Imposter Syndrome in the Fitness Industry

Things have been a little quiet on the blog front the past few months – for many reasons – one of which I am going to chat about today – feeling like an imposter.

Since Central Districts Champs I have been feeling like a bit of an imposter. There isn’t really any one reason as too why and I guess it all boils down to a couple of things – not fully backing myself and feeling like I need to be eating clean and feeling like training 100% of the time. Reality is that it’s fairly hard to stay sane doing both of these things at such an intense level (100% eating – including weighing food, restricting calories and counting macros and training).

Imposter Syndrome in the Fitness Industry

After CD champs I proved to myself that I am capable of lifting some pretty good weights (I made it to #2 female in NZ) and then I kind of started questioning whether I actually deserved to be there or not. I haven’t really been lifting for that long – in reality I did my first powerlifting competition almost exactly two years ago, however I have only really been taking it seriously since a couple of months afterΒ Nationals in August last year (2016).

I also fell off the eating clean wagon BIG TIME and put on 3.5kg in 6 weeks and it made me start wondering who I was to preach about eating healthy and exercising when I wasn’t even being 100% good myself. I’ve also been studying (and I’m pretty close to completing it!) to be a sport and exercise nutrition coach as well, which made the imposter feelings multiply.

Don’t worry – all is well, these are feelings I have had on and off and they haven’t really affected my day-to-day life too much. Being aware of these feelings is one of the first steps and I just wanted to write about them because I know I’m not the only one out there that feels like an imposter sometimes.
Imposter Syndrome in the Fitness Industry1

I DO back myself, yet I do sometimes have those moments of self-doubt and ‘am I good enough’. Throughout this whole time I have kept my training up no matter what I felt like on the day and have only missed one planned training session due to my flight being delayed 5 hours and to be honest I wasn’t mentally there and my body needed a day off after the delay. I have also applied to be on the Commonwealth Powerlifting team in South Africa in September – this was a big lofty goal I set at the start of the year – applications have closed and now it’s just a waiting game to see if I made the team or not.

Nutrition actually hasn’t been that bad it just hasn’t been 100%, more like 70-80% good which in hindsight isn’t actually a bad thing and it’s a more sustainable place to be. This is something I’ve realised a lot more through the study I have been doing – it’s simply not sustainable for long periods of time to be so restricted – it’s a gripe I have with the bodybuilding scene with those who do multiple shows back to back and never really have time to come back to a balanced life. Our body needs nutrients and it also needs a balance, we need to be physically and mentally clear and sometimes a good relaxing meal out with family and friends, or a chocolate bar every now and again helps to give us that balance.

I know what I need to do (loosing some of that 3.5kg is a good place to start ;)) and I’ve got plenty of time to get there and take it slowly. I’ve set myself some rules as I’m the type of person who does well with rules and boundaries – I have set calories to hit each day with 1-2 higher calorie days each week, I’m not too concerned with how those calories are made up at the moment so long as I hit my protein goal. Every couple of weeks I’ll get Kyle to do a skin fold pinch and let me know where I’m at – the closer we get to South Africa (fingers crossed!), the more I will see what needs to be changed (if anything).
Imposter Syndrome in the Fitness Industry

For me writing things down is a good way to get it out of my head and heart and see things a bit more black and white rather than just black. I know that many people struggle with all the ‘Fitspo’ and those people who seem to be perfect all the time. Reality is that most people need some ‘treats’ and days off to be mentally and physically refreshed.

It’s a tough balance between feeding the body what it needs and also indulging from time to time. I think we just need a clearer idea of what time to time really means as for a lot of people treats have become an everyday occurrence.

If we think in terms of a weeks eating – for argument’s sake let’s say that we have 21 meals over a week (3 meals a day – I know, some people actually do this!), say 2 of those meals are less than perfect (oh hi Pizza, Hot Chips, Biscuits etc) you have still eaten pretty good 90.5% of the time! In the big picture for most people those two less than perfect meals are not going to derail your progress! (Yes, if you are heading for a weigh in or week of a physique competition this may be a different story).
Imposter Syndrome in the Fitness Industry2
I could write about this topic for a very long time and I’ve got heaps more to say on the whole weight and scales topic so I will leave that for another day.

In the meantime – go out there and smash your training whether you feel like it or not and make sure that most of your meals are balanced and healthy, don’t be afraid to have a couple of ‘treat’ meals just remember to keep them as treats and enjoy every bite, don’t just eat for the sake of eating – that will make you put on 3.5kg πŸ˜‰

Have you ever had any of these types of imposter feelings??


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  • Nicola
    June 28, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    The timing of this is perfect for me because I totally get imposter syndrome in the sense I feel I’m not good enough and I shouldn’t try and do new projects in case they fail which will reinforce I’m not good enough! So it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one. And you totally deserve to be in the power lifting championships as you’re obviously awesome at it!! Guess we just need to be nice to ourselves and stomp out those niggling thoughts. Take care x
    Nicola recently posted…Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled PorkMy Profile

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