What is unique about bodybuilding that can cause stress in various relationships? How do you prevent it?
Today I’m starting a new series on my show with the main topic being “show prep fails.” The first discussion I’m going to tackle is where relationships can go wrong. I dive into three specific types of relationships in life and the potential issues that can surface when you compete. I provide suggestions on how to maneuver potentially awkward situations and suggestions on how to minimize future issues too.
Let me know what resonates with you in our Facebook group called “The ‘Everything Else’ in Bodybuilding Podcast Insiders!” Access the group HERE
My story from childhood on how change affected a key friendship (3:00)
Why relationships in bodybuilding are special (5:49)
Why the “team” concept has exploded (6:31)
Bodybuilding is not a “team” sport (11:02)
Control vs Influence (13:26)
Navigating relationships with your significant others (15:00)
Finding your voice (19:57)
Additional Resources: -Want to WIN your next competition? I can help! Learn more at: www.posingwinsshows.com -FREE posing tutorials for Figure, Bikini, and Men's Physique competitors at www.learntopose.com
-Grab your “My Own Motivation” tank top at shop.killitwithdrive.com
Welcome back guys! I have a new series I’m doing that is all about show prep fails. In this series I am going to cover common themes and things that go wrong in show prep. Today in Part 1, I’m going to talk about all things regarding relationships and things that go wrong. If this podcast hits a chord with you, feel free to share your thoughts in the group I have on Facebook called the “Everything Else “in Bodybuilding Podcast Insiders.
Throughout our lives we try to make friends and build meaningful relationships so that we have people to share our experiences with. At some point we come into our own and start new paths that take us in completely different directions. This can mean the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. Often there are friends in our lives that don’t understand our new paths and don’t want you to change. They don’t understand that you are evolving and growing. They might even say or do things that are hurtful to try to keep you in their life as they know you.
I remember one time I was in grade school and I was starting to make new friends in school. These girls were part of the “cool” crowd. I had a friend that was not part of the cool crowd who lived on the same street at me. Growing up we hung out a lot and always created dance routines together to music on the radio. The 80s was all about dance scenes in movies and I embodied this to the max. I was always dancing and creating choreography either by myself, with my cousins, or with this friend. When I started making new friends, my old friend got jealous.
One day, I was at her house playing again and got hungry. By the way, I don’t know about you guys, but there was always food at my house and my grandparents houses. My grandmother would feed me a stack of waffles and when I got through one of them, five more showed up. So I never understood when I would go to friends houses there would never be food. Like ever. It would come time for lunch and I’d end up with a piece of bread or something. I mean does no one eat? So anyways, here I am making dance routines and I’m freaking hungry. I ask for a snack and she goes and gets this coffee cake thingy her mom made. I mean really, coffee cake. I’m like, mmmm YES finally something good to eat. So she goes to hand me the piece of cake and then pulls it back and says, I am only going to give you this if you promise you will never change. That you won’t be friends with these new people and you will stay the same person.
I was really young but I knew this wasn’t right. I didn’t know it was blackmail at the time, but I knew it wasn’t fair. I mean, really, I’m freaking hungry and am being served an ultimatum by a close friend while a piece of coffee cake is being waived in front of my face. I left her house that day and felt funny about the whole situation. I felt deceived and I couldn’t shake the feeling.
That was the last day I went over her house to play.
Walking away from friends that don’t align with your path is never easy. It becomes harder when you actually do evolve, and they don’t like the new you. You might be more confident, you might have a physical transformation that they don’t like, or you might be overall spending less time with them and they feel left out. I think after that friendship I distanced myself from all friendships. I kept people at arms length so that I wouldn’t be cornered again. I didn’t see it coming and I never wanted to be backed into a corner like that again. It wasn’t until I was 20 and got into bodybuilding that I met my best girlfriend Shelley in the gym while she was getting ready for a bodybuilding show at 47 years old. She became my closest girlfriend and is still near and dear 20+ years later.
Why? I don’t know. There is something about the friendships you make in bodybuilding the are different. There is like this unspoken code amongst competitors. It’s like when you see two motorcycle riders pass by each other and they wave to each other and nod. It’s a thing. With bodybuilders I think it has to do with having gone through show prep and knowing what it really takes to do a show. You will never really know unless you do one. I think it also has to do with how alone you feel in the environments around you unless you are in a bodybuilding Mecca or something. Most people don’t have that luxury and prepare for shows in their local gyms where you might even be the only bodybuilder in the whole facility. So when you meet people at the shows often times you make friends back stage and these friendships carry on long after the show.
I think this is why teams have become so popular because they provide a support system that many do not have anywhere else, including at home with their families. Cathy Savage pioneered the concept of teams before anyone in the industry. I remember meeting Cathy in 2004 at one of her camps and then by 2007 there was literally hundreds of competitors flying in from all over the world to her annual Camp Savage event. It was in the middle of January in Boston so there was zero weather incentive to be there. But people came anyways despite 20 degrees and windy temperatures. That’s how much people wanted CONNECTION.
Since then the team concept has exploded and now you have teams everywhere, all around the world. The irony of the “team” concept is I think they can become quite isolating for competitors, and can even bring on a feeling of peer pressure. Sounds weird, I know, but hear me out. Remember that idea of evolving I was talking about? Think about what happens when a competitor who started on a team and now wants to try something new and the team or the coach doesn’t approve. They feel a pit in their belly because they don’t want to leave the support system of their team, but they also don’t want to be limited on what they can do with their competition career either.
“Can Do.” Those words. Geez, just verbalizing it irritates me. I honestly don’t understand why grown adults allow themselves to be told what they can and can’t do with something that is a hobby. That’s like being a golfer at a particular golf club and deciding that you want a change. So you find a new golf course to spend your thousands of dollars at, but when you tell your friends at the old golf club about your switch, you are faced with little to no support and a lot of push back. Sounds ridiculous, right? But, how is bodybuilding any different? Unless it’s your literal career, bodybuilding is a hobby where you will ABSOLUTELY spend thousands of dollars to participate. From suits, entry fees, travel, tanning, contest prep coach, and posing coaches, it is absolutely going to rack up into the thousands.
Just my clients alone, when I was doing 1 on 1 sessions, I went through their accounts recently and added up how much they have spent with me over time. YUP, THOUSANDS.
Part of why I made the Posing Wins Shows program. It is a program that you have lifetime access to no matter when and where you compete. Want to compete in NPC? OCB? WBFF? WNBF? Fitness Universe? NANBF? I could go on you know…plus what’s cool is includes a community that is like an ongoing posing lesson and accepts everyone, men and women, all divisions, all federations. The unique support system that is growing in the group because of the diversity is incredible. I just did one of our group classes the other night, yes there is weekly face time with me included, and there was a moment we talked about different federations. I told the group that the cool part about being a part of this program is you can compete anywhere, and you will have not just the support, but the education from the only person qualified to teach the posing for all federations and divisions.
Someone in the group is doing her first show in the NPC federation and wants to switch to OCB or WNBF in the future. Guess what, she not only feels empowered to make those changes, but has the support from the group, and will receive the proper instruction to make those changes to her posing when the time comes.
Another person is doing an OCB show coming up, but in the future is thrilled by the idea of the glam and over the top concept of the WBFF federation. When the time comes for her to make that switch, she can make those changes effortlessly from someone who can help her.
She won’t feel peer pressure to stay in a federation.
She won’t feel like she needs to go seek out a whole new teacher to help her with the posing and stage presence requirements either.
She has a one stop resource for life that encourages her and supports her no matter where she wants to compete.
And another person in the group, one of our male competitors, got served some awful news last week. The competition he was planning to do got canceled and he was left spinning wondering what to do. You know what he did? He knew he could ask me for guidance on what to do next. He knew he was going to get an unbiased answer on where and when to compete. He has pivoted and now has a brand new show to focus on.
I think the team concept has blinded people to the fact that bodybuilding is not a team sport. It is an individual sport. And that the team should be the support system lifting you up no matter what your goals are. What I loved about Cathy Savage and her team concept back in the early 2000s was that she never told someone they couldn’t compete in one federation or another. She was very honest about her opinions on the various federations and would freely tell people what she thought, but ultimately, she never disallowed a competitor to compete somewhere. She still prepped them no matter where they wanted to compete. I think all teams should be supportive and not suppressive.
Having a support system is a must and teams do fill that void, but from a career standpoint, when a team is more suppressive than it is supportive, it can keep you from growing as well. Just like that feeling I had when my friend wouldn’t give me a snack because she didn’t want me to change, if you feel a pit in your belly that you “can’t” do what you want to do or compete where you want to compete because your coach says no, then you got things twisted up real good.
Let me repeat, bodybuilding is not a team sport. One person gets one trophy. YOU did that. YOU won that trophy. You don’t see any contest results that list off the team name, do you? No it’s the individual person. You don’t hear that Lebron James won the NBA championships do you? No, he wasn’t the only contribution to that championship. You hear the Lakers won the championships because it was the efforts of ALL on the team who did the work.. Lebron might win a MVP award that showcases his excellence on the team, but again, it was the efforts of the team that won, so the banner that goes up in the gymnasium with the championship title on it says “Lakers” not Lebron.
In bodybuilding, there is no such thing as the contribution of the entire team being the reason You won your trophy. The team is your support system. Your friends. But make no mistake that it was YOU that measured every ounce of food that you put in your mouth, YOU that got up at ungodly hours just to get your training in, YOU that lifted every dumbbell or barbell, YOU that pushed your self in the gym every day, week after week, month after month, YOU that went rogue from your team and contacted me to immerse yourself in my signature program because YOU wanted to do something for YOURSELF to level up your stage presence and increase your chances of winning. YOU did all that. And all this happened regardless of who was on your team.
It absolutely baffles me how many bodybuilders, and I mean all of you, from bodybuilding to figure to physique to bikini, how may of you allow your decisions to get better, improve, change, evolve to be controlled by others. Not influenced. Influenced is not the same as controlled. You can ask for someone’s opinion or guidance as influence but weigh your options in your head yourself and ultimately make your own decision. I’m talking about control. When it’s like you are asking for permission from the people around you on decisions as if you have no say. At the end of the day, I think being on teams can be really fun and produce a camaraderie you might not find anywhere else. But where I draw the line is when the influence of the team environment keeps you from growing.
One of my favorite quotes by Einstein goes something like, follow the crowd and you will get no further than the crowd. The person that walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.
Think about that for a second. I mean, really. Think about it. You are influenced by your environment, but you can change your environment at any point. If you are around people who don’t support your growth and evolution, you can change that. You are in control of your decisions. And being a part of an individual sport requires you to do what’s best for you to reach your highest potential. If you are just looking for friendships, this sport will provide you connections you will never find anywhere else while you are on your individual path to greatness. It’s important to keep that distinction. That teams will provide you support, but the team is not responsible for your success. YOU are.
But let’s talk about relationships of a different kind. Relationships with your significant others.
Relationships with significant others aren’t so easy to navigate when your significant other knows you one way, and you start to evolve, and one day decide you want to try something like a bodybuilding show. Up until this point so much of your life has been built around this other person. You might even feel like life is passing you by and you want not do something great for yourself. And the affect on the relationship can go one of two ways. Either your significant other will be genuinely excited for you and want to see you do something for yourself. Orrrr, your significant other will dislike your attention going elsewhere and not support you at all.
Just the other day, I had someone reach out to me to join my signature program, Posing Wins Shows. I had never met her before so I didn’t know anything about her or her goals. So we chatted for a bit and she told me how excited she was to do her first show and wanted to get on stage late summer. She wanted to look incredible and give it her best shot and was beyond excited to have the opportunity to work with me through my program. She was like, I need this! and couldn’t wait to get started.
Next thing you know, I get a message from her saying that her boyfriend told her absolutely not and called her crazy. And then out of nowhere, she blocks me on social media. In my head I said forget working with me, girl, there is nooo freaking way you are ever going to do a show with that kind of attitude at home. Am I right guys?
A lot happens during the time you prepare for a show. The show prep becomes life consuming. Food. Training. Sleep. Posing Practice. Add family commitments and children in there, you still have to find time for all of this stuff. And somehow you do! Without a support system from your significant other, it will add a whole other layer of stress to an already stressful endeavor. This person I was talking about is never going to do a show because the ONE person in her life that is supposed to lift her up and encourage her, thinks doing something for her that excites her is CRAZY. How freaking controlling is that?! It’s actually quite sad.
No one should ever dim your glow.
But there is one more thing that happens during show prep. Especially for new people. You CHANGE. And in more ways than just one.
You learn a lot about yourself. You discover things about yourself you didn’t know before. You grow more confident. Your aesthetics change. Your body morphs into a shape you have never seen before. When you go places people compliment you. And these changes will either bring out the best or the worst in your relationships. I’ve seen significant others be the biggest cheerleaders. Imagine families wearing shirts with your name on it at your competition to show their support. And then I’ve also seen these changes cause a strain in relationships because the other person becomes jealous and doesn’t like that the new you is getting this attention and that you are delegating some of your focus onto yourself. Unless you are becoming an arrogant ass, their disapproval is usually because this new you means you are dedicating some time to filling up your cup instead of pouring yourself into everyone else’s cup, including theirs.
This is not support.
And this eye opener doesn’t often come until you are deep into your show prep. So the girl who wasn’t allowed to make a decision for herself because her significant other called her crazy, isn’t even into show prep yet and already has little support for her desire to do something great for herself. This, my friends, is exactly what I mean about a relationship disaster during show prep.
The bottom line here is you absolutely need to be in control of your life, and your decisions, or you won’t make it through prep. And if you actually do putter your way through and somehow make it on stage, the strain on the relationship won’t go away until you return back to the “old” normal or the other person has a come to Jesus moment seeing you on stage, starts to acknowledge all your hard work and your joy from it, and then evolves WITH you.
You need to have a conversation with your significant other before you begin the process. I highly suggest you include this person in some capacity as well. He or she might not want to do a show, but perhaps he or she can be a part of a physical transformation as well. If they are already in decent shape, maybe they can plan to do a photoshoot right around the time of your show with you. Ultimately I suggest you try to include them in some capacity if you can.
Or maybe, if they have their own hobbies that they enjoy and simply want to see you do something for yourself, and they don’t need to be intimately involved in your show prep process. That’s fantastic too, but let’s say golf is their hobby. Going to play golf on the weekends as their expensive hobby isn’t the same as your expensive hobby of doing a bodybuilding show. Your hobby isn’t a weekend thing. It’s an every day thing. And I think it’s a good idea for them to be in the know on this beforehand.
I also think they need to know more than just the specifics on the show prep itself. You should really share how much this hobby means to you. Many might not understand and think competing is all about total vanity at first. And that’s ok. Not everyone is really going to “get” bodybuilding. At the end of the day, you don’t have to “get’ why they love golf and how they can even watch it on tv for more than 2 minutes without falling asleep, right? So he or she doesn’t have to “get’ why you love bodybuilding.
What you both do “get” is that each of you loves your hobbies and you both love seeing the other person happy. You also “get” that you are both allocating money and time towards your hobbies and neither hobby is more important than the other. Relationships are a two way street. And communication is an absolute must. In fact, have your significant other listen to this episode so they can gain a better understanding of what this sport entails. Help them understand more.
Ok guys, I hope the biggest takeaway from this episode is to find your voice and communicate your dreams and desires. Whether it’s with your close friends who don’t get why you want to do a show, your family, your coach, your team, and your significant other, it’s important to provide info about what it is you want to do and ask for their support. How about saying, “I really want not do this thing, it means a lot to me, and I would love your support.” Instead of just putting up with naysayers, come out and ask for their support. If they truly care about you and seeing you happy, they will want to support you. You so got this!
And by the way if you are ready to do something completely awesome for yourself then go to www.posingwinsshows.com and find out how I can help you master the posing skills and develop the confidence you need to WIN (in ANY division or federation). It’s never too early to get started. If you want to be great at something your efforts have to be great. Also, like I said before join the discussion in the Podcast Insiders group if you haven’t already.
I’ll see you on the next episode for part 2 of this series of show prep fails! See you soon!