All through my life I’ve tried to search for something. I’ve tried to make sense of who I am, what my purpose is, and where my life would take me. In the most recent years, I have been able to narrow down some of these answers. Some I already knew and some I refused to accept. There were times that I would view myself as somebody I’m not. The thought would go through my head—maybe you should be this, maybe you should work towards that, maybe you aren’t who you thought you were. When shit hit the fan and my world felt like it was crumbling beneath me, I found that I couldn’t escape the REAL me. That’s when I knew I had to finally accept that I am a bodybuilder.
I never questioned for a second that I will have a long career in bodybuilding. The thought was never “should I do this anymore?” Whenever I felt weak or felt like a failure, I had the gym as my comfort, as my therapy. Walking into the gym and standing near the weights made me feel whole. I never feel more secure than when I’m next to the weights. It doesn’t matter what I do; I am at peace with everything in my life when I can focus on one rep, one set, one hour. The “bodybuilding” meals and the consistency of training empowers me. When I stray from my lifestyle, I’m faking who I really am. I can’t accept a false reality. I have to accept that I am a bodybuilder.
There’s another piece to the puzzle. Just as my Christian faith has instilled in me certain core values and has shaped me into who I am, the same is true with bodybuilding. The discipline and characteristics of a champion MUST be within me. If I think for a second that it’s ok to stray from this, I am a failure. Pushing forward, strengthening these qualities is the only way for me to understand how powerful I can be. I’m talking the real strength of my mind. I want to be the best. That means I have to not just identify and work on my weak points, but also use my strengths to my advantage. Wavering in my belief is not an option. Continuously improving on yesterday and eagerly working toward tomorrow has become my way of life.
There is a lot of good in all of us. Bringing it out and letting it guide you is easier said than done. We all have a slight tendency to listen too much to others. If others say we are wrong or we aren’t good enough, why do we listen to them? Why don’t we remain steadfast in our beliefs?
To be honest, the last 9 months have been some of the most challenging times in my life. I’m sure many of you can relate, considering the world has been affected by a chain of horrific events. It wasn’t only because of recent world events, however, but because I had allowed my mind to be self destructive. Times when I thought I would have been stronger, I failed. Insecurities, doubt, and worry crept in and lived rent free in my head. As a matter of fact, it cost me to let those negative thoughts stay there. I don’t have the answers that will fix your problems, and I still don’t know exactly what brought me back around besides choosing my life for myself. I simply stopped thinking negatively and stopped worrying about every possibility for my future and started doing what made me happy—training.
When I talk about training, I’m referring to training to be the best bodybuilder in the world; to become Mr. Olympia. I know I’m a competitor at heart and I can’t change that. I’ve tried to pretend I’m not so competitive, but I love to work and sacrifice to be the best I can be and the best there is. I have a crazy mentality. While some people are consumed by what the world throws at them, my thoughts are consumed by becoming better at my craft and the direction of my life and career.
I’ve always had outrageous expectations. Some may call them goals, but I call them expectations. My complete confidence in where I want to go and what I want to do in life balances out my insecurities. My mission as I do this has always been to inspire and help you believe that you can live out your dreams. We all just need to have a little faith in ourselves combined with discipline and an unstoppable work ethic. When that happens, you’ll see your life through a different lens. Your goals will become your expectations and your potential will become who you are and who you were meant to be.
With a new year and an improved mindset, I look forward to this competitive season. My sights are set on becoming the 212 Mr. Olympia. This title has eluded me for the past 2 years. Placing just behind the title holder in back to back years has driven me deeper and deeper into my mentality as a bodybuilder and as a competitor. I have big expectations for this year and beyond. The bar has been set high—and I’m only a guy standing at 5’6”—but you better believe I’m going to reach it.