T Nation

Keeping the Bodybuilding Lifestyle in Perspective

Reading the “Merry Christmas, Bob” article on the front page got me reflecting on how my mindset has changed over my time training. I’m still young in the iron game;20 years old and training seriously for about 2.5 of those, so it isn’t like I’ve been on some lifelong journey to come to these thoughts. I’m hoping that those of you who are older and wiser than me can chime in with your perspectives and thoughts! I hope this doesn’t get deleted, as I am in no way intending to rip on the article, just hoping to create some good discussion and sharing of experiences.

I had always lifted during high school for performance in sports, but didn’t approach training in a very focused or long term manner. It wasn’t until my freshman year in college when I became hooked on training, and quickly found it consuming my mind. I remember having an attitude (I want to say subconsciously, but honestly I was aware of it) that I was somehow superior to or better than those who didn’t lift. I couldn’t understand how anyone could stand to be skinny or overweight, and why they wouldn’t want to train like I was. I remember losing out on a girl I liked to another guy (who didn’t lift, needless to say lol). I actually asked her what he had that I didn’t, and she said something along the lines of “It’s like you think that you’re better than him or deserve more just because you’re bigger than him.”

My obsession definitely hurt my social life and strained relationships with important people in my life. It’s definitely important to surround yourself with people who encourage you in your passion, and sacrifices are certainly necessary at times, but it was definitely a problem that I would pass on going out with friends because I was afraid I’d have to miss a meal that night. I had a relationship end with a great girl last year in large part because of clashes over my “lifestyle.” It wasn’t a situation where she was controlling and didn’t support me in my passion; I just couldn’t stand the thought of ever missing a workout to do something spontaneous, things I should have been happy to trade a single workout for.

Training is and always will be a big part of my life; I will compete in several shows this summer and aspire to be a contest prep coach down the road. However, I’ve become much better at fitting training and hitting my macros into my everyday life, rather than building the rest of my life around training and hitting macros. I no longer feel panicked or guilty about taking an unscheduled day off from the gym if something fun with my buddies or a girl comes up, or I’ll just plan to lift early that morning or later at night. I don’t stress about enjoying an occasional “free” meal (I don’t call it a cheat meal, as that associates feelings of guilt with food; I don’t believe that’s healthy). And when I’m interacting with others, I never even consider the fact that I lift and they don’t; why would a certain hobby of mine make me better than them?

I guess what I’ve been leading into with the background info on myself is that the person in the article sounds an awful lot like I used to be. Honestly, I’d be embarrassed to have a friend or family member read “Merry Christmas, Bob” and know that I am a big fan of the website that produced it. I can certainly identify with the feelings of frustration with people who think training and eating sensibly is a waste of time. And it can definitely be gratifying to know that there aren’t a lot of other people who are capable of performing some of the feats we do. However, I honestly feel sorry for anyone who would actually enjoy going on a rant like the one described in the article. Why would I laugh or be motivated by seeing Bob struggle to get out of a chair? Sure, I might be motivated to not let that happen to myself. But I certainly wouldn’t enjoy seeing that. I wouldn’t like hearing about how he doesn’t have time to train. Thoughts like those reek of narcissism and an attitude of superiority; lifting weights and eating a nutritionally sound diet in no way makes any of us better than “normal” people. A common mindset seems to be that bodybuilders are more dedicated and driven than those around us. While that is definitely true for some, what about IFBB pros who can’t hold a steady job or would rather pay for their drugs than pay their rent?

Determination and dedication in the training lifestyle can certainly teach lessons and enable many to be successful and driven in other areas of their lives. But just because someone doesn’t care about training or their physique doesn’t mean they are lazy. The “Bob” that we choose to look down on could easily be a single parent who has more important priorities than hitting a new PR on squats or hitting his macros for the day.

Sorry for the very long post, just had some strong thoughts on this subject and wanted to see if anyone else had any experiences with their mindset towards the importance of training in their lives shifting as you mature. Merry Christmas everyone, God bless!

Really good post, couldn’t agree more on pretty much all of your points.

I actually remember a few years ago thinking how awesome that article was, made me feel badass and motivated. Now I read it and it seems sad, judgmental and as you said, narcissistic.

Lifting is important to me, it is a great hobby, and it has made me better in many ways… but it is a hobby, there are many more important things in life and it is ridiculous to judge people who don’t place the same importance on it.

Yeah I think most get into lifting, in some way, to be stronger, bigger, better than ‘everyone else’, or maybe even someone in particular. I did that, and it had me always program hopping, looking for the next best thing, trying to handle weights I couldn’t handle and getting hurt, etc.

I only started making solid progress after the only person I was trying to get stronger, bigger, or better than was myself. Know it sounds lame, but changing that mindset has made a huge difference in progress, but my attitude in general day-to-day.

Actually… I can understand most of what you posted with the exception of “Feeling bad for” or “not liking”.

I come from a bit of a different back ground and definitely can not say I have been at this consistently for a long time. With that being said.

I absolutely loved the post and immediately sent the link to many Family members and friends. Also on the front page is the article about the gentleman who went from super skinny to ripped and built. His point was “The spark” . Maybe …just maybe BOB got that spark after that conversation. It’s kind of like the story in school that most people read and had to finish, The princess and the Tiger I think it was… regardless the author wrote the story “unfinished” so you can make your own conclusion. For me, I would like to think Bob went home that night and tried to keep up with his kids high on hot chocolate and candy canes and found he was winded after the first lap around the coffee table. At which point the conversation SPARKS in his mind that there was truth and enlightenment in that conversation, it wasn’t a berating, it wasn’t to make him feel bad or the other person superior. It was an explanation and clarification of what is truth. I would hope that Bob showed up and got real.

In the world of “poor pitiful everybody” that we find ourselves living in today I can understand your thoughts. Hell be honest, American Idol would not have gotten popular if everybody had simple plain honesty in their lives instead of the “Everybody gets a trophy” mentality. Idol would never had had those horribly embarrassing moments at the start of every episode for viewers to laugh at if the person had at least 1 person in their life to have the testicular fortitude and caring heart to just say “ummm no, try something different cause your less then good at this”.

I am not saying to go tear their self esteem down and make them feel bad about themselves, but don’t coddle them either! Ever wonder why Drill instructors do what they do? Fear and/or anger are major motivators! Don’t believe me…make a list of all the happy thoughts that taught a lesson and then a list of lessons learned through Anger, fear, or pain(hopefully not overly traumatic). Get my drift? Bob got the flat honest truth laid before him. It is up to him to do what he will with that information.

Everytime someone asks me a question I first ask them " Do you want the truth or sunshine blown up your arse?, I do truth, you just make sure your prepared to hear it" . Unfortunately they don’t always get the message and ask… .then I usually get the “That bothers me”, or “That really hurt my feelings” … I always tell them one simple thing. “If it aint my ring on your finger or I didn’t bring oyu into this world, your feelings are not my responsibility!”

A great philosopher said “Nobody can hurt me without my permission” . Quit trying to make everything personal and listen to the wisdom laced in whats being said, though sometimes the less informed make that harder then it should be.

Couldn’t agree more

pwolves17 I read the article last night and stopped half way through. Thought it was below standard, utter rubbish and served no purpose. After reading your post I read the article through again and i just think it’s taking the wrong path. Who the hell gives a shit about Bob’s opinion anyway.? Why does the author need to make a comparison? In a real life situation a muscular fit person wouldn’t care one bit what any Bob’s had to say about anything to do with lifestyle, health or fitness so why would anyway give him another moments thought?

Sure we’ve most likely come across a few Bob’s that we’ve given advice to but know that they wont take it. Hell just read the beginners section on this website lol. But does it really matter that much?

FFS it’s Christmas. Bob can drink himself silly for all I care :slight_smile:

I actually like the article a lot. There is a specific point in this article, that makes it 100% true and spot on for me. Bob asked. He asked a question, in which, he sure as fuck knew the answer. Why did he ask again then? I am pretty sure he was just lying to himself. The same was happening to me when I was a personal trainer. I was hearing the same bullshiy dau in, and day out.

When I first met a client I used to say to them these exact words “I am not a know-it-all, I am not perfect as a coach. I know 5 things, not more, but these 5 things work. IF you bust your ass. If you are looking for someone to talk to while you are training and make him your best pal, please go to the reception and ask for another trainer.” Fuck me, I really hate losers who make excuses for themselves, whatever the part of their life it is. If one is making excuses on why not to workout, he will make excuses in everything else too. Period.

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
pwolves17 I read the article last night and stopped half way through. Thought it was below standard, utter rubbish and served no purpose. After reading your post I read the article through again and i just think it’s taking the wrong path. Who the hell gives a shit about Bob’s opinion anyway.? Why does the author need to make a comparison? In a real life situation a muscular fit person wouldn’t care one bit what any Bob’s had to say about anything to do with lifestyle, health or fitness so why would anyway give him another moments thought?

Sure we’ve most likely come across a few Bob’s that we’ve given advice to but know that they wont take it. Hell just read the beginners section on this website lol. But does it really matter that much?

FFS it’s Christmas. Bob can drink himself silly for all I care :slight_smile:
[/quote]
Yup, I actually really dislike the article. People can do and think what they please. Not sure why people think they are any kind of special for being a gym rat.

Awesome post! I’m slightly older than you (21) and I’ve been through quite a lot of the things which you described. I also had a relationship suffer as a result of my fervor for the ‘bodybuilding’ lifestyle when I was in high school. For some unknown reason, I also felt that I was better than other nonlifters. Of course, that’s not how it is now.
While I definitely could not pinpoint when this changed happened, but I’ve also become better at fitting my hobby into a more normal lifestyle. Like the article said, I have to make it work, despite other life factors. I lift at 5:30-6:00am everyday to make it fit. The first thing that I do when I get home from school/work is to prep my meals for the next day. It’s just what I do; day in and day out. As I said prior, I no longer feel superior to others that don’t lift. Sure, I will generally get along better with those who do lift, but as a result of a common connection that is prevalent in each person’s life. I have people ask me about lifting/eating fairly often, and many people often think that I WILL/DO look down upon them if they don’t lift religiously and I, unfortunately, have to let them know that I don’t care whether they lift or not; it’s not going to affect my life. To each his own.
That being said, I think that the general populous does have a particular, degrading thought of the gym rat. It is likely that this stimga has developed as a result of many lifters that do feel/portray themselves as superior to others.
Now that my rambling is done, I would like to say that I completely agree with you about the article. I don’t feel motivated as a result of seeing someone struggle as a result of their weight, but I am motivated by the thought of that happening to myself. I’ll also say that I don’t understand why someone would choose to eat like arse and sit on the couch instead of ‘improving’ themselves, but that does not mean that I outwardly portray that upon others and look down upon them.

I’m (we’re) just different from the general population and it is what it is. To each their own.

I think you’d like to read this below and the other posts in this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_bigger_stronger_leaner/skewed_selfimage?id=5705611&pageNo=3

[quote]Before I share my personal experience, I want to make it clear that’s what it is: PERSONAL. I stress that my experience is personal because many, thought not all, forum posters appear to take other people’s personal experiences personally.

I used to have the issue or skewed self image when I was more developed and stronger than I am at the current moment. What I have to say might offend some people but I believe most in this forum on this website are understanding and sincere people.

There is a dark side to this lifestyle or obsession or passion, or whatever term can be used to describe it. I use those terms because I don’t consider it a hobby; I don’t consider that consumes nearly all of you to be a hobby. Antique collecting is a hobby. Following sports is a hobby. Drawing is a hobby. To me, something that dictates eating, sleeping, social, and physical practices is not a hobby.

In his book, Hardcore Bodybuilding, former TN writer wrote that to be good in bodybuilding, you don’t have to let bodybuilding consume you or form the core of your identity. I think that is impossible and incongruent. Granted there are varying degrees of involvement, commitment, and personal connection, but to think hardcore bodybuilding isn’t going to consume someone, or at least most of someone, or isn’t going to form the core of one’s identity, is nonsensical to me.

There was a time in my life where pretty much all I did seriously besides work was take part in this lifestyle and post on internet forums about this lifestyle. And I’m being serious here! There was a time not too long ago, last year that is, in which I finally wanted to compete (in a show taking place today that is, literally today as I write this) before I get married and have a kid.

Well it turns out I PERSONALLY am not someone who can or knows how to do this at a competitive level or HIGHLY involved level without having other areas of my life suffer. So I toned down my involvement. This doesn’t mean that I don’t exercise 5 to 6 times per week, or that I don’t have love for fitness and nutrition anymore. It’s either that I don’t know how to balance a hardcore involvement or hardcore involvement doesn’t allow for balance.

It surely didn’t allow for balance with ME PERSONALLY in the past. For what I want out of life as of recently and at the current moment, my degree of strength or size is of little consequence. Granted being an RD who wants to and does help others with nutrition and fitness, I wanted to have a healthy, fit image. But the personal attachment to being “the built guy” is gone.

Yes, I still lift or do something nearly daily; I still look in the mirror and pinch my love handles; I’m still concerned how I look shirtless and clothed; and for damn sure I don’t ever want to get chubby and frumpy. But having this as my identity or letting it take precedent over some other things that need to be addressed at CERTAIN times (I’m missing a workout if I have to help someone or see an old friend after not seeing him for a year) isn’t happening anymore. I believe I lost a lot in the past because of either not knowing how to balance this lifestyle with the requirements of life–you know, progress in career, finding a mate, or just having some damn social fun, such as eating like shit for a few days because you’re having fun on a camping trip with some cool guys and horny women–or the lifestyle doesn’t allow for it in many cases.

I like–not, make that LOVE-- having above-average strength and a good body, but I don’t think either has helped me nearly as much as I thought they would when I was younger. My income, love in my life, friendships, or overall happiness is not affected if I bench 50 pounds less or have 15 pounds less muscle than I was capable of having.

If someone chooses or just likes having this thing form the core of their identity and letting it consume them, then hats off to them–seriously! I just want to offer my experience and personal view in this interesting thread (there’s a limit to how much to discuss how to eat food and lift a weight). I still go to bodybuilding shows, love discussing it, and so on, but I think my heartfelt view and experience has been discussed thoroughly here. [/quote]

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
I think you’d like to read this below and the other posts in this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_bigger_stronger_leaner/skewed_selfimage?id=5705611&pageNo=3

[quote]Before I share my personal experience, I want to make it clear that’s what it is: PERSONAL. I stress that my experience is personal because many, thought not all, forum posters appear to take other people’s personal experiences personally.

I used to have the issue or skewed self image when I was more developed and stronger than I am at the current moment. What I have to say might offend some people but I believe most in this forum on this website are understanding and sincere people.

There is a dark side to this lifestyle or obsession or passion, or whatever term can be used to describe it. I use those terms because I don’t consider it a hobby; I don’t consider that consumes nearly all of you to be a hobby. Antique collecting is a hobby. Following sports is a hobby. Drawing is a hobby. To me, something that dictates eating, sleeping, social, and physical practices is not a hobby.

In his book, Hardcore Bodybuilding, former TN writer wrote that to be good in bodybuilding, you don’t have to let bodybuilding consume you or form the core of your identity. I think that is impossible and incongruent. Granted there are varying degrees of involvement, commitment, and personal connection, but to think hardcore bodybuilding isn’t going to consume someone, or at least most of someone, or isn’t going to form the core of one’s identity, is nonsensical to me.

There was a time in my life where pretty much all I did seriously besides work was take part in this lifestyle and post on internet forums about this lifestyle. And I’m being serious here! There was a time not too long ago, last year that is, in which I finally wanted to compete (in a show taking place today that is, literally today as I write this) before I get married and have a kid.

Well it turns out I PERSONALLY am not someone who can or knows how to do this at a competitive level or HIGHLY involved level without having other areas of my life suffer. So I toned down my involvement. This doesn’t mean that I don’t exercise 5 to 6 times per week, or that I don’t have love for fitness and nutrition anymore. It’s either that I don’t know how to balance a hardcore involvement or hardcore involvement doesn’t allow for balance.

It surely didn’t allow for balance with ME PERSONALLY in the past. For what I want out of life as of recently and at the current moment, my degree of strength or size is of little consequence. Granted being an RD who wants to and does help others with nutrition and fitness, I wanted to have a healthy, fit image. But the personal attachment to being “the built guy” is gone.

Yes, I still lift or do something nearly daily; I still look in the mirror and pinch my love handles; I’m still concerned how I look shirtless and clothed; and for damn sure I don’t ever want to get chubby and frumpy. But having this as my identity or letting it take precedent over some other things that need to be addressed at CERTAIN times (I’m missing a workout if I have to help someone or see an old friend after not seeing him for a year) isn’t happening anymore. I believe I lost a lot in the past because of either not knowing how to balance this lifestyle with the requirements of life–you know, progress in career, finding a mate, or just having some damn social fun, such as eating like shit for a few days because you’re having fun on a camping trip with some cool guys and horny women–or the lifestyle doesn’t allow for it in many cases.

I like–not, make that LOVE-- having above-average strength and a good body, but I don’t think either has helped me nearly as much as I thought they would when I was younger. My income, love in my life, friendships, or overall happiness is not affected if I bench 50 pounds less or have 15 pounds less muscle than I was capable of having.

If someone chooses or just likes having this thing form the core of their identity and letting it consume them, then hats off to them–seriously! I just want to offer my experience and personal view in this interesting thread (there’s a limit to how much to discuss how to eat food and lift a weight). I still go to bodybuilding shows, love discussing it, and so on, but I think my heartfelt view and experience has been discussed thoroughly here. [/quote][/quote]

Awesome post Brick, maybe the best I’ve ever read on this site! Obviously we all share a love of training and diet, so 95 percent of conversation centers on related topics, but it’s cool to be able to read varying perspectives on other topics from time to time. Honestly, I’ve made much more consistent progress since I stopped letting lifting be the central focus in my life; granted, I am so young that I better be making good progress, but I still think I’m doing better than I would be if I was still stressing about missing a workout occasionally.

It’s just a happier way to live for me, and I think it portrays the “lifestyle” in a more positive light to non-gymgoers than the more hardcore mentality does. And by the way, you’re looking sick in the new avi! I commented on that in a different thread that you posted in, but wanted to make sure you saw the compliment

The Christmas article that was just posted reeks of a holier-than-thou attitude. I really did not care for it. Too often this site’s marketed attitude comes across as cultish. Yeah, they have stuff to sell, I get it… and I get that the article was 95% fiction (or at least I hope it was) but it still stunk. I couldn’t finish it myself.

There is just so much negativity in this sport of fitness, when it is supposed to be all about self-improvement, rather than shit talking. Granted, this comes with the general environment and atmosphere of the internet in general; anonymity will breed a certain ugliness in communication. Thankfully, there are a lot of members of this site–not the staff, regular joes–who actually care about helping one another make progress, which is awesome. I guess the bullshit just shines brighter when it’s on the front page :frowning:

For the most part, the Bodybuilding subforum of this site is very supportive as well as enjoyable to read and take part in. None of what I’ve said in this post is specifically directed at anyone in particular.

Incredibly mature view on bodybuilding, especially for someone so young. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones to reach this level of thought process so soon. Some people never get there.

Good stuff, pwolves17

This describes how I feel, much more internally motivated.

[quote]Alderslodge wrote:
Now that my rambling is done, I would like to say that I completely agree with you about the article. I don’t feel motivated as a result of seeing someone struggle as a result of their weight, but I am motivated by the thought of that happening to myself. I’ll also say that I don’t understand why someone would choose to eat like arse and sit on the couch instead of ‘improving’ themselves, but that does not mean that I outwardly portray that upon others and look down upon them.

I’m (we’re) just different from the general population and it is what it is. To each their own.[/quote]

Well put Alderslodge and PWolves.

[quote]pwolves17 wrote:
I no longer feel panicked or guilty about taking an unscheduled day off from the gym if something fun with my buddies or a girl comes up… [/quote]

I’m impressed that a twenty-year old has attained this type of epiphany. I meet so many type A’s that act as if the sky will fall if they miss their workout. For them, motivation and dedication is not what’s holding them back; it’s the ability to keep things in perspective. Countless people would be better off if they can learn the art of easing off the throttle BEFORE something breaks.

[quote]pwolves17 wrote:

And when I’m interacting with others, I never even consider the fact that I lift and they don’t; why would a certain hobby of mine make me better than them?

[/quote]

It’s the vanity of any group to believe theirs is the true religion. Spend some time with elite level rock climbers, cyclists, powerlifters, bodybuilders, etc. etc. etc. and each respective group - IF they lack perspective - will foolishly tell you to join their church.

Well, I’ve known more than a few climbers with blown out elbows or multiple surgeries to fix the tendons in their hands. They’ll forgo promising career or personal relationship opportunities just to live out of a van or a tent and climb that one number higher.

I’ve known more than a few cyclists with knee and lower back issues. They spend upwards of 10k or more on a bicycle (a bicycle!). And on a purely superficial note, these guys will never turn heads at the beach (they may get people to offer them a free cheeseburger to address those emaciated torsos…).

I’ve known more than a few oly lifters with herniated discs, blown out knees and shoulders. You can add torn pecs to that list when discussing powerlifters.

Bodybuilders…? The most impressive visually yet some of the least athletic people I’ve met. The very nature of their pursuit demands that they put on excess muscle that can often hinder qualities such as speed, mobility, and endurance.

And before anyone accuses me of hypocrisy, I firmly believe that bodybuilding can teach many valuable lessons, one of the most important being the ability to know when and how to work the muscle and not the weight. And my lifelong goal is to strive for that balance between athleticism and aesthetics; to this end, many of the principles of bodybuilding is invaluable.

[quote]pwolves17 wrote:

I guess what I’ve been leading into with the background info on myself is that the person in the article sounds an awful lot like I used to be. Honestly, I’d be embarrassed to have a friend or family member read “Merry Christmas, Bob” and know that I am a big fan of the website that produced it. I can certainly identify with the feelings of frustration with people who think training and eating sensibly is a waste of time. And it can definitely be gratifying to know that there aren’t a lot of other people who are capable of performing some of the feats we do. However, I honestly feel sorry for anyone who would actually enjoy going on a rant like the one described in the article. Why would I laugh or be motivated by seeing Bob struggle to get out of a chair? Sure, I might be motivated to not let that happen to myself. But I certainly wouldn’t enjoy seeing that. I wouldn’t like hearing about how he doesn’t have time to train. Thoughts like those reek of narcissism and an attitude of superiority; lifting weights and eating a nutritionally sound diet in no way makes any of us better than “normal” people. [/quote]

This is where I respectfully suggest that your lack of experience keeps you from seeing the other side.

Here are two direct quotes from the piece:

“Oh,” Bob finally said, “Like bodybuilding and stuff? I don’t have time to lift weights all day and all that crap, but I have been meaning to get rid of this beer belly.” He took another sip of beer. “What do you suggest?” Sip.

"You ask us for advice about diet and training and usually we politely offer some guidance, but deep inside we know you won’t take it. You know that too. We smile and say, ‘Hope that helps. Good luck!’ but we know most people won’t listen. Once they hear it takes hard work, sacrifice, and discipline, they tune us out. (Shugart Merry Christmas, Bob)

If you, the OP, ever work with the general population, you will inevitably meet your fair share of Bobs and their female counterparts. They’ll tell you just how badly they want to change and they’ll swear on their grandmothers’ graves they’ll do whatever it takes. Some actually follow through. Many eventually give up for no other fact than they are simply unwilling to make the sacrifices.

And lest you think this behavior is only limited to neophytes and dilettantes, the more experienced trainees can be just as maddening. In other words, they, too, can also be Bobs.

Try explaining to the ultra marathoner why some strength training is important.

Try explaining to the low-rep junkie why some high-rep work is important.

Try explaining to the HIIT junkie why steady-state work has its time and place.

Try asking the barbell junkie that, if his form is so damn good, then why is it that he blew out just one knee…or tore one pec…?

Try explaining to the hockey player why doing just bilateral movements and blindly increasing mobility in his adductors may not be the best way to prevent ‘groin’ injuries.

Try explaining to the D1 water polo player why the ohp can contribute to his shoulder issues.

Try explaining to the beach volleyball pro why plyometrics every training session is actually counter productive.

The list goes on and on. The common theme doesn’t change, however: the myopic people of the world will never reach their potential.

Now you will get through to some of these people. These are the days when the sun shines just a little brighter.

Unfortunately, you will also fail with many others. And after you interact with enough Bobs of the world, it’ll be the rarest of individual who won’t be somewhat jaded.

So, by all means, keep things in perspective. Don’t judge people if their idea of a fun time is not getting primal at the gym or living the life of a monk in the kitchen. Once people reach a point in which their pursuit begins to significantly and adversely effect the overall quality of life, it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities.

However, when I meet a guy or a gal who swears on all things sacred that they want to improve; yet fails to show the required discipline to do what it takes, then, hell yeah, I’ll lose respect for them.

And I wager that you, sooner or later, will too.

I have worked out for 35 yrs and competed in BB shows for the 1st 8 of those years. Then after getting married and having kids, I stopped competing, but I had to find a compromise between competing and just training for a physique that I was satisfied with.

Now at 52 yrs old, I have found that my training for a proportioned muscular body has also prevented the need for cholesterol , BP, hyperglycemic , or any other meds. So I am glad that I made BB training ONE of my priorities in life. Oh, and I did get up Christmas morning to train in my very cold carport gym before the family woke up, not to be a superior being, but because I love to train and don’t want to spend the last 3rd of my life chasing my health.

[quote]pwolves17 wrote:

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
I think you’d like to read this below and the other posts in this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_bigger_stronger_leaner/skewed_selfimage?id=5705611&pageNo=3

[quote]Before I share my personal experience, I want to make it clear that’s what it is: PERSONAL. I stress that my experience is personal because many, thought not all, forum posters appear to take other people’s personal experiences personally.

I used to have the issue or skewed self image when I was more developed and stronger than I am at the current moment. What I have to say might offend some people but I believe most in this forum on this website are understanding and sincere people.

There is a dark side to this lifestyle or obsession or passion, or whatever term can be used to describe it. I use those terms because I don’t consider it a hobby; I don’t consider that consumes nearly all of you to be a hobby. Antique collecting is a hobby. Following sports is a hobby. Drawing is a hobby. To me, something that dictates eating, sleeping, social, and physical practices is not a hobby.

In his book, Hardcore Bodybuilding, former TN writer wrote that to be good in bodybuilding, you don’t have to let bodybuilding consume you or form the core of your identity. I think that is impossible and incongruent. Granted there are varying degrees of involvement, commitment, and personal connection, but to think hardcore bodybuilding isn’t going to consume someone, or at least most of someone, or isn’t going to form the core of one’s identity, is nonsensical to me.

There was a time in my life where pretty much all I did seriously besides work was take part in this lifestyle and post on internet forums about this lifestyle. And I’m being serious here! There was a time not too long ago, last year that is, in which I finally wanted to compete (in a show taking place today that is, literally today as I write this) before I get married and have a kid.

Well it turns out I PERSONALLY am not someone who can or knows how to do this at a competitive level or HIGHLY involved level without having other areas of my life suffer. So I toned down my involvement. This doesn’t mean that I don’t exercise 5 to 6 times per week, or that I don’t have love for fitness and nutrition anymore. It’s either that I don’t know how to balance a hardcore involvement or hardcore involvement doesn’t allow for balance.

It surely didn’t allow for balance with ME PERSONALLY in the past. For what I want out of life as of recently and at the current moment, my degree of strength or size is of little consequence. Granted being an RD who wants to and does help others with nutrition and fitness, I wanted to have a healthy, fit image. But the personal attachment to being “the built guy” is gone.

Yes, I still lift or do something nearly daily; I still look in the mirror and pinch my love handles; I’m still concerned how I look shirtless and clothed; and for damn sure I don’t ever want to get chubby and frumpy. But having this as my identity or letting it take precedent over some other things that need to be addressed at CERTAIN times (I’m missing a workout if I have to help someone or see an old friend after not seeing him for a year) isn’t happening anymore. I believe I lost a lot in the past because of either not knowing how to balance this lifestyle with the requirements of life–you know, progress in career, finding a mate, or just having some damn social fun, such as eating like shit for a few days because you’re having fun on a camping trip with some cool guys and horny women–or the lifestyle doesn’t allow for it in many cases.

I like–not, make that LOVE-- having above-average strength and a good body, but I don’t think either has helped me nearly as much as I thought they would when I was younger. My income, love in my life, friendships, or overall happiness is not affected if I bench 50 pounds less or have 15 pounds less muscle than I was capable of having.

If someone chooses or just likes having this thing form the core of their identity and letting it consume them, then hats off to them–seriously! I just want to offer my experience and personal view in this interesting thread (there’s a limit to how much to discuss how to eat food and lift a weight). I still go to bodybuilding shows, love discussing it, and so on, but I think my heartfelt view and experience has been discussed thoroughly here. [/quote][/quote]

Awesome post Brick, maybe the best I’ve ever read on this site! Obviously we all share a love of training and diet, so 95 percent of conversation centers on related topics, but it’s cool to be able to read varying perspectives on other topics from time to time. Honestly, I’ve made much more consistent progress since I stopped letting lifting be the central focus in my life; granted, I am so young that I better be making good progress, but I still think I’m doing better than I would be if I was still stressing about missing a workout occasionally.

It’s just a happier way to live for me, and I think it portrays the “lifestyle” in a more positive light to non-gymgoers than the more hardcore mentality does. And by the way, you’re looking sick in the new avi! I commented on that in a different thread that you posted in, but wanted to make sure you saw the compliment[/quote]

Thanks for the compliments. I saw one in the other thread. I MIGHT do a physique show in the future (I will see how life goes).

I think you should read the other posts in that thread as well from myself and others.

Ive never let any one thing consume my life, with the exception of family or whatever
yes when i started out it was on my mind a ton, like anything new a person gets into, but at this point I hardly ever even think about it outside the gym. I dont even spend much time on this site unless im bored. i just get in there, do my thing, and get out. Make sure im eating enough macros with a shake thrown in and im done. At home i prepare my meals on sundays, take a couple of hours and thats it. Ive never let the gym get in the way of a social events, and during events i either just dont eat the crappy stuff or moderate it. Never have had anyone even mention it to me. Despite all this, Ive made great and consistent gains. Consistency is key, no matter how small.

I will say this though, while i have other hobbies like guitar, language learning, and reading, this is my most important hobby. It has given me so much more self esteem, though i never have felt superior over anyone because of it.

(excuse the grammar or spelling or lower cases etc, typing on my phone)

and Brick you look fantastic. This site is beginning to fill up with great people again and some old ones returning

I found this to be less elitest:

though, some of the contempt was still there.