In a previous blog I wrote about how bodybuilding has been a gift and a curse. I would like to expand on this a little further with this second installment of “The Blessed Curse part 2.”
Ever since I was a young boy I was told that we should take care of the body. I was always told that I should eat my vegtables, protein, good fats and stay away from junk food. So after years of being told to eat healthy– I did. I saw the value of eating healthy and exercising at an early age. I went to college and graduate school with the goal of learning as much about health and nutrition as I could. I knew that there was tremendous value in this information and that I could help people look and feel better.
After living in the life of academia I ventured off to teach the world. I have helped thousands of people achieve greater health. I would always tell them to eat right, exercise correctly without overtraining, sleep, take supplements. Staying fit and healthy is a lifestyle and that is what I preach about.
But unfortunately my passion and my own goals have been a hinderence to my success. I have always been proud of what I have accomplished with my body and believe that if I am going to teach methods in health and fitness that I should play the role. It wouldn’t make sense to be an obese, junk food, smoking fat dude trying to motivate or teach fitness.
When I train I mind my own business. I don’t make obnoxious primal noises, I don’t drop the weights, I don’t wear a tank top, in fact, I wear a sweatshirt and sweat pants to not draw attention to myself. I use the same methods in training that I preach. I workout for 30 minutes 5 times a week. But since I tell people I “bodybuild” they immediately look at me differently. Some people get turned off and won’t join my gym because I bodybuild. They say, “i don’t want to have big muscles”, or “this is guy is a muscle head”. Now keep in my mind I am not standing in front of this person wearing a tank top with shorts. I am standing in front of them wearing a professional outfit, polo shirt with casual dress pants. They can’t see my muscles. When I wear clothes you really can’t tell that I bodybuild. Yet these folks have made their opinion about me based on how I live my life.
Bodybuilding is simply “building the body.” When anyone exercises they are breaking down tissue and through recovery the tissue is rebuilt. In a way everyone is bodybuilding. The only difference with me is that I like to isolate and manipulate the exercises differently to produce a different effect on the muscle. The byproduct of my training is muscle definition. I like to push my self to create the body I want. But if I don’t look like the overweight, depressed, medicated, aging person then I am considered a freak or a “muscle head.” No matter how many degrees and certifications I have people will still be turned off when they find out that I bodybuild.
Here is the truth about bodybuilding. Bodybuilding for me is a synergistic lifestyle that merges nutrition and exercise into keeping all the systems of the body working efficiently. Bodybuilding is art and science combined to produce a great looking physique. Keeping the body strong and healthy increases longevity and quality of life. I don’t think guys like myself should be chastised for being disciplined to looking and feeling good. Yet many people get jealous of people who are disciplined to health and nutrition and look good.
When someone joins a gym and achieve their goal of losing a certain amount of fat, they are an inspiration to others. When I achieve my goal of having defined muscles and low body fat, I am viewed as a “muscle head.” I never thought that bodybuilding would be viewed as an negative thing. I don’t understand, I teach health and nutrition to others, they receive results, I train the way I teach and get made fun of or looked at as a low intelligent life form. Maybe someday the majority of society will appreciate and respect what it takes to develop a great looking natural body and will embrace the bodybuilding lifestyle. Until then natural bodybuilders are still an oddity.
Daryl Conant, M.Ed.