By Steven Kruckenberg – NPC National Competitor
As bodybuilders we don’t realize the influence we have on others around us. From; work, to school, to church to the gym. Everyone’s goal is to be influential on other people but we do it unintentionally just by the way we live. We practice what we preach so we don’t have to sit there and preach to anybody because our actions speak louder than out words. People never understand us in the beginning, but once they see the reason behind why we do what we do, the respect is there. It’s not just us being vain and superficial, it’s a lifestyle. Let’s face it, to see someone go through all the trouble of getting ready for show; diet, training, cardio, suffering, for 12-16 weeks all for 60 seconds on stage and a plastic trophy. Do we really do it just for attention? I’m sure there are plenty more ways that are much easier for us to draw attention to ourselves then putting ourselves through the rigors of a precontest diet.
I’m a leader at my church, and many people could not understand in the beginning why I did what I did. As far as they knew it was a glorified beauty pageant of me just showing off my body. Unlike beauty pageant contestants, ours is a 24/7 365 days a year lifestyle. I was once in our church and during the sermon the man was preaching on idols in our lives and how we need to get rid of them. I was clearly the only one in the room who worked out, and I specifically remember his prayer. “Some of us have idols in our lives we need to bring up to the front and give up today. For some of us that’s our cell phones, some of us it’s our car keys…. And for some of us that’s our gym memberships!”… I remember opening my eyes at that very moment, looking around, shaking my head and then closed my eyes again. I know the guy barely knew me, but I was pretty offended. Because anyone that knows me, knows that I am using bodybuilding as a platform to be able to reach people for Jesus. So the irony in the statement of saying it’s an idol in my life was just foolishness.
Now for some, yes, ‘the gym’ can be an idol in life as many do nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe bodybuilding, and wouldn’t know what to do without it. For those of you that this is the case, I got news for you. Life goes on and there’s more to life than bodybuilding. Focus on being a well-rounded person and bodybuilding will never fulfill all your needs and desires in life even if you want it to. Don’t ever let it get in the way of people or relationships, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important and you will look back and regret it. I guess what I’m trying to say is… stop being such a Meathead!
But even so, any of you that have been bodybuilding for a period of time have definitely noticed the platform we do have. You can’t deny our sphere of influence. When we start a new job or get a new employee at our work, the questions and the observations they have of you are undeniable. Among every other employee, you’re obviously different and you stick out. You’re not coming back from your lunch break with a fast food bag or microwaving a frozen TV dinner, you have your Tupperware. They see our discipline and are inspired. They see the chicken, turkey, tilapia, rice and yams every day and see the routine. They see the gallon of water. They ask questions out of curiosity. Some even develop an interest in competing. Many times over a month or two other guys start to bring in their gallon of water. You see a few more cooked meals in Tupperware in the break room fridge than usual, and they all seem to be telling you about their recent healthy choices and the workouts they and how they got a gym membership. While many go strong on a health kick for a little, at least you influenced them to try and gave them that spark they needed to take a long look at their health and make better choices. Really, all we are doing is living our bodybuilding lifestyle, not saying a word, but our actions speak volumes. We don’t have to tell people, they see it. That’s influence. We don’t have to persuade, they come to us with questions. If you win, they see that, when you cheat, they call you out on it even though they are clearly out of shape. They ask about the mental mindset behind it and how we do it. One girl asked me,”How do you avoid eating all this bad food we eat in front of you?” I responded “because I want to win more than I want to cheat.”
When you quit or back down everyone else gets discouraged as well. Sometimes you’re the only level of consistency, work ethic, and dedication they will ever see. If you still wonder why you do it or if you ever want to quit, just remember, more people are watching than you think. Your sphere of influence is large. Even the strangers in the gym that never talk to you but see you day in and day out and see your dedication and results are watching you and influenced by you. Keep going. Stay strong. God Bless