BY AMELIA RICCI
It took me years to get the body I wanted (mind you it is still work in progress!) and I would often complete my weights routine wondering why my shoulders were not growing, or why my leg muscles were not as developed as I wanted them to be.
Eventually, with patience and perseverance, I did grow the muscles I wanted and this led to my journey of competing in fitness model competitions. However, in order to be successful, I had to work on the inside of my mind, those depths we all bury away, those feelings of inadequacy that lead to questions like ‘am I good enough to compete?’, ‘are the other girls better than me, leaner, more muscular?’
Be mindful of your thoughts and try to think positively. Your ego (or self-identity) is best explained as the voice in your head that tells you ‘if you are not perfect, then everyone will laugh at you’ or ‘you have had a bad week, so you may as well give up’. It is the inflated sense of importance you place on everything turning out your way, one hundred percent of the time. Therefore, if you can decrease your reliance on your ego, you won’t be afraid of failure and you won’t feel bad if you do fall short of a goal.
By having good self-esteem and being happy, you can move through life with more confidence, which always starts from the inside and what you believe about yourself. For example, thinking and speaking positively about yourself is the key to success and regardless of whether you win, get a placing or not at a fitness competition, this does not measure your success or define you as a person. You need to adopt the attitude that just by stepping on stage you are a winner.
When you look at your progress photos or competition photos, you should see hard work and determination. Consistency is not easy, especially when work or life is stressful and you need to keep up your training and stick to your meal plan for months, if not years of your life. As a fitness model, you also have responsibilities including a job, looking after family and there are always obstacles and challenges that life throws in the way. The hours of time you spend preparing meals and training are only part of the work, you also will spend time on presentation including posing classes and all the costume and beauty preparation required for the day.
The time invested in your body transformation is enormous, and if you don’t enjoy your journey, and only focus on the outcome of a few minutes on stage or a trophy, you may be disappointed. You need to enjoy the whole process. Hard work breeds fitness modelling success and a great attitude is necessary. If you do it for the love and enjoyment of the process and you will always feel like you have won.
Once I recognised that fitness was a personal journey, I began to understand that the challenges along the way make me stronger.
Weight training and body sculpting develops qualities such as persistence and determination and once you have a passion for the sport, it becomes your lifestyle.
These days I don’t compare myself to others, I just strive to be the best version of myself. I don’t wish for someone else’s body, I am happy that my body is healthy and strong and I appreciate every day that I can go to the gym and lift weights or do a fun cardio workout. My body is not perfect, especially after having a baby, but I like it for what it is.
It might take you a while to understand that perfection is not the only way. It is common to self-sabotage your efforts mentally, and I have been guilty of this when I first started in the industry. You are not alone and you can overcome this negative thinking and self-doubt.
Life throws us a lot of challenges and if we can keep our headspace right and possess a healthy self-esteem, it is so much easier to love life. After all, life is like a rollercoaster with many ups and downs, and if you radiate positivity you will be likely to bring others with you on your fitness journey.
With that being said, here are my eight tips to finding body confidence – from the inside out!
Eight Tips to Finding Body Confidence
1. Never give up. If someone says something negative about your body or your fitness lifestyle, try not to take it personally. Normally these types of comments are simply a reflection of that person’s own insecurities.
2. Practise makes perfect. If you are learning any new skill, from lifting weights with good technique, to being a mum, entering the corporate world or becoming a fitness model, it takes time. You have to repeat the action many times and not be disheartened by your mistakes. When you make a mistake, you can learn and improve.
3. Aim for acceptable. Being perfect all the time is not achievable and will only make you feel inadequate. I spent so many years striving for perfection in my university grades, my appearance and my relationships, it just won’t happen.
4. Love life for its ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. Life is not perfect for anyone. Accept the good and the bad and look past any obstacles in your path.
5. Cut yourself some slack. It is ok to rest when you need to, cut down your ‘to-do’ list and trim your schedule. This will allow you to be your best because life is a marathon, not a sprint, and longevity is key to achieve your fitness goals.
6. Follow your instinct and stand up for what’s right. Never ignore your gut instinct when you feel something is wrong. Anything that is hurtful or inconsiderate to others’ feelings is not cool. Don’t be overly critical of yourself or others and if you see any of this behaviour at the gym, backstage at a show, or on social media, stand up for what’s right and never tolerate bullying.
7. Obsession leads to harm. Any form of obsession is not a good thing, we all need balance within our lives and it is important to recognise this. For example, work-life balance, a balanced diet and training regime and having fun as well as following a schedule. Life is for enjoying and there is no need to take it so seriously!
8. The best is yet to come. Always look ahead to something that excites you but also appreciate where you are at right now. This is so important when you think about your body and your progress on your fitness journey. With each year that you lift weights, you will improve and sculpt the body you want. Try to view an injury or setback as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, develop resilience and think optimistically about the outcome as these setbacks are part of your journey.
Try to accept the challenges and changes along life’s path. Be flexible to the situations and circumstances life throws at you. It won’t be easy and you must travel your own path to learning. If you take others opinions and comments lightly and choose what you take on board mentally, you will find the confidence you need to keep going on your journey. Always keep an open mind to learning and you will achieve your dreams. As a beautiful, strong woman, enjoy your body and love yourself completely as this will lead to great relationships with others and a life full of love and fun.
Amelia is a personal trainer, Pilates instructor and yoga teacher with 20 years experience. Certified with Fitness Australia, her qualifications include personal training and group fitness accreditation, a Master of Business and a Bachelor of Business. Her mission is to educate and inspire women to achieve their best body ever, with a simple approach – no fads, no gimmicks. As a two-time Fitness Model Champion and mentor to some of Australia’s successful fitness and bikini models, Amelia enjoys working in her business Living Beauty Fitness. Amelia has launched a new eBook which contains all her health and fitness principles and can be found at www.4weekbikinibody.com. You can also find her on Facebook: AmeliaRicciSportsModelFitnessTrainer and Instagram: