I recently began a journey to get myself into the best shape possible. The thing is, I really don't have anything to prove. I feel I have already accomplished so much: from having one of the best careers in bodybuilding, to a successful supplement company, to a beautiful family.
Not many people can say this, I know. I'm grateful for my blessings, proud of what I worked for, and I don't take my success for granted. I believe that working hard will always pay off in the end, and I always look at life with a positive outlook. My father always said that you get nothing if you don't work at it. No one will give you anything, so don't expect it. And I never did.
Getting myself back into the ripped condition that I was known for in the 1980's, with all the things I do for my business and my family, is like asking to have a root canal done for fun. I haven't seriously dieted in more than 15 years, and honestly I like the fact that I can eat what I want and stay in fairly good shape. That's a plus. I have good genetics and don't gain body fat easily.
Now, getting in shape like when I competed is another story! The days of measuring every gram of food and eating exactly on time have been over for many years. Getting to the gym is something I love to do, obviously, but if I have to miss a day here or there I do it and don't sweat it. I have so much to do, meetings at my office and traveling to events, that it makes it easy for me to miss a workout occasionally.
Rich Gaspari, Walking The Walk Trailer
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Lately my training has been much more consistent, and people have said I look good. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at how many encouraging comments I got when I was inducted into the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame. Many people said they were impressed with how I looked, and asked if I was making a comeback to competition!
Of course I was flattered, but I know in my heart that my days of walking on stage are in the past. For me to compete at this point in my life and career would be stepping backward and not forward in what I am trying to accomplish as more of a fitness authority than a competitive bodybuilder.
So, after the Muscle Beach event, I decided to take an objective look at myself and ask, "Could I get myself in good enough shape for a magazine cover?" I actually still had abs and had some good muscle mass. I felt like I was Rocky Balboa in the last movie where he said he had a fire in his belly for that one last time to show he could do it. I felt the same way. I had to see if I could get into contest shape without entering a contest, something I had never done in my life.
So I emailed my good friend John Balik of Ironman magazine and asked him, "If I can get in good enough shape, can I get a cover?" He asked if he could see how I looked first before making any promises. So I had Joe Volgey, my Marketing Director, take some pictures to send over for him to review.
I also made the decision, like I always do, that I would stay positive and start dieting and training for the cover shoot as if it were already a foregone conclusion. I have always believed in being positive, and by being that way you will always get what you want. Positive mental reinforcement is something I've believed in all my life, looking at the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. That's a belief we should all have, because opportunities happen more with positive thinking.