It is coming up on a full three years since I have dedicated a part of my life to the sport of natural bodybuilding. I have loved every second of it and truly have a neverending fire that burns for this sport. In this short amount of time I have truly had great and early success. I have competed in two shows, one in September 2008 (won my divisions) and most recently October 2010 (won the overall and became a IFPA Pro). Also in this short amount of time I have become a sponsored athlete with Scivation.
I have been truly blessed in this sport so far and am grateful for everything I have achieved. I have done a few interviews, get emails, and receive messages asking me how I obtained such a great amount of success in a short amount of time. So I have decided to share with everyone what “I” personally feel has lead to my current success in the time frame I have achieved it in. And I would love to share this with you whether you are a true beginner or seasoned vet.
A lot of people can lift weights, diet, do this and that, hop on stage and call themselves a bodybuilder. The difference between a real athlete and a want to be is “PASSION.” Passion is a must if you want to be successful in this sport, and life in general. A way to show and be passionate is to get involved with the sport outside your own personal needs. What I mean is to get on the boards/forums and support other athletes, get involved with answering and asking questions, get out there and network with your fellow athletes.
Another way is to go to local shows, or shows in other states, and support the venues/competitions and their promoters and athletes. Read and research, broaden your knowledge of the sport and learn new training methods. Practice dieting, experiment with supplementation and find out what works for you. The number one thing I feel you can do and show your passion is “promoting” the sport. A lot of people out there do not know enough about the sport or have no interest because not a lot of people properly promote and spread the word about the sport and its local athletes and shows.
It's one thing to say that you want to be a bodybuilder and compete, and another to have the “DRIVE” to truly be a bodybuilder. I have heard and seen guys get so deep into their diets, where it is 3 or 4 weeks before their show, and they throw in the towel. All that hard work, time, effort, energy, money, etc. wasted and gone. You truly need to have the self drive, and force yourself to not miss your training sessions, not skip cardio, and measure and keep track of all your dieting and supplementation.
No one else is going to do it for you. No one else is going to make you do anything you do not want to, and like a famous phrase I once heard “you are your maker”. Only you can get you where you want to be, and to what you want to achieve. The question you have to ask yourself is what are you willing to do and endure in order to be the best at this sport, no matter how physically and mentally draining it is.
The best way I can sum up determination is that it is like an endurance marathon. How long, and how far are you willing to endure the things that come with bodybuilding? This sport is very repetitive and a neverending circle. What I mean is that if you want to be a true bodybuilder, get use to eating a lot of the same foods, carrying a cooler around everywhere you go, measuring and weighing every piece of food that you put into your body, eating “your” food while everyone is eating burgers and fries. Get use to being asked “what are you eating”, “why are you eating that”, and on and on and on.
What separates the weak from the obsolete is pure “DETERMINATION.” No matter how far you reach to the top, or even how long you drop to the bottom, you should always be determined to achieve even higher heights and overcome the deepest of the lows. Never let anyone or anything stop you from being the athlete you see yourself being/becoming. Keep pushing and move forward, don’t stop, keep chugging, that is the true meaning behind it all.
A lot of people simply think that you are only a bodybuilder when you are in the gym. Wrong! Being a bodybuilder means you are a bodybuilder 24/7 and 365 days a year. Don't get me wrong, depending on if you are in season or off-season we do find ways to feel and live a some hat normal life. Though there is nothing normal about our lives and our style of living, it is the tried and the true that keep and stick to the dedicated plan that go and make it far in this sport.
There will be times when you will feel that all your hard work and dedication may not be getting you anywhere. Whether it's changes in your physique, or placing lower than you expected at a show, you have to get over that mental hump and stick with what has gotten you to where you are at. As long as it is on a positive end.
I have yet to meet any one who has full grasped and mastered the art of “PATIENCE”. Hands down this is going to be the hardest obstacle, and the biggest thing you will need to overcome, especially if you are competing as a natural athlete. Bodybuilding requires time, whether you start at 16 or you begin at 55. To achieve the results you want requires a lot of patience. You have to be patient with your training, you have to be patient with your dieting, and most of all you have to be patient with yourself. At one point or another there will be roadblocks in your bodybuilding life just as there are roadblocks in your true life (work, home, family, etc.). Maybe you haven’t received the promotion you applied for, or maybe you are waiting for some other important news. The key to these things are to have patience and let the cards fall as they may. This does not truly mean you have to accept it, because you can always do something about it. Remain patient in the lessons learned, and the process you have been going through. Try to remember the old saying “all good things come to those who wait”.