At one time, I had dreams of becoming a successful competitive bodybuilder. I was a young kid when I first picked up now a weight, but I loved the way lifting weights made me feel. I was extremely happy when I was training, and kept up that lifestyle for many years.
I say lifestyle because bodybuilding is a lifestyle. It requires tremendous dedication and self motivation. I cannot tell you how many times I did not want to train, and I went and did it with 110% intensity without the comradary of fellow team members or coaches. It is a really self centered sport and being a bodybuilder or weightlifting kind of leads you to become pigeonholed.
In order to really be serious about the process, it is important to be serious about eating, training, and sleeping. That becomes hard to do when all your friends are goofing off and eating and drinking all the normal everyday foods and drinks that are really not conducive to developing muscle mass and keeping fat accumulation to a minimum.
So, serious bodybuilders tend to hang out with guys and gals who do what they do. I never really hung out with the weightlifting crowd, so, I had a few friends who were not competitive but who lifted weights and helped me along the way. I had big dreams. I wanted to be Mr. America or at least compete at that level. I trained for many years and competed all through my teenage years. I was on my way, but an injury while training led me to realize that not all dreams will become reality. I had the surgery and took about 1 year to get in somewhat normal shape to be able to use my arm again.
While that was happening, I spent my time getting one of my college degrees. It felt good to get something done, but the dreams of that title always haunted me. I was honest with myself. I knew my biceps were never going to be full enough. I knew my shoulders would never be as impressive as the next guy’s. I knew one triceps had a little different shape than the other. You see, it is only a select few individuals who are that good to be at the pinnacle of the sport and that is the way it is- period! I accepted this even though I had dreams and saw myself on the stage winning.
I still trained during the years following the surgery, but on a different level. This is the only picture I have of my bodybuilding past. It has been hanging in my gym for over 20 years now. All the others were lost in Katrina.
I found powerlifting to be a haven for me. So I went back to it with a vengeance in 1992. It was easy because I could still lift weights, but I did not have to worry about every calorie or if I was balancing my shape just right. The most weight won. So nothing to be judged on except to say you actually made a legal lift.
Anyhow, I have competed in powerlifting for over 30 years. I have lifted with some of the strongest men in the world and have seen some of the heaviest lifts ever attempted. It sure felt good to be part of that. Along the way, I tried my hand at a few bodybuilding contests-over 40 class. It was hard work. I started my program at about 307 pounds and in fairly good shape. I have pretty much always lifted and worked at hard labor, so staying in ok shape was not too much a problem. However, a bodybuilding contest calls for extreme muscle definition. I got down to 215 for the contest on the Gulf Coast and it felt great. It took 9 months, and I felt I was in my best shape of my life. I felt 19 again and I looked it. No one knew who I was when I walked into the room at gatherings, and they really treat you different. When I was big, they tended to stay away, but when I got slimmer, they started to ask how I did it and what was I doing.
It seems people really do judge you by your looks, and that was the first time I really noticed it because when I was young, I was always somewhat in shape, but as I got older, I was always really big, so I never got asked such questions. It felt good, but it also felt weird. Were they just talking to me because of the way I looked, or were they truly interested in me for me. Well, I think I know the answer.
Since my dad died, things have changed. I do not train very much and things have changed completely for me. I am back to the 300 pound Robert and 3x shirts are part of my life. Normal pants do not fit me in any way, shape or form. I am starting to hate every moment of it. I do not really have a whole lot of other people that I hang with other than my kids, my wife and my brother. Also, people have stopped with the question and answer sessions.
I am in the process of joining a gym right down the road, and it is open 24 hours a day. I hope to start training soon and getting back to my old ways. Not everything, but most of them. I have been saving and investing for quite some time with complete diligence, and it is time to put some effort into myself so that I will be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor if they ever come to fruition. I plan to start this journey by finishing this page and going for my first of many workouts. This is day one of my journey. Looking forward to hear from any of you who have similar situations and maybe we can help each other get to the next level.
Robert the DividendDreamer