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Bring out the champion in you this year

With the Kolkata Kettlebell Meet 2014 just a few days away, I cannot help but feel excited at the thought of spending a day with all the kettlebell and fitness enthusiasts that will be present on the day. Even though I will not be competing, and will be there as an organizer and as a judge, I can still feel as if I myself will be there as a competitor. There is something about competitions that gets everyone present super excited!

When Ranadeep Moitra and myself were discussing about organizing competitions like the Kolkata Kettlebell Meet and Strong & Fit in 2013, the big goal that we had in mind was that we wanted to create a platform for the everyday gym trainees to come forward and showcase their skills. We wanted to bring out the athlete in those who are not professional athletes, but still love training just like a pro. And to our pleasure we got a positive response with many participants coming forward and giving it their best. Of course, in the future we will do our best to get more people involved to create a greater interest in strength and fitness in the general population.

So why am I telling you all this, even if you do not live in my city? It is because of one reason, that is, I want YOU TO COMPETE in 2014 in any athletic competition that you like! Yes, I am asking you to take a decision that this year you will take a step forward in the right direction and ignite your competitive fuel, and work hard to do your best. I know that you are not a professional athlete, and that training is just a hobby, but that is no reason to not compete. Infact if you are not a pro, then you do not have much to lose either, but everything to gain.

So, what competition to enter? Well, anything that you like. Take part in a weight lifting contest, or a running event, or any other physical activity that gets you excited, but do something this year. The year is just beginning, and you have a lot of time to prepare. If competing in the sport of your choice is not possible in your city, then think of travelling to another city to compete with your training partners, friends or family. And if even that is not possible, then look up the internet, where online and virtual competitions are always happening all the the time. You will find some group or some site conducting an online competition in the sport of your choice, where you can record a video at your gym or your home and send it in. For eg, last year I took part in a few online kettlebell contests, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Training for the contest got me motivated and made me accountable, and after the contest, gave me a chance to review my technique, performance, etc. I also got a lot of helpful feedback and encouragement from others that helped me improve myself even further.

I want the same thing for you too, even if your goal is just to build muscle or lose fat. Training for a physical composition is still dependent on performance. Yes, you are not going to keep losing fat if you continue lifting the same weight for the same number of reps and sets. You need to do more with time to see progress on a continual basis. And this is where competitions will give you a chance to keep a track of the progress in your performance. As the months or weeks for the contest date come closer, you will feel good about all the work that you have put in till that point.

Once you have participated, you will also in most likelihood have opened up new social channels with other participants and trainers, that will help you to get different views on your performance and help you to further progress. Infact just the networking that you can make at contests can itself be the greatest prize that you can win on the day, that you will benefit from forever.

Now some people may say that they you will not win anything so why compete. Well, first of all winning is not only about a medal or a trophy. The fact that you will train regularly for the competition, and that you will make personal improvements leading to the contest is a victory in itself. And besides, you will never win if you never take part, so what will you win by not competing that you will lose if you took part? "But wait, I am scared that I will embarrass myself infront of others"? Ok, sounds like a good point, but there have already been many who failed to lift a weight at a contest, many who have been unable to finish a race, many highly skilled and highly trained professional athletes who failed to perform on a day, and might have even been dropped from their team. So what terrible thing can you do in a contest that has never been done before?

Again, I want you to take charge of your life this year, and bring out the competitive athlete in you. Do not listen to people who never do anything themselves, and are more keen to make sure that others don't do anything either. Do not waste time thinking whether you should or you shouldn't. If you work hard, and put in the time, then you will surely not fail yourself. Try to be the best that you can, and don't be too obsessed about other participants, especially if it is your first time.

As far as I am concerned, yes, I surely have my eyes set on a competition this year, a live kettlebell competition on stage. This year I intend to take my love for kettlebells a step further and make one of my dreams to compete in a kettlebell contest come true by competing at the EKFA kettlebell open championships in Mumbai in March. I love kettlebells, and have been dreaming of this for quite some time. No matter how I do on the day, I look forward to stepping on a competitive platform after about 7 years since my last martial arts contest, which I had won, and satisfy the athlete in me. Its not just about winning or losing, its also about having dreams that keep you motivated and accountable to work hard.

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