The Pressure of the 2019 Olympia

The pressure I felt in the 2019 Olympia didn’t even start until just before I stepped on the stage at prejudging. The entire year went smoothly up until showtime. Backstage I wasn’t preparing to win; I was preparing not to lose. When the lights hit me and it was only me on stage doing my free posing. I knew the next 30 minutes would not go well. I knew I was off, and I had never felt like that before. Every pose we compared felt like I was quickly getting worse. As much as I wanted to fight back and tighten up, it seemed like I was going in the opposite direction. Once they called us off stage, I knew I had lost. All I could do at that point was go back to the hotel and do whatever necessary to be better for finals in a few hours.

Beginning My Bodybuilding Journey

One of the biggest reasons I got into bodybuilding was so that I could compete against other people. I used competition as a motivator to be my best on stage. Coming from a wrestling background, I was used to going up against another guy, and it is win or lose. The warrior mentality and my competitive nature was how I began my bodybuilding journey.

Fixing the Broken

Each year I competed, I grew and evolved into someone completely different physically and mentally. In training, when you’re advancing to the next goal, you sometimes end up with banged up body parts that have to be fixed. It takes time away from the gym to recover broken body parts, and effort is required to fix the problems before they turn into major setbacks. Same is true for the mental aspect. When you’re hyper focused on goals, you have to stop and look at the bigger picture. You can set yourself back if you don’t recognize and address the situation immediately.

A Change in Mindset

Without beating around the bush, what do I mean by all of this? My competitive spirit led me to become a competitive bodybuilder. I’m quite thankful for everything that has led me to who I am and where I am today; however, that driving force — the competitiveness — was also holding me back. My focus was to beat others and win a title. That goal of winning the Mr. Olympia title is still there and is not going anywhere, so don’t get it mistaken. The difference is that my biggest reason for competing now is simply because of why I started. I love to train. I would be training every day and bodybuilding whether I was competing or not. So instead of thinking I needed to beat others or thinking this is a job, I changed my mindset and realized that I’m living the life I could have only dreamed of when I first started bodybuilding.

Realizing Why I Started

Once I took a step back and realized I’m happy doing what I’m doing, then things began falling back into place for me. This is obviously the reason people say “remember why you started.” Because I simplified things and started focusing on me alone rather than the pressure, my entire life took a major turn in a positive direction. Of course training is hard. Sure, I get hungry and low energy. Of course it would be easier to do something else. But because I’m passionate about bodybuilding and want to do this to better my physique, the work is no longer work. The sacrifices are no longer sacrifices. I do this because I want to and I’m fortunate enough to get the opportunity to do what I love.

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