A Bodybuilding Revelation!
By: Jonathan Stehlik
Being part of the human culture, we all belong to various groups and organizations that reflect our personal beliefs and ideas. They give us a sense of identity and belonging. My group is the bodybuilding subculture. We can be found congregating in weight filled buildings and conversing on the internet about the latest training and nutrition information. As a group we want more out of life and are not complacent with the conformity around us. We want to stand apart from the world and are never satisfied.
We come from many backgrounds. We are rich, poor, black, and white. Neither race nor social status matters. We might not have anything in common except for the ideals of continuous self improvement and using weights as a tool to drive us towards our goal. We design nutritional diets and bodybuilding routines that are mere hobbies as most believe, but a lifestyle that affects us everyday.
From the beginners such as me, to my friend Layne the competitive bodybuilder, bodybuilding takes up as much time as a job. We skip going out with friends for sleep. We do everything we can to meet our nutritional requirements every 2 to 3 hours just because things must happen according to our plans. It is truly an all consuming lifestyle.
After talking with my friends about what concerns us most as an issue that relates to how we live, we all came to a conclusion along the same lines. Layne, Anthony, Derek and myself all believe we are occupied with the topic of self improvement and rising above the rest in this world. Bodybuilding tasks the mental, physical, and emotional limits of the human potential. Only those people who have the passion and drive to fight through every obstacle will find success, but most quit.
Bodybuilding is a lifelong journey for us. Our overall health is at stake if we do not win this ongoing mental battle to build the best bodies possible over the course of our lives. My friend Anthony sums it up very well: he states, “The time is now, there is no tomorrow or yesterday.” Meaning we can not worry about having skipped a meal yesterday or missing a workout because of being sick, we must forget that and move on. Time is too valuable to be wasting it and then pondering why you wasted it. This is the driving force behind what we believe and think about on a day to day basis. We can never give up, and will never find rest. Our issue is the basis for almost every decision we make.
I personally am not satisfied with my current state. Complacency is sedentary, and being permanently sedentary is being dead. In further exploring this issue and its affects upon my life, there are many things that I do that reflect the ideas the group views as important. I have always strived to win at everything and have found disappointment when even losing games with no significance.
Holding Your Feelings
Just last week we were playing water volleyball for a swimming class I am taking. After losing, I became very upset yet held the feelings inside. Even when losing silly games, we will feel as if we have failed to try our best. I have been self driven and motivated my entire life, sometimes suffering punishment as a result. I have strong views and will do everything in my power to see that things get done my way. The group all believes and lives these points. That is why we will succeed and live up to our goals.
The world today is built upon followers and leaders. There are those who accept the changes and those who make them. There are the pawns and the players. Following our bodybuilding ideals within our issue automatically places us in the revolutionary category of movers and shakers. We enjoy being different and embrace it. We see wisdom and power in being different and traveling solo throughout life. Bodybuilding is one of our divine activities.
You could sometimes compare it to this example. If you walk up to a Navy Seal and ask him what his job means to him, he will proclaim that he is a Navy Seal and that they are the elite fighting force of the United States Military. He will treat it as a higher calling, and for those involved it is something sacred that makes them special.
This is how true bodybuilders feel when dealing with our issue of constant improvement and living up to our expectations in the world we live in. We can not settle for less than what we are capable of.
Having already given you an idea about the mental attitudes of bodybuilders, now I will go into the backgrounds that many of us come from. For some, it was the bullying throughout grade school that turned the person to lifting weights as an attempt to gain respect and recognition. For others it was the layoff of sports from the injury they suffered when they soon found themselves obsessed with the iron game. My friend Layne was one of the former. Standing 5’1, as a freshman in High School, Layne was repeatedly teased to the point of crying, even contemplating suicide on many occasions.
He has put his heart and soul into his training and dieting, and Layne now is a successful student at The University of Florida where is he working towards his major in Bio-Chemistry and has been highly successful in the professional bodybuilding shows he has participated in. Is Layne now free from the memories of torture and insecurity? No, but this is one of the main reasons that people turn to the extreme psychological and physical benefits of bodybuilding.
We all want the same thing, to improve the lives we have been given by God and to take our potential to the utmost level possible.
These are a few of the reasons that people turn to bodybuilding in order to improve their quality of life, and through this we begin to realize how much of a factor this topic plays in our life. It changes our lives to the point of complete mental, physical, and emotional restructuring.
Many things play significant roles in our society in this day and age. Whether it is economics, gender, class, or media, the meaning of these economical and societal structures means nothing when it comes down to the basics of our beliefs of who can be a successful bodybuilder and who cannot. Bodybuilding is wonderful because it is just you and the weights.
Your Own Goals
You do not have to answer to anyone for what you do or accomplish within your own goals; it is all up to you when it comes to success or not. There are no politics, cheaters, or enemies. Bodybuilding is about you fighting against your mind to take your body to another level not reached by most humans. It is not up to the coach, or to a disgruntled parent who feels his unskilled son should have more lifting time than you. I believe bodybuilding is the one sport that provides the most benefits physically and mentally in the entire universe, while allowing those who possess the true desire to achieve what they want while not being held back by any of the common negative obstacles found among other hobbies and activities. The payoff is even better. This is the arena in which you have full control of your outcome, and it is all up to us what we make of ourselves.
This paper has given me a good perspective upon that which takes up so much time in my life, bodybuilding. It has allowed me to sit back and analyze the reasons for which I began my journey in the first place. To become the best I can be and having no other persons or things able to stand in my way. The entire mindset our group possesses is the reason we came together.
We all believe in human potential and working towards getting the most out of our lives possible. This paper has given me new life and a thankfulness that I am able to belong to such an elite group and have the beliefs that I have. I have a revitalized perspective of the philosophy that has brought my group success and will continue to bring myself success now and into the far future.