With the advent of the year 2020, before I’m able to look forward I find myself having to first take a look back. The years tend to fly by and 2019 was no exception. Hell, if I’m being honest, I entered the sport of competitive bodybuilding in 2005 and the whole thing is only slightly clearer than a blur. Nostalgia isn’t entirely my thing and failing to embrace the future is rarely helpful. Still, I can’t help but think about how much things have changed in the past 15 years. Some is good and some of it is shit. Sometimes the new way IS better. Sometimes, the old way was best. Change for the sake of something new is just plain annoying.
Fairly recently, something became clear to me; the difference between style and trend. While good style may not be revolutionary it can withstand the test of time. That is to say, what was truly good yesterday, is good today and will still be good tomorrow. Trends on the other hand are whimsical, fleeting and based on little more than which way the wind blows. Consequently, they often go out as quickly as they are ushered in. This realization led me to think about bodybuilding, its brands and its disciples.
There’s no ignoring the fact that social media has served as a double-edged sword to the industry. On the positive side, making the world a smaller place can allow for better communication, more meaningful interaction and better understanding. On the flipside, when incredibly talented people get lost in the shuffle and overshadowed by the seemingly endless number of individuals who possess not greater substance or talent but a more keen ability to make themselves seen, the shortcomings of the current social media machine with which the bodybuilding industry is so tightly woven become painfully apparent. I know what makes the sport of bodybuilding great and it’s not the ability to effectively conduct weight loss challenges or to shamelessly plug shit you don’t believe in. It’s not partaking in what seems like endless attention whoring or to vomit pseudo intellectual babbling and gimmicky, fraudulent, wanna-be motivational crap.
Fortunately, ANIMAL knows and continues to recognize and promote what is truly great about our sport. All that is great in bodybuilding stems from the individual’s desire to create. Yes, creation. Everyone in this sport who ever accomplished anything FIRST made the decision to create something. It can be to sculpt a champion physique and stand on the Olympia stage or it can be to add an inch to your arm. It can be standing on the platform where an entire lifetime of training boils down to one moment of grinding out a world record squat or it can be you in your basement hitting a personal best. Any way you slice it, the achievement and what is created belongs to the individual. The process by which it occurs, should we be so lucky to view it, learn from it, and be inspired by it is a gift to the rest of us.
As I enter into my 14th year with ANIMAL, it’s necessary for me to extend a heartfelt thank you to the brand for continuing to recognize and show the world what is best about our sport. It may be delivered a little differently now compared to 15 years ago but the message is the same. They’ve created and maintained a hell of a style while others have long succumbed to trends.
As you probably know, ANIMAL has always been about sharing motivation and knowledge. In late 2019, they approached me about telling my personal story about how I first found that spark to create. They believed my story could inspire others. So in "The Build," I'll take you back to when I was in the ninth grade. My father and I put some equipment in the basement and there, alone, I taught myself how to lift–how to build and how to create. Those lessons I learned back then, I still apply to my life today. So while "The Build" looks backwards, it also points to the future too. Would I call this a comeback? I don't know, maybe. But what I do know is that the process is of greater importance than the end result–and I hope you'll follow along.