Well it’s getting closer to the show and each day brings something different. At this point before the show, life turns into a roller coaster: Some days my mind is going nuts and taking me for a ride while I try to hang on, the other days I feel like I am standing on a mountain top. On the tougher days, I think of things like who's doing the show, have I done enough this year, are my muscles flowing the way they should, should I be stronger right now than I feel, am I doing enough to win? All these questions go thru my mind on some days over and over again repeating themselves like a broken record and driving me nuts! One thing experience has taught me is the ego driven thought patterns like these are always loudest when you're about to do something big in your life. The key is knowing how to turn them off and knowing which voice to turn up the loudest. I have learned in my eleven years of competing that fear based thought have no business entering my mind at six weeks out. There is no good that can come from these thought patterns, so just as quickly as they enter my mind I send them packing. The one voice that is turned up the loudest is the one that says, “you’re doing everything you can do right now, you have done everything you were supposed to do in the offseason, keep pushing and the outcome will be what it is.” “The universe will not let you work this hard for nothing.” I thrive on this type of craziness; I almost need it to know that I have something important coming up. I guess what I have realized is the day I do a show and I don't feel this way or feel these thoughts it means I'm perfect, or more likely I no longer love the sport. A lot of us fear pressure as something that is overtaking us and try to get rid of it like the plague; I was like that as well. Slowly I have learned that pressure means growth – if you’re always in your comfort zone you’re never getting better.


 So, what about the good days? Man, the good days are awesome! Everything falls right into place, I go to the grocery store, don't forget anything I need and there is no one in line, awesome! I drive to the gym, tanning or whatever errands I have that day and there is no traffic, awesome! I get to the gym and I am a beast, lifting heavier weights than I lift in the middle of the offseason, again, awesome! I get into my posing practice after my workout and I am hitting shots and holding them without gasping for air or breaking a sweat, awesome! The entire day things just come easy, I am able to visualize the stage and the guys I am competing against and it’s a total rush of excitement instead of panic. What I have noticed this year more than any other year is the good days are definitely outweighing the bad days. In fact there aren't even any bad days; it’s more like a few bad moments here and there. I welcome the stage this year and am excited to hit it again. It’s been a LONG offseason and I hate not competing, I promise myself never to take this kind of break again but it was needed to make improvements. Everyday I practice my mandatory’s and picture that day hitting the stage and being under the bright lights again with some of the best in the world. In my mind, I am standing in that first call out and….I guess I'll keep the rest to myself, we'll have to see what happens the day of the show… Sacrifice Without Regret, Fouad 'Hoss' Abiad