Time has a funny way of revealing all truth. Some things may glitter and appear pleasing to consume, but in time and surplus, you soon realize they are poisonous and not what they first appeared to be. In this way time is our ally. We are vulnerable to get caught up in fallacy until time reveals the truth to us, and the fitness industry is full of fallacies.
The first fitness expo I attended was the Olympia expo in Las Vegas in 2013. This was my first year competing in figure and it was also the year DLB won the first physique crown. I spent two full days dragging my friend around the expo looking at every booth, getting samples, and taking photos. I had a small body and a shaved head and high hopes of finding some life answers there.
The Olympia was quite the experience. I felt like every fiber of my being was invigorated and motivated to get bigger and stronger. I wanted to be a part of this energy! Surely these supplements that were given to me by huge dudes would help? I absolutely had to have those cool leggings that would let everyone at my gym know that I wasn’t just an average fitness chick. I was into bodybuilding and by association that made me cool! If I dressed like the models, I would be accepted into this elite community as one of them. So I bought and bought into all of the things.
Not to set a negative tone over the memory, Olympia was a great time! I got a ton of samples, met cool people, and have made a career from the experience. My friend and I went to the after party dressed to the nines and soaked up everybody’s awesomeness. I probably left my wristband on for a week, because I found such a strong sense of identity in the bodybuilding culture.
Fast forward to Fit Con 2018. I still have a shaved head, but it is a discrete undercut instead of a blaring sidecut. It’s been 6 years now, SIX YEARS, since I experienced my first fitness convention as a doe-eyed newcomer to the sport. So naturally I see the sport through a much different lense. I don’t attach my identity to this as much as I used to, I see it as a part of life, but not my whole life.
Lately my favorite quote is Carpe Diem et Memento Mori. It means; seize the day, and remember that you will die. Looking at our lives like the beautiful treasures they are, we should honor our gift of life and enjoy it while it last. I truly believe that many people are spending their lives trying to live someone else’s. What if our instagram title was became our obituary?
- RIP John Smith
- sponsored athlete
- nationally qualified
- peanut butter and squats!
Is that it John Smith? Is that your life? Are those the most noble pursuits and ways to spend your short time here? I think it is really easy to get caught up in temporary things. Things like a new workout outfit for the right reasons can make you feel fresh and enjoy getting ready for the gym. A new workout outfit for the wrong reasons can lead to some self loathing, body dysmorphia, “keeping up with the Jonses”, and general discontempt. Now don’t read me wrong here, I am not totally knocking supplements and clothing. I am just asking my readers to look closer at their intention behind their purchase.
Carpe Diem et Memento Mori. Seize the day, and remember that you will die.
I loved watching the athletes kick butt at the events. It was nice to catch up with old friends and get some teachable moments with my team. Fit Con has always been a great place for me to connect with people I don’t often get to see. For that I am grateful. As for the gossiping, the peacocking, the insane amount of comparisons, ego trips, and fake smiles… well I am just glad that I don’t have to do that stuff all the time.
So what I really am trying to get from this post. Is to remind people to live their own lives. If that authentic life means being a fitness bum who loves all that latest fitness fashion, then live it! Or if you want to dedicate your life, and knowingly sacrifice your health for strength and performance, then live that life. However, I think most of you would be lying to yourselves if you took some honest time to think about it. What many of us simply want is acceptance, community, and a sense of purpose. We think we will find it when we buy into whatever culture is being marketed to us. Only time will tell.
I challenge my readers to think about why you buy what you buy and do what you do. If you can honestly say to yourself that is is for reasons that resonate with you, then keep on doing what you are doing. If deep down, it feels like you are being strained. Then you should stop and take a step back so you can get an honest look at your life.
For me, time has revealed that this industry is full of charlatans, brands that come and go, and a lot of what we do is work for a goal that will be so temporarily lived. Your body will grow old and decay, so enjoy it and take care of it, but don’t be overly restrictive if you are not doing it for the right reasons. The same thing goes for training, if you are not training for the right reasons, then maybe you need to spend less time in the gym and more time doing what resonates with you. Time will tell.
I am in this for the long haul. No longer do I care about the temporary fashion of the season or the short lived fame. I care about the improvements I have made in my character and my business. These are things that will stay with me long after my body starts to break apart in my old age.
*Sorry for the somewhat dark and depressing post! I am a firm believer in positivity, but not when it becomes fake or causes you to turn from reality. The reality is that I see a lot of people putting a lot of effort into something that is, yes, TEMPORARY. So not to deter them from their goals, but please question why you are pursuing these things.