In many ways, Shelby Starnes is the Yogi Berra of bodybuilding; that deep thinker that is so firmly entrenched in the endeavor that he reveals simple truths without even trying to. His flip remarks in the gym often posses a wisdom of which he may not have intended, but which bowl over those within earshot.

Shelby’s degree is in psychology, so when he applies that to dieting, training or the mental or sociological sides of lifting, I am all ears. As Yogi Berra is famous for saying, “90% of the game is half mental." When I read a post in his log about how bodybuilders compare themselves, I knew it should be shared as a short but poignant article.

-Steve Colescott

Often, when bodybuilders and other physique competitors place poorly, they will look at those that placed ahead of them and pick out their flaws.

“How did so-and-so place ahead of me when they have a bloated stomach and poor leg development?” or “I can’t believe I placed behind someone that looks like they are 10 weeks out!”

While quite often these may be legitimate observations, they do nothing to help us become better competitors. Instead, they mainly just drive us nuts.

Instead of focusing on others, we need to place the blame on ourselves.

“What are MY flaws?”

“What can I do to improve, so the judges have no choice but to place me in first next time?”

These questions will point us in the direction we need to go. They are the questions that winners ask themselves before they win their next competition. They spawn action. Bodybuilding will always be a competition of comparisons. To get ahead though, you need to keep the focus on you versus you.