Sheena Martin: Sticking to Your Goals
December 28, 2017
As we approach resolution season, it’s important to remember the importance of setting realistic expectations with your goal. If you’re attempting to do something you’ve never done before, the chances of you failing are high. Will you give up? Or will you learn from your mistakes and keep trying?
Team BPI Athlete, Sheena Martin started 2017 with one goal in mind: win the Olympia. When it didn’t happen, she didn’t throw away her dream. She picked herself back up, analyzed what she did wrong, and got back to work.
Read our interview to learn her tips for sticking to your goal.
BPI: The last time we interviewed you, you were preparing for the Olympia. What were your expectations going into the show?
Sheena: The last show that I did before the Olympia was the New York Pro, which I won. That is a very prestigious show, so to win that, I went into the Olympia with high hopes, obviously. I also placed top six at the Arnold Classic Australia in March 2017, and that was basically the top six from last year’s Olympia. So with those shows in the background, I had very high expectations of myself.
BPI: How did you end up placing at the Olympia?
S: I placed 13th out of about 42, I think.
BPI: Obviously that was a disappointment. How did you cope with that?
S: Ya, I definitely hoped to place higher. I had very high expectations for myself, so I was incredibly disappointed, but at the same time, there are not many professional athletes in the IFBB who coach themselves, let alone coach themselves to 15th in the world. I had to be proud of just getting there. Coming from New Zealand, I was the first bikini pro to represent New Zealand or Australia at the Olympia in 2016. Then coming back in 2017, I was the first bikini pro to ever represent them twice at the Olympia. So coming from this other hemisphere where this whole sport is not even a scratch on the size and the amount of popularity that it has here, I have to be proud of what I’ve managed to achieve. I just had to accept that 15th was as good as I could do this year, and resolve to make changes and figure out what I was going to do to do better next year.
BPI: Is there anything you would change about your prep leading up to the Olympia?
S: To be honest, not really. I mean, I didn’t get as dry as I was in New York, but I did the exact same thing as New York. I matched everything identically. However, in the lead up to the Olympia, I had a photoshoot two days before the show. It was an amazing opportunity for the Bodybuilding.com Bodies of Work, and I’ve always wanted to do that, so when they asked me to do it, I was obviously very honored and excited. In hindsight, I don’t think I would risk doing a photoshoot that close to the show again. It was five hours in a studio, it was exhausting, it was hot, and I know that that was very physically taxing on my body. Also, the night before the Olympia, I couldn’t sleep. I always struggle with getting anxious and excited before a show and not being able to turn my brain off, but I couldn’t sleep. A bit of that was probably psychological stress because I’d put so much pressure on myself to do well. When you’re trying to dry out, it happens when you’re asleep and resting. So that set me back.
BPI: What are you looking forwards to next? What’s your next competition?
S: At this stage, I am hoping to do the Arnold Classic in Ohio and in Australia. They’re by invitation only. Last year I applied to do the Arnold Ohio and I missed out on an invite. I think over 200 people applied and they only took 16 girls, so that was very tough and I wasn’t chosen. I’ve done the Arnold Australia all three years, since the very first one. I placed 8th in 2015, 4th in 2016 and 6th in 2017 in an increasingly difficult line up. That’s kind of my home show. Even though I live in LA now, I still represent New Zealand, but there isn’t a show in New Zealand. Australia is one that I hope to do again because obviously it’s the closest thing I can get to competing at home. I also want to do the Pittsburgh Pro and defend my title at the New York Pro. I’ve chosen these shows with the new qualification system in mind because you no longer qualify for the Olympia by winning a show. In 2018, you have to qualify via point system. In bigger shows, like the New York Pro, you get double the points for placing than you would in a smaller show. Plus, I think in order to stand on stage at Olympia, you should be able to prove that you can win a big show. That you deserve to be there. So that’s why I’m doing all the harder shows.
BPI: So really your goals for 2018 haven’t changed very much from 2017. You’re just going about it a different way.
S: Yeah, exactly. My goal is to win the Olympia one day. I know that that’s the biggest possible goal in my sport, so a lot of people are probably looking at me thinking, “Who does she think she is to think that she could win the Olympia?” But I think the only way that you’re going to achieve your potential is by going for the biggest goal that you can. Maybe I won’t achieve it. Maybe I’ll come in the top five one day. But by trying to go as high as I possibly can, it pushes me to be the best I possibly can. I’ve also decided to work with a coach, which is definitely a change for me.
BPI: What advice would you give others who are coming off a hard loss and need to find motivation to go after their goal again?
S: I always say that you either win or you learn. People following my journey probably look at what I’ve achieved and think, “Wow, that’s amazing, she’s done so much!” But I’ve basically lost a lot more than I’ve won. I’ve had a lot more setbacks than I’ve had comebacks. I’ve learned a lot more from being disappointed and failing than I have from winning. The biggest thing I can say is make sure that you are learning from each experience, and a lot of it is just believing in yourself, to be honest. I have probably achieved things that others would’ve never thought I could. I had to believe in myself enough to keep going even though there were plenty of times when things were really hard and I could’ve easily given up and said, “This is too hard.” I had the overwhelming belief that I could, and that is the biggest thing. I think it’s very important to surround yourself with the right people as well. Don’t wait for opportunities. Go out and create opportunities. I’m just trying to create this picture of what I want my life to be. If I’d limited myself to what people expected me to do, I wouldn’t be here today. You have to get outside your comfort zone, you’ve got to believe in yourself, and you can’t quit. The only way to never be beaten is to never give up.