The Dark Side of Bodybuilding — Part 1 [Show Notes]
Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Welcome back to The “Everything Else” In Bodybuilding Show! We’ve been doing really well with this new podcast, so thank you for listening! In this episode, I start a two-part series on what I call the “dark side” of bodybuilding. ***PART 2 IS AN INTERVIEW! IT'S AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE HERE OR SEARCH YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST PLATFORM (SPOTIFY, ITUNES, GOOGLE PLAY, ETC) FOR THE "EVERYTHING ELSE IN BODYBUILDING.***
Competing in bodybuilding is more than just about the competition itself or the diet and exercise program you are on to get you ready for the show. There are a lot of other things I want to shed some light on because maybe, just maybe, someone listening might reconsider a decision they are about to make. Or maybe someone who has no one to talk to about some things they experienced, might find camaraderie in listening to stuff normally swept under the rug being brought to the surface.
Today on Part 1 of the series, I’m going to talk about photographers, coaches, and judges that take advantage of people and some common scenarios of the such. There isn’t enough attention around these issues and often times victims keep them to themselves. I’ll be honest some of the stories I share about myself made my heart palpitate!
So power up those headphones and join me for Part 1. I encourage you to share this to get the word out. The only way to stop the nonsense is to hit it head on. So let’s go!
1. Download the 5 Secrets Every Bodybuilder and Fitness Competitor Needs To Know Before Preparing For A Show at http://www.eeinbb.com
2. Want to know what is missing in your show prep? Free tutorial with 3 secrets to winning a show that you won't learn at a contest prep workshop or posing class at www.posingwinsshows.com
If you hear anything bad about bodybuilding, chances are you only hear about how horrible the diet and nutrition component of competition prep is and that’s about it for all the bad stuff. But there are a lot of things that especially new competitors should be aware of and, veterans, these are things that you should keep in the back of your head as you continue to pursue your goals… or maybe you experienced some of the things I’m going to talk about yourself, have some regrets with no one to talk to about, or possibly even want to raise awareness in the industry like me and will find camaraderie with me in these episodes. Please do share them because that is the only way the word is going to get out.
So I’ll never forget the time I was chased while walking home from the bus stop. My childhood home was at the top of a hill and the bus stop where all the kids would walk to was at the very bottom of it. Let me tell youuuuuuu..It was a long walk up and down that hill. It was a steep climb that seemed endless. And let me tell you when you added books in my book bag it was brutal. I always walked to and from the bus stop with my brothers and sister depending on the day. This particular day I was walking home and was almost to the top of the hill when this car pulls up slowly. My brother was ahead of me and already on his way up the path to the house, so I was by myself.. The car pulls up to me and two guys get out of it and start coming towards me. I can still remember the car was like a blueish green and one of the guys had very distinct red swirly curly hair. Like I said they got out of the car and were coming at me. My instincts were triggered immediately so I started running and ducked into the woods to the path that led up to our house where I caught up with my brother. The guys retreated but that feeling of terror is something I’ll never forget. The approach of the car. The guys getting out of it. Them charging towards me. Complete terror. I was really little too. My point of this story is to say that first off there are a lot of bad people out there. Second, we are born with instincts. I was very young but my instincts told me to RUN. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we have them and they are never wrong. If something doesn’t feel right to you, listen to it.
Which leads me into the bodybuilding industry. No matter what division or federation you compete in, you transform your body. You build confidence in doing so. You are proud of your accomplishments and often times you will want to showcase what you created by booking a photo shoot. In fact, if you are looking to be published in magazines, you are going to WANT professional photos that do not include you on stage with your posing suit and competition tan. They aren’t looking for that. You are better off having photos taken in sportswear and or a regular bikini with a white backdrop because with photoshop these photos can be used anywhere, including magazine covers. Photos on location with various backgrounds are taste specific and are likely to only be part of your personal portfolio or part of your instagram collage. This is fine, but know your goal before spending the money on photos.
Speaking of photos, as you become more and more a part of bodybuilding and share your photos on social media, you are likely to be approached by photographers offering their services to you. There are some amazing photographers out there who are credible and have extensive portfolios. Then there are those who say they are photographers but are really perverts with a camera. Use your instincts.
I remember back when I was in college and having my first set of comp cards made. If you don’t know what comp cards are, they are literally a card that has professional photos of you including a head shot and few full length shots with you in different looks to show your versatility as a model. Your stats including your height, weight, age, hair color, and eye color are also on this card. This card is used by modeling agencies for hiring purposes. If a client of the agency is looking for something specific, and you fit the criteria, your card will be shown for consideration. Also, if you are trying to pursue modeling as an independent model, you can submit a card like this to a magazine or another publisher for them to consider using you as a model. The comp cards I was having made at the time were for that start-up modeling agency I told you about in episode 1. The agency booked the photographer and it was my responsibility to come up with a few different looks for the photoshoot. The agency booked a few of us at once and we all took turns with our shoots on a Saturday.
During the day the photographer was extra flirty with everyone. He gave me the creeps. My instincts were already telling something wasn’t right so I was on guard. Towards the end of the day, the photographer invites everyone to come hang out in his hotel room to talk about some modeling jobs since he had apparently come in from out of town to do this shoot. Think about that for a second. I’m probably 19 years old and so are the other girls. We are there because we are pursuing modeling. A photographer, who you think has influence, is telling you he has some modeling jobs. What would you do? For me, it made my skin crawl and I left.
But not everyone did.
In bodybuilding there are more than just photographers that are perverts. There are judges, coaches, and other people of influence that have been known to use their influence to take advantage of people.
Before I move onto judges and coaches, let me circle back to the photographers for a second. This past year alone I have been approached by two separate people asking me my thoughts on a photographer that either approached them at a show or on social media. Two separate people. Same photographer. One woman was asking for herself because this photographer claimed to be a fitness photographer that could help her get published and told her that she had a great look. The second person was actually a concerned friend of someone that had already booked with this guy to shoot sexy photos and had planned to go alone to meet him for the photoshoot. Both people reached out because something seemed sketchy. They also chose to reach out to me because he was apparently on my friends list on social media so they thought I might know him. I have a lot of people on my friends list that I don’t know personally from when I first created an account and added people then because I didn’t really know what the platform was like at the time. I thought about removing this person from my friends list but I’ve decided not to since this then because this is now twice that two separate people reached out asking for help after seeing the connection on social media. I figure maybe more people might reach out to me for help if I keep him on it. I do care about you guys.
When the first person asked me about this photographer I looked him up and everything about his screamed creeper. I also reached out to a couple people I respect in the industry to see if they knew anything about him and they, too, had the same response….total creeper. So if you are listening and are approached by a photographer for a sexy photoshoot and your instincts are telling you something doesn’t feel right, LISTEN TO THEM. Research his or her portfolio of photos to see what their style is and make sure it is in alignment with your goals. For example, if the photographer has only photos of women in lingerie and compromised positions, you might want to judge for yourself if that look is something you are going for. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from past clients too. And once you book the appointment, never go alone to a photoshoot, especially if you are meeting for the first time. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your instincts are NEVER wrong.
But what happens when there IS a layer of trust added to the equation? Like with coaches or judges. Well, this is one of the undertones of the bodybuilding industry that no on his talking about and one of the many reasons I am doing this show. My aim is to spread truths and help you become your best YOU. One of the biggest goals from this show no matter what the topic is, is for you to think for yourself FIRST and I want you to SLAY your self confidence both on and off the stage.
As you know I started bodybuilding 20 years ago and love this sport. There is so much reward and empowerment you get from competing that you can honestly say is unlike any other experience in life. I love that there are so many more divisions and federations to choose from now because there is something for anyone in this sport. When I started there were just the bodybuilding and fitness divisions. With bodybuilding even with PEDs you need many years of training and consistency to reach the level of muscle required to be competitive. You can’t run one or two cycles, not focus on training or getting enough calories, and think you are going to win the show. Bodybuilding takes WORK. TIME. CONSISTENCY. With the addition of divisions that require less muscle, this has opened up the sport to a ton more options for people. You can now get into the best shape of your life and try a bikini show, model competition, or something called diva fitness model competition that not only requires a 2 piece bikini round but an over the top theme wear round as well. There are so many fun divisions in addition to the more muscular divisions nowadays.
And with the addition of many more divisions and competitions, this opens up the door for more predators to take advantage of someone’s dreams and goals. More reason for you to think for yourself, become your best you, and use your instincts.
My first competition wasn’t a bodybuilding show. It was a fitness model competition where the winner earned a modeling contract. This was before I knew anything about bodybuilding except what I saw on ESPN growing up. My first trainer helped me transform my body for this competition and in doing so it built my confidence in a way that I never felt before. I was 20 and had abs for the first time in my life. I was amazed at what diet and exercise could do. I remember my trainer asked me to stop by his house one day because he was proud of me and wanted to give me a gift. I trusted my trainer and was so grateful that he showed me what I was capable of with my physique so I didn’t think anything of it. I remember stopping by the house thinking it was going to be for a quick minute. I walk in and he has me sit down on the couch so we can chat a little about the competition. I’m thinking he wants to give me a pep talk since the show didn’t go very well. You can hear alllll about it on episode 1.
Well, he reaches into his pocket, annnnnnnnd tosses $1,000 on the coffee table and says it’s a gift. I froze. I’m like, why are you giving me a $1,000? Immediately my instincts told me something wasn’t right. I felt a mix of fear and anger. I’m like what the heck are you trying to buy something? My instincts told me he only wanted to give me $1,000 because he expected something in return. I got up and left immediately. I remember the adrenaline rushing through me as I got in the car to get out of there. I was mad but I was also……sad. I thought he was not just a trainer but a friend. I couldn’t believe it.
I called a friend of mine who also used the same trainer to ask her about it and she said he did the same thing to her but she also had a relationship with him. I was so disgusted. I also wish she had told me ahead of time so I would’ve known, but apparently he, he stopped seeing her in hopes of having a relationship with me. Um no. I was so disappointed….and needless to say I fired him.
I also found over the years competing in bodybuilding that stuff like this happens all. The. time. In fact, there is a recent movement in the industry where women are starting to come forward to shed some light on pervert coaches. Back to my opening statement of this episode….USE YOUR INSTINCTS.
I understand how much competing means to you. How thrilling it is to see your body transform and create a shape you never knew you could have. Dialing in for a show is one of the most amazing rushes you will ever experience. I’m personally excited to get back on stage next year and to see all of my hard work come to life. Because I know how much competing means to you, as you know by now, I have created tools to help you with everything that has to do with performing, since I believe, that is most competitors biggest hole holding them back from winning. You work too hard to get to competition to blow it on the performance aspect. I am also here as a mentor after being in the industry for 20 years to help you know things to look out for as well. I never want you to let anyone dim your glow.
Having said that, here are some things to look out for…
First.. are invites to hotel rooms to “assess your physique.” Ladies, no coach needs to see you completely naked to assess your physique. Your physique on stage is not nude. If he asks you to strip down to your birthday suit, he is a pervert. And never, never, go to meet someone for the first time alone. I don’t care how many pro cards their clients have earned and how much they plaster how much they love their clients over social media. There are well known wolves in sheep’s clothing. If something doesn’t seem right, you are probably right. And always have your OWN back. If he or she intimidates you, he or she is not on your side. And I can’t stress enough that bodybuilding is a hobby so work with people that have your best interests at heart, not someone who is pro card collector or gets off on their position of authority. And if something like this happens to you, don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to other competitors and TELL them what happened. Warn people. Don’t let others fall into the same trap.
Second, there are stories in the industry of judges that want to critique your physique and tell you to stop by their hotel room for pointers. Come on ladies…no one wants to give you pointers in their hotel room out of the kindness of their heart. If it seems odd, you are right. And yes this stuff does happen. Competing means a lot. It takes a lot of time and commitment. 24 hour commitment. When the stakes get higher, prep goggles are known to attach themselves so you aren’t thinking with a full deck anymore. You are too emotional. You want to win. So again, trust your instincts and always bring a friend even if the situation seems harmless. If it’s harmless, it most certainly won’t be less harmless with a friend by your side. Have your own back.
One more thing I want to mention that is not as severe as hotel room invites, are things I’ve heard coaches say and seen them do that I think are condescending. Like, names. It’s one thing to build someone up and call you Diesel Donna and other things to encourage you….but a trainer patting you on the low back like you are their kid ……or a trainer calling their athletes things like, I’ll make this up, like little buttons or something is just freaking stupid. “All my girls are little buttons” ugh. gross.
Never let someone dim your glow.
Bodybuilding is an individual sport and you can become incredibly confident and look and feel incredible in this sport. Or you can also team up with a douchebag trainer who wants to elevate his ego and keep you in a place of inferiority. And newsflash, if you listened to episode 2 called “the death of credibility” — if you haven’t you really should — I talk about how 9 times out of 10 these trainers don’t even have the credibility to be doing contest prep anyways. Like, where are people’s credibility to be doing any of this?
So the goal of this first episode in my series, the dark side of bodybuilding, is to shed some light on things that you might think won’t happen to you. Bodybuilding is one of the most rewarding sports. With anything, there are good people and there are bad people that you will encounter while you work towards your goals. For 20 years I’ve witnessed and heard of many of the bad things that many people didn’t see coming. There are many people that regret decisions they made all for a plastic trophy.
And my goal is to shed more light on stuff like this so you listen to your instincts no matter what level you are on, what division or federation you compete in, and become your best you without someone taking advantage of your dreams. I’m going to expand on this idea of the dark side of bodybuilding and bring on a guest in a couple weeks to shed more light on some other dark secrets in the industry. This guest interview is with IFBB Pro Jamie Pinder, who is a 3x Olympian, and an expert in female PED use. Check out the interview on my podcast available on all major platforms if you search "Everything Else" in Bodybuilding. You can also find the video and audio version on Youtube HERE.
In the mean time, hopefully you enjoyed part 1 of this 2-part series today. I am going to ask though… if you want, you can check out some of our swag that has everything to do with having your OWN back by going to shop.killitwithdrive.com . I have men and women shirts that say things like, “my own motivation” and “it starts with one” there if you want to check it out. Time to have your own back and focus on being your best you. Ok guys I ‘ll see you guys later. Go over to shop.killitwithdrive.com . And check out part 2 of the Dark Side of Bodybuilding HERE ! You will be mind blown because Jamie does not sugar coat anything. We talk about the good, the bad, and the UGLY withe female PED use (i.e. performance enhancing drugs).
1. Visit Shop.killitwithdrive.com and grab some swag
2. Want to know what is missing in your show prep? Free tutorial with 3 secrets to winning a show that you won't learn at a contest prep workshop or posing class at www.posingwinsshows.com
3. Download your Free eBook, “5 Tips Every Bodybuilder and Fitness Competitor Needs To Know Before Preparing For A Show” at www.eeinbb.com