Build a Support System

There is no substitute for family and good friends to support and encourage you in reaching your goals.

January 9, 2013
Build a Support System

I love the fresh start of a new year. There’s so much positivity and hope in the air. What great timing for the start of the new contest season!

Speaking of a new season, I'm super excited to be getting ready to start prep for my first full year competing as an IFBB Pro! There's a lot that goes into planning my contest season but I must first make sure I have all the tools that I need to ensure it turns out to be everything I hope and dream, and not just an added bundle of stress. I've learned that as a busy mom of three children ages 11 to 17, I have to be really organized and well prepared.

When I refer to having the "tools" I need to be successful, I’m not talking about protein supplements, or food scales, or plastic food containers, or even a gym. Of course those and many other things like that help, but I'm talking about the one key thing that I absolutely could not manage without, and that is my support system. That consists of my husband, my kids, close family, friends, and of course my coach. At the start of every season the first thing I do is make sure that I have their support.

As the saying goes, "The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother you are no longer the center of your own universe". This is so true and it can become quite an internal battle for us moms participating in a sport that is, at times, selfish and very consuming. However, it is possible to master this juggling act with good support, organization and some very careful planning. So step one for me in preparing for the new season is to take a look at the schedule and speak with my coach to map out a plan that we believe would be the best route to achieving my goals. Then, I sit down and go over our ideas with my husband and make sure that it all fits in with his work load, our family commitments, the kids' schedules etc. (With pre teen and teenage kids there's an awful lot going on, and it changes often!) As soon as I have my husband on board, and we have a mutual understanding of what we need from each other, I can plot my calendar and get started. This is the foundation, and once its set I can get to work and breathe easier knowing I’m not alone. I really believe that with a good support system there is nothing I can’t get through and nothing I cant achieve.

Over the years I’ve learned how important it is to surround myself with like minded people, positive people who believe in me, encourage and inspire me, not drain me and belittle my ambitions. Of course, every once in a while I still have to remind my mother and grandmother what a figure competition even is! But it's encouraging to know that even though this whole sport is foreign to them, they love and support me just the same.

So if you’re new to competing, especially if you're a mom, my advice to you would be to make sure you have your family's support and focus on being organized and prepared. You also need to be flexible and armed with back up plans for any unexpected situations. Set that foundation and then get to work! You'll be surprised at how much more you can accomplish when you know the kids and family are behind you 100% and that you can still be there for them too.

Till next time,
Keep Grinding!

Patty Zariello
IFBB Figure Pro