I’m under the impression that there are three types of people in this world: Competitive and Self-Propelled, and as with everything else, a little bit of grey area. After reading a recent Facebook post from a friend and fellow athlete, I’ve been inspired to delve into the topic full force.
People of a competitive nature, I find, are the ones’s driven by outside forces. They are the ones who race the 90-year-old man power walking on the treadmill next to them, they’re the ones constantly scouring the Internet for photos of their ‘threats,’ they’re even the ones who have to take that one extra shot at the end of the night just to put everyone else under the table. It has nothing to do with attention, but more so just the desire to be “the best, ” and that’s great (maybe not from an alcoholic standpoint), so long as they aren’t belittling their competition to make themselves appear that way.
In the COMPETITIVE world of bodybuilding, this is perfectly normal. To win, you have to have the best physique, the most disciplined diet, the perfect pose, and probably some really good genetics. You have to be selfish and obsessed with yourself to win; I mean, you devote 12 weeks of your life, 24/7, to perfecting your form only to stand on stage for seconds with countless other sweaty, glistening individuals, for 4-5 people to judge you…after ALL…THAT…HARD…WORK.
So a lot of the time you need outside sources of motivation. I know I’m constantly pinning quotes and pictures, changing the background on my phone, and researching fitness models for means of inspiration, but I find myself to be in the “grey category.” Before I get there though, let’s discuss the self-propelled.
These people are the one’s that require very little supervision in any line of work. They are motivated from a flame within, the desire to be their personal best, and to surpass their own expectation. When I was running races in New Orleans, I found that self-motivation was my best cheerleader. I wasn’t concerned with placing first, because let’s face it, genetically I wasn’t supposed to be a runner, but I was very much interested in bettering my own time and my own form.
Again, in this competitive world of body building this is still a good strategy to have. This isn’t a sport you excel in overnight, and very few people go pro their first season. Muscle takes time to develop and grow, poses take time and practice to perfect; even hair, make-up and tanning is a trial and error process. I have a good friend who lost an “overall” title based solely on her make-up application, but guess what? The next year, we tried something new with her look and she took home the gold.
Like I said, I find that I fall within the grey area. Sure, I’m always aware of my competitors’ physiques and what kind of training they’re participating in, but I’m not bashing them or losing sleep comparing my body to theirs. What I am concerned with is how my body compares to the image I saw in the mirror the previous morning. What I am concerned with are the hours I’m logging in the gym. What I am concerned with are the foods I’m filling my body with. And sometimes I need some exterior help for that; I need a second opinion, or a slap to the face to remind me it’s all in my head. And sometimes I can find that spark within myself. I have good days and I have bad days, and I bounce back and forth, but I’m giving it my personal best and that is satisfying enough for me.
Of course I want to go on stage and do well, but just getting on stage this season is a victory in itself for me, and if that’s not enough for another competitive bodybuilder, then so be it. I happen to know that some peoples’ best is only taking one bite of a cookie as opposed to eating the whole thing. And if that’s how they choose to train, then good for them.
Regardless of where your motivation comes from, or how hard you are or are not busting your ass, I’m not going to take it personally, because I’m too busy focusing on my own ass to worry about what yours looks like. It is not an insult to me or my sport if you want to gorge yourself on candy all night while I’m up riding a bike; I, too, would rather beat someone who gave their all as opposed to someone who half-assed it, but sometimes half-assing it is all you’ve got.
I hope that makes sense.