|We all have people we look up to, people who inspire us to do certain things. Many people affectionately look to their parental figures or friends for motivation and for help. Performers working stints in clubs look to the stars: if your a prospective comedian you might look to Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Jim Carey, Ben Stiller or maybe even Curly, Larry and Moe. If you are a musician you might want to be the next B.B King, Metallica, the next great punk band, or the next DMX.||
(Metallica will sue us for using this picture.)
Athletes in general look to other athletes for inspiring them to attain their goals, sometimes for competitiveness if it is an athlete on your team that you are at odds with or it might be a professional athlete who as notoriety in a sport. Say ya wanna be a ballah like Allen Iverson, if you are a competitive rower you might be looking to be the next Jack Kelly (a famous sculler from the early 20th century) or maybe you wanna be the second coming of Michael Johnson or Roger Bannister (who in addition to breaking the 4-minute mile was also a rower). IN BODYBUILDING, HAVING A ROLE MODEL IS AN INDISPENSIBLE COMPONENT OF CRAFTING YOUR PHYISIQUE.
Now, you may be thinking "What good is this article, what I need is training and diet info, not someone's philosophical analog" -- Bear with me please, because I have found that having bodybuilders that I look up to has been a BIG part in me attaining my goals. From the beginning I have stressed the importance of having a well-formulated plan of attack and having a body the you aspire to is one of the most integral parts of that plan. You gotta have something in the back of your head you want to get to someday or else your efforts will seem fruitless because you will end up asking yourself what you want.
When you go on a road trip it's the same way; you don't follow the map aimlessly -- you have a destination that and follow the best routes to get there. In bodybuilding it is very much the same because your destination is the body of your dreams and the role models you emulate are the trail blazers.
Say you wanna be a ball of mass like powerlifting champ Ed Coan ... you wouldn't be working out like Frank Zane to end up like Ed Coan. I mean Frank had a proportionate, lean symmetrical body but he sure couldn't squat 1000lbs or deadlift 901 pounds like Ed Coan. Fact is whether you are training for proportion and symmetry and going for a Frank Zane look or, at the other extreme with Ed Coan getting b.a.f/s.a.s (big as fu*k/strong as sheeeit) you will not be able to attain either unless you have something at the end of the journey that you are trying to get.
Arnold, who is often given the nod as being the best bodybuilder of all time, is a good illustration of how to use role models to fuel your efforts. Arnold modeled his training and nutrition around a British Bodybuilder from the 1950s named Reg Park. For his time (and even now) Reg Park had an amazing physique with an amazing blend of mass, leanness and symmetry. Arnold set the goal of one day building his body to look like Reg Park's. As a matter of fact when Arnold was training to win the Mr. Universe he wrote to Reg asking for insight and Reg invited Arnold to train with him. When Arnold began training with his role model, Park helped Arnold bring up his weak calf muscles -- Arnold allegedly gained 2 inches on his calves, doing standing calf raises with 1000 pounds, under the direction or Reg Park. Arnold's bodybuilding efforts show us the benefit of having influential role models and coupling them with goals ( you don't become the world's most developed man and become one of the highest paid actors with out following others and setting goals).
Today's pro bodybuilders are no different in this respect. Shawn Ray and rookie pro Melvin Anthony both were inspired by 1980s sensation John Brown, and everyone from Flex Wheeler to Ronnie Coleman to Gunter Schilerkamp drew upon the influence from guys like Lee Haney, Rory Callendar, Serge Nubret, and Rich Gaspari. The bottom line is that these guys had and idea of what they sought and they went after it with a vengeance, experimenting with what their mentors did and incorporated into there own training and contest prep. You too should do the same -- find a physique that you are trying to obtain, see what they did to get it and use it in addition to finding out what works for you.