self confidence

The Dark Side of Fitness

Aka: Why I’d never say to a client: ‘you look great! You should compete!’

AKA: Why I probably will never step onto a bodybuilding stage again.

me

Stardate: 16th March, 2017

Of late, the subject of competing in fitness has come up a lot. Usually it’s via the question, by the middle aged lady in the supermarket: “hey… Do you compete?”

Sometimes it’s a new client-hopeful… who integrates the thought of competing into their end-goal, because they see it as the ultimate achievement.

Sometimes, it’s via a former competitor… who, broken – post-retiring, can’t seem to find the wherewithal to get back in shape.

Today’s entry addresses that broken soldier.

Please note: i am NOT trashing the hardworking individuals who undertake the sport. Neither am I making excuses for those who choose to leave. My only motivation for today’s post, is to discuss that which is never discussed… which needs to be.

Hi. I’m Corey.
11 years ago, I retired from competitive bodybuilding. I’d had 7 very exciting, somewhat successful years within the sport. My name was known. My photos graced the walls of gyms. My shelves were full of trophies. But those weren’t my only momentos.

Nope!
I had a laundry list of issues:

  • Injuries (overuse, tears, malalignment).
  • Digestive issues (adult-onset food allergies and intolerances… Namely to almost all “clean” foods which the fitness-minded depend too heavily on).
  • An unhealthy relationship with food (- competitive athletes go through phases of extreme caloric restriction, followed by a period post-contest where they “reward” their successes with copious amounts of “bad foods” which they’d deprived themselves of for months. Yes… We binge. The most weight I’ve gained after a 3 day binge is THIRTY-THREE pounds. Yes. 33. 3 days).
  • Skewed self-awareness, self-esteem, as well as self perception (- for years, i didn’t take my shirt off at the beach… for fear of the comments. They were always either stupid, insulting, or sexually-charged… and none of that was what i needed. I mean, who needs someone telling them “where are your abs? Maybe you need to train harder” or someone shouting “steroids” as you walk by? Worse still were the women who’d ask crap like “is everything on you as big as your arms?” A lot of people ask how one could be “thin skinned” like that, after “prancing around onstage in a man-panty”… But hell, up there you can’t hear or see anyone. The stage of life is way different. And many of us leave the sport ill-equipped to handle the attention hypermuscularity nets. Further, many of us forget that the condition we slaved to achieve was only meant to be held for a night. So we end up beating ourselves up for the rest of our lives trying to maintain what wasn’t meant to be).

I mean, i wasn’t the worst off. But i struggled… Bad. And worse still, i watched peers struggle and fail to reclaim control of their lives once they stopped competing.

Maybe i was “stronger” emotionally/cognitively/mentally… Or whatever.

Maybe i was lucky.

Whatever the reason… I persevered, developed a way of living that allowed me to reclaim my health, peace, and abs… And managed to figure out ways to apply those precepts to my clients, so they too could avoid crashing and burning like my peers and i did.

“But… I WANT to do a show. I’m not like you. I’ll be okay.”

Maybe you will be.

One thing I’m not, is a pessimist. I that a dose of perspective goes a long way. So, rather than discourage you from competing, let me instead provide you with a checklist to keep you out of the psych ward.

DO:

  • Figure out why you want to compete. Whether you win, or don’t place at all, that reason will be your mission statement and anchor.
  • Surround yourself with objective people who are capable of critiquing you in a positive way. What you DON’T want is someone dragging your ass through the mud just because a chocolate brownie talked dirty to you and slipped itself into your mouth last night.
  • Set realistic timelines and goals. Stick to them. You didn’t put on that 30 lbs of fat you’re trying to lose in 8 weeks… Ergo, you shouldn’t expect to lose it in 8 weeks. Is it possible? Yes. Can it fuck your brain up? Yes.
  • Set rest days. Stick to them.
  • Talk to someone outside of the sport: Outside of your peers, family, and circle of friends; a professional. Often, our support bases are inadequate. Sometimes, they well-meaning but unintentionally cruel. Sometimes, our objectivity fails when it comes to those close to us. Whatever the case, talk to someone who’ll actually listen… to listen.
  • Hire a coach… a good one. Yes, there’s lots of free information out there. A lot of it is bad. A lot of it is confusing.  Did I mention that a lot of it is bad? Fuck, fuck, FUCK.

DON’T:

  • Starve yourself.
  • Compare yourself to others. The only person you need to beat, is that person you were yesterday. And, while that may sound cliche, this is the only truth that matters.
  • Force yourself to step on stage. You aren’t indebted to anyone. If you feel unsure about any part of the process, switch to something that makes more sense. I can the hear pundits now: “blahblahblah… passion… blahblahblah… dedication.” Guilt trip. Nothing more. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Your journey is about you… and only you… and there is no finish line.

Hopefully, these words help at least one of you.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

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Breaking the Cycle of Insecurity

Stardate: 21st August 2015

Hey all!
Sometimes, I find myself wondering what the conversation would be like… if the current me, met an older version of himself.

I experienced what I believe that would feel like, just a few minutes ago… when I received a message from a friend of mine letting me know that he’d read an article of mine on Barbados Today, today. He’d admitted that he’d read it a while ago… but that it had ‘just popped up’ in his feed last night… and it’d spoken to him.

I have to admit: It spoke to me as well.

Here it is:

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A few years ago, I had the pleasure of running into an old schoolmate of mine. He’s always been in ridiculous shape, having been a serious sprinter since high school. That night, however, I realized that he’d made the transition from fitness enthusiast to trainer. He was working with his client outdoors. His shirt was off, and he looked phenomenal.

Honestly, my first thought was: “If he and I were standing shirtless, side-by-side, and a chick was asked to pick one of us, based solely on our physiques, she would pick him without a second thought.” A minute of insecurity? Maybe. Maybe it was less than 10 seconds of it. But it was enough. Immediately, it made me think of some of the thought processes I’ve encountered with many of my clients.

Many of them see someone who, their minds tell them, is “better” than they are. And, immediately, they fall into a downward cycle: Why me? Is my girl/guy checking him/her out? Why is he/she with me? Why do I even bother coming to the gym? I’ll never look like that.

I’ve heard them all, and many more. Truthfully, I’ve never been able to relate fully. I’ll tell you why: I believe that comparison, self-evaluation, categorization, and self-quantifying are natural parts of the human psyche. Furthermore, acknowledging and embracing such (as opposed to denying, demonizing, and battling that moment of comparison) lends a person the ability to move past it.

For me, those couple of seconds of insecurity I felt, led to three distinct thought processes:

  1. An honest appraisal of my body-type.
    My buddy was always in shape (and will probably always be in shape). He doesn’t watch his diet, and has never needed to. He is pure ecto-meso. Me, on the other hand, I’ve always been ‘softer’, even when shredded. My body-type is closer to meso-endo. I have to watch what I eat, and I have to keep my activity level high. Standing next to him reaffirmed my life choices and diet choices for the past decade.
  2. An honest appraisal of where I was physically.
    I was carrying 20-30 lbs more muscle than my peer – possibly more, I was put together “better”. Then why would I feel self-conscious? I’ll tell you why:
  3. “I can be better.”
    For some, this thought exists in the back of the mind like poison: slowly seeping into unconscious thought, eroding self-perception, self-esteem, and self-worth. But, do you remember what I said about acknowledging it? Let’s bring it to the forefront. I did and, immediately, poison became a positive.

    I CAN be better, and will be.

    There will always be someone whose very existence challenges your sense of self. The truth of the matter is, you CAN be better. But, and this is the most important part, the person you need to be better than isn’t the phantom that you allow your mind to create.

    It isn’t the guy/girl your significant other thinks is attractive.

    It isn’t your subordinate, who happens to be more qualified than you on paper.

    The person you need to best is you.

    Every day, every week, every year, strive to be better than the person you were before.

    Life isn’t a competition. But if it were, past you would be the person to beat.

    Make it happen!

And, he’s right: The person you need to best, is you.

Today, I’ll aim to be a better me than I was yesterday.
Will you join me?

Yours in health, peace, and fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Confidence is a Bumpy Road

Stardate: 21st September 2014

Hi.

I have a confession.

I… I struggle with self confidence.

Many don’t realise this, because of the level of persistence, detail, and work I put in to anything I want in life.

I am confident in the things I have achieved and learned… But never confident during the process.

low-self-esteem

But, despite doubts… I keep my head down and work until I achieve what I desire. Insanity? Maybe. My cognitive processes are anything but normal, and I’m fine with that.

One thing I’ve always doubted, but worked insanely hard at is my artistry.

I’ve heard comments on both sides of the coin: “he’s a gimmick”; “he’s brilliant.”

Many times I’m not sure which side I fall on. But then they are nights like tonight when, full of doubt, I touch the mic…and get lost in the art… And sometimes I fall out of the zone for a second and realise that people around are also caught up.

Those are the moments that I live and work for… In all areas of my life.

I’ve babbled.

All of this to say: look for those moments.

Doesn’t matter if it’s in your job or relationship, or hobby, or a new skill you’re looking to learn.

Look for those moments when everything around you melts away, and you find yourself immersed in the purity of your pursuit.

…That moment when you smile from your very soul.

Confidence is a bumpy road.
Use those sparks to keep it well-lit.

Àṣẹ,
-Corey “Narkissos” Springer

http://www.getnarked.net
www.facebook.com/NarkSide

Fake it, ‘Til you Make it

Stardate: 4th September 2014

“Get real!”

We applaud children for their ability to pretend. We pay actors hundreds of thousands of dollars for the same ability… All-the-while, crying down our fellow adults for not being ‘real’ enough. Humans are so confused… so very confused.

There is a place for fake.

For example:
The customer isn’t always right.

Sometimes the customer is a cunt. But being a good businessperson means slapping on your most sincere pretend smile, spreading your imaginary broad back even broader, and rolling with it.

FakeIt

Sometimes, your life decisions go against the grain…leaving you as your only supporter.

Sometimes, ‘here’ is the last place you want to be.

Sometimes, you’re broke and hungry.

Sometimes, you’re unhappy. But, becoming the success you know you can be means slapping on that fake confidence, rubbing that pretend-full tummy, and sauntering cooly in to the belly of the beast… Cus if you wore your true circumstance outwardly, it would remain your reality.

Fake it til you make it.
Make-believe isn’t only a childhood indulgence.

Àṣẹ,
-Corey “Narkissos” Springer

http://www.getnarked.net
www.facebook.com/NarkSide