I’m often asked how and why I got my start with bodybuilding. To tell the truth, it’s not the most interesting or heartstring-tugging story, like a diagnosis or the end of a relationship that made me overhaul my lifestyle. I simply started bodybuilding because I wanted to. I joined a tiny little rec center weight room that only cost $75…PER YEAR (#dealofthecentury), and started picking up weights (and then putting them back down, natch). I changed my diet – I’d been vegetarian for years but I started eating meat again. And my body started to change rapidly.
Besides the obvious aesthetic changes, the benefits of bodybuilding are many.
I’ve become an early bird. My whole life I’d been a night owl, but there is something that feels so productive about getting the day off to an early start. (Even if the first thing you have to do is hell-cardio.)
Ailments like high cholesterol and high blood pressure run in my family. I don’t worry so much anymore about whether I will succumb to them because I know I’m taking care of my body as best I can. Plus, weight lifting is proven to help improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis. (source)
My lifestyle overall has become healthier. Like many of us, there were a couple years during which I partied. I mean PAR-TAYED. Like it was 1999. I was drinking often and eating bar food whenever I felt like it. Today, while I enjoy beer, wine, and the occasional cocktail, I don’t partake often because the sluggishness that follows interferes with my training, which is more important to me. Again, priorities.
My body image has greatly improved. I’ve struggled with body image issues my whole life (and of course, I still do sometimes) but since I’ve begun bodybuilding, I feel stronger, sexier, and more confident than ever.
I am more organized now. I am forced to be organized in order to get all my meals, lifting, and cardio in while still having a career and maintaining relationships. When your health isn’t quite a hobby yet, it feels like you don’t have time to make it one. But there’s always time – it’s just a matter of priorities.
I was having a conversation recently with a new friend about how productive I feel when I wake up early, do cardio, and then get started at kicking ass for the day.
I thought about the other ways that participating in this sport has changed my life for the better and decided to write about it. Partly just to share, and partly to inspire others to follow their passions. Because I don’t think that these improvements to my lifestyle are exclusively benefits of bodybuilding; it could be another sport or it could be a new hobby that makes you reassess your priorities and make a positive change.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder or not, get out there and do some badass shit!
Here’s my latest progress comparison. Despite holding some water (that time of the month) and being 4 lbs. heavier according to the scale, this week I look a little leaner and my shoulders are fuller. ONLY A MONTH TO GO, HOLY MOLY!
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