In 1994, I won the NABBA Mr. USA overall title in Alameda, California. This qualified me for the NABBA Mr. Universe in England where I subsequently received a solid marble and gold cup for fifth runner-up placement.

What makes that accomplishment so different is the fact that in 1993 while training for that year's Mr. USA competition, I had both my knee caps torn off while training. Yes, you read that right — torn off completely. I was confined to a hospital bed for six solid weeks after having my knee caps reattached in a nine-hour surgery. I also had to have my ankle surgically put back together with a steel plate and five screws (which I still have in my leg). The casts came off of my legs (and staples out of my knees) on September 3, 1993, and by sheer coincidence the 1994 Mr. USA was scheduled for September 3, 1994.

Of course, I had to go through a long period of physical therapy just to be able to fully bend my legs and walk normally. My legs actually measured slightly smaller than my arms, and everyone (including the doctors) was sure that if I didn't walk with a severe limp that would be all that could be expected after such a disaster. One year later to the day, I was able to walk onto a California stage and stand victorious at 5'8", weighing 220 pounds with a 3.7-percent body fat.

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At every seminar that I did after that contest, there was one big question from the audience: "How were you able to do it? Was there any special thing you did? A particular workout routine? A special combination of foods? Maybe a certain supplement?" Those areas, while important, were all secondary. It was the power of a focused mind that enabled me to get there. I never made promises or predictions that I would be back, I just quietly continued on my path.

What I also did was make a list of the ten most important mental aspects that I would have to use: to go past what was expected, to succeed when everyone was telling me to give up, to bring my dream from a place of hopelessness to an actual reality. I would like to share these mental "strengtheners" with you here. The great thing about them is that they are applicable to every aspect of life, and I have had many letters from my seminar participants telling me that these ideas have helped in their professional work as well as their gym work-outs. Some of them may be familiar to you, some may not be, but when all ten are combined, your personal limits begin to melt away. I will discuss each of these ten mental aspects in separate articles.


The first area that I found to be very important is detachment. Most people mistakenly think that detachment is not caring, or not involved, or even unconcerned. Detachment can best be described as being an objective observer to your own life, like watching all of what you do from outside of your body. Step outside of yourself and look at your current undertaking as if you were watching it on video tape. This has to be done as if you were your own best friend. It's not one of those "how would others see me" exercises. It's looking at yourself as if you were your own coach, your own advisor. When you start to do this, a sense of serenity sets in. Things become a preference and not a need. When things become a preference, flow begins to come into your life. When things are viewed as a need, desperation creeps in and our inner emotional brat begins to take over.

Most of us forget that very few things are in the category of "need." Food, water, air and shelter fall into the category of absolute need. After that list, everything else is a plus for us to have a more enjoyable life. Think of how much easier it is to be a good advisor when someone comes to you for direction. The reason for this is that you have a detached, objective view. The options are weighed without the usual emotional fears that confuse us. Decisions become clear, and moving in the direction of your highest possible choice becomes smooth and easy. I learned to be detached when I returned to the gym where I had injured my knees after about three months. I had the strangest memory of being about twenty five feet away from where I had actually gone down. I knew exactly where I had been hurt, yet I remembered it as if I had viewed myself from across the room.

Some people say that your imagination does that in a traumatic situation, others have told me that I definitely had an "out of body experience." Whatever explanation you choose, being detached got me through a devastating situation.

I use this in my training when I am working on a set that is creating an intense burn in the muscle. As long as the exercise is one where I can continue it safely while closing my eyes, I remind myself that the real me is inside this body and that I am in charge of it. I give it the number of repetitions that I want to achieve to go beyond that burning in the muscle, and then I imagine myself stepping outside of myself and watching it all happen from a few feet away — detached. When the intense burning reps are over, I come back.

Being a detached observer of my own life has given me a more powerful perspective in my life decisions as well as in my training.

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Sygo at

Buddy Dreimann has been bodybuilding, and powerlifting since 1976, and has been involved in competitive bodybuilding since 1979. He is the overall winner of 1994 Mr. USA (NABBA), overall Winner of the 1994 Mr. Eastern America (NABBA), 1994 NABBA Mr. Universe finalist. He is a motivational speaker, a certified personal trainer and a certified sports nutrition counselor. He spent twenty years as Computer-Systems Application Development Programmer & Manager, five years as a New York State University Instructor for Grumman Computer Application Training Schools, and also served as a sworn Law Enforcement Officer from 2011 to 2014. He is available for training and fitness consultations and motivational seminars. He can be contacted at: Buddy Dreimann, Mr.USA Seminars, PO Box 10947, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28404 or on his website at