Are Bodybuilders Really Athletes (Plus a Lesson in Patience)

When I was in high school, my art class was assigned a project. Through any art form we chose we had to create an image of either our greatest strength or our greatest weakness. I sketched out a rendering of a bracelet on graph paper. Using tiny glass “seed” beads, I spelled out the word PATIENCE. I got half way through creating the bracelet and decided it was much too time consuming and turned in the sketch instead.

Patience, as it turns out, is not my greatest virtue. And yes, I’m a millennial. Furthermore, all you boomers and Xers out there, feel free to judge.

I freely admit that I fit the stereotype to a “T”. First of all, I am not patient. Second, I expect instant results. Third, I don’t want to wait in line, wait for a movie to be released or even wait to find out the ending of a book. For instance, I sometimes read the last chapter first. In my defense, you never know when you’re going to drop dead, so really this is quite practical.

However, training to be a bodybuilder is all about the long game. Every morning for the past two weeks it’s been the same routine: I wake up and weigh myself. Then, I go to the gym. I lift. After, I come home and my abs are so sore it hurts to laugh and I look in the mirror and guess what? I still don’t have a f***ing six-pack.

Indeed, corporations, the media, consumers – they’re all about instant results. “Drop 20 pounds in 10 days!” “Cleans soap scum in seconds!” “Pay .99 a month to skip the commercials!” Everywhere we look we are told we can get instant results.

Becoming a Bodybuilder Takes Patience

Generally, becoming a bodybuilder (or changing yourself — mind, body or spirit — in any way, really) it’sĀ about persistence. It’s about patience. It’s about consistency every single day. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. However, I didn’t realize how all-consuming “the grind” would be. Every workout, every meal, every hour of sleep means something. It ALL counts toward the end goal, which, for me, is 10 long weeks away.

Body builders aren’t “real” athletes….or are they?

I always sort of had the impression that fitness models and bodybuilders weren’t “real” athletes. That is to say, the competitions are more like beauty pageants than athletic endeavors. However, after starting this journey, I’ve got to give them more credit. I found this quote on Pinterest the other day, and I have to say, Ashley Horner describes the process in the the most accurate way:

“A well built physique is a status symbol. It reflects you worked hard for it. No money can buy it. You cannot borrow it. You cannot inherit it. You cannot steal it. You cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows discipline. It shows self respect. It shows patience, work ethic and passion. That’s why I do it.”

Above all, wish me luck as I work toward this athletic achievement. In conclusion, grant me patience.

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