Once you’ve caged the beast and feel like you have more control, you can begin moving towards mastery.
You may discover ways to put the beast to work for you so you can leverage the power of this dark side of yourself. Imagine a successful NFL football star: it’s probably easy to picture how an athlete at this level might leverage a past full of pain and anger into the force needed to break through the opposing team’s lineup. How then, can YOU put your unique beast to work for you?
I learned to leverage the beast within in a most surprising way.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, I quickly decided that I was not going to waste this time in quarantine. I had a sense that the quarantine would last a lot longer than the short time that everyone was hoping for. To keep myself from sliding down into a funk like most of the world, I contacted my marathon coach and nutritionist, Dr. Rick Kattouf, and set a big goal of getting prepped to enter a bodybuilding competition. At the time, I knew nothing of the bodybuilding industry; I called it a “bikini competition.” I embarked upon an incredible journey from amateur bodybuilder to IFBB Fitness Pro. It was much more than I expected, and my beast got out of the cage a few times. For the most part, I was able to keep the beast on a leash and then use the beast as a superpower rather than a destructive force.
Working with Dr. Kattouf was the first time I tracked food and macros. It took me a few weeks to remember to do it consistently. It took me a few months to get honest about what I was tracking. My past struggles with the beast included battling eating disorders that took different forms over time. Although I felt like I had the beast in a cage and my eating disorders under control after years of therapy, sobriety, and self-development, tracking macros presented a new challenge for me. When I made a conscious or emotionally unconscious decision to eat more than my prescribed macros, I would simply not track it. That’s the equivalent of lying about what I was doing, even to a coach I was paying to guide me. The same covert maneuvers the beast used around food in the past began to trickle their way into my behavior as I moved into the intensity of training and prepping for my first show. I made a switch over to being coached by Lauren Bair at Bair Aesthetics.
As part of a Team I care about, I ultimately felt a desire to be “perfect” when it came to my eating. I continued to hide my occasional binges of peanut butter or cookies, my two biggest weaknesses. Although I went through several dark moments when the beast took back over and I made some destructive mistakes, I ultimately succeeded in making the beast my bitch. I finally opened up to Lauren and my other coaches when I could see that the beast was becoming a problem. I needed some help getting the beast back in the cage in this new environment of bodybuilding. It took work, and I needed the support I received. Now, I use the ability I have to control and restrict my intake when prepping for competition season. What was once a weapon I used against myself became a tool I now use to improve myself. I can be reasonable around food during training periods and off-season. During prep, which involves restricting calories and operating in a caloric deficit to prepare for the stage on show day, I can carefully control what I do and do not choose to eat.
Don’t be mistaken that it is a simple and easy process.
Keeping the beast at bay and using its power to my benefit. The darkness of the beast intensifies when I am hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, same as always. I’ve mastered the awareness of when the beast is acting up. I have developed better skills at managing myself because competition prep includes the hungry and tired parts at some point in the process.
How will you leverage the power of the beast within? Remember that the beast doesn’t lose its power or potential even when it is safely locked in the cage. It may go quiet while coming up with creative new ways to derail you. What’s most important is an awareness that it could resurface in a surprising new iteration. Don’t beat yourself up. Shake it off and then remind that beast who’s boss. You’ll find that once you’ve caged the beast once, you can do it again. You already know what to do. If you find yourself feeling helpless, just open up and ask for help. Remember that’s what your coaches, family, and friends are there for: they want to help and some of them have probably seen this dark side of you show up before. Talking openly and being vulnerable about the struggle might help you unravel it.
Know that you CAN make the beast your bitch. Know that everyone has a dark side. The ones who win are the ones who admit that the beast exists, accept that the beast will never really go away for good, and then take action beginning the hard work it takes to make that beast a force for leveling up. You choose: make the beast your bitch, or continue to let the beast control your life, sending you further down the path of destruction.
Let me help you begin the journey to total optimization of your human experience. Contact me HERE today.