I Am Not A Bodybuilder.
I am not a bodybuilder.
This statement may strike some of you as odd, given how I have spent the last several years preparing to get up on stage in a sparkly bikini and five-inch heels in order to be judged for the development of my physique.
However, bodybuilding has a certain connotation. For most, it conjures up pictures in the head of muscle-bound men AND women who are disproportionately freakish in size, posing and flexing on command. And with this picture of larger-than-normal muscle development, most people also now EXPECT that this type of mass is the result of steroids and other growth hormone drugs. So with the term ‘bodybuilding’ comes the immediate association of drug use for the purpose of growing muscle.
Therefore, I really don’t associate myself with the term ‘bodybuilder.’
I have chosen to develop my physique naturally, challenge my body through training and fuel it through smart nutrition with the goal of growing and maintaining lean muscle mass that is proportionate, symmetrical, flattering, and even sexy.
What am I? I am a physique artist, a figure athlete, and a fitness model.
I do not choose to use any kind of growth-stimulating drugs to make my muscles grow bigger or take my bodyfat to significantly low levels. I choose to do hard work. I choose to eat food that feeds my muscle growth naturally. I choose to get good rest and allow my body to recover and repair from the training so it will stimulate healthy muscle development. I choose to be natural.
It is VERY hard to find natural, non-drug-using athletes in the bodybuilding industry…especially if you are looking at the pro ranks of the IFBB, which is the largest and most well-known professional bodybuilding association out there. The IFBB athletes are the ones who market in all of your favorite fitness magazines…men’s and women’s. Sadly, VERY few of the IFBB pro athletes can claim to be natural or drug-free. Yes, the majority of them are using and/or have used drugs to help them achieve the bodies that are gracing the pages of that magazine you are looking at for inspiration as you sweat it out on the stepmill.
How can we tell that they are using drugs? Actually, it’s pretty easy….let’s take the abs, for example. You know those ads that get you all motivated because the model has such great abs? Of course, we all want abs like that. For females to show their six- or even eight-pack abs on a day-to-day basis, they would need to be holding 8-12% bodyfat – for most it is usually around 10%. And for men? They will need to be coming in around 3-6% bodyfat levels for those abs to pop.
Here’s the reality check. There is NO way the human body will be able to stay at such low bodyfat percentages over the long-term without help. It is just not designed that way. And it is certainly not healthy.
I am just like you in that I also look for people to model myself after. There will always be some body part that I am working on that I would like to see ‘lifted’ or ‘defined’ or ‘thicker.’ I like to go looking for pictures of people who display that same kind of structure, as it helps me to form a picture in my mind’s eye about my goal – it’s called visioning. Perfect. Visioning is proven to help with goal attainment. Until one realizes that the only way to achieve this certain look and maintain it day in and day out is to use drugs.
What about finding a picture of someone who has achieved that goal without the use of drugs? Very, very difficult to find, unfortunately. And yet, the pictures we are surrounded by in the gym, in the magazines, in the exercise videos…they are frequently misrepresentations of what is natural, what is real, and (in my opinion) what is desirable over the long-term.
There have been numerous pro athletes I have looked to and admired, searching them out on Facebook or YouTube and then I realize – because they are posting daily pictures – that there is no way they can maintain that kind of lean physique on a daily basis without the assistance of steroids/drugs. It’s just not reality, and it’s unfortunate.
CAN you ever achieve that eight-pack set of abs? Sure! But it will be for the short-term. It will be for the photo shoot, or the beach vacation, or the stage. It will not and cannot be maintained at that level for the long-term. Period. The body goes through cycles. It needs to hold onto some body fat for a purpose. When you get down to where you are lean enough that your abs are regularly defined, even then you will have days when you wake up and can’t “see” them! It could be because you ate fajitas last night and the higher sodium caused you to bloat. Or because you (females) are at that point in your monthly cycle when you naturally retain more water. Or because you just had a treat day and loaded up on starchy carbs more than you usually do which retains more water per gram than your usual veggies. STRESS can even cause physiological disturbances and loss of definition! There are multiple reasons…the body will FIGHT AGAINST the leanness that is required for you to display a rock-hard set of abs every day. It’s just not reality to maintain that kind of shredded physique day-in and day-out.
So. When you see those pictures in the magazines or on the billboards…please remember that the pictures capture a MOMENT. I will not argue that it takes hard work in the gym and discipline in the diet, but even then it may likely be a reflection of the steroids/growth hormone/prescription diuretics/etc. that person has been taking in order to look like that picture every day.
I am on a quest to turn this around. It is not without work. It requires dedication and consistency. It becomes a lifestyle. But it most definitely CAN be done. I participate in this industry in part to show the world that a beautiful figure can be accomplished without harm, without drugs, without jeopardizing longevity, fertility, or physiological balance. I live every day as proof that the body can be developed into a fabulous, fit and firm physique without the use of health-risking drugs, steroids or diuretics.
Be firm. Be consistent. Be realistic. Be confident it can be done the right way. And if you don’t know where to begin to accomplish the physique you desire, or if you are questioning whether you are currently on the right track to make the vision in your head a reality – contact me today. I can show you. I walk my talk. I’m traveling the same road. I assure you….you CAN do this!