If you’re like me, the phrase “I just don’t get it” is what you normally hear when you talk about bodybuilding with other people. They immediately associate what you do with the “bodybuilding gone wrong” photos, the people who forget to rub in their spray tans before competitions, and the obnoxious men and women in the gym that give bodybuilding a bad reputation.
They think of the grunting/screaming, the injuries, or the somewhat animal-like behavior. One of the most frustrating things about this is that it is nearly impossible to get family to see that bodybuilding is so much more than the stereotypes, and these stereotypes only apply to a small percentage of people. Their judgement can even discourage you from continuing to bodybuild or go back to the gym in general, because you don’t want to deal with the judgement.
If any of this applies to you, these are a few things you need to hear.
You can do it
I cannot tell you how many times people have told me there is no way I can reach my goals, that I’m not made for bodybuilding and that I’m kidding myself. There is so much wrong with these statements. First of all, you can do it. Whatever your goals may be, you can achieve them.
The truth is, everyone starts somewhere. Michael Phelps started out in swimming lessons, Shaun White started out in a “learn to snowboard” class, and Usain Bolt had to learn to walk. Often, these people were not the best in their class and had to work to get to where they wanted to be. They had to work to achieve their goals.
Like these incredible Olympic champions, anyone can achieve their goals if they work hard enough for them. Sure, it will be hard, and there will be times where we are drenched in sweat, ready to throw in the towel. However, these times are the times where we find out what we are truly made of and when we find out if we really do want it that much. People will tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams, but if you believe them, isn’t that letting them win? Isn’t that proving them right? Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t become the better, healthier you that you want to be this new year. Don’t let them win. You can do this.
Know that people want results, and since you’re seeing results, they might target you
Sometimes it can feel as if life is just like middle school. As kids, we used to get jealous when our friends got phones before we did, got cooler Christmas presents – the list goes on. People at the gym are still like this.
For many, their goals include losing an extreme amount of weight, or completely changing the way they look. When they see people getting results faster than they are, the tendency is to get jealous and make them the target of any insults they can come up with. The best (most comical) insult I’ve heard is, “You go to the gym way too much. You need to stop before you look like a muscle woman”.
People don’t like the fact that you sometimes get ahead of them or want to look different than they do, and project their own insecurities on you. They make you feel bad for becoming the best form of you, because that is the thing they are struggling to do themselves. Let those people feel bad and focus on reaching your goals. Their fitness journeys are completely different than yours, and we should all treat them as such.
Fitness is incredibly personal, and people tend to disagree with the way you want to treat your body. However, we must choose to ignore those people who don’t want the best for us. Family and friends might not approve or might tell you it’s impossible, but remember you can do anything you work for and put your mind to. Remember that especially in the new year.
You owe it to yourself to keep pushing on and do what is best for you.