Sep 09

Sometimes you just have to tap out

P1010194Most people entering their first local bodybuilding contest OR first National-level competition have absolutely NO idea what they’re getting into. I’m not talking about getting onstage where you THINK you belong. You know – everyone telling you how good you look, that you should go for it, and that you’re gonna crush it BeastMode style. Social media blowin’ up your wall feeding your ego. And in your mind, you know you’re ready. You’ve got the tight abs and invested in the blinged out suit. Shiny nails and awesome hairstyles – done and done. Tanned, fit body looking awesome in your new multi-colored board shorts that you think the audience will cheer wildly for, and all your friends are envious of. Yup. You’re ready. Or are you?

In my previous blog I shared Amanda Eva Cumberbatch’s post and added my own running commentary on reasons you’re NOT ready for a National-level competition. This blog will expand on that – what you should do AFTER your show if you didn’t fare well.

I liken our sport to picking a fight with a martial arts expert, or in our case, a bunch of experts, except you don’t know that the person to your right or left is an expert,. Or better yet, Mike Tyson in his prime, along with Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, and Ronda Rousey all lined up next to you waiting to get in their ‘jabs’. You run up against them not quite knowing what they possess but thinking you can hang as you’re all that and a can of Pork-n-Beans. What happens? You get your butt kicked in the quickest way possible. You THOUGHT you looked good. You THOUGHT you knew what to do. You THOUGHT you could hang with these guys and gals. You THOUGHT it would be easy. It wasn’t. You were wrong.

So how do you deal with this, as my dad used to say, ‘Royal Ass Whoopin’? It’s hard to swallow that pill, that’s for sure. But as Joe Rogan, of MMA fame said,

Joe Rogan-MMA“The game plan is to ‘tap’ someone out. But sometimes YOU get tapped out. When that happens, go back to the basics, you take some beginning classes, learn some technique, and [you make it] FUN! You know what, man, y’gotta be able to be tapped out, and when you get to that point of having to tap, just tap out! When you tap out, just go right back in the gym, figure out what you did wrong, and learn from it…”

Look, you don’t have to jump in there with killers (national level competitors or seasoned local competitors) so soon. You don’t have to enter a contest after 3 months of training or because you joined a team or because someone in your gym told you that you should. You don’t enter your first show because your team coach is going for the Team Award. You don’t have to go to a national show just because you won a local or regional show and everyone around you says, “You’re ready for the next level.” Sometimes you’re simply not ready.

If you’re coming up on your first show, whether it be local or national, make sure you’re ready, both physically AND mentally! Mental preparation is paramount, as that’ll help you deal with the loss. And trust me, there WILL be losses. Very few first-time competitors walk onstage and win their class. Even rarer is to win an Overall first time out. It’s been done, but that’s definitely not the norm. So train to win, but be ready for defeat.

Mike Tyson - Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the faceWhen you lose, be sure to ‘tap out’ with class. What does that mean? It means you acknowledge that your competition is better – that day. You got caught in an arm bar or took one to the temple. Embrace it. Take it all in stride. It’s not the end of the world. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, get back in the gym, and figure out what you need to do to improve. Perhaps you need to build more muscle. Maybe it’s improve your balance and symmetry. How about dialing in your nutrition better. Whatever you need to do, do it. But here’s what you DON’T do…

You DON’T bash your fellow competitors. They did what they needed to do to be at this point. Why are you raining on their parade? Talking about your competition is the loser’s mentality. It’s the mindset of a weak-minded, insecure, egotistical competitor who justifies this behavior to feel better about themselves. Don’t do that.

You DON’T bash the judges. While I can’t categorically say that there’s NO politics at the National level shows, in my region (the Pacific Northwest), I know politics aren’t an issue. The judges job is to judge ALL types of physiques onstage at any given point in time. Those physiques can vary immensely. Remember, this is a subjective sport, and what one judge likes, another may not. The best thing you can do is talk to the judges after the show to see how to improve or why they placed you so low. But PLEASE remember, if you’re in the ‘dreaded 16th place’ category, they probably didn’t even notice you, and will more likely than not give you a canned, standard answer which works for about 95% of competitors who place in the bottom of the pack – “Come in harder, better conditioning, add a bit more size, improve on your shape and balance.” I mean, honestly, what else is there to say…better makeup would help you? Another thing to do is get your scoresheet BEFORE you start running off at the mouth. See where the judges placed you. If you’re consistently 8th, 9th, and 10th, then why are you complaining?

You DON’T bash the promoters. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. Promoters have absolutely NOTHING to do with who wins or loses, contrary to popular belief. In fact, many competitors don’t know that promoters DON’T pick the judges…the regional chairperson does that. So leave the promoters alone and allow them to do what they do best – promote so that you can have a great experience.

You DON’T bash your training partner. While your training partner is helpful in facilitating your stepping onstage, he or she is NOT responsible for you reaching the stage – you are! I’ve done many a show where my training partner abandoned me for whatever reason 2, 3, and 4 weeks out from a show. SO. FREAKIN’. WHAT? This is MY show, and if I made the commitment to do it, then I need to get my butt in gear and get it done, training partner or no training partner. Man (or woman) up and handle y’business.

DSC_7766-Version-2And you DEFINITELY DON’T bash your coach. Are there bad coaches out there? Definitely. But it’s YOUR responsibility to find a good one. I’ve blogged several times on this. Once you’ve got that good coach in your corner, remember that he or she truly does have your best interests at heart. I know I do. I want my people to look their best. I want every one of them to win. I want them to experience success. But sometimes that just isn’t possible. I have no control over who else shows up. And I’m human. Sometimes your coach will make a mistake in your nutrition, as that’s typically where coaches fall short. It happens. The both of you learn from it, make the necessary corrections, and press on.

Tapping out with class is the only way to go. Be professional in your loss. It’s just one show. Come back better the next. One of my favorite sayings is, “Find out what is necessary, and do the necessary WELL!” Peace…



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