Beyond The Prep Podcast

The Importance of Building a Positive Image as a Competing Bodybuilder with Rhonda Tennant

October 09, 2023 Sherrie Kapach Episode 21
Beyond The Prep Podcast
The Importance of Building a Positive Image as a Competing Bodybuilder with Rhonda Tennant
Show Notes Transcript

“Make sure that you have a positive body image with yourself. Get that in order first before you start your journey.” —Rhonda Tennant

Competitive bodybuilding is not without its challenges. From grueling training routines to strict dietary restrictions, athletes constantly face physical and mental obstacles. In such situations, an unwavering self-belief can be a powerful anchor. 

Having a positive view of ourselves serves as a constant reminder that we are capable of conquering any obstacle that comes our way. This positivity carries over into all aspects of our lives, leading to greater overall fulfillment and contributing to the longevity of our careers. 

This week, Sherrie interviews veteran bodybuilder Rhonda Tennant. Rhonda shares her journey into the sport after being inspired by another competitor at age 53. She also discusses the struggles of her early competitions without proper coaching, how to cope with the cravings, lifting techniques, and how the camaraderie of the bodybuilding community helped her push through the challenges of peak week.  

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Episode Highlights:

01:57 It's never too late 

02:43 Importance of research and commitment 

04:56 The value of a good coach 

06:06 Coping with cravings 

06:55 Keep a Positive Self-Image

08:23 Community support 

Sherrie Kapach: Welcome to Beyond The Prep. I'm your host, Sherrie Kapach. I am here today with Rhonda Tennant. Thank you for coming in today. So you're on stage this afternoon, how are you feeling?

Rhonda Tennant: Excited, hungry and tired all at the same time.

Sherrie Kapach: Wonderful. So how did you get into bodybuilding?

Rhonda Tennant: I saw a girl from 10 years ago, I think, 53. I saw how she looked and said that I want to look like that. So I began my journey.

Sherrie Kapach: So did you know anything about the sport?

Rhonda Tennant: I always worked out, but I didn't realize that discipline you need and your mindset that you need. I'm still learning every show. I'll probably be doing it for a few more years. I keep saying that it's gonna be my last one. But once you finish the show, you want more.

Sherrie Kapach: It's never too late.

Rhonda Tennant: It's never too late for anybody out there on screen. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

Sherrie Kapach: That's fabulous. So when you first started out, what did you find was the hardest? Or did you have any struggles with it?

Rhonda Tennant: Lots of struggles. My first show, I didn't have a good trainer, a good coach. So I think to anybody starting, get a real coach. Don't get somebody that just gives you their program. Get a real coach, because I was just doing so much cardio. I weighed 113 pounds on stage, and I had no muscle. Under condition. Learning how to do it properly. It's important to get a good coach. I wish I would have known that in my first show because I probably could have, maybe even got (inaudible) that I didn't know.

Sherrie Kapach: That's good advice. So that's one of the top concerns. Do your homework.

Rhonda Tennant: Bodybuilding is a learning curve, but you learn every year. You're learning from your mistakes.

Sherrie Kapach: Your body changes every year.

Rhonda Tennant: Every year, I have to work harder than anybody else. Because when you're older, you have less muscle mass. Your hormones are different. It's a whole different ball game. But it's not impossible.

Sherrie Kapach: You just got to be committed. Gotta be committed. So how long then have you been competing?

Rhonda Tennant: This will be, I think it's my 9th year. Yeah, nine years.

Sherrie Kapach: So how's peak week for you?

Rhonda Tennant: This peak week was harder for me for some reason. I don't know why, but it was just more tiring. Maybe it's just the age. I don't know. This was pretty tough. I'm not quite as clean as I wanted to be. But it is what it is.

Sherrie Kapach: You're here now up on stage. That's great. So what do you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started?

Rhonda Tennant: Your diet is three quarters of the journey. It's not that you can be at the gym for three hours and doing cardio for another two hours. But if your diet isn't on, you might have muscle, but you're not going to see it. So diet is so important. I wish I knew that from the beginning. I wish I knew proper lifting techniques at the beginning too. Because you just watch people and you don't learn the proper lifting techniques. So that's two things that were really important. Our diet, and your mindset. Don't compare yourself to others. You don't get out of that mindset. You're competing against yourself. So that's the thing. Diet is so important. It doesn't have to be so hardcore that you can't live. You can still live on a bodybuilding diet. Stick to the plan.

Sherrie Kapach: If you need things, you just resort to your coach.

Rhonda Tennant: That's where you pay them for. I'm so lucky and blessed that I have a good coach. The last week, I have (inaudible) now. He's awesome. He listens. He's been through my ups and downs. I had a meltdown yesterday, just no food and just miscommunication. And like, he's still stuck with me. He's probably heard it all. But he's an amazing coach.

Sherrie Kapach: Like you say, he listens.

Rhonda Tennant: He does try to help. I asked him, I am not afraid to ask questions. And he always has an honest answer. You need somebody like that.

Sherrie Kapach: And asked a question. Every prep, every year is different.

Rhonda Tennant: Exactly. Because your body changes, everything changes. Your body composition changes. It's a learning curve.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah. So do you struggle at all? Any cravings or anything?

Rhonda Tennant: I'm pretty disciplined with my diet. One thing I do is I really isolate myself during, it's too hard for me to go out and stuff like that. But I just try to keep to myself, do things that are healthy for my mind. I walk a lot which helps a lot, but I'm pretty isolated for 16 weeks. It makes it easier. Everybody kind of knows. Okay, well, I'm doing this. It's just how I am. I've always been like that. I just like to stay in my practice. That's it. I really don't have to struggle. I think this was the hardest list this year. This week is the struggle.

Sherrie Kapach: That's awesome. So what can be the best advice, what would be the best advice you would give someone that's considering this sport?

Rhonda Tennant: To compete, you have to have a positive body image if you're going to compete. If you have body issues, bodybuilding is not the sport for you. Because it's great. It really hindered your demons if you have body image demons. So I would tell somebody, make sure that you have a positive body image with yourself. Even if you're, whatever, just get that in order first before you start your journey. If you're ready to do it, then find a good coach. A really good coach. Look at some girls, go online, do some research, find a good coach. And then try it. I always tell everybody, try bodybuilding once. You'll know how much discipline you have, and then you'll know that you first show whether it's pretty or not. Be ready for lots of dieting. Lots of lost friendships sometimes. Lots of lots of social life. If you're ready to give up all those things, then go for it. Because once you get there, then you need to camaraderie with your fellow athletes like this. Well, guess what? I had a really bad day yesterday, I bet all my teammates for this fight. We were laughing. And within five minutes, my whole mood changed. And we're just like, it seems like best friends are.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah, it is a very tight knit community. And it's great to have that socialization because they can relate.

Rhonda Tennant: They know exactly where you're having trouble because you can't do this. You can't do that. Oh, yeah, I wish I bought, we're all in the same era. So I think we have that camaraderie. But I'm telling you, it's a great family. I love my team. And yeah, so this is a bonus that I had with it. It's fun.

Sherrie Kapach: Yeah, for sure. Because everybody's in it to support each other as well. They all know what they're going through.

Rhonda Tennant: We all want the best for our team. That's a team effort.

Sherrie Kapach: So do you have anything else you'd like to add?

Rhonda Tennant: Like I said, get a good coach. Be true. You don't beat yourself up if you have a few falls. Every year, I have a fall somewhere. But you know what? You learn from those falls. So if you have a bad day, it's not a big deal. It's one day, just get back on the horse. Don't make it a week. You know what I mean? Just get back on the horse. You know what, we're human beings so don't beat yourself up for little mistakes like that. We're all humans. Like that's a fight. If you want something, just go for it. And it's never too late. That's my advice.

Sherrie Kapach: That's perfect. Thank you. I want to thank you for coming to this. I know how busy the day is. And for you to take some time out, I really appreciate it.

Rhonda Tennant: Congratulations on your big overall winner year end. Thank you very much.

Sherrie Kapach: Well, good luck. Hope I can get there to watch you guys on stage. Thank you.