Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Bodybuilder

I am a bodybuilder.  When I tell people I do it, they stare at me because I am not what they consider to be a bodybuilder. See that's the thing, before I started competing, I would not have seen someone like me as a bodybuilder either.  When I thought of a bodybuilder, I thought of these huge muscular men and woman who looked abnormal or not as feminine.  I did not think it was cute at all for a man or woman.

There are different levels of competition and different types of physiques.  Some are super ripped and muscular  and  others have firm bodies with less muscle and more "feminine" curves. I put feminine in quotes because I believe it's defined by the eyes of the beholder.  The common factor is they all took hours of dedication; something I thought I was lacking. I am now in the gym 5-6 days a week and I love it.  It has healed me physically and is a great stress reliever.

Those who may not totally understand this lifestyle tend to give their unwanted opinions and that is very unfortunate. If you date or are friends with a bodybuilder, here are some things that may help you understand our lifestyle.

Support us.
Whether it is helping us with our posing, or eating your non-competition food away from us shows us that you care.  Even if bodybuilding isn't your "thing," the fact that you take the time to learn and understand something that is so big in our lives means the world to us.

We are vain, but there is more to it.
Bodybuilding is not about someone staring at themselves in the mirror for hours in awe of their looks(that's just one aspect we like :-)). Others think it is vanity, but to us, it's about noticing the smallest changes in our body we can find.

Please do not feel as though you have to explain why you're eating bad if you run into one of us.
Not to sound mean, but we don't care what you are eating; especially if you don't.  If you have asked us for advice in the past and you aren't following our suggestions, it's no sweat off our backs.  We have our own diets to worry about.

Don't expect us to eat just fruits, veggies, and "healthy" foods.
We eat just about whatever we want.  The difference is, we have those "cheat meals" in moderation and/or healthy substitutions. We also burn those calories off in the gym.

We are not starving ourselves to lose weight.
We eat more than the average person.  I eat more than my fiance who outweighs me by 60-70 lbs. Losing weight does not mean you skip meals.  You actual eat at least 5 to 6 meals a day every 2-3 hours.  Eating those meals kick your body's metabolism into gear which promotes weight loss.

Keep the jokes about our lifestyle respectful.
We all like to laugh and are OK with laughing at ourselves, but those jokes can get old quick.  You aren't the only one with those jokes for us so be mindful.  Just know that if you dish it, be willing to take what comes back to you.

Respect our decision to compete.
Bodybuilding is not for everyone. If you are a friend to someone who competes. Respect their choice to compete if it is a positive influence on their life.  You don't have to agree with how their body looks, but it is their body and their choice.  We get enough "ewww" and "that's too much," or "she looks like a man" comments from everyone else.

We do not always have to talk about gym and healthy eating.
I am an engineer. I love watching ESPN, I  love mixed martial arts, and I love to sing just to name a few things.  Bodybuilding is just another aspect of my life.  We do like to talk about other things.  So don't be afraid to change the subject.

On stage at my first show.
Backstage after winning my class and the entire show.
After becoming nationally qualified at my second show.

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