“Character is a more treasured possession than money, status, intellect or beauty”-Adam Senex
This is an interesting question because from the outside it can seem that fit people are all good and motivated to stay in shape for all the best reasons possible. We all love to narrate our reasons for behaving and acting in a way that is positive and makes rational sense. We all want to be role models and highly thought of as special in some way.
Truth is we may have started to workout because we have low self-esteem, to make ourselves intimidating and more secure behind some muscles. Even because we felt inferior to others in some way due to our outward appearance. There are many highly motivating but quite sad reasons why we are drawn into changing ourselves and to think they are all good is naive to say the least.
Personally, I began because I am a highly sensitive person and being over 6′ tall and male in a society that needs me to be extrovert and strong in every way. And with a Father that valued the macho man type expected when I was young I took the only path I felt allowed me to be both individual and made me appear to be what I was expected to be and that was bodybuilding. I got to create my body and at the same time play the game expected of me at that time. I built a coat of armour. In hindsight it did deter many guys that were trying to prove themselves but equally attracted challenges from that same mentality. I was still a non-violent sensitive introverted guy that happened to be 6′ 3″ and 270lb’s.
My reasons for continuing to workout now have changed and my philosophy has matured but I am kidding nobody with my reason for starting my lifelong passion. I see that same motivating factor in most of the younger guys at the gym in the 21st century. In a nutshell – an attempt to become bullet proof and to gain power over others without conflict.
I didn’t actually compete until I was well into my fifties, (pic below)having worked out seriously since I was fifteen years old! I did okay but to be honest with my personality type I hated it. But, I did three shows – I ticked the box and moved on.
However, Julie also took the plunge before me and with her personality she loved it and as I prepared her for the show I decided I would give it a go next time as there was quite a bit of pressure from other trainers we knew well. I did win my first show but felt so far out of my comfort zone. And I couldn’t reconcile exactly what the meaning of competing was for me. And Different governing bodies seemed to want different physiques – Julie danced, stood on her head and loved the posing part. The pics below of Julie clearly show the different physique she had to present to conform to the different rules. Conforming is not something I do well. I dreaded every second.
As the saying goes – we live and learn. I learned that my lifestyle and physique is for me and not to be paraded around. I am happy to remain a gym rat! Crikey! I sound like a right grumpy old git. I am not but I suppose I am quite a private person that energises inwardly rather than outwardly like Julie does. We compliment each other well. Which is why we remain together and to this date have been married 37 years. My favourite things are reading, writing and thinking. And my 4 dogs Smudge, Zing, Titch and Zen. My advice to anyone feeling pressured to do something uncomfortable would be to know yourself and make your own choices.
MY PHILOSOPHY TODAY HAS EVOLVED INTO SOMETHING RADICALLY DIFFERENT AND MUCH MORE INNOVATIVE.
And this is subject to constant change and hopefully progress.
REFUSAL – CURIOSITY – INNOVATION
- REFUSAL – to be the conditioned automaton that society expects me to be as a normal man of my age and type! Even more so for Julie my wife.
- CURIOSITY – To know that there are many ways to achieve a unique state of body and mind away from those norms. Curious to see what others are doing outside the box. And to know that mind leads and body follows but also it can be the other way around. And to allow curiosity to enhance my intuitive choices away from science logic and reason which block our natural intuition.
- INNOVATION – To be happy to innovate and experiment against the cultural norms. Happy to lead the way or be wrong rather than follow the herd. Content to be ploughing my own furrow while all around me conform to the latest fad, trend or next big thing. To change and vary everything constantly.
IN A NUTSHELL – my philosophy for life translates to the gym and fitness. Value-added action is beneficial in all spheres of life. Creating a character to cherish come what may is the key to life satisfaction. But, remember that is my interpretation of my past and current reasons for being fit and I may be off by miles. Such is this game called life.
This is my current story and I’m sticking to it – For now anyway!