Bodybuilding: Beyond the aesthetics 

If you would have told me ten years ago that I would be living and breathing a bodybuilding lifestyle, I would have completely and utterly thought you were joking. I remember the first time I had a protein shake about 5 years ago, I sipped it so carefully in fear that gulping too fast would result in me looking like Popeye’s counterpart. Fast forward to now and I not only consume whey isolate daily, but also use BCAAs; creatine monohydrate; l-glutamine and Karbolyn as well as a variety of vitamin tablets. And do I look like Popeye? No… I am far too tanned. 

I have talked previously about how I got into fitness, but how I got into bodybuilding is a wholly more personal journey. Whilst I prepped for my photoshoot, I also emigrated to Tampa, Florida from Cardiff, Wales. It was not a decision I made lightly, but with all my immediate family having emigrated several years previously, I felt I was at a point in my life where I either forever remain in the UK or make the move across the pond. I had visited Tampa numerous times before and although I was prepared for the transition to be difficult, I hadn’t quite appreciated how difficult I would find the move. Going from one country to another – adapting to a new culture; new language nuances; different driving experiences; different climate etc. was a whole lot more intimidating than I ever imagined. I have never liked standing out and never liked feeling different, I have always wanted to be part of the crowd. As you can imagine, living in the States completely left me out of my comfort zone – having an ‘accent’ makes you stand out immediately, whether you like it or not. My job and my relationship with my boyfriend was also far from what I had imagined. Having ‘prep’ gave me a focus. It gave me a goal. It gave me a reason to get out of bed and feel successful. I gave that prep my everything, ignoring criticism from far and wide. When I did my photoshoot, it felt so surreal but it also felt extremely satisfying. I had succeeded and most importantly I had proved to myself my discipline, focus, drive and passion. How can you not love something that gives you those feelings and that gratification? 

Yes, bodybuilding is about looking good, but for the people who liken it to vanity and narcissism, they couldn’t be further from the truth. In a world today where many people seem to feel entitled, a bodybuilder’s body cannot be given. It is earned and is a testament to many, many hours of preparation; dedication; resilience; discipline and passion.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x 

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