Confessions of an Old Bodybuilder: I Have Never Been to the O

TAGS: bodybuilding motivation, pro show, old bodybuilder, Olympia, pro bodybuilder, role model, Phil heath, Mr. Olympia, Just Sayin', Skip Hill, bodybuilding

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Say what? That’s right; I have never once been to the Mr. Olympia and I have no desire to ever go.

I am probably one of the very few people who has been training for over 30 years, competed for over 20 years, and has worked in the industry for over 15 years who has no desire to experience it. At one time, I did — a long time ago when I was probably a teen. In fact, I have only seen one professional bodybuilding show and that was by default; I had two clients in the amateur part of a pro/am show that was here in Denver. That was roughly 10 or 11 years ago.

I knew Phil Heath well enough to call him a friend, having competed against him and training alongside him since his very first amateur show here in Colorado. I know many of the pros from this area personally and consider them friends. I have trained pros and trained amateurs who later turned pro. I still don’t want to see the O.


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I stopped being interested or “starstruck” with professional bodybuilding roughly by age 25. That was over 20 years ago and a couple years before we moved to Colorado (we have been in Colorado for just over 20 years). I took a break from bodybuilding competition for almost 10 years between age 22 and 32. When I came back to competing, I still didn’t care to see a pro show.

Prior to that time, I read the magazines religiously — all through my teen years and even into my early 20s. I would have loved to have seen the Mr. Olympia at that point in my life. I was just like any other fan and looked to the pros as role models and I put them on a pedestal. They gave me something to strive for, something that I thought was positive motivation, and something I thought was healthy — not just in relation to my physical health, but also something that I thought very highly of for work ethic, drive, passion, etc. They seemed focused and dedicated to ascending mediocrity and I found that very appealing. And then I figured out that they were just like me from a bodybuilding standpoint…but with God-given genetic superiority.

I want to be very clear that I do not think that pros are pros just because of their genetic potential, that they don’t work hard and aren’t passionate or dedicated. However, I will say that I have now been around long enough to know that there are many other people in this world that can out-work the pros and won’t ever come close to being a pro. When I first realized this, it was the turning point of me not looking at the professional ranks as I had when I was younger.

Being involved in the industry for as long as I have, I have seen a lot. A lot of the pros are hardly role-model worthy, and too many of them can’t even handle their finances or relationships responsibly. Why? Because they are too caught up in themselves and being the center of attention. Well, that and you can be a pro at something and still be fucked up when it comes to other areas of your life. And before you give me examples of someone who can handle it, I concede that not all pros are train wrecks as long as you can concede that you might not know what I know and have known about a lot of the pros for a lot of years. Fair? If it sounds like I am being whiny that I don’t have the genetic potential to be a pro, therefore I am bitter and that is the core of my negativity. You don’t know me very well. Anyone who knows me (and there are many reading this that do) will tell you otherwise.

The other part of the equation is that I don’t care to take a weekend to hang out with guys that wear Affliction shirts that are two sizes too small and women who wear dresses that would fit a nine-year old, both with egos three times what they should be. I have very little in common with most of the people in the crowd at the Mr. Olympia — which is not to say that I am any better than they are. First, I don’t have a favorite or care who wins, and second, I just don’t care enough about it to spend money going to Vegas by myself (I couldn’t PAY my wife to go with me) when I could spend that money taking my wife and kids on a cruise or any other vacation that doesn’t involve bodybuilding. I get my fill of professional bodybuilding and all of the bickering about who got robbed, who got screwed over, and who is fighting with whom on social media.

If I ever go to Vegas it would be to play poker and get my wife drunk. I should probably do it on the weekend of the Olympia just so that I can write the entire trip off for business and never step foot in the venue for the Mr. O.

Hmm. The more I think about it, maybe I could talk my wife into going under those circumstances. She would definitely go if I promised no bodybuilding, a lot of alcohol, and strip clubs. Just Sayin’.

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