Wednesday 11 May 2022

Are Bodybuilders Crazy?

 By Lesley Timbol

I’m not going to even attempt to sugar coat this. Yes bodybuilders are crazy but allow me to unpack this statement.

It could be considered crazy to train as hard as we do, to adhere to a strict meal plan, to regularly look at ourselves in the mirror trying to perfect our poses, to make the financial investment we do before & during a prep as well as everything leading up to show day, to compete and to put our minds and bodies through this process more than once.

The average, “normal”, individual doesn’t want their flaws highlighted. So what woman, for example, in her right mind goes onstage wearing a glammed up, skimpy bikini only to be compared to other women on a stage and panel of judges to be marked and rated for her physical appearance and marked down for all of her flaws?

Doesn’t that seem just a tad on the crazy side?

But seriously, there is a pay off for all of this. While there may be some differences, we all have our “why’s” for competing which go beyond winning.

Having said that, there’s also a price and oftentimes more than one price to be paid for this ambitious endeavour.

Take a moment to think about, and really appreciate, the craziness of this sport, regardless of gender or bodybuilding category. 

So is it any wonder that many competitive bodybuilders experience some mental struggles? 

And the mental struggles are quite varied. The theme tends to be around your self esteem, in that your confidence can take a beating in different forms.

How often do bodybuilders check social media? If a bodybuilder makes a social media post and they get responses that aren’t positive, how does that affect that bodybuilder (especially on low carb day)?

What about checking out other bodybuilders’ social media pics, especially your fellow competitors, as the show draws closer? Does that get in your head? Are you doing comparisons? How does that affect your mindset, training, and adherence to the peak week game plan?

While it’s normal to have some anxiety, there’s a point that the anxiety becomes overwhelming and it can negatively affect our choices, i.e., emotional under or over eating, overdoing the cardio if you’re not as lean as you would like especially as you draw closer to show day, avoiding the bigger shows as the pressure is too much for you to bear, going off plan in any way as your mind gravitates towards the worse case scenarios, and of course something I call “competition brain”, which involves looking at yourself especially during peak week and seeing every flaw no matter how small and making the flaw bigger in your mind than what it really is. A slight variation of this is muscle dysmorphia, which are thoughts that your body is too small despite having a muscular build.

How many of us have gotten injured at one point or another? What about getting injured close to a show? What about sustaining an injury that prevents you from competing? Think of the mental number that can do to any bodybuilder.

What about coming into the show all fired up, looking the best you’ve looked to date, and you didn’t place as you anticipated? There can only be 1 person who wins but how does second place feel or the others? How do you process that?

Some don’t process those experiences well at all. In fact, they internalize them into messages of feeling “not good enough”. This can lead their minds down the proverbial rabbit hole and into depressive thoughts and behaviours.

I’m sure you’ve heard of post-show blues. Leading up to the show, we’re machines. We have a strict routine from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. After the show, the routines become lax. Initially it’s nice but then laziness can set in and the associated consequences of poor food choices for prolonged periods of time, prolonged periods of time away from the gym, and no next goal can have detrimental effects to both our physique, health, and mindset.

Now answer me this question: Is bodybuilding more physical or more mental? Is competing more physical or more mental?

While there is most certainly a physical component to it, many bodybuilders don’t typically struggle the most with the training. If anything, like the example above when a bodybuilder sustains an injury, the issue transitions to a more mental one with the frustration of not being able to train to one’s potential and even falling behind schedule or being unable to compete.

Consider this. Bodybuilders hire coaches to help them with their training. Coaches are also hired to help with their meal plans both on and off season.  Bodybuilders even hire coaches to help them with posing. These areas are all important.

But there is one massive area missing.

Why are bodybuilders not investing in the mental piece when doing a prep?

Look at Olympic athletes. You’re talking about the best of the best worldwide in various sports. Is what these Olympic athletes do physical? Yes! But many also hire mental game coaches and psychotherapists.

It comes down to this.

Do you want to win? 

Don’t just say yes. Are you willing to cover all of your bases?

If yes, then fill in that gap in your training and address the mental challenges both personally and professionally as an athlete.

Not only can I help you personally, as I’m a Registered Psychotherapist, but I can also help you with the mental challenges that go with competing, as I’m a certified Mental Game Coach for athletes. Moreover, as a competitive Women’s Physique competitor, I can relate so yeah I’m a triple threat. :-)

Now I appreciate some coaches can help to some degree with the mental piece but respectfully, without the formal training, they are not specialised. Think of it like this. If you have a specific problem, would you prefer to see the family doctor or a specialist in the area of your issue?

Do you want an edge over your competition? It’s not a pill; I’ll tell you that.

The choice is yours so choose well.

Choose to gain a mental edge over your competition.

If you would like to learn how to address mental health challenges, both personally and/or in your prep, please text me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at so that I can give you concrete strategies tailored to you so that you can truly bring your best package to the stage!

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Stay In Your Lane

 By Lesley Timbol 

Do you compare yourself to others on social media? Do you care how many followers you have on Instagram? How do you feel if you don’t get many likes on a post or youtube clip?

My advice: stay in your lane.

Your lane will look different than someone else’s and that’s okay. Think about what makes YOU unique? What do YOU bring to the table? What can others learn from YOU?

Your lane sets you apart from others. Your uniqueness will help you create or develop your brand. 

Be authentically you and others will notice and be drawn to you.

What are your strengths? Do you know how to capitalize on those? Do you have a strategy on addressing your weaknesses?

Avoid the comparisons to others otherwise you run the risk of going down ‘the rabbit hole’ of doubt, insecurity, not feeling “good enough”, “worthy enough”, and second guessing yourself to the point of losing confidence and potentially giving up.

Focus on your path, your specific targets and strategies to actualize your goals. 

Focus on you, not others.

Focus on what you need to do today, right now.

Commit to taking action.

Avoid overanalyzing your situation or you may become stuck and not take action.

Remember a mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.

Learning transforms the mistake into a lesson which gives you the knowledge and power to make a different choice and that choice can be made now.

For all of you high achievers, continue to climb. Become better versions of yourself.

For all of you athletes, avoid comparing your weaknesses to your competitor’s strengths. In a competition environment, you are compared to your opponents but remember it’s the overall package and/or performance that is judged so focus on highlighting your strengths.

Comparing yourself to others is a distraction. Distractions cause you to cross lanes, make errors in perception and judgement and potentially end up in a proverbial ditch.

So I encourage you to stay in your lane, stay focused, and let your strengths shine!

Friday 1 October 2021

Awaken the Warrior

By Fearless Motivation

The devil whispered:

"You cannot withstand the storm."

The warrior replied:

"I am the storm."

You are a warrior.

You will get through the storm.

You will show the storm who's boss.

You will show everyone you are stronger than all things that have hurt you.

You are stronger than your past.

You are stronger than the challenges coming in your future.

You will tell yourself:

"I don't invite life's challenges but I don't back down from them either."

I know we all face tough times.

I know I am not exempt from life's struggles.

But I know I am strong.

I know this will pass.

I know there will be better days.

But only if I keep fighting.

Like a warrior.

Fighting with all my heart.

The heart of a lion.

The strength I have is like no other.

I am not a survivor.

I am a warrior.

I don't survive.

I thrive.

I can do this and I will get through this.

I make the best of bad situations.

I see the opportunity in the struggle.

I grow strength from my hardships.

I am thankful for my hard times, they make me stronger.

I am thankful for the pain, it makes me raise my game.

I am grateful for the worst of times, it ensures my story will be a great one.

From zero to hero.

From nothing to something.

From the bottom to the top.

Here I come!


Warriors are built from the struggle, formed from pain, strengthened by adversity.

Embrace your challenges and push through them like the warrior you are!


Tuesday 13 July 2021

Do You Make This Choice?

 Life can be hard. Life presents us with obstacles … a lot of them. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.

We want to have some semblance of control over our lives. But when life throws us a curve ball so to speak, how do we respond? Do we duck? Do we get hit and get knocked down? Do we stay down? Do we get up?

Some things that happen to us we cannot control; however, we can control our responses. We get to make a choice on how we process that obstacle. Do we run from it? Do we try to pretend it’s not there? Do we deal with it head on? 

Do we use that obstacle or be used and battered by it?

Oftentimes obstacles are gifts. At the time, we don’t see them as gifts. If anything, they’re perceived as a curse.

Obstacles can be used as a tool to propel us forward or keep us at a standstill or even regress.

It’s our choice. 

We can have the obstacles proactively work for us or become passive and have the obstacles work against us.

How do we make that choice?

One word: mindset. Your mindset will determine whether or not you will achieve your goals when life presents obstacles. 

Everyday you are offered many choices: take the easy road or the more difficult one resulting in success. By taking the uphill road, you will be pushed to your limits and end up pushing yourself past your self perceived limitations.

Ask yourself: are you going to be among the 3% that didn’t give up? Your mindset will determine this resulting in whether you will be remembered or forgotten. What is your preference?

Do you have some fight left within you? Is there more in you? Can you give more?

Choose to fight the obstacles. 

Choose to extract the lessons learned from this fight and use it to propel you past every perceived limitation and challenge.

And most of all, choose to build your legacy and be remembered!

Friday 28 May 2021

What Separates Elite Athletes from the Rest?

By Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.

How do elite athletes separate themselves from other athletes?  How do they see themselves?

Some athletes define themselves by their limitations, "I'm shorter than most basketball players," "I'm not as fast as other players on the soccer field," or "I don't have enough speed on my fastball to play college baseball."

When you are focused on limitations or weaknesses, your level of work and preparation will suffer.

Size, ability, and strength are valuable attributes but are not the game changing factors that make athletes elite. 

For example, many tennis players had great careers despite not having overpowering strokes. Athletes have made names for themselves by out-hustling other competitors.

What launches athletes to the next level is WORK!

 Putting in the work is not limited to working hard in practice. Work also includes preparation (diet, flexibility, strength training) and, most importantly, mental work (confidence building, focusing skills, managing stress, etc).

When you put in the mental work, you learn technical skills quicker and you are better able to replicate those skills under the pressure of competition.

When you put in the mental work, you will maximize your abilities and reach more of your potential.

When you put in the mental work, you perform more consistently and at a higher level.

When you put in the mental work, you are able to meet the demands of competing at a higher level.

Often, the mental aspects, the factors that contribute most to optimal performance, are neglected. Adding mental skills training to your existing work regimen boosts your performance to a new level and helps you achieve more of your potential.


Doing the Mental Work:

Just as your coach has a seasonal plan for your training, you should create a seasonal plan for your mental training.

What mental skills will benefit you most? How will you develop these skills? Where will you engage in mental training? What resources will you utilize to improve your mental game?

Once the physical training is complete and it's time to compete, that's when the mental work pays off.  Mental training is just as important, and some may argue more important, than the physical training. Don’t neglect it!


Friday 23 April 2021

How Athletes Can Stay Active During Covid

By Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.

How do you feel when your training regimen is disrupted? More importantly, what do you do when your training regimen is interrupted?

Injuries, illnesses, inclement weather, facility shutdowns and vacations are some circumstances that can disrupt an athlete's training or competing.

Uncontrollable circumstances, such as an injury, can spur several thoughts that create anxiety for an athlete and hurt their confidence.

For example, if you had a second-degree ankle sprain, you may have many questions regarding your training:

* When can I resume training?

* Will my season be over?

* Am I going to fall behind my teammates who are still training?

* Will a couple of weeks off affect my strength and conditioning?

* Will my skills decline? Will my timing be off?

* How will I be able to catch up to my teammates and how long will it take before I can compete?

When you focus on the things you cannot do because of an uncontrollable circumstance, you will feel lost and helpless.

When your training is interrupted because of an unforeseen circumstance, you can still do something to stay physically and mentally active.

Case in point, the coronavirus has turned the world upside down and has left athletes to face many unknowns. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt training and competing for every athlete throughout the world. 

The Olympics were pushed back, international competitions were halted, professional sports seasons were postponed and many college, high school and youth sports were cancelled.

Some athletes were left feeling lost and trapped in their homes without their daily training regimen, while other athletes found creative ways to train that were exciting and empowering, i.e., do research with nutrition and/or get into yoga as well as mobility and stretching.

We have learned from the pandemic that adversity can strike at any moment, causing a disruption of training. No matter what circumstances, you can always find creative ways to train.

When you focus on what you can do or what you can control, you gain a sense of empowerment, build confidence and become a more well-rounded athlete.

How to Train your Mind and Body:

Remember, there is always something you can do to improve your game when you are not practicing or playing:

*If you can't run, you can learn relaxation techniques.

*If you are injured, you can visualize performing in a competition.

*If you are stuck indoors during a snowstorm, you can do weight training.

*If you can't train, you can work on flexibility.

This is also a good time to look into mental training as well, even when you're not practising or playing. Be creative with ways to improve your game even when not practising.

If you need direction on how to stay active despite sport layoffs, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at so I can help you regain a sense of control, direction, focus as well as improving your game.

Saturday 13 March 2021

The Difference Between Success & Failure

By Lesley Timbol (Adapted from various google searches)

The difference between success and failure isn’t as simple as trying versus not trying.

The difference is not one thing. It’s in everything. 

To be successful at something is to have a desire to do it. To be relentless in the pursuit of your goals and dreams. 

What are you willing to sacrifice? Do you initially say ‘anything’ yet when challenged respond with ‘it’s too hard’? 

With success, you push through the challenging times. You do it despite the difficulty. It may take longer but you persevere!

One of the differences between success and failure lies in executing on the little details. Are you willing to go the extra mile? Take that extra step? Realign your priorities? Create and set boundaries for yourself and others? That extra step is doing whatever it takes to get to your goal or target.

Not everyone is willing or able to sacrifice. Are you? 

The difference lies in your response to failure. Most give up. Will you? Will you ‘cave in’?

Success is what comes after you have survived all of your failures.

You will have bad days. We all do but you have to fight through the bad days so that you can earn the best days of your life.

Success is what happens when you stick it out, grind it out, and show the character of a warrior, a winner, a champion.

The difference lies in your attitude. Many people are just robots just trying to get through the day.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it to the best of your ability.

To succeed is to want it more than others want it. You desire specific achievements. You’re willing to take risks and to make sacrifices for a dream only you can see.

Many will hesitate, debate, stumble and fall but not you. You’re all in. You’re committed.

The greatest risk in life is not taking any risks.

Michael Jordan has been quoted as saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” 

No risk? No reward. Nothing to learn and benefit from.

And therein lies the difference.

The difference between success and failure is in your persistence. 

Never give up!

Every step forward gets you one step closer to your goal or dream, your potential for greatness.

Can you see it? 

Many will say your dream is impossible … that is until you accomplish it.

Prove the naysayers wrong.

Get the job done. Be consistent. Be relentless. See it. Believe it. Follow the plan.

The difference between success and failure isn’t one thing.

It’s everything.