I have always loved writing, even though I’m not great at it. I’m that guy who has a hundred unique ideas daily about things I want to write up, and then ultimately never jots down a single word and forgets every single thing that led me to sit in front of the computer in the first place. The good news is that once I start, ideas come to me and I end up going Kamikaze-style on the keyboard. I don’t know a lot of big words (despite having a radio show that has forced me to broaden my vocabulary; and yes, I’m damn proud of that!). At the end of the day, I’m just a high school dropout who joined the Army to get the hell out of my shithole home. But we’ll save that story for a later date.
Today, I’m sitting down to write, and all I know for sure is that I want to make this a consistent thing, be able to share my experiences in life, and in bodybuilding, so that maybe someone out there can use my experiences as a reference when they’re going through similar trials, be that struggles with addition, or simply seeing better results from their training program. It really doesn’t matter, so long as I get it out there.
So what am I going to write about? That’s a great question because, frankly, I have no idea. What I do know is that, once a week, I’m going to literally force myself to sit down and write something. Everything you’re reading in this post embodies who I am as a person. What you see is what you get. There is no wizard behind the curtain spinning a wheel resulting in holograms, smoke and mirrors. For better or worse, I’ve gotten this far in life just being myself and trying to be proud of who I am, despite any ups and downs along the way.
The good part about all of this is that, because I’m bipolar, I have the memory of a fly, so it might well prove interesting for you, the reader, to follow along. I may say one thing one week, and then a few weeks later, take the complete opposite stance on the same topic. (Feel free to call me out on that, because, let’s be frank, I won’t give a shit anyway, and I reserve the right to change my mind based on circumstances which may or may not be a simple change in brain chemistry on that given day.)
So without further ado, here is what today’s version of me is thinking about this week.
IT’S GO TIME
Man, what a year. So many awesome things have happened already, and are continuing to grow, I don’t even know where to begin—and to that end, I won’t bore you with all the details. If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re either a friend of TEAM Warrior Within, or a fan of the GEARD UP podcast, and know at least a bit about how awesome life has been as of late.
Last week on the show, my brother-from-another-mother and I decided we were going to map out our contest plans for 2016, as we both wanted to get back onstage together one more time before David hangs up his posing trunks and moves onto greener pastures. Whether or not he actually never competes again, or just takes an extended hiatus, remains to be seen. Personally, I’ve known him long enough to know that “the bug” comes and goes with him. If there is an iron bug, then the one that infected David tends to jump onto other dogs as they walk by, and stays there until David walks back into its vicinity, at which point it latches back onto him. Which brings me to me.
Competition day—I fucking LOATHE competition day! I can remember March of 2013 like it was yesterday. David flew out to watch me compete, as we had worked in conjunction for my contest prep that year, and he promised we would get me into the best shape of my life. Which I accomplished, by leaps and bounds. Man, I looked fucking GREAT! Even my glutes were starting to come in, and they probably would have been completely shredded had I listened to what he told me to do all the way through, instead of implementing Skip loads. (Not that Skip loading doesn’t work, I believe in it wholeheartedly and have used it with great success with many of my own prep clients. But in retrospect, I probably should have just kept it clean all the way through to show day. But I digress.)
As we recorded Monday night and unveiled our plans to the tens of thousands of listeners, it all kind of hit me, I HATE the day of competition. I know exactly what it is, and it’s almost this alien feeling to me. See, I’m the guy that will say anything to anyone. I’m the guy that walks up to the girl, even though he’s really not that good looking, gets told no over and over, brushes it off and moves on to the next one until she finally says yes. I’m the guy that killed door-to-door candy sales at 13 years old because no one on my team wanted to actually ring doorbells and sell candy, even though that was their fucking job. I’m as confident as Michael Jordan hitting a game winner. I can truly say when I walk in a room, I can either take the whole thing over, or control everyone in it almost as if they’re puppets. I grew up a little shy boy who was sheltered and teased and, one day, at a very young age, it clicked and I decided that I was never going to let other people decide how I was going to feel or what I was going to say. And further, if I had it in me, I was going to make them act and feel the way I wanted them to act and feel.
So what does this super confident, ultra-secure guy do? He decides he wants to be a bodybuilder at 28 years of age. Nice choice, slick. You just so happen to choose the one endeavor that literally breeds insecurity.
One thing that I have learned is that, in my best estimation, about 90% of people involved in physique competition, got into it due to their own lack of self-worth. Most of them weren’t like me and didn’t care what people thought. In fact, most of them place their entire self-identity in the hands of what other people thing. Which, to me, is no way to live. Most of the people in this sport didn’t have talent, like my friend Mr. Johnston, and ended up becoming bodybuilders or physique competitors in hopes that the muscle would act as a shield or distraction so people would never really know the scared little child that is inside.
So what does this have to do with me? Mr. Crème de la crème of Confidence? Well, on show day , I turn into an insecure little man-child-baby, and I fucking hate myself for that day. Sure, I absolutely loved winning my last show. But what do I remember most from that day, the thought burned into my psyche? Running to the bathroom every five minutes to “see if it was still there”. Then getting off stage after prejudging and wondering if I had won, even though all of my friends and supporters had assured me I had. Not being able to feel happy about winning my class because I knew I had to go back out for the overall, which I had already lost in my head (and to a guy I ended up not even losing to). Being at weigh-ins and feeling emasculated by all of these other guys that all of a sudden looked larger-than-life to me, and telling myself there is no way I can beat this or that guy (all of whom I beat).
It’s not the end result I remember. It’s the fact that I couldn’t be me for that day, and that my hobby had robbed me of my soul. Every fiber of who I am was peeled away, and there I stood, a scared little child in a speedo with oil all over himself. Embarrassing, right? How degrading. How cheap. And all for a ceramic trophy. Wow, deep shit!
By now you’re probably asking yourself, if Adam hates competitive bodybuilding so much, why does he do it?
That’s a great fucking question. Well first of all, I’m nowhere near the mental state now that I was then. I’m in a better place now, and have come to terms with my potential in the sport, whereas back then, I thought I could be something. Now that I sincerely don’t worry about that, my perspective is different. Just a couple of years ago, I dreamt of going to Junior USAs or Junior Nationals and not making an ass of myself. These days, I’m not even sure I’ll ever be ready for something like that. Again, it’s perspective.
The second thing that comes to mind is I now have made something of a name for myself in the sport, and that has allowed me to do so many cool things and have so many cool relationships, that I’m not even sure about how much actual fulfillment I will get from competing. And I’d like to test those waters as well.
Then there’s getting back onstage with David and keeping my word to my best friend. But I guess with all of that in mind, I just want to see where I am after this past year of serious training, keeping my nutrition somewhat on point, going out much less (which nowadays is pretty much nonexistent). I guess that Father Time has tapped me on the shoulder and put a little pressure on me to see if I can maybe, just maybe, keep my shit together, I might get to see how good I can actually be.
And shouldn’t that be what bodybuilding is all about? Isn’t that what Joe Weider shoved down everyone’s throats, literally creating an empire on the idea that you, too, could be on the beach with the pretty girl and the ripped abs?
I guess I’m just interested to see what my “potential” could have been had I gotten my shit together ten years sooner. Potential is nothing until you either quit, or actualize it, right?
So here I sit at 37 years old, and I’m finally doing what most guys do when they’re 25. Oh well. I’m not going to be that insecure guy I was at my last show. I’m going to be me. I’m going to be proud of the work I’ve done. I’m going to be proud of the life I’ve built and continue to build. And I’m gonna’ be fucking proud to be backstage and hopefully posing down with my best friend.
Life and bodybuilding are very similar. It’s all about perspective. And for me, it’s go time!