We lift weights to look better. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Sure, people may have other goals, including strength, endurance, and mobility. However, at the end of the day, everyone wants to look in the mirror and be happy with the physical reflection. This is an admirable goal in the eyes of many.

Those of us who toil in the weight room day after day attempting to better ourselves receive a lot of flak for being vain, self-obsessed, and egotistical. Little do these people (mainly sedentary persons who haven’t seen their willy in three years) know that those muscular people are training so much more than their ego. In fact, bodybuilders and devoted iron heads are some of the greatest people you will ever meet and few know the true character it takes to be successful in the endeavor. Everyday people can learn a lot from them and I'm going to tell you why


The alarm clock goes off at 5:00 a.m. Groggily, he shuts it off and begins to mix a pre-workout shake and take his wide array of vitamins so that his body can operate at full performance both mentally and physically. He has already packed his gym bag and briefcase the night before, so he heads out into the dark, wondering what it is like to sleep in before shaking his head and dismissing the thought, instead focusing ahead to his workout and backing up his truck.

Arriving at the gym 20 minutes later, there aren't any more extraneous thoughts of sleeping in a warm, cozy bed. He is totally locked in. It's leg day after all. After a short warm up, he launches into a workout that would leave most on the floor begging for mercy. For him, it is just another day at the office. He proceeds to hit the showers and get dressed, making sure his tie is knotted just right for the big sales presentation he will be making today. On the way to work, the sun has risen and he eats the breakfast he prepared the night before.

The day is hectic, but he impresses his boss enough to feel secure that he will be at the company another year. Throughout the day, he consumes his pre-made meals that look like they came straight out of bland, unvaried USA. He deals with the daily banter from his coworkers about how he never indulges and always eats the same thing every day. “Why don’t you just eat like a normal person?” they ask. They don’t understand and they never will, but for him, it is nourishing, knowing that it is bringing him results.

At the end of the workday, he heads to the grocery store to pick up what his wife had written on the list the day before. He also picks up a few things he needs for his own diet, mainly chicken and some more chicken.

He gets to his home at 5:00 p.m. to finally be with his family, have dinner, and hear about their days. He spends time with his kids, trying to run around despite the dead feeling he has in his legs from the earlier torture session that morning. After some television with them, he looks out the window and sees darkness, the same thing he will wake up to in the morning.  He reviews his workout for the next morning—chest and triceps—while cooking all his meals and packing them neatly in his Tupperware containers. He goes to bed, kisses his wife goodnight, and prepares his mind for a restful sleep after a long day, knowing he will have to do it all over again the next day. He turns over and sets his alarm—5:00 a.m.

Lesson: A bodybuilder does what he needs to do in order to succeed. Whether he feels like it or not or if his schedule is packed or it’s raining out, he doesn't make excuses. He doesn't make excuses with family, work, or most importantly, himself.


Everyone has something he is passionate about in his life. Whether it's building model cars or writing poetry, people have something they love to do. The problem is most don’t end up following that passion. They compromise it in favor of more money or greater social status or they just say they don’t have time for it. Bodybuilders, regardless of time or social acceptability, follow their passion. And that demands respect. They undergo what the aforementioned story told because they love what they do and they put everything they have into that love.

Positive attitude

Very rarely do you see someone who follows a life devoted to the iron with a negative attitude and defeated outlook on life. To the contrary, lifters are notable for being annoyingly positive. They have experienced the rewards a life dominated by discipline and passion offer. They have developed control over their bodies and in turn their mind. They are strong and healthy and have the opportunity to do what they love every day. Who wouldn’t be happy?

Goal setting

Bodybuilders are the ultimate goal setters. They have short-term goals for every day whether it's putting 10 more pounds on their back squat or improving their timing between meals. And they have long-term goals such as adding an inch to their arms, developing perfect technique on their deadlift, or finally stepping on stage to compete with the best in their area. They are always improving, always going up, and never going backward because they are such effective goal setters.


Believe it or not, only a very small handful of bodybuilders can make a living off of simply bodybuilding. The everyday bodybuilder also must have a full-time job to support himself and his family. Fitting in daily workouts and regular meals on top of what is most likely a stressful job all while giving their all to being the best husband and father they can be is the epitome of balance. Bodybuilders know that the iron, while a very important part of their life, is only a part of it and that other things also need time and devotion.


I know you probably laugh at the thought of being able to learn intelligence from a bodybuilder, but it is time to do away with the knucklehead stereotype associated with big, muscular guys. Just because they have a lot of muscles doesn't mean their brains have to be smaller to compensate. Think about it—by following the five aforementioned qualities, bodybuilders are smarter than 99 percent of the population. They know what it takes to set a goal, be consistent in the process, and ultimately achieve that goal. And they do it with a great attitude and exceptional time management. Does that sound like a dumb person to you?

While bodybuilding and the pursuit of muscle are much more socially acceptable now than they were in the 1970s, muscle heads still get a bad rap from putting what seems like their entire life into improving their physical appearance. Those big guys in the weight room shouldn't be looked down upon for supposed steroid use or conceitedness. Instead, they should be given admiration and respect. Those muscles aren't simply for show. They represent thousands of hours of diligent work in the gym and kitchen to better themselves not only physically but also mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. They are willing to go the extra mile and improve themselves to a point few will ever reach. The qualities I mentioned are usually on any respected list of what it takes to be successful in any type of endeavor, so why not take a page out of the bodybuilding playbook and apply it to your own life? After all, life will bring about a lot of resistance, so you'd better be resistance trained.