What lies beneath the paint?

Brandon Hahn April 30, 2014 Athletic Xtreme News

The bodybuilding industry is built upon egos and selfish people. They think of themselves and that is all. They only plan for themselves and others need to fall in line. Many hours each week are dedicated to exercise and loved ones suffer. That is the face painted upon this sport, but not what lies beneath.

This industry may have egos and selfishness, but what lies behind the paint is much deeper.

Borderline torture

When looking at this industry it is very easy to assume competitors are all about themselves. A competitors duty requires daily sacrifice and dedication. It requires the competitor to focus on oneself rather than how it effects others. What’s not seen is the “why” behind the competitor. What made them compete? Why make this choice? It’s borderline torture when you truly evaluate the entire sport. Again, it’s daily training which can be hours on end. Meal prep and structured eating that does not allow error. The stress of dieting and doubt creating a cloud of worry over the competitor as competition draws near. All of this for about 10 minutes on the stage. Preparations are 365 days per year and it’s all for around 10 minutes on a stage (most likely in a high school auditorium).

Why? Why would someone do that?

From the many people I have spoken with in this industry it all results from a similar experience. Something occurred in life that created a spark. A reason to change the body from its current state to where they are headed. It most often comes at a time when self-esteem was low and criticism from others was high. I draw from my own life and how it started.

My battle

I admitted early on that my quest for a better physique was so that people would stare at my body rather than my face. Yes, I had friends in high school, great friends. Without those friends, I do not know where I would be in life (nor do I want to think about it). I felt safe with my friends, because people liked being around them. It was with those experiences people grew to understand and know me. However, in those experiences, I saw my friends getting attention and myself getting criticism. It created a spark.

My road to redemption

In the weight room I flourished. Just like others, I saw the weight room as my outlet. My way to be better than others and finally thrive. It becomes a process of learning what others criticize and then fix that. That’s exactly what occurs amongst competitors and on stage. What are they saying about me? Do I really need to change it if my peers say it? What are the judges saying I need to do? All of these things are going on in your head as a constant evaluation. It’s very consuming and very stressful. You want to be there for others and you also have this need in your head to be better. I said torture before, but it’s more of an addiction. It’s something that cannot be stopped. It’s a need to be better.

Be better than your peers

You remember what was said in the past and it drives you forward. You’ve come this far, why not go further? It is a constant challenge to be better. You self-evaluate and evaluate your peers. What are they doing that I am not? They do 10 sets for chest, then I need to do 11. They are doing biceps curls and have big biceps, so I need to do those. He’s using 40s though, so I’ll grab the 45s.

See through the paint

It all sounds so challenging and so competitive. That is exactly right. It’s challenging and it occurs daily. Being better is constantly on the mind of a competitor. There is no other option. You are trying to break through what was once said. Trying to make those that once criticized you wishing they could be like you. This sport is not easy. It’s often very difficult, but there’s a reason. Something that lies within that created the cause. Until you know that cause, you will simply see the paint rather than the hidden pain.

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About The Author

Brandon has been in the fitness industry for over seven years and has trained over 1,000 clients. He has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and continues to improve his physique with hardwork and dedication. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Brandon has the knowledge and skills to get you on the fast track to fitness.

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