This one is the least important until it becomes the most important. Like I said before, the process of body transformation can be a rabbit hole. Sometimes, you fall in and you don’t remember which way is up anymore. Sometimes, you forget what’s most important. And it’s in those moments that other people can help.
When I started lifting weights, I did it for fun. I did it because I wanted to change the way my body looked. I was excited about the new me that would result after countless reps and sets in the gym, and days upon days of carefully controlled eating. I was 16 years old, 5’10″, 118 lbs, and filled to the brim with unbridled optimism about someday competing in bodybuilding. Years later, I accomplished that goal, and shortly thereafter quit not only bodybuilding, but working out entirely. The truth is that I started taking it too seriously. I forgot to laugh. I forgot to smile. I lost sight of how happy my body and my achievements made me and locked all of that away so I could “focus” more on training for shows in the future. All that didn’t matter, I told myself. All that mattered was what was to come. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My biggest mistake was training alone. I had my workout and diet routines down pat. I didn’t require day-to-day instruction. I never missed a workout and never missed a meal. I needed no one for the purposes of motivation or discipline. I lived my life like a machine. And then the machine broke down. In the weeks after my competition, I felt a sort of uneasiness start to fester inside me. It was over, now what? Another competition? Probably not for a year or two, I told myself. I needed to pack on more weight. I tried getting back into the gym but it wasn’t the same without the approaching goal of another show, looming ahead of me like a mountain waiting to be climbed. What was I doing in the gym, then, besides being miserable? And so I stopped. I just stopped working out. Eighteen months and I didn’t set foot into the gym. The thought of it just made me sick, and I had no idea why.
It wasn’t until yesterday, swimming around Youtube, that I sort of figured out what was up with me. A buddy of mine asked me if I could find a good instructional video on bodybuilding posing routines. Clicking around, I landed on this:
And maybe this should have been obvious to anyone, but I couldn’t see it with my head so far up my over-competitive ass: bodybuilding, just like everything else, is supposed to be fucking fun. You’re supposed to laugh. You’re supposed to enjoy it. You’re supposed to have your friends around. Just like any other aspect of life, you shouldn’t be afraid to run it like a party. The girl in that video competes as a professional. And she’s doing it while having fun at it. Because that’s how it’s supposed to be done. No trainer ever told me that. No coach ever did. None of my friends did either. But sometimes you learn the biggest lessons of all from some people you don’t even know through a video they put up on Youtube.
Maybe you’ve got the training down. And the hunger to hit it hard every day. And the discipline to never deviate. You still need others, if only just to make you laugh. Take note.