How Can One Deal With Negative Social Activities?

How can one deal with negative social activities? Even some of the strongest minded people can succumb to peer pressure. Find motivation and success from the following tips and ideas! Read on for more.


TOPIC: How Can One Deal With Negative Social Activities?

The Question:

Even some of the strongest minded people can succumb to peer pressure. Drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. are all negative social activities that many bodybuilders and everyday people struggle with.

How can one deal with negative social activities?

Which people are most likely to fall into these bad habits?

What is the worst thing that a bodybuilder can give into?

Bonus Question: Which of these things were you most tempted by? How did you cope with it?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

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1st Place - blackirish
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Managing Peer Pressure

Even some of the strongest minded people can succumb to peer pressure. Drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. are all negative social activities that many bodybuilders and everyday people struggle with.

I think it is important to state from the outset of this article that I completely disagree with the premise.

First, we need to be clear that peer pressure goes both ways. My friends can either pressure me to engage in negative activities or positive activities. We use semantics to differentiate the two, calling one "pressure" and the other "inspiration".

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I won't have friends who try to get me to do things they know go against my values or goals. Conversely, I try to find individuals who share those values and goals. You often find that success gurus suggest finding a mentor to push you towards your goals. That is peer pressure at its best.

Second, strong minded people do not succumb to negative peer pressure. One may consider him/herself to be strong minded and completely self-directed, but if they can be put off their goals or values by simple peer pressure, then they are mistaken.

A person who knows what they believe, and why they believe it, will not be swayed by pressure. That is the heart of a strong will and strong mind. I believe that one can consider themselves strong minded when their social contacts simply stop trying to pressure them, because they have learned that such efforts are futile.

The applicable axiom is "Know thyself".


How Can One Deal With Negative Social Activities?

There are two ways to approach social situations that are potentially damaging to a person. One must decide what strategy they will adopt by examining what they know about themselves. Make sure you understand the temptations, understand the ramifications, and understand your own nature in dealing with such things.

Make Sure You Understand The Temptations.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Make Sure You Understand The Temptations.

As an example, I will use myself. I have never smoked, never been drunk, and never experimented with drugs. I even avoided sexual situations before I met my wife. Why? I was born into a family rife with addictive personalities.

My father and all three of my brothers smoke, chew, or both. One of my brothers struggles with several destructive addictions. As I grew up, I watched them, and came to understand that this was in my blood. I don't want to have an addiction to deal with, and I took the opportunity to learn about myself by observing the mistakes of others.

First, one can simply avoid such situations. This is the option you need to choose when you recognize that the activity poses a serious threat to your willpower. You may not be tempted to smoke or shoot drugs, but a night out at your favorite bar & grill may be too much to handle when you're dieting and buffalo wings fill the air with their delicious aroma.

If you love to drink, and getting drunk is not in your best interests, then avoid the temptation. This strategy does not imply complete abstinence from these activities, only that you have the wisdom to decide whether the activity in question is appropriate at that particular point in time.

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As a bodybuilder, you should understand that getting drunk is never in your best interests. None of us need lower testosterone, higher cortisol, and the resultant plunge into catabolism. Again, understand the ramifications. If you are willing to pay the price, don't worry about doing the deed, but weigh the consequences carefully.

The second strategy involves sheer willpower, or disinterest in the supposed temptation. This is my way. I know myself, and have an intellectual understanding of my weaknesses, and so drugs and alcohol hold no attraction for me.

If you can find this kind of self-knowledge, you will be able to enter any social situation and remain untouched by peer pressure.

Always remember that if people can't accept you the way you are, then you shouldn't worry about having them accept you at all. In fact, you should feel somewhat insulted when a group only wants to spend time with you while you are inebriated. I don't care who you are, you are worth more than that.

You Should Feel Insulted When A Group Only Wants To Spend Time With You When You're Inebriated.
+ Click To Enlarge.
You Should Feel Insulted When A Group Only Wants To
Spend Time With You When You're Inebriated.

There are those that believe in the idea of "tribalism" as an excuse to give in to destructive social pressures. This theory teaches that as social creatures we are extremely vulnerable to being taken in by the group, to subordinating our will to the will of the tribe. While this is indeed a good, solidly proven theory, I believe we often completely misunderstand the implications of the idea.

Someone has to lead the tribe; someone has to provide the ideas that make up the will of the whole. This person is the strongest of the tribe in terms of self-confidence. Sometimes this coincides with intellectual and/or physical superiority, but not as often as one would imagine.

This confidence comes from a complete self-actualization. These people know who they are, they know what they believe, and they absolutely believe (right or wrong) that their convictions are best for the group.

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The key to social interaction is to become the chief, and guide your circle according to your values, or to find a group with leadership that reflects your attitudes.

The concept of self-actualization leads to the next question.


Which People Are Most Likely To Fall Into These Bad Habits?

There are a few personality types that are likely to find themselves constantly bowing to negative peer pressure. However, these types often have a certain characteristic in common.

In one way or another, these people usually have a flawed or incomplete perception of themselves. This causes them to look to others for actualization. They perceive themselves, and their worth, as they think others perceive them. They will do anything to be liked by others, even if they find that they don't like themselves afterwards.

They Will Do Anything To Be Liked, Even If They Won't Like Themselves Afterwards.
+ Click To Enlarge.
They Will Do Anything To Be Liked, Even If
They Won't Like Themselves Afterwards.

They don't understand their own worth, don't know their own strengths. Most importantly, these people are so plugged into their need to be liked, that they will not leave their current "friends" to find people who accept them at face value, without further expectations.

People need to realize that they don't need to pursue experiences or external inputs to "find themselves". The core beliefs and values of an individual are set early in life, and those core components will almost invariably win out in the end. So look to yourself and your family to find out who you are.

Sometimes you'll find that you have been shaped by the positives of your upbringing, and sometimes by the negative. Either way, you will find that what defines you comes from those experiences, not the experiences of your teenage and early adult years.

You may have guessed from my statements above that I was shaped by the negative, that I learned how NOT to do things from my family. My values are no less valid for it. Don't assume that a poor upbringing has doomed you to repeat the mistakes of your forebears.

For those reading who are parents, consider this deeply. My daughters will not go off to college "looking for themselves". My greatest gift to them will be sending them off to face the world knowing that they stand on a firm foundation of values and confidence in their own judgment.

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The good news for bodybuilders is that they rarely have this personality characteristic, in my experience. The sport naturally weeds out those who do things to please others. We thrive on discipline, self-control, and we live to see improvement. This kind of attitude annihilates destructive behavior.

Further, bodybuilding is a thinking man's pursuit, an intellectual exercise. The sheer volume of thought we must put into manipulating the various aspects of the bodybuilding lifestyle leads naturally to a thoughtful approach to other issues in our lives.

An individual must always remember that thoughtfulness leads to wise decisions, while emotionally driven decision making often begets negative actions and consequences.


What Is The Worst Thing That A Bodybuilder Can Give Into?

The obvious answer to this question is hard drugs. However, one must remember that all drugs are gateways to stronger drugs. Nicotine to pot, pot to crack.

Remember That All Drugs Are Gateways To Stronger Drugs.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Remember That All Drugs Are
Gateways To Stronger Drugs.

If you determine that you may have an addictive personality, resolve to avoid all drugs, even addictive painkillers. In my mind, hard drug users have most likely long given up being bodybuilders. Such substances leave little room for other pursuits, as I understand.

If you can drink socially without getting drunk, then by all means feel free. Smoking is bad no matter how you cut it, but if you feel you can indulge in this addiction without moving on to others, that is your choice.

As George Foreman says about his cheeseburger addiction, "You gotta be willing to pay the price". As I said before, it all comes down to knowing yourself before you make decisions that could end in disaster.


Which Of These Things Were You Most Tempted By?

As I have said, I have not really ever been tempted by the specific items laid out in the opening statement of this topic. I have drunk alcohol in the past socially, but never been drunk.

Food is my greatest temptation. This is due, I believe, to my mother's penchant for preparing very large meals when I was young, and letting us eat as much as we wanted. My mom is a very good cook. This habit was set very young, and I struggle to control myself when confronted with tasty treats. So I avoid them as much as possible. This is the only area in which I make use of strategy #1.

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I'd like to wrap this up with an observation. When you are yourself, when you stand on your convictions and refuse to budge, you will be respected. You will find that those who genuinely like you will like you more, and want to spend more time with you. Those who use you for their own ends will quickly find others to dominate.

All of my close friends in high school were regular guys. They drank, smoked pot, chased women, and cursed like sailors. I still hung out with them, and not only did they never try to pressure me into behavior that they may have been "more comfortable" with, they quickly began to emulate me.

By knowing who I was, I naturally became the chief of the tribe. I found that they followed where I led, and adopted my attitudes while they were around me.

I was not naturally gifted with leadership. In fact, in my junior high years, I was the farthest thing from a leader. I was depressed, didn't like myself or my family, and actually thought often of suicide.

The change was the result of a single decision. One day, in a black mood, I simply grew tired of trying to be what other people wanted me to be. I decided I would be my own person, and that even if that person drove everyone away from me, at least I would be able to respect myself.

I found that people liked me more. So will you.


2nd Place - soundcheck129
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Even some of the strongest minded people can succumb to peer pressure. Drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. are all negative social activities that many bodybuilders and everyday people struggle with.


How Can One Deal With Negative Social Activities?

While the easy answer to this question would be to just avoid them, I don't think this is realistic. First of all, negative social activities are all around, so you'd have to sit by yourself at home, totally cut off from the rest of the world in order to insulate yourself from the vices of others.

And even if this were the case, I think you'd still have temptation, because the desire to engage in negative social activities often grows out of boredom or dissatisfaction with one's current state. So being a hermit is NOT a solution, it's a problem in itself.

The first way to deal with these activities is to just be happy with yourself. It may sound a little hokey, but when you look in the mirror, you should realize that you have plenty of reasons to smile. Have confidence in yourself and love your life. If you do, you'll realize that things like smoking and abusing substances is only going to tarnish the greatness of the person you are.

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Think about it - how many celebrities appear shamed in the news for a DUI conviction or a trip to drug rehab centers? Have you ever seen a headline that says, "Coach 'Couldn't Be More Proud' of Star Athlete's Consecutive Keg Stand Record"? I didn't think so.

It may have been cool in high school to break the rules and sneak cigarettes into the bathroom, but your parents had a point in punishing such actions - you were only hurting yourself by doing them.

It can be difficult to avoid imbibing if you're at a party, but with enough confidence, you should realize you don't need alcohol as a social lubricant. You're interesting enough to converse with even without a drink in your hand. And sure, beer pong victories are sweet at the time, but the only lasting impression from such an event will be on your liver. Life is short enough - don't make it shorter.

What Is Beer Pong?
Beer pong is a drinking game that is played with paddles and is loosely based on ping pong. While there is some debate on the subject, fraternity students at Dartmouth College are widely credited as the first to play the game. Many variations of this game have been formed, but this game should not be confused with "Beirut", which is also known as "beer pong" in many areas.

Similarly, smoking damages you inside and out. It tarnishes your teeth, nails and skin and leaves you smelling all the time. You work hard to better yourself in the gym - don't waste that effort by tearing down what you just created by taking a drag after you're done.

For bodybuilders specifically, diet can be a huge issue. As a college student, I know how many temptations there are - unhealthy food, substance abuse, sleeping in all day, partying all night and forgetting the gym altogether. The best way to keep these temptations at bay is to keep your goals in mind at all times. Is three seconds of chewing really worth the energy crash and a compromised physique? Probably not.

A good way to keep yourself in check is to surround yourself with others who have a similar mindset. This way, you can all help each other stay on track and reinforce good habits rather than begin or continue bad ones. You'd be surprised how much of an influence your friends can have on you; make sure it's a positive one.

Surround Yourself With Others Who Have A Similar Mindset.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Surround Yourself With Others
Who Have A Similar Mindset.

The bottom line, regarding any of these bad habits, is just to think about the consequences before you act. Sure, giving in once won't kill you, but once patterns of behavior are developed, they are very hard to disengage from.

The best way to avoid a domino effect is to make discipline your habit, and eventually it will become second nature. It's a simple, logical process: think, and then act. If your goals are worth anything, they're worth a minute or two of consideration to weigh how an action may affect you later on. Focus on the big picture.


Which People Are Most Likely To Fall Into These Bad Habits?

While some people think that certain individuals have more addictive personalities than others, I don't believe that is the case. Anyone can fall victim to bad habits, but certain factors can make them more likely. A lack of discipline, a "follower" mentality, friends with poor habits and an overly busy lifestyle can sabotage even the best intentions.

However, though it may seem unlikely, I feel as though some of those who are very rigid may be particularly susceptible to falling into self-destructive behavior.

An overly strict adherence to an 100% clean diet and daily, intense exercise with no break can leave one craving some sort of solace. At this point, one may be liable to "snap" and fall off the wagon. Rather than a minor slip-up, the harshness of a brutal routine can drive one into a complete collapse, whether it be going crazy with binge eating or drinking.

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In order to avoid such a nightmare, it is essential to give yourself a break at times. Giving yourself time to relax and 'giving in' occasionally to minor temptations just to be sane. This is why some trainers require "cheat days." A structured deviation from a very disciplined lifestyle can keep one sane and help one focus on goals more clearly. We're not robots - so don't expect to be able to ignore every urge.


What Is The Worst Thing That A Bodybuilder Can Give Into?

The worst thing a bodybuilder can give in to is himself. While others may often tempt you with things, you are ultimately the boss. Not having goals, or not respecting them will set you on a path toward failure. Similarly, falling for your own excuses as to why you don't want to follow your diet or training will harm you as well.

It all boils down to attitude. Giving in to a bad attitude will get you nowhere. Don't get discouraged if you have a misstep, and don't be disillusioned if your goals seem to be far off. The longer and harder the journey, the greater the reward. Your greatest weakness is in your mind, but you can overcome it with the right mindset.

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Be proud of your accomplishments, be confident in your pursuits, but be realistic enough to see your faults and have the will to move past them.


Which Of These Things Were You Most Tempted By?

As I previously mentioned, I am a college student, so I'd have to say the biggest temptation is alcohol. While the dining hall is filled with a lot of sweets, I can steer clear of that section pretty easily. But in a small town with not many entertainment venues, life outside of class revolves around alcohol. And I'd rather not sacrifice socialization, so I do go out.

When I first started going out but not drinking, I was always drilled with questions about why not, how did I expect to have fun, what was wrong with me, etc, etc. However, once people became used to it, it wasn't as much of an issue.

I just had to stick to my convictions and stay strong. Sure, it's still a temptation, but resisting it has become a habit so it's not as difficult as it once was. Also, my friends like me for who I am and respect the decision, so it's a more comfortable situation all around. Plus, they know they have a designated driver to count on.


3rd Place - jdaw2552
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Throughout everyone's life, everyone comes into contact with drugs and alcohol, how much is up to them. Being a bodybuilder is probably the most difficult lifestyle to attain while consuming alcohol and drugs.


How Can One Deal With Negative Social Activities?

First I would like to explain why these are negative social activities for a bodybuilder. Besides the occasional glass of wine for antioxidants, alcohol serves little purpose to a bodybuilder.

Alcohol contains 7 calories for every gram. These aren't just calories though. Alcohol is empty calories and contains no nutrients. A can of beer on the very light end contains around 100 calories and can go up to over 200 calories. A light beer probably averages around 120 calories per can. That is only slightly less than a can of soda.

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In order to get drunk, you may consume upwards of 10 cans. That is well over 1,000 calories! Keep in mind that vodka has slightly less calories, but still contains a high calorie content per shot.

So you're thinking, "Whatever, I will just have that on my cheat day, I eat healthy the rest of the week". Wrong. When alcohol is in your system, it messes up your Krebs cycle. Messing up your Krebs cycle causes your metabolism to slow down and causes your body to stop burning fats. Your body is fighting to get rid of the alcohol that it stops burning fat. This can be disastrous if you are trying to lose weight.

What Is The Krebs Cycle?
The Krebs Cycle is a series of enzyme-catalysed chemical reactions of central importance in all living cells that use oxygen as part of cellular respiration. In eukaryotes, the citric acid cycle occurs in the matrix of the mitochondrion. The components and reactions of the citric acid cycle were established by seminal work from both Albert Szent-Gy?rgyi and Hans Krebs.

In aerobic organisms, the citric acid cycle is part of a metabolic pathway involved in the chemical conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water to generate a form of usable energy.

Alcohol has been shown to lower testosterone and raise estrogen. There is a reason guys build muscles much more efficiently than girls and the testosterone is a very large part of that. To make matters worse, alcohol disrupts and slows down protein synthesis a lot.

It does this by taking water out of your muscles (which causes it to fight against creatine, which stores water in the muscles, another reason we should avoid alcohol). As bodybuilders, we strive for every extra inch of muscle by taking expensive supplements, some of which haven't even been proven.

With all the time you put in at the gym, losing some of your protein synthesis is making your workout a waste. Keep in mind that these effects last 1-2 days, this isn't just a one night thing.

Drugs are not much better. There are many drugs out there and getting into all of them wouldn't be necessary besides telling you THEY ARE DRUGS! They are illegal for a reason. Meth, crack, heroine, cocaine have so many negative effects, such as hallucinations and tremors among others, they should be avoided at all costs. But I would like to mention the more popular drug marijuana, also known as weed.

There have been studies that say marijuana is better for you than cigarettes and may actually contain health benefits. I'm going to settle this once and for all. Cigarettes are terrible for you, so something being better for you doesn't make it healthy. Smoking anything is bad for you. It is very bad for your lungs and heart. We need our lungs and heart to be able to get the best workout we can from our cardio.

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Weed is a gateway drug and can lead to far more unhealthy drugs. I had a friend who said he would drink, but not do drugs, within a few months he had started smoking weed regularly. He then said he wouldn't go any farther. After a few spills with drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, he has dropped out of college.

They say weed kills ambition. I have seen many people quit caring about life because of it. Saying your going to workout is easy, actually doing it is even harder. How many times have you wanted to skip a workout and didn't? You have the ambition and drive to succeed, not many people have what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle, but you do. Don't give that up for anything.

You Have The Ambition And Drive To Succeed.
+ Click To Enlarge.
You Have The Ambition And Drive To Succeed.

It's easy for me just to tell you to avoid Friday and Saturday nights at the bars or parties, but you could have told yourself that. Staying in on the weekends when it seems like everyone else is out will quickly kill any social circle you thought you may have been a part of. If you can find a group of friends that you like and enjoy being around that stay away from parties, that's great and consider yourself lucky.

In high school, if you drank you wouldn't be able to play sports, so that was a reason I avoided alcohol during high school. Even being caught at a party with alcohol even if you weren't drinking was grounds for getting cut from the team, so I strayed pretty far from parties throughout the better part of high school.

College is a different story. Besides an underage drinking charge, you lack any real incentive not to go out and party.

Let's suppose you have exhausted all possible ways out of a party and decided you would rather be at a social gathering where drinking/drugs are prevalent than whatever the other options are. I have explained why someone who cares about their body shouldn't drink, but dealing with the situation is different entirely.

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Now you are at a social situation and have already decided you will not engage in any such negative behavior. At a very large social situation, it is very likely that the place is so packed that you can just walk around and talk to people and no one will notice you are not drinking except maybe a few close friends, who shouldn't care, but I will go into your friends in more detail later.

You can skip out on the beers and if someone comes up and gives you one, it shouldn't be too hard to find someone there who would gladly take it off your hands. If you really want to be creative and make people think you are drinking, it is very possible to put juice (or a protein shake by using a funnel) in a flask and pretend you are drinking. If anyone tries to drink it, protein shakes don't taste that good anyway and you can tell them it's a malt alcohol beverage.

Keep in mind that if you do go out to drinking situations, you shouldn't frown upon others drinking. Trying to preach about staying clean at a party is just foolish. Just remember why you won't drink, and realize these people don't care about their bodies as much as you do and it is their choice to participate in the said activities.

Trying To Preach About Staying Clean At A Party Is Just Foolish.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Trying To Preach About Staying Clean
At A Party Is Just Foolish.

You will find that at every social situation there are people not drinking. There are designated drivers and people who just don't want to drink. Being a designated driver gains instant respect among partygoers as you are sacrificing your night of fun to keep your friends safe. Even if you aren't driving, it is much easier to say you are a designated driver than trying to explain protein synthesis and the Krebs cycle.

More than likely, your friends drink and enjoy it. If you are at a place with just your friends and they want you to drink with them, you will have to explain to them why you are avoiding alcohol. Explaining this to your friends will require some skill as most if not all of them, don't understand bodybuilding or the strict health requirements we abide by.

At least some of them have been skinny their whole lives and don't understand eating healthy. I'm going to have to emphasize this; this is going to be a difficult conversation. Your friends don't care about protein synthesis, they don't care about calories, and they don't care about alcohol taking water away from your muscles.

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You won't be able to win a debate or argument with them because they will likely never be on your side of the fence. You will have to explain your own choices and hope they respect them. Explain to them that even though you don't drink, you see nothing against them doing so.

If your friends are drunk when this conversation happens, it can become very heated. My friends from high school got very angry with me when I returned one summer saying I wasn't drinking anymore. They thought I was being dumb (They thought I had a great body, so why should I be counting calories, they wondered).

A true friend won't honestly care if you drink or not. Your friends, even your true friends will still give you crap about eating healthy and not drinking, this is friendly messing around, and shouldn't be taken too seriously, it will be obvious if someone is angry over your healthy lifestyle.

A True Friend Won't Care If You Drink Or Not.
+ Click To Enlarge.
A True Friend Won't Care
If You Drink Or Not.

Your fake friends will probably think that you think you are "too good" to drink, and thus too good for them, even though that is not the case.

After your friends see that you want to live healthy (which may take a while for them to accept), they shouldn't care if you are not drinking at a bar or party.

The main message here is, don't give into peer pressure. If you don't want to do something, don't. You can have fun without alcohol.


Which People Are Most Likely To Fall Into These Bad Habits?

It would be easy to stereotype and say it's the kids from broken homes living in the wrong neighborhood. This group is certainly included. Any psychology class will tell you that stereotypes have truth to them. Rich people, poor people, white people, black people and everything in between have fallen into these habits and every race have done drugs and drank alcohol.

I have seen many people fall down the dark path of drugs and alcohol. I've also seen people take drugs and alcohol and live successful lives. I've seen the smartest and most ambitious people lose sight of their goals and fail at life due to drugs and alcohol. The success stories for people involved in these activities aren't quite as numerous. I want to emphasize that doing drugs or alcohol in no way makes you a bad person or doomed to fail at life, but alcohol has no place in a bodybuilders diet.

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It seems to me that impressionable people tend to fall into these habits more than others. It is people that aren't as confident in who they are and what they want to do in life that seem to fall into these habits. But once again, you can be impressionable and steer clear of drugs and alcohol, there is no set stereotype.


What Is The Worst Thing That A Bodybuilder Can Give Into?

The "worst thing" is a little strong of a word. Giving into things you don't want to do that you know you shouldn't be doing is probably the worst thing you could do. This includes skipping workouts and putting yourself down. You know its bad, so just do your best not to do it. Never give into peer pressure. Your probably not dumb and know exactly what you should and shouldn't be doing. Don't give up your identity and everything you have worked for just to please someone else.


Which Of These Things Were You Most Tempted By?

Alcohol has always been very tempting to me and I have done it quite a bit in my past. I know the night of drinking is usually fun, even if the next day sucks. Being drunk feels good and when all of your friends do it. It can be very tempting.

A Night Of Drinking Can Be Fun, Even If The Next Day Sucks.
+ Click To Enlarge.
A Night Of Drinking Can Be
Fun, Even If The Next Day Sucks.

I had heard alcohol contained lots of calories, so I did some research; what I found was shocking. What alcohol did to my metabolism by messing up my Krebs cycle and slowing down protein synthesis was too much for me.

I realized what bodybuilding was to me. I love bodybuilding. I love sculpting and I love results. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle. It's not just a hobby that can be done when you want. It has to be a lifestyle, you have to be constantly eating right, working out right and never missing a workout. There can't be any other way to reach your goals.