Prep Friends... the value of the Soul Sista
a term used to describe another female athlete who holds no judgement, supports unconditionally, and gives you that kick in the ass when you need it.
A letter to first time competitors...
During my first prep I met an amazing woman named Val Eckard... Dr. Val Eckard actually. This radiologist, world traveler, fitness junkie ended up being one of my closest friends, but at the time, she was just another girl on my competition team.
We've already talked a little about why prep can be hard from the "outside" (aka haters and non-understand-ers) but let's get a little more deep on why it can be hard from the INSIDE. Like, your inner voices that are a real biatch. You know, that one that says "eh, you can skip that last set..." or "dude. you're fat." or my personal favorite "WHY THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING THIS?!"
We all have different voices that say different things, but the result is usually the same. DOUBT. Doubt that we will be lean enough, that we'll place how we want, that we have what it takes... it's all doubt.
Having someone to give you a voice on the OUTSIDE to help tell the INSIDE voices to STFU is so insanely valuable.
For me... that person was (is) Val.
After clicking pretty much immediately... you know, one of those people you meet and within 3 minutes are like "uh, can we be besties?!"... we dubbed our friendship through the term "Soul Sistas." A little more ghetto than the typical "Soul Sisters" because well, we think we're hard core. *** insert ridiculous laughter here ***
Anyways, Val had competed several times before and instantly became the person always at the top of my text message history. I turned to her for pretty much everything... Do I wax my lady parts before a show? Why is pooping such a thing during prep? I'm fat. I'm fat. I'm fat. Ya, that was the most common. Was I fat? God, no. I know I'm not... and that if I were to say those two little words to anyone normal they'd immediately want to shank me. I'm blessed with a rocket speed metabolism (thank god, since I eat like a horse... who's favorite food is spaghetti) and "fat" for me was anything other than looking like the girls on the IFBB Pro stage. Sometimes you just need to say totally ridiculous things to get them out. Then you can have that Soul Sista who can agree that her inner voices are saying the same sh*t, but in the same breath give you a stern reminder that it's just that. Sh*t.
Six competitions later, with different coaches/teams, in different states... my one constant has been Val. Whether she's doing the show with me or not, she's always the one I reach out to when my inner voices start their typical rants. Her ability to talk me off the cliff keeps me on track and getting BETTER with each prep I take on. For some, your coach might fill this role (I've had an AMAZING coach more recently who was insanely supportive) but I still needed Val. I needed that person who really knew me... knew when I was freaking out and needed positive support, and knew when I was just being an idiot and needed a quick slap to come back to reality.
So, here's my advice. Find your Soul Sista.
Find your Val. Find your person who will keep reminding you of the Beautiful Badass that you are. Prep may be an individual sport, but you absolutely do not have to go it alone.