A troubling observation I have made over the years is the inability of most to possess what I would call long term vision. I am constantly approached or contacted by youngsters seeking improved size, strength or speed. They usually bring great initial enthusiasm, which is coupled with an expectation for instant results. When the realization sets in that it will take not only lifestyle changes that call for great discipline on a daily basis, but that the approach must be executed over a long period of time to yield the wanted results, all of a sudden the enthusiasm dwindles.
My father started me doing push-ups and sit-ups when I was eight years old. As a youngster I was very driven to excel, whether on the athletic field or in the classroom. I recognized the significance of paying my dues. I knew that I wanted to be bigger, stronger and faster and I will was willing to work to make it happen. I also realized that I was not going to see results from day to day or week to week…I put my time in anyway, knowing down the road I would be able to cash in on my hardwork.
I was not a naturally big guy. In high school I was somewhat strong with more of a wiry athletic build. My legs were long and thin. I punished them with insane workouts. I was willing to implement any training method to make them bigger and stronger…numerous exercises and sets, drop sets, supersets, giant sets, plyometrics, sprints, etc. Week after week, month after month, year after year I would continually torture my legs, insisting that they grow. I never stopped to think about how long it would take for them to gain the size and strength I wanted…I just focused on doing what needed to be done.
The quest for bigger legs along with improved overall musculature never ceased. I am now 35 years old and have competed as a professional bodybuilder for several years. While I will never be satisfied (a sign of complacency), I can look at my physique now and see the fruits of my labor over many, many years. I also recognize the sacrifices made over all of those years along with an unwavering attitude and commitment towards attaining my goals.
Each little decision made every day to push myself harder on each set, to only eat clean, healthy foods, to get enough sleep and to consistently take the extra measures is an investment in my body and my future. Every day is a new investment…it’s the next workout, the next set, the next meal…it doesn’t stop…it’s like clockwork. You keep investing every day and you don’t think about the size of the return or when you’ll see it. This type of structured behavior requires faith or you won’t stay the path. The routine has to be part of your belief system. You can never question the value of what must be done every day…you just do it without thought or hesitation. It has to be important enough to you that you not only keep doing it, but that you would actually feel incomplete without the structured routine. It becomes part of who you are…it defines you.
With this lifestyle many who fail to understand might ask you, “Don’t you ever get tired of working out or eating healthy?” NO!!! I DON’T and I NEVER WILL!!! This would be like me asking someone with religious devotion, “Don’t you ever get tired of believing in god?” They would think I’m an idiot.
If you take a minute to think about the idea of saving and investing, how much money would you need to save and invest on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to significantly increase your net worth and how long would it take you? If you understand money, then you know it wouldn’t happen overnight. Investing time, energy and resources into your body is no different…it takes a long time to see results, but with persistence and patience they’ll be there. Ultimately, you need to be realistic. Success in any endeavor never comes quickly, nor should it. The more you’re willing to invest yourself and the longer the period of time over which you’re willing to do so, the greater the reward.
Lastly, there is not a real starting or ending point. As a person I have continued to evolve over the course of my life to become who I am now. As I strive forward to meet new goals, I am constantly raising the bar for myself and setting loftier goals. At 38 years old I can look back to see how my physique has changed since I was a teenager as a result of my investment in myself…for me this serves as motivation to work even harder, so that looking ahead to 40 years old I can redefine my best.
The next time you think about a goal you’d like to attain or achieve, ask yourself the important questions: How bad do I want it and what am I willing to do to make it happen?
Below is a picture of me when I was 19 years old after several years of very rigorous training and a leg picture after 14 years of training.