What made you want to compete for the first time?
My first competition was spring of 2015. I am a Physical Therapist and previous athlete so I have always tried living a healthy lifestyle. My best friend and I had been working out at the gym trying different programs for a while and wanted a challenge. We knew other athletes/competitors and researched the sport. After researching prep coaches we decided we had to join Autumn’s team. Little did we know this was the beginning of a new exciting/scary/challenging journey in our lives.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Although the whole prep process is by far a challenge, I found the biggest challenge was post show. No matter how many people warn you, you will never be prepared for the physical and mental battles following a show. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle following a show while also treating yourself was a challenge. Holding yourself accountable for the long term goals vs. short term satisfaction becomes the main focus.
What did you wish that you knew before you had started this journey?
“Trust the process”. This took time to learn. This is one phrase I had to repeat to myself consistently. When you find a coach educated in the process and puts your health as a priority the end result will be surprising. We all look for instant gratification and want to see results on a daily basis, but it is a long steady process. Part of this long steady process is also off season training. I do not think I initially realized how important this would be going into the sport.
What have you learned from your experience with competing?
“Find joy in the journey”. This is something my friend and I have stuck to since our first competition. No matter how stressful the prep, no matter what place you took on stage, or how long it is taking to reach your goal find pleasure in the process. It is not always about the end result. It is about what you learn and the person you become through/despite it all.
What advice would give to someone who is considering competing?
110%. Think back on a time you gave your absolute 100%... then add a little more. This is what it takes to be committed to this process. At times it will seem damn near impossible to get out of bed to do your cardio, to add more weight during your next set, to spend an hour at posing class in 5 inch heels when you can hardly hold your eyes open, to eat another meal that includes asparagus …then you do it. You push yourself to new limits and challenges and when you succeed THAT is the most empowering feeling you will ever have. This process will change you whether you wanted it to or not. It’s up to you to take it and make it a positive change.
Tell about your support system!
Sports such as this one test relationships no matter how strong. I was blessed with an amazing supportive husband that cheered me on and kicked by butt when I needed it. He was there to play “eye of the tiger” when I got out of bed for my first workout of the day at 4am, shove Tupperware containers of food in his pocket to get into events, and deal with Hangry Erin. I was also lucky enough to start this journey with my best friend. She competed with me the first 2 years. We grew even closer sharing this amazing experience and created a bond unlike any other friendship I have ever had. I have met other amazing athletes in this process and I am amazed at the support and encouragement from each and every one of them. I have also had amazing support from family and friends even if they do not understand the process or do not share the same goals.
What is your next goal?
I always want to strive towards new goals, but I also have to set a goal to step back and appreciate what is and how far I have come. I will continue to strive towards becoming a healthier me physically and mentally. I am educating myself in other areas of exercise such as yoga for overall improved health and stress relief. I also enjoy gaining more knowledge on the nutritional aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. As far as competing, I never want to force that goal because I want it to remain a hobby I enjoy throughout the whole process. I do not have a specific date or competition I am currently set on.
Continue to follow Erin’s fitness journey on Instagram @erinfoster1305