Name: Rich Gaspari
Occupation: CEO of Gaspari Nutrition, IFBB Hall of Fame Bodybuilder
I know that I'm not a competitive bodybuilder anymore. But that doesn't mean I can't train like a competitor. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I still can push myself to look like I am ready to get back on stage.
I put this to the test, though, when I decided to get into top shape at age 48. One of the greatest things about the 51-day journey to getting my ultimate body back was the reaction of others. Every day I brought a cooler to the office filled with the meals I had prepared ahead of time. I scheduled my meetings around my workouts. I've always done some workout—but it had never been a big enough priority before to move business meetings around as needed. People couldn't help but notice how strict my routine had become.
Then there was the obvious physical transformation. My body started getting harder, my abs were getting more definition by the day, my arms and chest were gaining size, and my veins were getting bigger. Nobody said anything, but I knew people were watching me closely.
Then, about a month into it, someone who works with me finally blurted out in a meeting, "Yeah, Rich is coming back. The Dragon Slayer is going to compete again!" I laughed and let everyone know that wasn't happening. But I was working so hard that some still were convinced I was on my way to the stage again. They weren't the only ones. The bodybuilding media was buzzing about a comeback.
The Ultimate Competition
"Admit it," a good friend said to me, "you are making a comeback to compete."
"You want the truth?" I asked him.
"I know the truth," he said. "You want to compete again."
"Well, you're probably right," I said. "I'd love to compete. But I'm 48—and I'm not going back on stage. That's not what this is about."
"Then what?" he asked. I finally had his attention.
"I got tired of making excuses for not having the body I wanted to have. It's always something: 'I'm too busy with the company. My kids are growing up so fast and my family needs me. I'm getting older.' All of those things may be true—and I'm going to take care of my business, my family, and be comfortable with myself at whatever age I am. But I wanted to say to myself and millions of others—there's no excuse for not getting into shape."
That didn't put rumors inside my company and within the bodybuilding world to rest right away, but now, almost a year after starting this journey, I think people finally believe me—that I did this for myself. But most of all, I hope they hear my message that life is too short to make excuses.
Now that doesn't mean that you and I can control everything. Stuff happens. There can be injuries or illness. Work really can be demanding. Family takes energy and commitment too. Let's face it, we can tell our kids we love them all we want, but a kid spells love with four different letters: T-I-M-E.
So I recognize that life comes at us fast and furious. But I still won't back down on saying that there are no excuses for not getting into shape. You don't have to follow my ideal of the perfect body. I'm a get-ripped, get-big bodybuilder at heart. But you need to strive for your ideal of what you believe your ultimate body is. Why am I reminding you of that? I don't want you to use, "I can't look like Rich Gaspari" as an excuse. That's fine and good. I want you to look like you at your best.
Why Can't You Do It?
I've trained with enough people to know that we can hear something, but not necessarily internalize it. You may know in your head that even if circumstances aren't ideal, there are no more excuses for you to not get into shape. But it might not be deep down in your heart and soul yet.
If that's the case, I want you to take a note card or small sheet of paper and write down every excuse you can think of for why you can't achieve your ultimate body. Carry it with you to your next couple of workouts. Look at it. Read it over and over. And when you know for sure you aren't going to let any of those excuses get in the way at the gym; on your diet; of your rest—I want you to burn that piece of paper to symbolize your commitment to prevail no matter what.
You and I both know the truth. There are no more excuses for not getting in great shape.