T Nation

Bigger = Better?


My friends are all in college right now, living it up with partying and girls. I would be in college, but I had to drop out because of some issues in my head. I'm working full time right now in the warehouse part of Wal Mart.

Anyway, I was looking at some pictures of them on the internet, and I noticed that I was becoming really angry, and I had a burning desire to go lift weights. I caught myself analyzing the muscularity of the kids in the pictures to see if I was bigger than them. Its like it pleases me to be bigger than most people. What the heck is that all about?

I realized that I derive my entire self concept from bodybuilding. If I can't lift, I have nothing, absolutely nothing. Its all I have.

I work from 4AM to 1PM 6 days a week unloading trailers. I come home to an apartment with my old man. I have absolutely no friends, no girl friend, no social life. All I have is the gym. What the hell am I turning into?

The other day my old man told me that he saw one of my old high school friends and the first think outta my mouth was "Am I bigger than him?" Its like I actually think about whether I am bigger than other people, and if I'm not, then I have something to prove. I just have this burning desire to be the most muscular mother in the house on any given occasion, and if I'm not, then i feel inferior. Is this normal?

Why do I feel like I have to be more muscular than other people in order to feel good about myself. Please don't diss me, I'm just relaying my feelings to the only people that can possibly understand me.



DO NOT EVER...and I mean EVER base all of your self-worth on physical appearance.

You have other good qualities and strengths that you simply have not tapped by focusing too much on the external.

You sound young. Find that "gift"; pursue it; and put get to work on it.

Looking for value and worth based on how you look is a battle that you will only lose.

Good luck!



You sound basically the opposite to annorexia. There was an article on it in Muscle Media once. It was actually a good article.

I don't know how you'd go about finding it but it was title "Bigorexia" or something like that!


Your work ethic means that you undoubtedly are and will continue to be a valuable member of society.

So your not "normal". Since when does "normal" mean cool or better or anything at all?

You have a gift; a drive to work hard and acheive what you believe is worthwhile. No one can tell you that your drive to get as BIG as possible is not a worthy goal. Shit, I wish half the people I know had some of your drive.

You'll find other things in life that get you fired up besides training. I've always been "into" anything with an engine, cars, 4x4, imports, hot rods, motocross etc. I also get jazzed up watching Future Weapons on Discovery and "sciencey" things like that.

What I'm saying is don't worry about what you're passionate about right now. Other interests will naturally show themselves sooner or later. In the meantime just be proud of the fact that you're not another young, lazy, bored kid getting fat and dumpy while being unemployed.

You'll be just fine. You'll settle down a bit and not care so much about what others look like and you'll be hitting the weights for "you".


Thanks for the replies fellas.



You seem like a good guy. You work hard and have awesome motivation, which a lot of guys don't have. Heck, you work on the dock at Wal-Mart 6 nights a week, which is a lot of manual labor, and then have the drive to still go to the gym? Major props to you.

Find what you are good at, and exploit your talent. Find something that will give you an advantage over other people. Whether it's work ethic in the gym, community service, whatever, find that talent and use it to the best of your ability.

You said that you had some things going on inside your head, therefore you had to leave school. Once you figure out what's going on inside your head and get it fixed, then try to go back to school in the fall. If you have such a hardcore drive for the gym, then I'm sure your drive for the classroom is equally as good.

It seems to me that you feel a void in your life since you left school. If you feel that way, then lets get you back in class. Remember, the best thing to do when you drop out of school, is to drop back in. Then everything should fall in place.


Try to find a good powerlifting gym where the majority of the guys there are twice your size, and ask questions and see if they let you train with them. Be respectful and sincere.

That will be an incredibly humbling experience and may curb some of your obsession, while ironically making you bigger than ever.


If you can afford it and have the time have you thought of taking a night class about something that interests you (other than exercise related) to get a different outlet. You will meet new people (preferably hotties) and it will take your mind off of lifting for at least an hour 3 times a week.


Listen, bro, EVERYONE at this site has some sort of issue. So don't sweat your situation.

Right now, you obsess over your lifting. That's great. Your obsession doesn't get in the way of your job, so what's wrong with it? It's not like your an alcoholic or are spending yourself into credit card debt.

Put your obsession to good use. Decide whether you want to bodybulid or powerlift or Olympic lift and train accordingly.


It's about pride and masculinity. There's nothing dysfunctional about it. I do the same thing.

So be it, then. At least you are honest enough to admit this. Consider everything you know about yourself and use this as the basis for formulating your next course of action.

Potentially, the next great bodybuilder. The symptoms you have described apply to just about every individual who achieves greatness in his field, be it academics, business, or sports. Listen to this:
Girls will always be around and there will be prettier ones each year. New friends can always be made. Old ones can be replaced.

I know this all seems hard to believe from your current vantage point, but I assure you that it is the honest-to-God truth, and you must have enough faith in yourself to not let your present doubts hinder your path to greatness. Seriously, you are on a path which has been tread on by many great men. They have overcome the same obstacles that you now face. Have faith in yourself and pull through.

Going without a girlfriend or a social life for a year or even a few years will not kill you. However, use the time wisely so that when you emerge from your self-imposed exile, you will be ready to hit the ground running with a new self esteem and confidence that you can apply to your interactions with others.

It isn't "normal," no. Now ask yourself: why should I care?

The pop psychology term for it is the "Adonis complex". Most of the descriptions of said "condition" that I've come across seem written by the types of people who wouldn't know hard work and dedication if it hit them in the head (yes, I mean women).


This is also a great point which deserves emphasis.

At your age, most people are either apathetic fuck-offs or passionately devoted to something or other. In time, most people find a middle ground. Never make the mistake of assuming that the way you feel today will be the way you are tomorrow!

If you lead an active and busy life, you can change so much over the course of even a year that it will astound you -- if you let it. Do NOT hinder your own development by shutting your mind off to the possibility of change. For now, devote yourself to the task at hand, but be ready to try something new when the right time comes.

It takes boldness to do this because people inevitably become attached to their activities. When you come across something new and exciting, and you feel that spark of interest, act on it! Don't be timid. This is some of the best advice I can give you.


I think maybe some of you are missing the point.

I agree that its good that the guy has a full time job and lifts weights...but then so do alot of other people here.

Dont get me wrong, its great that he's driven, but it sounds more like he has some kind of social disorder that uses weightlifting or his size as a crutch to make up for something lacking. I think there's more to this than just saying, "It'll work itself out when you get older."

It ain't a healthy way to live. If this guy thinks he has a problem of some sort, I wouldn't go telling him he's normal. He's not....and I know, we're all hardcore here and we hate normal and blah blah, but this guy ain't happy. If he was, he wouldn't be posting this kind of question here, especially being as he's relatively new.

What were the issues in your head, man? Why did you drop out of school because of them?


I was suffering from severe OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Now I know that you're all gonna laugh, but my disorder has nothing to do with bodybuilding (even though it seems coincidental). I don't "obsess" over bodybuilding in a way that is related to my disorder. You're just gonna have to trust me on this.

But yeah, I spent 2 months in a psych hospital undergoing therapy. At one point I thought I was going to die from the depression that was crippling me. But I'm moving on now, and bodybuilding is still the basis for my self concept.


This is a point in your life to develop your plans. The gym is a tiny piece of the puzzle. Five years from now where do you want to be? Ten years? It's time to be apart of your goals. You need to examine people that you look up to in some way. What traits, careers, or habits do these people do? Begin to look into career paths and how you can achieve your goals.

Most college counselors are open to talk to new students and most professionals would be happy to hear from someone who has an interest in their work. First, develop your goals. An example way of figuring out goals would be to say my life is defined as _______ and I am doing ______to achieve this goal.

Next, gather questions related to professionals that do xyz job and schedule time to talk to them. Find out what a day in the life would be like. Seek to understand and ask questions. This will provide you with opportunities to meet new people as well.

Do not limit yourself to just the past, but the unlimited present and the future opportunities that are waiting. The time is now.

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