Bodybuilding - The Good, Bad And The Ugly!

No amount of pain and suffering would ever make me give up my dream.
As with anything that you will do, there are both good things and bad things about it. Bodybuilding is no exception to that. This is an article to let some of the beginners in on all the great things I have experienced in bodybuilding and the not so great things that I have experienced. No matter how bad the bad got it would never make me give up my dream of being the largest natural bodybuilder to walk the face of the earth. No amount of pain and suffering would ever make me give up my dream. Now these are just a few of the things that myself as well as some of my buddies came up with. Their size ranges from 180lbs to 275lbs so I put this together so it incorporated many different body types.

The Good:

Growing
To see yourself grow and see that your body is making the changes you want from all the hard work, pain and sacrifice is one of the best feelings in the world. When I see myself growing it really makes me see that hard work really does payoff. It is a great feeling of satisfaction. Nothing beats seeing pictures of myself that are from a few years old and being able to see such a drastic change.

The tight fitting clothes
When I go to my closet and I put on a shirt that just a few months ago fit good but now it fits really tight is a good measuring stick to see how far I have come in just a few short months. A perfect example of this for me is this. Just a few weeks ago my wife was in a wedding and we had to attend the rehearsal dinner and the reception afterwards. My wife informed me that I must wear a coat and tie, no tight shirts, well that's were the problem arose. I had no shirt or coat that fit me, so off to the store I went. I finally found a coat, a size 52 long, that looked like it belonged to a 350lb fat man. Then after a few days of looking I finally found a white dress shirt, a XXL with an 18" neck, and it fit really well.

I looked pretty good at the wedding except for that fat mans coat, I am having it tailored to be tapered to the waist as I am writing this.

The attention
There isn't a day that goes by that someone doesn't say something about me working out or ask questions regarding what I do. Even perfect strangers will have something to say. This is very rewarding and at the same time reassuring to me because it really helps me see that I am growing. A lot of the attention I get is that of not understanding why I do what I do but it's acknowledgement nonetheless.

With each pound I gain the attention becomes more and more. It's really weird when I walk into a restaurant or some type of crowded space and people stop what they are doing and take a glance my way. I know that the bigger I get the more looks I will get. I once heard a pro bodybuilder say this about being so much bigger than the average Joe. He said, "Once I hit the 275lb mark the attention was unbelievable. I could have walk into a very crowded room with Mel Gibson on one side and Pamela Anderson on the other and people would say 'Hey there is Mel Gibson and Pamela Anderson' but the very next words out of their mouths would be 'Yeah but did you see how big that dude was that walked in with them'". I am only 240lbs right now and I get attention so I can imagine how much one would get being 275lbs and above. One thing you must realize if you intend on getting really big is you will look freaky compared to the average person. Most of it is admiration and respect from people but some is that of jealousy because they don't have what it takes to get to where you are.

Confidence
Before I started bodybuilding I had very little self-esteem and confidence. I wasn't very out going at all. But now I feel more at ease with talking to others and my self-esteem level is through the roof. This to me has been one of the greatest things that bodybuilding has brought to my life. I don't shy away from anyone and I will even start up conversations with people I don't know. I never feel uncomfortable in a crowd of people, but when I was 130lbs I was very uncomfortable and just felt really weak.

Training
I love to train. I love the pump I get when training. I love to go heavy, I love to go light, and well basically I just love everything about it. If I miss a scheduled training day my day will suck badly. I hate to miss, and when I do you will know it. I am in a horrible mood and very anxious acting all day long. If they where to make a drug that would make me 300lbs and ripped without having to ever touch a weight I wouldn't take it. I just love being one on one with the steel and achieving a mind-blowing pump.

The Bad

Now with the bad I am not trying to turn anyone off to getting into bodybuilding but I have never read where anyone has written anything on the topic. A lot of people I know get into bodybuilding wanting to be huge then they experience some of the bad things about it and they quit. Now I feel that few of these things will never happen unless you want to be freaky big. Now some will experience these on a day-to-day basis. I never really experienced any of the bad things until I hit 220lbs and ever since it's almost a daily struggle with them. It gets old at times but to me it's just a price to pay to get where I want to be.

Lower back pain
I get this really bad with each 10-12lbs I gain and it usually lasts for two to three weeks. It happens when I gain weight and my lower back isn't strong enough to handle the extra pounds. After a few weeks of extra lower back training and stretching the pain will subside and my lower back adjusts to the extra weight. During this period I will usually take a lot of Advil to help ease the pain through out the day. To me this is one of the most annoying aspects of bulking.

Something that kind of falls in the same category is heel pain. The same thing happens with my heels as it does my lower back. This pain isn't as bad but annoying just the same. It never hurts bad enough to walk but it's just a very annoying pain.

Sleeplessness
Now this is the one that I hate the most. The bigger I get the harder it is to get comfortable at night. I have only two positions I can fall asleep in that are comfortable, laying on my stomach and laying on my back. If I lay on my side, my arms and legs go to sleep, which really sucks because that is my favorite sleeping position. Sometimes even going to sleep on my stomach is no good due to all the food I have consumed through out the day. I love to sleep with one arm under my pillow but with all the growing my shoulders and arms have been doing lately that is no good anymore either. I can only imagine how hard it must be for those big freaky 300 pounders to comfortable and get to sleep.

Clothes - the bad part
I love trendy clothing stores like Structure, The Gap and Old Navy. I was in Structure the other day and I saw some really good looking rayon/cotton T-shirts and I thought that they would look great for a bodybuilder. Well they do but the problem is they only go up to XL and that looks like I got the shirt two sizes to small. I also where a lot of polo shirts especially to work and the only place I can find them is Dillards. If they are not XXL they are just uncomfortable, now I like a tight fitting shirt but at work I want to be comfortable. I have managed to find a couple of XXXL but these have to be made for guys well over 350lbs. These XXXL shirts hang down to my knees, they look ridiculous.

Over the past few weeks I have been really shopping around for some online shops that cater to the bodybuilder and have managed to find a few whose prices aren't sky high. They have great clothes and all are tapered to fit a bodybuilder to show off in all the right spots, which is what we want any ways.

Soreness
Now this can be a problem no matter how much muscle mass you have but it does depend on how hard you train. I get sore pretty much after each workout so there is never a day that goes by that I am not sore some where on my body. Even the weekends I am sore, I train legs later in the week and my legs may be sore for two or three days. Some of the guys who I talked to hate being sore but I love it. It lets me know I did my job while training.

Eating
Now when I complain about all the eating I must do throughout the day everybody at my work gets extremely upset with me because I don't gain any body fat while doing this. I eat every three hours that I am awake, that means a lot of food prep time and times during the day I eat when I am not really hungry. Force-feeding myself while bulking is very hard. If you have never tried to consume 6000+ calories a day it will be hard for you to relate. With this three-hour window it can make some things difficult. When me and my family go to the mall to do some shopping and my three hour window is up, whether anyone else is hungry or not, I must sit down and eat.

I love to eat but I do go though times when I get really sick of all the prep time, all the containers that I take to work and even get tired of eating, this is when it's the hardest for me to stay disciplined and fight through. When this happens I will usually cut my meals back to every four hours for a couple of weeks so that I don't get burned out.

Now the Ugly

Stretch Marks
At some point all of us get them, some noticeable and some not. I have them under my arms and at the pec/delt tie in really bad and on the inner part of my thighs. My traps get them on occasion but they do go away after a few weeks. I have seen some guys who have them on their biceps and triceps, which is not pretty. But this is all a part of growing and if you don't want them you really need to reevaluate your goals. I have seen guys before who were making great gains but when the first stretch mark appeared they quit thinking it was so ugly and ruined his hard work.

Like I said in the beginning this is not to turn anyone off to bodybuilding but to add some insight into the things behind the scenes, so to speak. I love this sport and I wouldn't change anything about it. I not only think it's the size of bodybuilders but also the ability to tolerate the pain and all the sacrifice that goes along with this sport that separates us from the average person. So with all that said, now it's time to grow and make the bad things mentions above even worse, but I love it, so bring it!