by 1st Phorm Athlete Gillian Risebury October 19, 2011 3 min read
The other day I heard that a popular professional bodybuilder and his wife, a professional figure competitor, were getting a divorce after only a few short years of marriage. It seems like every day I hear about couples splitting up and it’s sad to see that in our society, people don’t always try to make it work. Being involved in the arena of competitive bodybuilding and fitness poses a special challenge to couples, as the rigors of contest prep can reap havoc on relationships. Athletes preparing for a bodybuilding or fitness competition undergo a very strict diet and a strenuous training schedule that can be taxing on personal relationships. The stress of preparing for an event like this, coupled with lengthy workouts on limited calories can cause mood swings and loved ones unfortunately feel the brunt of this. Partners often have to pass on social events and ‘couple time’ when nearing close to the show and extra workouts are necessary. Since Brett and I met in 2006, we have prepped for and competed in ten shows, all while trying to balance family, work and each other. Along the way, we have also added two children to the mix, posing an extra challenge as we try to balance family with our nursing careers and our love of fitness. I would be lying if I said that it has been easy. We do our best to make time for one another and our children with what little spare time we have, but ultimately, a passion for taking our bodies to a higher level is a commonality we share and has brought us closer.
In our household, when Brett or I are preparing for a show, we always consider it a family affair. Every one of us has to make sacrifices to help Brett or myself to reach the stage. Whether it means staying up late to prep food for one another, taking over many of the household responsibilities so the other can fit in extra training, painting on competition tan or massaging sore muscles, without a good support system, it would be impossible to have success in our competitions. That being said, it has been extremely helpful for us to have each other for support since we are both competitive athletes and we can relate to what the other is going through.
Some of my readers are single and I’m not suggesting you need to marry a bodybuilder to have a good support system. My support system is also made up of fitness minded females, my coach, my extended family, 1st Phorm team, and my colleagues at work. When I was prepping for the IFBB North Americans, my entourage consisted of my husband, my coach and his wife, Andrea. These three people were instrumental to my success at that competition. After winning my class at the show, Andrea said “it takes a village!” Bodybuilding and fitness competitions seem as though they are solitary sports, but no athlete can prepare alone. I would not have been successful if it weren’t for my support system and I couldn’t have made the journey alone.
Take a look at your support system and make sure you are surrounded by positive people who share common interests. I have heard many people say that they have people in their life who do not support their fitness ventures. Be grateful for those who love and support you and make sure you do the same for them.