If you haven’t competed in bodybuilding or you did it for the wrong reasons, there are a lot of negative associations with bodybuilding.
- Drug abuse
- Food disorders
- Poor relationship diet/training etc.
While some of these are true and there are some people that have those problems, bodybuilding itself can be fantastic for many people.
In this blog, I want to go over 5 life lessons I learned from 2 bodybuilding competitions.
I competed in 2017 and 2018.
Here is my first show:
Here is my second show:
I went into both of them thinking I was going to get a pro card, but looking back I was naive to the entire thing.
People had spent years trying to do that, and there is just a lot of experience you need to gain in order to win a pro card. I had neither of those.
But because I thought I was going to win I did push myself as far as I wanted to go during that time of my life. Was it enough? Nope, but atleast I didn’t try less because I didn’t feel like I would win.
I wasn’t lean enough to win, nor could I rely on my genetics to get me through my lack of size and leanness.
But looking bad I learned a ton, and if I hadn’t done those two bodybuilding shows Im not sure I would be where I am at.
Lets dive into the 5 lessons.
➡Lesson 1: Patience
When it comes to anything in life we (myself included) want things right away.
I see this all of the time when talking with new clients.
Questions like “how long will it take me to look like this?” “How come im not seeing progress?”
Both of these questions show that you need to work on patience.
If you are worried about how long its going to take you, you are more likely to:
- Engage in methods that arent sustainable long term, and because of that your results will be short term.
- If you do find out it takes a while, you are more likely to quit because of how long it may take.
I always struggled with patience, and I still do. But competing in bodybuilding really taught me to slow down and be patient with what I am doing. If it was quick and easy everyone would do it.
I have been able to carry this over to my relationships as well as my business.
In my line of work, there is a lot of turnover because people think they should be making a ton of money right out of the gate, but then they find out that it takes a while and it may never happen so people give up.
Luckily I have learned and applied patience and that has allowed me to stick with growing my business and because of that I have reaped some of the rewards.
All good things in life take time, and most aren’t a one-time event, but rather a process.
➡Lesson 2: Consistency/hard work add up over time
It’s not about doing some big thing and then all of a sudden you are completely different, thats actually the opposite of what happens.
Staying consistent and doing the small things daily add up and then combined with patience that is where you see the most progress.
For bodybuilding, you dont get shredded by doing things you want to do every day and then all of a sudden you just get shredded.
You get shredded by making small choices/sacrifices day over day and then week over week, and then sticking with them.
You have to do the small things when you dont really feel like it. Like skipping drinks with friends, or not having drinks while everyone else drinks.
Or getting your steps in when it’s cold and you had a bad day. Or getting a lift in when you’d much rather sit around and watch Netflix.
Again, if it were easy then anyone would do it.
When talking to clients about their progress pics for example, I will tell them “look you may not see huge results from your first set of progress pics to your second, but once you start to compare set 1 to set 4 or 5 thats where you really start to see the difference.”
However, the trick here is sticking with those small things every day and doing the habits you need to do daily because ultimately that is what is going to get you to your goal.
You get frustrated when you dont see results, but at the same time, you also aren’t making the tough choices day after day for those small things.
The little things you do daily make a difference in the long run. With growing my business, my body, and my relationships I know that I must continue to take small steps daily and keep moving forward.
➡Lesson 3: You are only in competition with yourself:
Bodybuilding is interesting because you go on stage with other people and then get judged based on what the judges think and based on some criteria.
This sort of reminds me a lot of what happens every day. We put too much stock into what other people think about us, but thats just what they think. It doesnt mean it is or isn’t true.
With bodybuilding, it also really depends on who shows up that day, which you cant control.
But what you are in control of is what YOU do, and the only thing you should really measure is if you are better than you were the last time you competed.
When it comes to fitness you see this a lot, someone will compare themselves to someone who has been at it for 10 more years than they have been.
You cant expect to look like that person. They also have completely different circumstances than you.
But what you can control is doing the things you need to do day in and day out to get to where you want to be.
If you cant do those things, then none of it matters.
With my business it’s the same. I used to get discouraged when I would see online coaches who claimed to make 6 figures and had thousands of followers online or they just had more knowledge than me.
But then I remembered that they had been doing this for years, and instead, I just needed to put in the reps and be patient and I could be there one day.
Im not there by any means, but if you told me back then where I would be today I would be ecstatic.
But the big takeaway here is that you need to focus on YOUR journey, pay attention to others’ journeys and be there for them if you want, but dont compare yours to theirs.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Everything about them is different. Once you start focusing on others you are no longer focused on improving yourself.
➡Lesson 4: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
I am fairly introverted, I do like to chat and interact with people, but when it comes to things like dancing, singing, speaking in front of groups, or putting myself out there I tend to shy away from it.
I used to think this was just how I was.
But then somehow I decided I was going to get tanned up and down to a speedo on stage and get judged by people I dont know.
That really helped me get outside of my comfort zone and really pushed me forward in many aspects of my life.
Dont get me wrong I still enjoy my comfort zone, but I am much more at ease and push myself outside of it because I made the choice to do a bodybuilding show.
I got more comfortable posting content on social media and then that lead to me doing talks in front of 30 plus people, to joining Toastmasters, to starting my own podcast, to pursuing my masters etc.
All because one time I decided to get outside of my comfort zone.
I have learned that when I don’t want to do something, that usually means I need to do it.
➡Lesson 5: You are responsible for your actions
Bodybuilding also taught me to really take responsibility for my actions.
Ever since I competed my mindset shifted from why does this happen to me, to how can I make this better or what role did I play in this?
Even if things aren’t your fault it really helps to come from that frame of mind.
A lot of times we will blame our lack of results on things like work, being tired, kids, school etc.
Thats fine, but realize if you take away your responsibility then you cant actively try to fix it. And thats fine, but just realize that.
As with all of these, im not perfect at this, but I am certainly better than I was years ago.
How can you make your current situation better? What is something you can do that you haven’t been? Once you blame things outside of your control you are spending time worrying about that instead of actually fixing whatever it is you need to.
I hope these lessons were helpful for you.
I always get a little upset when I hear people talk negatively about competing and bodybuilding because it has been such a positive thing in my life.
However, I do realize it can be hurtful to people who aren’t in it for the right reasons or go about it in the wrong way.
So I understand where this perception comes from.