So many of my favorite motivational speakers talk about finding your "why." Basically, discovering the reason that you wake up every morning, what makes you passionate, brings you joy, and justifies your existence on this planet. Once you find it, you cling to those dreams or goals and you tenaciously pursue them because that's all you want to do. (sidenote: if you haven't listened to Les Brown or Eric Thomas speak, you're missing out)
Hearing this message really resonated with me, because finding bodybuilding was finding my "why." While in prep, my life was pretty much consumed by the process. It was grueling and tiresome, but I began to realize that I really couldn't picture it any other way. I woke up every morning and went to bed every night always planning my next move, picturing myself at the top, hungry for more. And I stayed hungry. Really hungry. No seriously most of the time I went to bed hungry because rice cakes can only go so far. But mentally hungry too. I wanted it all and I never want to stop until I get it.
I decided to write on this topic because I feel like a lot of people feel this pressure to compete once they start working out or dieting. Like I mentioned in my last post, competing in shows has become immensely more popular, and while that's not a bad thing at all, I think there's this stigma starting to form that if competing is the next step in your fitness "career." People. No. Let me make this clear. Your fitness journey does not depend on whether you shave your body and fake smile and pose for a bunch of strangers!!!!! Your fitness journey does not depend on whether you post every work out on social media or not!!!! I know people at my gym that are stronger than I might ever be, and they've never competed once in their lives. Does that make them inferior to me? Superior to me? Any of the "eriors?" Absolutely. Frickin. Not.
If bodybuilding isn't your why, or even something that interests you, and you just like working out and eating a balanced diet for YOU, I encourage you to keep it that way. Don't let something like doing shows ruin that outlet or push you to a place you don't think your mental health or physical health is meant for.
Alllllll that being said, I love competing. Bodybuilding has become a huge part of my life, and the physical and mental gains I have made since I started the process have blown me away. I really don't want to make it sound like the bodybuilding world will ruin your life or you shouldn't take a risk or anything like that. My point is simply this: You can have goals and a healthy lifestyle and have a six pack without ever competing. Your fitness journey is YOURS, and it is valid no matter what.
|Top row taken in December 2015. Bottom row taken right before|
my first show.
1. The community that you can build around you is incredible. Being surrounded by people with the same track mind as you is really amazing. Everyone focused on their goals, and getting better, and aiming higher - there's really nothing like it. It seems ironic, because bodybuilding gets a rep as being superficial, but some of the most genuine people I've ever met have come from this sport.
2. The confidence you gain is indescribable, and not just in the way you think. Yes, you get abs and people will compliment you and you'll be flattered (while you're secretly staring at the food they're holding in their hand), but to be able to conquer this extremely demanding physical experience will make you MENTALLY unstoppable too. Trust me friends, if you can go 12 weeks without eating burritos and donuts, you can do anything.
3. The knowledge you can about food and health and your body will last you a lifetime. It's definitely a crash course in nutrition, but it will change the way you look at food and can instill that healthy mindset for the rest of your days.
4. You get pushed waaaaay out of your comfort zone. Way out. Like an auditorium of people seeing you basically naked. And you might discover something new that you love. If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be doing a "routine" oiled up onstage, I would have laughed in your face. But after my first show, I realized that the posing routines was one of my favorite parts! Again, being able to conquer those fears and challenge yourself in ways that you probably aren't right now is reason enough. Setting goals and keeping yourself on a routine and a track is the best way to achieve them, and again, those habits can carry over into your work/school/whatever else in your every day life as well.
And there you have it folks. The main reasons I willingly eat out of Tupperware every day and wake up at 5 am to get on the stairmaster. I found my why. But my hope for Easton Fit and this site is to appeal not only to the bodybuilding fanatics, but that every single person out there can take away something they didn't know or hadn't thought of before.
Thanks so much for reading, and I'll talk to y'all soon! Stay hungry!