I was actually inspired by watching Tarzan movies as a kid. When I was about 10 years old I saw an ad in a Boys Life magazine for Charles Atlas. When I sent away for the info, my dad made fun of me for being interested in bodybuilding. I guess I wanted to show him. I always did lots of push-ups and messed around with weights in high school, but never got serious.
In college, I dated a girl who said I was too skinny to ever think about having a serious relationship with. If that's not motivation for a young guy, I don't know what is. At age 21, I joined a gym the next day and kicked it into gear.
Bodybuilding makes me feel good physically and mentally. I can unwind from my day at the gym with my iPhone and my favorite jams. Working hard and really sweating is one of the best feelings in the world.
When I first started lifting I was really surprised that complete strangers would come up and comment about my physique. As a younger person I was quite private and modest. At first, I was a little embarrassed by all the attention my new body was attracting, but now I consider it an appreciation for all my hard work. It's nice being complimented for your achievements. I motivate people to have a better physique, which makes me proud. My kids and grandkids think it's funnier then hell. They always notice people staring at me when I'm not looking in their direction. My youngest grandson refers to me as "Super Grandpa."
My kids have always been a huge inspiration for me. I want to show them a healthy way to live. Additionally, I met my best friends at the gym. Some of my friendships have spanned more than 30 years. It's easy to achieve your goals when you're hanging around others who understand your discipline and direction.
I'll never forget the time I was at my folk's house for dinner with my kids. I was about four weeks out for a big show and my mom made some beer batter bread, which I enjoyed eating as a kid like it was going out of style. My mom pestered me to have some and my daughter said "Go ahead daddy. Second or third place isn't so bad. Someone will really appreciate the sacrifice you made so they can have that first place trophy." It helps to have good people in your corner who help you remember why you do what you do.
I got three first place trophies this year and qualified for nationals in 2013. I plan to compete until I'm 60 or longer. I'll keep going if I'm still having fun and enjoying myself. I was at a show a few years ago and a really old gentleman strolled out on stage. He had red posing trunks on and I couldn't tell what was on underneath (there was something white showing). Then it hit me: Depends. Okay, that's where I'll be drawing the line, folks.
For competitors: have fun, enjoy your hard work, but remember you're the one competing, not your family or significant other. It can be hard on your family, especially if you're crabby and irritable all the time. Simplify your life during this 3-4 month period. Don't get involved in special events or take on new projects. Find competitions that fit with you and your family's schedule. Start your diet early so you don't freak out the last 2-3 weeks. I prefer early spring shows because I have plenty of time to spend with the family (there's not a lot going when it's cold and the days are short). I've also found that dieting gets easier every time, which is a good thing.
Everything works, but nothing works forever. Mix it up once in a while. I have four basic routines that I cycle throughout the year, which helps to prevent plateaus.
Frank Zane, >Bob Paris, Ava Cowan, and Tanji Johnson.
I like reading Bodybuilding.com articles. I find that keeping current with my interest motivates me to work harder in the gym. I like looking at profile pictures also. When I check out a profile on BodySpace that I admire, I'm inspired to work hard. I order supplements and show supplies from the Bodybuilding.com Store and love the service. My order always gets to my doorstep in just a few days.
I went to the Bodybuilding.com Fitness Expo in Boise, Idaho, this summer and had a great time. I met Jamie Eason and got a ton of swag.