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Wise words that I end up yelling at loud during leg day.
It was the 90’s. It was the best of times, the worst of times and a young Ronnie Coleman had hair.
What physique do you want? In all honesty what is the perfect look? Do you want to be some hulking mass of muscle? Are you willing to sacrifice everything to become that beast? Or do you look for symmetry? Perfection? Do you want aesthetics?
Personally if someone can get anywhere near the massive size of Jay Cutler, Kai Greene, Ronnie Coleman (Lightweight baby! in a squeaky voice), etc. that’s great. It’s phenomenal and you should strive to achieve that. If you want that look go for it. But I find myself wanting to look more like the bodybuilders of yesteryear. I don’t care about winning everything, sitting on top of a metaphorical mountain as king of bodybuilding, and I don’t want to dedicate my life to that. I like being healthy and I want my body to last for decades not years. I think one of the biggest understatements is the price that has been paid by the best in bodybuilding to get to where they are at. They push themselves past the brink and their bodies break. On the outside they look awesome with tremendous muscle but on the inside they are rotting. Some have paid the ultimate price and many will do the same in the future.
I really don’t want to pay that price. Now don’t get me wrong I do what it takes to achieve my goals but I also know my limits. I believe that you have to have balance with everything whether it’s muscle mass, pectoral development or in life with the good things and bad. Looking at Eastern philosophies balance is essential. Bushido can be perceived as keeping balance in a martial life. If you truly want to be Mr. Olympia, if you want to have your name up there, go ahead. Work for it. If you are capable of doing what it takes, which is sacrificing everything you are, do it. But I don’t want that to ever be me.
I guess what I want most in bodybuilding is to achieve the body I always wanted and to look my absolute best. I’ll never be happy with what I have but at the same time I want to achieve a certain look. I love powerlifting and the camaraderie it’s brought me. The guys I lift with our like family; they are my brothers. But I find myself, after my first year of powerlifting and competing, wanting a certain balance in what I do. I guess “Powerbuilding” is what I am looking for but I have started introducing bodybuilding principles into my training.
Next year I will be changing my nutrition and actually attempt to eat healthier instead of devouring whatever I can get as long as it has protein. I’ve lost a lot of fat, shaped up, gained a large amount of thickness and put on some 20+ pounds of muscle. But I need to cut down. That means cardio and the “I eat some chicken and vegetables every few hours, five times a day” ala Kai Greene / Ronnie Coleman approach that I’ve seen. I will have to find what works for me though but I’m young. I can experiment with different philosophies.
In the long term I think just walking up on a stage in front of a crowd, whether it’s fitness or bodybuilding, to compete would be one of the greatest accomplishments I could ever want. It would mean everything to me and would be that point where I cast off the chains of my past, all the pain and hurt, failure and hard times and embrace a new age for myself. I have just started on this journey and I know that the road is long. That won’t happen any time soon but I know I’ll be at my local gym with the guys, training hard and striving, years from now. Until that moment I’ll continue to powerlift and learn more about bodybuilding. I am thinking of taking a more intellectual approach and studying different physiques so that I can plan my own.
Both powerlifting and bodybuilding are arts. They require technique, attention to detail, finesse and knowledge. One is about the movement of some “heavy ass weight” (In Ronnie Coleman’s voice) while the other is more about the body. So in closing what do you want? What kind of bodybuilding do you coincide with most?
52 years ago my Grandfather was rocking a pair of Chuck Taylor’s. Today he surprised me and bought me a pair as I was complaining to him about lifting with running shoes and how I end up going barefoot all the time. He went on to get me some more tubs of protein. The circle of life is now complete.