From Desk to Stage (#2)

I’ve been thinking the last few weeks about how preparing for a physique show is as tough mentally as it is physically. From the outside it seems pretty straight forward – you cut out the shit food, curtail the drinking and hit the gym a few more times a week. This is far from the case, from what I have discovered so far anyways.

I, myself, have been preparing for this show longer than I have announced it – isn’t exactly a surprise. I had already decided beforehand that I wanted to ease off of alcohol for a while, concentrate on changing careers and making more out of my time outside of the office. Casual drinking was beginning to bore me.

This also happened to go hand in hand with what I wanted to do with my training, strip away the fat to show what I had been working on in months of bulking and bringing up the weak areas of my physique (FYI – chest, shoulders & outside quad) it really just happened organically that I fell into competing. I had seen so much of these physique competitions all over the web but never truly explored the idea – never thought I had the mental capacity or – frankly – the body for it.

This is where I think the mental side of things comes to the forefront. Before even going ahead with this I had major reservations. The lifestyle and sacrifices required, balancing two jobs while prepping, missing out on social events, the cravings, the hunger pains, carb brain, mood swings – you name it. Even still, here we are.

Behind all of the drawbacks, once I got the idea of competing into my head I knew it was going to happen, one way or another – regardless of my mind tirelessly working to tell me that it wasn’t the right way to go. Insanely, all of this is before I had even begun preparation – total mental warfare. It is scary to see your own mind being conditioned into accepting a situation and cautioning on the side of stagnancy. “Why change things?”

The overriding emotion when it really came to a head was excitement. Yes, the preparation would become tougher and tougher, longer cardio sessions, smaller food intake, putting relationships with friends and family essentially on hold - but I couldn’t get over how proud I’d be of myself If I could withstand all of that and step up on stage knowing I persevered over 16 weeks. That excited me.

There would always another night out, another social event, and another “cheat meal” down the line. I wouldn’t lose sleep over that. A lot of people do. This is probably why a lot of people don’t decide to go for a lot of things. It isn’t specific to competing in a show - competing could be seen as ridiculous in some people’s eyes. Luckily I have applied this positive mind-set to changing careers also. So it has become doubly important to me.

Whereas before I would nearly always fall back into that mediocrity mind-set if I even considered changing anything about my life. This was transferrable across most things I did but it stemmed mostly from work. “Why change it when I can just complain?”

There was a whimsical side to it all – people find my crass observations regarding my boring job pretty funny and it is funny – sometimes. A lot of the time it isn’t. Especially when you’re employed by “Anti-Disneyland – where dreams go to die “- dammnit I’ve done it again!

Again, what I’m saying does come with an “I’m not a wannabe life coach” disclaimer. What I am trying to get across from the mindless babble above is the power of a negative mind-set and how it can condition us into stagnating even when we don’t think it. We become creatures of boring, old habits and we don’t even know it.

It took me time to ponder this idea and even longer to really start to override it as I had become too used to it. I won’t end this entry like the lifestyle guru’s across the web and tell you to just follow your dreams and go travelling or whatever it is these guys say – we aren’t all made of money and we all have bills to pay!

I’ll just say that if you find yourself bored of the same thing each day then look internally and do something about it – Jesus that sounds so condescendingly corny. Here’s a quote that I find resonates with this – bonus corny points.

It is senseless to blame others or your environment for your miseries. Change begins from the moment you muster the courage to act. When you change, the environment will change. The power to change the world is found nowhere but within our own life.”

James

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