The articles I have written for this web site, Bodybuilding.com, are all from my personal experience as a high-level natural bodybuilder, save the obesity article which was a more academic-type piece. This article is yet another one based on my personal experience, relating mainly to my personal struggles in the world of bodybuilding.
A Brutal Sport
Bodybuilding is a brutal sport. By brutal, I mean that the amounts of personal discipline required to go anywhere in the sport are psychologically debilitating at times.
Not all the time of course, or why would people bother? If you don't find great joy from hard training and a tremendous sense of accomplishment from a balanced and powerful physique, then perhaps you would be better off dozing in front of your TV dreaming of frolicking in a daisy field in a far off 'HappyLand'.
For most of us (I hope, for your sake anyway), our 'happy land' is being buried in weight from a loaded barbell across our shoulders, about to attempt... no... COMPLETE the final few repetitions of our fourth set of squats. That's really what I love doing. When everything hurts, your legs are shaking, sweat beads on your forehead and you can't breathe enough... now that's bodybuilding.
I'm getting myself all pumped up now. But seriously, if you can't find the enjoyment in that, then perhaps real bodybuilding isn't for you. I'm speaking to myself when I write this, I really don't mean to preach at you.
If you're asking yourself, "Where's the fun in THAT?!" in response to my description above, then please go get a blanket and curl up on your favorite couch. Goodnight cupcake. (Laughing)
Now is it possible to always maintain the same high level of deep enthusiasm, year in and year out with excruciating workouts? Please face it, you're human and so am I. 2005 was the most difficult year in my life in regards to my training.
First I had a shoulder injury that completely annihilated my training for about 6 months, then came the trauma of having to look in the mirror at a withered and weak physique. With that withered physique not even worthy of an underwear model (ouch), I realized that I still had to lift weights! Why can't it just magically reappear? Life never has and never will work that way.
So I got my little panty-waist back into the gym and started my training all over again. It wasn't long before personal circumstances in my life sent me upon an emotional rollercoaster that almost allowed maintenance of my barely-above-withered physique.
This continued for some time, stressing me out to the point where I became sick at least 3 times in near as many months, again sabotaging my training. By sick, I don't mean a head-cold either, I mean antibiotics-are-your-friend type sick. So at this point my shoulder was better and at least I was physically able to bench-press again, but emotionally I was completely fried, which is worse than a physical injury in my opinion.
I didn't know what to do. I began to question my motivation for bodybuilding. Did I really love the pain and mind-numbing discipline? At that point in my life, it didn't seem nearly as appealing as it had before. Do not question your desire to build an amazing physique. EVER.
When you're psychologically wacked out due to uncontrollable circumstances, don't question your previous motivation. No, you're not going to feel like training, and it's probably better to take it a little easier, but deep down if you had the desire before, then it's still in there. That's what I learned.
A More Humbled Approach
Life takes time, training takes time and it's up to each individual to make the best of it all. Now my approach to the sport is different, and much more humbled.
Things have cleared up enough for me personally to focus on my training in earnest once again. I know I haven't written for this web site in a while, and it really got to me.
I love writing, I love bodybuilding and I love being able to share personal experiences with people that may help them somewhere down the road. So now I'm training again, but I kept asking myself,
I believe I have at least one answer now, which I'm excited to share with you, because it may really benefit you. Let's see... I'm 25 right now, and I've been reading and training with the goal of being a fantastic bodybuilding champion since my early teenage years.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
I've always been thirsty for knowledge and scientific basis for the natural side of bodybuilding, so I could use it to my advantage in my training to become a champion.
Turning To The Pros:
I realized that true natural bodybuilders, competitive ones, really good ones were few and far between, so I turned to learning about the experiences of unnatural champions, gleaning as much information as I could and desperately trying to apply it to my own life and relevant experiences.
From Arnold to Vic Richards, I kept reading and studying. If you look deeply into the lives of champions, you'll see something very interesting.
Champions aren't always the unfailing pictures of amazing humanity that we may think they are. I had always thought they were. Arnold have a bad day? What? Not want to train?! No way. Never. He's ARNOLD. Laughing... ridiculous. Yes, it really is ridiculous. Look, we're all human. Bad days come and go, but so do good ones.
Tough Times Don't Last
Where I screwed up, was thinking that while going through hard circumstances I somehow didn't really have what it took to be THE champion. Doesn't life have to be perfect to be a real champion? Not perfect outwardly, like houses and cars and money, but I'm referring to being perfect inwardly, with never-failing desire and superhuman resistance to pain. This is NOT so. Champions have pain too. Nobody's life is perfect, and nobody has it easy. Period. Outwardly, sure but inwardly it's a different story.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Everyone Has Their Share Of Good Days & Bad Days.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Here.
Arnold still has bad days. Vic Richards still has bad days (I'm pretty sure he's still alive). The only time you've lost is when you've given up totally. I'm reminded of a silly but sort-of relevant saying:
Don't beat yourself up with it, but realize that everyone is human and we all have hard days, sometimes hard months, or maybe even hard years.
Here's what it all boils down to: