“The man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both correct.”
To answer this question we have to identify what bodybuilding is. The definition of bodybuilding is: a sport involving strenuous physical exercise in order to strengthen and enlarge the muscles of the body.
But is that really all there is to it? There are so many misconceptions surrounding bodybuilding and its practitioners.
So, in order to further understand what it is and its’ purpose, let’s talk about what it is not.
Bodybuilding is not a cover for insecurity, it is not using steroids. It is not getting on stage in underwear to be judged by strangers.
It is not an excuse to be arrogant It is not the ideal of what everyone should look like. It is not depriving yourself of valuable life experiences.
It is not being as shredded as possible, and lastly. It is not being as huge as possible. So then what the hell is it?
What is at the core of it, and why has it become so popular all around the world? I’m glad you asked, but to understand the true core of bodybuilding you’re going to have to come on a little journey with me.
Ready? Let’s go!
My Introduction to Bodybuilding
I’ll never forget my first time stepping into a gym. I was 15 going on 16 years old.
It was the summer before freshman year and it was required that all the football players start working out.
I embraced it though, and was really excited to build a little muscle. I was naturally very tall and slim, basically I had the same build as slenderman lol.
If I had to guess I was around 6’3” 175 pounds when I started training. That first day in the gym was rough, and I fell in love with it instantly.
Lifting weights, sweating, pushing myself, and getting that endorphin rush hooked me.
The next day I was so sore I could barely lift the remote control for the TV, and I even loved that.
It made me feel like a warrior, fresh off the battlefield. I worked out almost every day that summer, and was thrilled with every ounce of muscle and strength I gained, although it wasn’t anything to write home about.
Once the football season had started, it became clear that I had gotten stronger and faster, and I earned myself a starting position, even though I had missed the previous three seasons due to an allergic reaction.
The girls also took notice, and started giving me compliments on my body. Keep in mind that I already loved exercise for its own sake, but now I had more motivation than ever!
I trained even harder, but after a few months I realized I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I wanted, so I started researching how to get bigger.
After what seemed like a few hundred hours of reading, I had come to the conclusion that I needed to eat more.
Up until then I ate a standard two to three meals a day, so the following summer I decided to train my butt on, not off since I wanted to gain weight.
See what I did there? Anyway I gave myself a mantra, though I didn’t think of it like that at the time. It was this, extreme results call for extreme measures.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this helped me change my mindset. I started eating six meals a day, and taking weight gainer.
That summer I gained 25 pounds of muscle. It was like a miracle, I couldn’t believe it!
Before I continue, I’d like to stress that I did this completely naturally, and that it was only possible because I was a beginner, and up until that point I had been undereating.
I’m The Man!
My confidence shot through the roof, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I became arrogant.
I was getting attention from all the girls, guys were treating me differently, and I had done it all on my own, at least that’s how I saw it at the time.
I felt invincible, and with the constant instability in my life, bouncing around from state to state, and home to home, bodybuilding became my rock.
It became the source of my confidence, the place I belonged in the world. Even more than that, it became my identity.
Now keep in mind that I started training in 2002, before the Hollywood super-hero movies were coming out every year.
So I didn’t know that girls liked guys with muscles until after I started training and getting extra attention.
With my father being absent, my mother having passed on, and me bouncing from home to home you can imagine that I wasn’t used to receiving positive attention, so once I made the connection that being muscular would get me attention there was no stopping me!
It’s mind blowing when I think about all the adulation I received just because of my physique.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just didn’t personally know how to handle it. I had struggled with a lack of self-confidence for years, and bodybuilding allowed me to step into my power.
If you’ve ever felt disempowered and then found something that made you feel completely powerful, you know what I’m talking about.
So that was the positive side of things, however there are two sides to everything. All the attention I received, solely predicated on my physical appearance, started to affect me after a while.
I became entitled, and there were times when I treated people differently because of it. People saw me as this big strong person that had it all together, which was so far from the truth, but the problem was that I eventually began to believe them.
I started believing my own hype so to speak. In truth, I was just a scared kid who had no family, and wanted desperately to belong.
This went on from about 2005-2010 which is when I had for lack of a better term, my “spiritual awakening.”
From 2010-2012 bodybuilding and my physical appearance in general took a back seat to things like meditation, learning about the mind, and different spiritual leaders throughout time.
I became much more interested in the mind than the body, and so I didn’t have the desire to eat in a strict way, or train hard, or often.
In 2013, I began to fall in love with bodybuilding again, once I realized I could attain a meditative focus while training.
I began training harder, and more frequently, and once again, built myself up to be very muscular.
As you can imagine, the compliments started rolling in again, only now it was different. When someone would give me a compliment I would be grateful, but I wouldn’t take it personally. I wouldn’t identify with it.
So to go back to the title of this article. Is bodybuilding just for vanity? The answer is a resounding no!
Bodybuilding is an art form. It is a process of self-discovery. It is an intimate relationship between the mind and the body.
It builds mental strength. It gives many who are lost a place to belong. I had started weight training for football and vanity, I ended up with so much more.
Bodybuilding taught me self-discipline, and gave me a place to belong. Throughout the years, I’ve seen many people train for a few weeks, months or even years, and then quit or be inconsistent.
Many of them were training for vanity reasons only, whether it is to be more appealing to the opposite sex, to stop getting picked on, or anything in between, these external motivators tend to fade out.
If you’re in it for the long haul, make your primary goals things like having more energy, being strong, healthy, and having great balance and flexibility, and eventually even deeper goals, like cultivating self-love, and improving your mind-body connection.
I know personally, if I hadn’t fallen in love with weight training in the beginning, and if I hadn’t learned how to eat healthy, but in a balanced manner that allows me to indulge if and when I choose to, I wouldn’t have been able to stay consistent throughout the past 16 years, and even I lost sight of that internal motivation for a while.
This is the power of having internal motivation. There is nothing wrong with being motivated by something external in the beginning, most of us are.
However, if you want to be healthy and fit 20 or even 40 years down the line you will have to have the deeper motivation that only comes from within.
What I would suggest to you, is that you grab a pen and paper, and figure out why you’re working out and eating healthy.
Don’t feel bad if you’re initially motivated by vanity or reputation, it’s okay. Simply try to find a few deeper reasons why you could be motivated.
For example: self-love, more confidence, more energy, less likelihood of injury, etc. Next, explore all the different avenues of exercise and diet.
Try biking, swimming, dancing, aerobics classes, lifting weights, jogging, kickboxing, etc. Try different healthy foods.
Figure out how you can make living a healthy lifestyle palatable for you. Make the process enjoyable so that you can fall in love with it.
When you find exercising and healthy eating enjoyable, it’s no longer a chore, which makes it seem effortless.
Well my friend, we’ve come to the end of our journey. To wrap things up I’ll leave you with this. Bodybuilding at its core, is self-love, it is creative self-expression of the highest degree. Much love!
You Can Fly!
“Successful people know how to get out of their own way.” Vickie Milazzo
“I just try to get out of my own way because if anyone is their own worst enemy, it’s usually you.” Taylor Dayne
Hello fellow human, I promise to make this the most powerfully inspiring yet simple thing that you read today!
This is a message you may have heard before in one way or another.
My goal is to simplify it so that you can apply it to your own life, and when you do, you’ll be amazed at how your life changes.
Without further ado, let’s get into it. To say one’s mindset is a powerful thing would be a massive understatement.
Mindset determines attitude, and attitude is everything as they say.
It doesn’t stop there either, your mindset also determines not only what actions you will take, but how you will take them.
Okay I know I’ve made my point, but just to hammer it home, your mindset will literally make or break you!
I remember when I was around 12 years old, I saw the movie Mortal Kombat and was blown away by the martial arts and special effects.
In the movie, one of the characters did a backflip off a wall. I was in utter disbelief!
I had never seen anything like that before. I was so inspired I decided to learn a back flip that night.
I had my brother spot me a few times, but within a short time, I did a backflip myself.
Self-taught, in one night! Years later and as an adult, not having done a flip in years, I decided I wanted to learn them again.
I remembered it hadn’t been hard the first time, but now, for some reason, it seemed impossible.
I just couldn’t bring myself to flip upside down. It really can be a scary thing to do.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t physically capable, I’ve always been super athletic with a great vertical jump. It was all in my mind.
My mind literally made it impossible to flip! This was due to the fear that I would get hurt, a fear that I didn’t have as a child.
Ok ok, maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, after all it’s just a flip right?
Well, I started thinking about how my mind was literally the only thing holding me back from what I wanted to do, and suddenly it became so clear to me how the mind holds us back.
A fearful mind is hesitant, closed off, and unable to learn new skills. I mean just think about it.
Remember that incredible girl you didn’t talk to? Or that guy that you never revealed your true feelings to?
The golden opportunity that presented itself, that you didn’t take? The vacation you’ve been talking about taking for 5 years?
Though you told yourself the most perfect reasons why you didn’t do the thing, deep down you know the truth, and the truth is that nothing external can hold you back from achieving that which you’re hell bent on seeing through.
You’re probably thinking one of two things. Either you’re thinking wow, that’s so true! Or something along the lines of fuck this guy!
Who does he think he is? Either way I understand, but let’s just pretend for a bit that what I’m saying is valid.
Take a minute and think about your ideal life and where you are in regards to it. Your ideal career, salary, home, car, clothes, friends, partner, fitness level, etc.
Maybe you’re moving toward these things and have a plan. If so, that’s great, but most of us aren’t.
Or maybe we are at times, but we’re inconsistent, so we end up staying stuck where we are in life.
The truth is that there are other people moving consistently toward creating their ideal life.
We often see these people, and make excuses for why they’re living their best lives, while we sit idle on the sidelines.
Or worse, we turn into haters! It’s a vicious cycle that keeps us from ever achieving our goals.
The good news though, is that even if you’ve fallen into any of these negative traps, it’s NEVER too late to change.
It’s not just a cliché. When you change your mind, you really do change your life.
So how do we do that? How do we go from wishing we could to doing? It’s not easy, but the good news is it’s very simple.
In a word, discipline. We have to discipline our thoughts. That’s a huge statement I know, so what does it mean for you?
It means getting clear about who you want to be and what you want to accomplish in your life, and putting it on paper.
Then writing out small daily action steps that will take you towards those goals. It means holding yourself accountable when no one is watching.
It means letting go of all those things and people that are holding you back in life.
That friend, that negative stuff you watch on TV, that violent or depressing music.
It means never, under any circumstances, allowing yourself to be apathetic.
It also means replacing those things in your life, which have been weighing you down, with things which will lift you up.
That could look differently for each individual, it could be church, meditation, lectures, self-improvement books, getting a mentor, going to new places, taking up constructive hobbies, going back to school, et cetera.
Whatever it means for you, do it, relentlessly. Day after day, these small actions that you take may seem insignificant at times.
Remember though, that they are tearing down the walls that have kept you from spreading your wings and soaring.
Living freely, consciously creating, and living to the fullest. It will be possibly the most challenging, and probably the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.
The chains of self-doubt hold you back only through ignorance. Once you know the truth, you have a choice to face and overcome what’s been holding you back.
How does this apply to fitness? It’s simple! Many people don’t achieve or maintain their fitness goals because they’re too comfortable with their current lifestyle and to permanently change that requires letting go of the current self-image you have of yourself and embracing a new one.
Again, it’s not easy, but it is so worth it. I believe we’re here to overcome our fears, and I hope this inspires you to take that crucial first step in whatever area you are needing to.
Welcome to my little corner of the web. I’m so grateful to have you!
It is my intent to use my 16 years in health and fitness and my two and a half years as a plant based eater to serve you by passing on all my knowledge in a fun and easily digestible way.
Hopefully we can also share some laughs and get to know each other along the way.
First of all, I’d like to thank you so much for stopping by, and offer a brief introduction.
My name is Adonis, and when I’m not busy being a personal trainer, father, natural plant based bodybuilder, brother, or student, I love to take the knowledge I’ve benefitted from applying in my own life, and pass it on.
Health and fitness has been a lifestyle for me since I was 15 years old.
In my own life, as well as in my nine years as a personal trainer, I’ve seen first hand the benefits of improving one’s health from not only a physical, but also mental, and emotional point of view.
The benefits of making healthier choices for ourselves are too numerous to mention, but I’ll list a few of my favorites.
Increased energy, increased confidence, improved balance, better sleep, a better sex life, reduced anxiety, and perhaps most importantly, tapping into our inner strength.
A healthy lifestyle is literally like a key to superpowers for us, but, like most things that are truly rewarding, it takes work.
That’s why it’s important to figure out how to make lifestyle changes that you enjoy.
This way you can stick with them indefinitely, as opposed to radical changes that just aren’t sustainable.
In other words, what I’m saying is that you have to find a way to make a healthy lifestyle work for you.
For example, if you hate beets, don’t eat beets. Find healthy eating choices you do like. If you hate lifting weights, then don’t lift weights.
Swim, or, hike, or dance, or ride a bicycle. If you hate the gym, don’t go to the gym. Get your workouts in outside.
Explore and experiment. Find healthy options that you do like. This way, making healthy choices won’t be such a chore.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything drastic, unless you want to. Make small, sustainable changes that you can stick with.
Living a healthy life is about enjoying yourself, being balanced, and feeling great.
Treating your body with integrity is a form of self love, torturing yourself with strict diets and workout routines that you hate is a form of abuse.
More than spreading the message of adopting a plant based lifestyle, which is amazing by the way, that is the message I hope to leave you with.
Health and fitness should feel good. It should be challenging at times, but enjoyable. If it’s making you miserable, then perhaps it’s time for a change.
I hope you will apply some of this knowledge in your own life, and that it serves you in improving the quality of your life, as it has mine.
Yes, that’s me. Not bad for a vegan right?