Being in a physically demanding sport like competitive bodybuilding requires exactness in so many areas, including but not limited to, dieting and exercise.
There is also a tremendous mental component in competing, especially at such a high level. How do you deal with competing at a professional and international level, or standing on stage in front of thousands of people, alongside the realities of life and relationships outside of competition?
Na’iyma Thompson gives us an inside look into the life and mental game of a professional athlete.
Initially, bodybuilding started out as a way to gain social confidence and popularity as a young woman, but it grew into a passion and career for Na’iyma Thompson as an adult.
After going to college for something completely unrelated to being a competitive athlete, Na’iyma returned to bodybuilding with a desire to go pro.
While clearly sports may be seen as being purely physical, Na’iyma shares with me today the importance of mindset, goals, and finding your “why” in order to truly compete.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, in order to turn pro required further fine-tuning a diet and a commitment to exercise for multiple hours a day, six days a week.
But it also required Na’iyma to work on her mental and emotional game. Ultimately, it meant finding a great coach who encouraged and believed in her, which amongst other practices, helped get her mind in the place which allowed her to achieve her goals.
She shares with me the difficulty of comparing herself to others, and her inner and mental work to manage those challenges. Performing can be accompanied with a ‘high’, with all of the adrenaline that comes with competition, being seen and performing on a stage, that there is also an inevitable ‘low’ or ’emotional hangover’ times after the shows.
And of course, it’s not possible to always win. Na’iyma talks about the shift in her purpose, to support and inspire others and why she turned to podcasting as a way of creating community and a conversation for her community.
It’s my belief that mindfulness and affirmations operate in similar realms. Na’iyma talks about the affirmations she uses while preparing for a competition, and shares how journaling helps competitors keep track of their mental and emotional states.
With such a single-minded focus on a goal, it can be hard to balance life and relationship. I talk with Na’iyma about her relationship experiences, ultimately finding a partner, more her equal, who believes in and supports her, and how this relationship has been part of the building blocks for her further ventures including her clothing line, My Affirmation.
While she might have started bodybuilding as a way to gain social confidence as a younger woman, Na’iyma discovered so much more about herself, her sport and where it has ultimately led her: a ‘why’ which has included her passion for inspiring and supporting others.
I often say that we might feel as though we know where a path can take us, but the journey is still worth taking and really, what we find along that journey might be more meaningful and fulfilling than we could have ever imagined.
- Na’iyma shares her journey into professional bodybuilding.
- How a positive mindset impacts her ability to compete.
- The shift that Na’iyma’s had since she became a pro, in her personal and professional life.
- Why having a “why” is more important as you compete at higher levels.
- Na’imya talks about how obtaining the pro-card changed her platform.
- With such a focused and consuming goal, a relationship with an equal partner becomes incredibly important.
● Na’iyma Thompson’s Website: Na’iyma Fit
● Na’iyma’s Podcast: Bikini Diaries
● Na’iyma’s Instagram: Na’iyma Fit Instagram
● Na’iyma’s Clothing Line: My Affirmation
● Na’iyma’s Recommended Resource: The Five Love Languages
● Life Stuff 101: LifeStuff101.com | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
● Mio Yokoi: Registered Psychotherapist | Gifts of Sensitivity