working on their intellectual legacy, no one will remember or care about them in ten years.

Another thing which social media platforms do is that they provide a lottery chance for just about anyone to get his or her 15 minutes of fame. It can be hard to predict what might pass the tipping point and go viral, but when it does, an overnight sensation is often created. The usual prerequisite of talent has been washed away by a jaded, overstimulated society which simply wants to see something different, weird, trashy or disturbing. At the risk of completely offending a certain prominent family, I will boldly state that I think it is entirely unfair that the Kardashian family has basked in the fruits of notoriety and increased wealth simply because they were willing to showcase their affluent, dysfunctional, entitled family dynamics for the world to see. As a strange bonus, the world has been subjected to a full-figured, sexually liberated, narcissistic big sister who derives great joy from slathering her ovoid form with Crisco and posting selfies that scream “It’s all about me”, and certainly not in a way which inspires others. What is so mind-blowing is that this family is globally famous, despite the fact that they fall into the “talentless hack” category.

Even as I write this post, I hope to get a lot of views and likes, and wouldn’t mind if it went viral. However, because this post reveals coherent thoughts rather than what kind of underwear I have on right now, I know that it has less of a chance of sparking interest and reactions in a society which is still very visual and dumbed down by the sexual overtones which drive advertising.

Keeping Up With Social Media Posts

SelfieSocial media avenues give people the opportunity to network, build business, increase exposure and connect with others all over the world. They are excellent tools for people who are trying to become the next big thing. But I have to file a grievance…if I had all the time in a day to post selfies and inspirational posts, I would, but because I have a career outside of fitness, I simply do not have that luxury. Numerous people have told me that I need to be more aggressive about posting pertinent items on social media channels, but they don’t realize that I am overwhelmed by what I have on my plate. I manage all three websites I have established, as well as my blog site, Twitter, Instagram, and three Facebook pages. Add to that my work schedule, photo shoots, video shoots, writing projects, training clients, food prep, etc., and I have little time to take alluring pics of myself all day. When I do take selfies at the gym or at work, people think I am being vain. So I am hit from both sides. Either I am not being aggressive enough, or I am self-absorbed. Pretty frustrating.

I also have to admit that I have a crappy camera on my phone which refuses to deliver consistently great images. I get so tired of having the wrong angle, poor lighting, or having a reach that is insufficient. Apparently, the teens and 20-somethings seem to have figured out all the best camera phone angles, and spend considerable pockets of time cropping, adding films and effects, text, borders, etc. to make their posts incredibly eye-catching. I have to admit that I am a bit envious of such skill. What cracks me up is that I have recently seen articles in major women’s fashion magazines on how to take a good selfie, indicating how much this phenomenon has become a common means of connecting with the world.

It’s pretty funny how some haters actually give ME a hard time about taking ANY time to snap selfies, often scolding me and telling me to “get back to work” or “be productive”. I guess if you’re over a certain age or if you are a career professional you aren’t allowed to avail yourself of social media avenues and post selfies? I may not be the best at it, nor do I have a ton of time to perfect the images I post, but I will do what I can to stay current and connect with the world while also honoring my responsibilities outside of cyberworld.