Stand Strong

You can draw many parallels between bodybuilding and real life. Training in a gym—and everything that comes with it—has much to teach you about operating on a personal level. Derek Lunsford shares his thoughts on how intertwined bodybuilding and life really are in his his latest article.

We are all trying to improve ourselves every day. This goal gives us a reason to persevere through the grind when we are struggling and feel that the entire world is against us. You have to have the burning desire to fight for your dreams if you want them to become a reality. When your purpose is greater than the pain, you cannot be stopped. As bodybuilders, our goal is to build muscle and sculpt our body into the ideal physique. My goal—to be the best in the world at what I do—is more than to simply build muscle or to enjoy success. My purpose in being a bodybuilder is to inspire as many people as possible to be their best selves. I work hard to be a positive influence and build camaraderie wherever I go. Knowing that this is my real purpose drives me to stay the course without distraction.

As you begin to accomplish some of your goals and see some success, there will be people who want to see you fail. You have to be strong minded. It’s absolutely important that you know why you are pursuing your goal. When you know your purpose for what you are doing, you won’t let the outside influence you negatively. Think of every obstacle as a challenge that will make you better if you overcome it. Most of the time these challenges are short lived. They will come and they will pass very quickly. Other times, you may be dealing with challenging situations for months or even years. The best way to deal with this is to continue to be the best version of you as possible. If you try to fake who you are, your true colors will eventually show. Ultimately, the storm will pass and you will be a much stronger person because of it.

Do what’s right. Strong people know that they should always do what’s right, even when confronted with negativity. It’s never ok to retaliate. Hanging on to what others have done to you and dwelling on these situations will only cause you inner turmoil. You can choose to either accept the challenge and face it head on, or you can fall into its trap and let the opportunity slip away. Remember, every difficult situation is an opportunity for self-growth and development. It’s not easy. I don’t always react perfectly in every situation. We are all human and make mistakes, but being conscious of these opportunities is the first step to becoming stronger minded.

In the gym, the more you challenge the muscle the more you get out of every training session. Over time, you will gain physical strength from consistently challenging your body to overcome its barriers. How many times have you picked up a weight and thought to yourself that it felt heavy? After a few weeks of training, that same weight felt normal for you to lift and so you challenged yourself to go heavier or to do more reps. This principle also holds true for the mind. Face your toughest challenge head on and stay strong until you see it through. Once again, over time, you will notice that the weight on your shoulders that once seemed so heavy is now light, and you can endure more.
Sometimes obstacles are presented by the unlikeliest people. You may think that friends and family are only there to build you up, but the love and compassion they have for you can hold you back from your goals. Their help can detract from what you are trying to accomplish. If someone is giving you advice that could potentially take you away from your goal, stay committed to the plan you have laid out for yourself. People often give me diet advice that completely contradicts my plan. I don’t disregard the information they give me, but I also don’t let it influence me if I know that their “help” will hinder my progress. Once you have a plan set, stick to it.

Do not waver because of outside influence or internal conflict. The bigger the goal, the more you will be tested. Stand strong in your purpose.

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