How To Win Every Competition



The Mental Game of Winning

Fitness, Figure, Bodybuilding, Bikini Competitors
(applicable to other sports as well)

Every competitor has the goal of winning a competition. The problem is, only one athlete walks away with the overall title. So how do you make sure that every competition you enter, you win? One way to make sure you win is to set up a variety of goals. I like to have the goal of winning, obviously, but I also like to include goals that are within my control.

One of the greatest boosts to self-confidence for sport is feeling like you have control over your process. I like to set goals for my level of conditioning, communication with others during contest prep, mental skill that I want to work on, level of focus in my workouts, feeling joyful about the process, eating my meals on schedule daily, weekly and monthly and more. All of these goals we have control over.

When we feel in control of our process, we get to win every day! The outcome of the competition is almost irrelevant, but I have never had a good journey that did not have a good ending. Creating goals throughout the competition process, whether that be for three months or six months, is a great way to enjoy and win every step of the way. At the end of the day, we are challenging ourselves to become a better version of who we are. That does not get measured for twelve weeks, it only gets measured one time, on one day. Here are some ideas for setting winning goals

Setting Winning Goals

1. Set Outcome Goals: An outcome goal is the result of your efforts. The most popular outcome goal for competitors is to win. I like to make other outcome goals such as surpassing the level of conditioning I was at in previous competitions. Sometimes I like to make outcome goals of meeting a certain amount of competitors at the show that I connect with. Outcome goals are the easiest to set, but keep in mind there are other outcomes to measure besides winning. Shorter range outcome goals include hitting target weight, measurement and body fat markers, being able to do a certain amount of cardio, having a specific amount of strength and endurance for your workout. Most outcome goals can be measured by, you guessed it, the outcome.

2. Set Performance Goals: Much of our performance is in the gym, therefore our pre-performance is very important. Eating our food on schedule, taking our supplements, and drinking the proper amount of water each day are all performance goals so to speak. We have an interesting sport that unlike many others, needs to be thought about throughout the day in order to create success. When we set and meet goals of eating our food on schedule, not skipping meals or snacking, this is the foundation for creating the physique of a champion. We will not get to our outcome if we do not have this setup. I like to make daily and weekly goals for how many workouts I will do, how many cardio sessions, as well as when or if I will have a treat meal. Other performance goals include contest day, how you will do on stage, which can also be broken down into smaller daily and weekly goals.

3. Set Procedural Goals: Procedural goals are perhaps the most overlooked goals. In our sport it is important for our shape to have a certain look to it, for that reason, it is important to create goals within our training that change the process of the workout in order to hit the muscle more effectively. I spend a lot of time with my clients viewing videos of their form, to make sure that not just the exercise is being done, but it is also being done in such a way as to maximize the look of the muscle. This is one example of a procedural goal. There is also a most effective breathing that goes with the workout depending on what you are doing, you can set goals very specific in this way to improve your effectiveness in the gym. It seems micromanaging, but it really is the difference that makes a difference. Everybody works out, but at the end of the day it is how you go about doing it, that matters.

4. Set Short, Medium and Long-Term Goals: When goal setting, many athletes focus simply on the outcome of getting to the stage and winning, but they don’t consider the wins they can be creating every week and every day. Break your goals down into short, medium and long-term goals. For our sport, I find it useful to have daily goals, weekly goals and a long term competition goal. My daily goals will often include for example: 5 minutes of mindfulness, 40 minutes of AM cardio, weight workout, eating my meals on schedule, having a positive attitude, feeling grateful for the process. Those might be my goals for the day. When I nail down the mindfulness for example, I may add the next day 5 minutes of visualization and have different behavioral goals depending on how my day was before that. When I lay my head on my pillow at night and I know I have had a successful day based on my goals; that is a win! I get a trophy. Do that over and over each and every day and I can’t guarantee you will win, but I can guarantee, you will feel like a winner!

5. Visit Your Goals Often and Be Open to Change Them: Having the flexibility to change goals is as important as setting the goal itself. Most often I find we think that something will take less time than it actually does. Be open and flexible to change your show date, increase or decrease performance and process goals and to in general be flexible to re-assess to see if you are still on target for the date you have selected. Many athletes feel like a failure if they change the date of their show. Nonsense! If you need more time, create more time by re-adjusting your goals. There will always be another show, so why not move forward toward your goals with success every step of the way? Win every day!

I am sure you have thought of other goals to include. If you want, create a list of short, medium and long-term outcome, performance and process goals. Then pick the most important one to work on. Once you have mastered that, move on to the next goal, while keeping the previous goal in check. This is a fun way to have a good contest prep, not just for the day of the show, but for the entire journey.



Hanton, S., Mellalieu, S., & Williams, J. (2013). Understanding and managing stress in sport. In   J.M. Williams & V. Krane (Eds.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (p. 207-234). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pope-Rhodius, A. (2016, October 25). Lecture. JFKU

Robinson, S. (2016, October 25). Lecture. JFKU



The Mental Game of Dieting for Competition


Transforming Hunger
The Mental Game of Dieting for Competition  

What I am about to talk about is a very controversial subject. I want to approach this subject with extreme care. I am going to talk about hunger, and how to accept it as part of the dieting process. I am sure you can already see why this is controversial, since hunger is our body telling us that we need food and it is mandatory for our survival.

So, I will issue a warning, that is, I am assuming that your diet is enough food to sustain you but you are still hungry. If you are having problems with memory, concentration and focus, extreme headaches, and lack of motivation, or if your diet is under 1200 calories, then the probability that you are not eating enough is higher. Each person will be on a case by case basis but, I want you to be responsible enough to gauge whether or not you need to change you plan of action (i.e.: the diet) or change the way you are thinking about it. If you feel you are eating enough calories and you trust your support team, then please read on. If you are having any concerns then please consider a second opinion to your procedure.

The subject of hunger came up because of several athletes that have mentioned to me they are struggling with hunger. In addition, I was having a conversation with my sport psychologist recently about the sport and we were talking about hunger, and he was asking what I do when I get hungry. And I said, well you are going to be hungry, there is no way around that. He seemed pretty surprised by that. I just accept hunger as part of the process. I told him that I reframe hunger into my hunger for how I want to look. And the better you look, the easier it is to live with the hunger. He really did seem shocked. He said, so hunger is inevitable? I said, of course, it is a diet. I said most people (non-competitors) eat at the smallest discomfort, they don’t even wait to be hungry. So the reality is, most people never feel real hunger. This got me thinking and wondering if people really think that they are going to diet and not feel hungry, seriously? We are reducing our calories, so of course there will be hunger. Which got me to wondering what other misnomers are out there about dieting and the competition journey. I always claim for things to be easy and I stand by that. However, I do feel hunger. It is the way I perceive it that is what makes the process easy for me. Here are some other common threads that we have as competitors. Now, this is not a license to complain, rather an awareness to reframe and use some mental techniques to help make the journey you are on easy and fun.

Normalizing the Dieting Journey

1. You will feel hungry. I think that we all are in agreement that we will feel hungry. However, stating it as such that everyone feels it, really puts it into perspective. There is nothing wrong with your hunger signals, they are real and we all feel them. We are used to grazing. So, when we set up a plan to eat every three hours and not snack in between, it is difficult. The sooner you make peace with hunger, the sooner you get shredded.

2. You will sometimes have lower energy. This also surprises some people. I am going to be upfront, we all feel this too. Some of us hide it better than others, some of us drink more coffee than others, but we all go through periods during dieting where we feel tired and we don’t want to go to the gym, or fold our clothes or wash our hair. Seriously, sometimes washing my hair during contest prep is just a hassle. Now you know, we are all feeling it, even if we don’t say so.

3. You will sometimes get irritated about things that normally don’t bother you. When I am dieting and I hear someone complain about something that seems trivial to me I am thinking… seriously? Do you realize that I did an hour of cardio, spend an hour packing my food, and had a weight workout before you even woke up this morning? I like to pretend that I am stoned. (not that I have ever been stoned) but if I had been, I would want to feel stoned when someone was saying something annoying so it would just roll off my back like no big deal. Realize we are a little hypersensitive and give others the benefit of the doubt that their behavior would probably not be that annoying if we had just ate an entire pizza.

4. Some people will comment on how you look in a negative way. This is probably the hardest one to deal with, feeling fantastic about how you look and then someone saying, you look tired, are you OK? Or you look sick, you really should eat. Or, are you still doing that diet thing? People don’t get it. I stopped trying to force them to get it. I don’t let it bother me.

5. You may feel lonely or isolated. This is probably the most difficult. We so want people to understand and appreciate what we do. As it gets closer, we do limit our social activities, but that does not mean we need to be or feel isolated. We usually connect through food, but we don’t have to. Find other ways to connect with people. It is challenging but it can be done. Make peace with many people not getting what you are doing, this will also be very beneficial in helping make the process easy.

6. You will wonder if this is worth it, or if you should quit. This may not come into play until a few weeks out. But, most athletes at some point in the contest prep will have an emotional meltdown (or two) wondering if it is all worth it. I remember one time having a meltdown and crying over nothing as I recall it. I was sincerely and honestly upset. I finished my rant to my boyfriend, then lifted up my shirt and said, and look at my abs, my abs are shredded! And I continued to cry. No joke. Doesn’t happen daily but it happens. Make sure you have a strong support team that will be there for you when you need it.

I hope you found this list helpful, there are of course many many other things I could have selected, but in the 20 years that I have been competing and coaching, those are the ones that stand out to me most. My thought process around all of these subjects is to find ways to make them a normal part of your process. Not everyone is going to understand what we do, personally I don’t care. I want what I want for me, not for anyone else anyway. So if I don’t get the approval, I don’t try to force it down people’s throat like a religion, but if they want to ask me questions about what I am doing, then I will share, and of course I hope they join in on the healthy eating bandwagon, because that is one less stressor in my life, however, I don’t need other’s approval in order to move forward to achieve my goals. I move from the passion of my heart, that is my guiding force. I hope that it is yours also. At the end of the day, very few will really get what we are doing, and that is OK. That is what the fitness community is for.

Mental Game Tools: Hunger Resources
Hypnosis Download: Appetite Control
Visualization Exercise: Nutrition Compliance
Nutrition and Life Balance: Inner Athlete Coaching

Mental Exercise for Creating Your Future

There is always a point at the start of dream creation where we say to ourselves: “No way can I do this, this goal is too big.” But we want it nonetheless. Eventually we start to believe the “lies” we tell ourselves that we can do it, and even further on down the road, we begin to make our dreams a reality.
Your future self, is looking at you right now. It knows you don’t believe in you. But your future self, knows you WILL accomplish your goal. Have faith in your future self, and do the work to move you in the direction of your goal. Do what it takes, belief will come later. Don’t wait to believe, take action and grow into the belief.
I created a mental skills visualization to help you step into your future before it arrives. Check out the link.
Don’t wait to believe. Take action and grow into the belief.
I hope you have enjoyed this exercise. Please feel free to email me topics that you would like covered for future articles. I love to hear from you your ideas and suggestions.

It’s Never Too Late to Compete

NPC Figure Competitor Spotlight: Nanci Teran


nanciteran2I am not a big fan of before and after pictures. The main challenge I have with them is that they sensationalize a person’s journey into this exciting before and after picture, which never tells the process the person went through, or tells the real story as to what they went through in order to achieve their goal. The exception I make to this rule, is when a client personally wants to share their story and they also want to share their before and after pictures.
This is a story of an amazing woman named Nanci, who came to me at 64 years young wanting to compete. We worked together for 6 months and she diligently followed the nutrition plan that I had prepared for her. In addition, she also had a personal trainer who was very helpful to her journey. I recall numerous occasions early on in our prep, she was asking me if I thought she was crazy and that she was too old to compete. I said, are you kidding? No way! Get out there on that stage and show everyone what an amazing body looks like at 64. I am pleased to say, Nanci did just that. She did it! Here is Nanci’s story. I am so proud of her hard work and dedication and for the time I got to share this amazing journey with such an amazing woman.
Nanci wanted me to post her pictures in hopes that she would inspire someone who is sitting on the sidelines wanting to compete but waiting for the right time, or wondering if they are too old. We had an amazing journey together, but more important, Nanci got to complete something that had been in her heart for a while. She got to say she did it, and not only did she do it, she looks incredible and is an amazing inspiration.


My name is Nanci and I entered the 2016 IFBB/NPC Golden State Figure contest held in Sacramento, CA August 13th 2016. I placed second in the 45 years and older category. In preparing for this contest my Figure Trainer and mentor was Nancy Georges.

These are my before and after photographs taken during my weight training regimen. I would like to thank Nancy for giving me the motivation and determination to complete this task. It was a satisfying milestone in my life and I am proud to say that I am 64 years of age!

As a side note, I have osteoporosis. This was the main reason I started a weight-training program. Since I started my training, I am happy to say that I increased my bone density mass by 17%!

Thank you Nancy
I am so grateful to have had the amazing opportunity to support her in making her dream come true of competing. I am so proud of you Nanci! It was a pleasure walking your journey with you.
I have a few openings for contest prep coaching. If you are interested in competing next spring, March, April or May, the time to start is now. 6 months is a good amount of time to allow in order to have a successful prep and an enjoyable journey.
Message me for info and a consultation, if you feel you are ready to step on stage and create your own amazing story.

Creating Flow Experiences

How do you create a flow experience? As an athlete it is just as important to do our mental training as it is to do our physical training. Here are the elements of flow:

1. The task you are taking on is a match to your skill level. Is what you are taking on too hard, or too easy? If so, flow is more challenging.

2. You become one with your movement. Whether you are working out in the gym or participating in an event, you seem to meld into and become one with what you are doing.

3. You have a clear focus on your goals and your intention is focused as well.

4. You are free from distractions. Although you may be aware of external factors, they seem to be blurred and fall by the wayside and irrelevant variables.

5. You feel in control and yet as if you don’t need to be controlling. Everything you are doing feels effortless.

6. Your internal dialog is positive, supportive and uplifting.

7. Time distortion. It may slow down or speed up.

8. You are greatly enjoying what you are doing. The process is the reward and there is almost no need for an external reward, trophy, prize or acknowledgement from people you care about.

Getting into flow states can be trained through Psychological Skills Training. Interested in learning more? check out my Inner Athlete Coaching Program for details.


Strength comes from seeing the sunshine in your darkest hour.

I am strong, AND I am weak. I do not try to eliminate any part of me. No part gets left behind at the expense of inflated self-worth. I feel my self-worth, even when I am doubting. I feel my worth in my pain, and in my success. Without the struggles, there is no understanding of where to grow. Triumph is not possible without self-understanding, self-reflection, and personal development.

I have faith in my dreams, even when they seem far away? Why? Because I put them there, therefore, they are mine to nurture and grow. My only job is to enjoy the process of growing into my dreams.

Some days are easier than others. When it is difficult, I remind myself, there is a season for everything. Embrace all of you! Negative emotions exist to let us know an important message. Listen, learn, grow and step into what you designed in your mind, and make that a reality.

Love to you all! Let’s make our dreams happen!

Self-Improvement Starts in Our Minds

When striving to reach our goals we often have an all or nothing mentality. If yesterday was not perfect, we can tend to perseverate on that imperfection, forgetting that today is a new day to make improvements.

Improvement is not usually all or nothing, rather small baby steps that move us little by little in the direction of our goals. What one thing can you change about today, that will move you in the direction of your goals? Little by little, make a change.

Mindfulness for Athletes: Practice session Tuesday Oct 11th at 7pm

My next Mindfulness for Athletes practice session is Tuesday October 11th at 7:00pm at my office in Sacramento. I have 4 spots open. If you are an athlete of any kind and you are in the Sacramento area, please feel free to join other athletes for an hour of mindfulness, Tuesday October 11th at 7pm at my office in Sacramento. CLICK below to register:


Focusing on Your Strengths

As appreciators of physical and mental excellence, it is easy for us to get overly involved in focusing on weakness. This is especially true for those of us who compete or simply want to improve a body part or two. Instead of looking at how beautiful our biceps are, we tend to focus on that belly, or that little extra fat in the bum. It makes sense because part of how we got to the level of excellence we are at is by looking at flaws and working on improving them.

But what if we play just for a minute with our strengths? What would that be like if you knew your strengths? What if you could tap into those strengths at a moment’s notice whenever you were feeling down on yourself or in a bit of a rut? Sometimes we can get obsessive and our negative focus takes a downward spiral and we have trouble digging ourselves out of a hole. But, if we know our strengths, then we can tap into those and utilize them to empower us and make our lives better in a more enriching way.
So here are some ideas to tap into your strengths and find out what it is you are really good at.
  1. Think about a time when you were most like you?
    What were you doing? What were you experiencing? What qualities did you poses when you were most like you? Write it out if you like and get a really good idea. Jot down maybe 5-10 characteristics or strengths that you really felt resonated with you during this time.
  2. Answer the following questions:
    What are you good at? What do people compliment you on? What are you most proud of about your personality?
  3. How do you get through challenging times?
    Think about a time when you were challenged. How did you overcome this challenge? What resources did you access in order to pull yourself out and get through this challenging situation? Write out 5-10 different strengths that you used to help yourself in this situation.
  4. Create a top 10 character strengths.
    Much like we create a list of values, we can also create a list of strengths so that we can be contentious of them at any moment and use them as a resource to empower us.
  5. Take the Character Strengths Survey:
    The survey is based on the work of Martin Seligman and Positive Psychology. It is an empirically tested list of the top 24 character strengths universal to humans. There are no weaknesses according to the model, only strengths that you identify with more and strengths you identify with less.
Focusing on our strengths allows us to tap into our natural resources when we are in a bind. Understanding our strengths is the first step to using them. When we utilize our strengths we feel more empowered to live the life that we choose.

Figure and Bikini Contest Prep and Off-Season Nutrition Coaching Back by Your Demand

You guys are going to keep harassing me until I bring nutrition coaching back aren’t you? I have to say, it has been very unexpected and also I have to say I have really missed the nutrition aspect of contest prep. So now you have it. Nutrition coaching for contest prep, off-season and non-competitors is back. Thanks for the motivation, and for missing me.

You can get nutrition coaching combined with mental coaching, or mental coaching alone or nutrition alone. I think this way will make everyone happy and also help me to bring to the fitness community the much needed resource of mental skills. What I am really most interested in is helping you to have a confident and successful journey that feels empowering and takes you to the next level, mind and body. Getting in amazing shape should be an evolutionary process that empowers you and helps you in all areas of life.

Give me a shout if you are wanting nutrition, I have a few openings, here is the link for more info:

Offering Figure contest prep coaching, bikini contest prep coaching, figure and bikini off-season coaching and non-competitor nutrition.