One exciting aspect of bodybuilding—and life, for that matter—is you never know when a new idea, suggestion, or strategy will guide you in a different and more productive direction. In an instant, a concept that once seemed so complex and confusing in your mind can suddenly become crystal clear and drive you directly toward achieving your goals.

Most successful people live in a continual state of anticipation. These resourceful individuals are certain they can find inspiration and wisdom at any time and even from the most unexpected sources. They are confident they can pull significant meaning to help them toward their dreams from seemingly unrelated conversations, situations, books, magazines, seminars, news, or even movies.One of the most exciting aspects of writing to help bodybuilders is discovering exactly what will stimulate me to develop a theme to help us break though the limitations of our mindsets and reach our genetic bodybuilding potential. For example, while watching the movie Braveheart, I couldn’t help but see the similarities in this film between the mindset of many drug-free bodybuilders and the current state of drug-free bodybuilding.For those of you who haven’t seen Braveheart, the movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 1995, including Best Motion Picture. If you are a natural bodybuilder anxious to take yourself to the next level, I encourage you to rent the video as soon as possible.

The movie takes place in Scotland back in 1280 and centers around a character by the name of William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson). At this time, the Scots were being tortured and dominated by the powerful armies of England. The story begins with a horrible massacre of innocent Scottish villagers who suffered the deliberate wrath of cruel English soldiers.The surviving men of the village planned to avenge this attack. William, who was probably about eight years old at the time, wanted to join the men. His wise father said to the boy, “I know you can fight . . . but it’s our wits that make us en.”Many natural bodybuilders feel they are embattled in the same sort of conflict with steroid users—and they are ready to fight to the end with their angry words. Many natural bodybuilders feel their success is limited and compromised by drug-using athletes.

The truth is that too many natural bodybuilders have a very limiting, or disempowering, identity of themselves. Oftentimes, our real enemies are our own limited beliefs, misdirected focus, and lack of information.

To change the direction of drug-free bodybuilding, we must change our identity from one that
is weak and oppressed to one that is strong and empowered!Young William’s father didn’t come back alive from the battle against the English.When the boy looked at his father’s lifeless corpse, the dead body said to him, “Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.”

Sometimes I wonder about the route many drug-free bodybuilders choose to follow: Are they looking deep within themselves to muster the courage and strength to seek out the advanced knowledge and internal drive needed to accomplish their goals for their physique? Or are they conveniently blaming the drug users for the fact their physiques are not where they want?

William’s uncle said, “First learn to use this [as he pointed to his head] then I will teach you to use this [as he pointed to his sword].” When we as natural bodybuilders have exhausted every ounce of our efforts learning the latest information on drug-free training, nutrition, supplementation, and mental skills, then we can start looking at the other guys. I don’t know about you, but I feel I am a long way from knowing it all!

The day any one of us knows it all will probably never come, in any case. Instead, we will have to earn a more empowering identity by redirecting our focus and putting the responsibility of building our physiques back upon ourselves.I received a letter from a competitive drug-free bodybuilder who respectfully told me that I was being naive when I fielded comments about whether the top drug­free stars feel that their competitors were truly natural. He also went on to tell me how the drug testing at those events is out of date and very easy to fool.

I can understand this gentleman’s frustrations. Drug-free bodybuilding is too new for everyone to understand what can really be accomplished by its participants. If an athlete’s physique appears to be too outstanding, there is no doubt his credibility will be questioned due to the read perceptions people have about the human body today.

I can’t stand up for every bodybuilder who says he’s drug-free—and I have never claimed to do
so. The only way you can really know if a person is truly drug free is to follow him everywhere he goes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I’ve seen guys who use drugs who are far inferior to great natural bodybuilders. The bottom line is there is no way to visually tell for sure – regardless of what the local gym expert believes.

People usually fall into one of two categories: matchers or mismatchers. Regardless of which category you fall into, you will usually feel that your way of thinking is the right way of thinking.Matchers are the people who generally look for what “right” or consistent in everything that is said to them. They are generally considered to be agreeable and optimistic people. Mismatchers are just the opposite. They look for inconsistencies and incongruencies in almost everything they come across.

Which is the best point of view? Matchers see themselves as positive, optimistic, and trusting individuals who expect the best out of every situation. Matchers may tend to think that mismatchers are negative and pessimistic people who are always looking for the worst in every situation.What do mismatchers think of matchers? They believe they are naive, gullible, and have a “Pollyanna” view of the world. They see themselves as being levelheaded, realistic, and able to see the world as it truly is.

Who’s right? They both are. They will create their own reality from their own perceptions.
Political spin doctors are great at this. These manipulators can listen to the very same speech and the same crowd reaction and then construe them in ways that seem to validate their own
specific agendas.

But the comments in the letter about the so-called drug-free bodybuilders or the drug testing are not what I found most intriguing. What was truly interesting was that the writer enclosed his contest photo and wrote, “…and as you can see, I live by my words.” I reread the letter a couple of times, not quite sure of his meaning.

Let me ask you a question: What do you suppose the physique in the picture looked like? Do you
think he was this huge, muscular guy with awesome genetics and conditioning? Do you think he was a person who had to constantly defend himself against others who speculated he was taking drugs because his physique was so outstanding? Do you think he had the muscle mass of a Johnny Stewart? Do you think he had the rock-hard conditioning of a Chris Faildo? Do you think
he had the God-given symmetry of a Ron Coleman?

Well, not exactly. He was far from having any of those attributes. It almost seemed as though he identified himself as a bodybuilder by his “believably” natural physique. It seemed as though he was proud to own a physique so unremarkable that no one would even question if he was drug free. Good for him, I suppose!

Is this an empowering identity? Or, is he merely stuck in a comfortable way of settling for less? Believe me, a whole lot of work isn’t required to become “believably” natural!

In the movie Braveheart, Robert the Bruce was stuck in a comfortable way of settling for less. He was the leading candidate to become the king of Scotland, although that position was just a
sell out or puppet position for the enemy king of England.

Robert the Bruce’s father did everything he could to “pump him up” and convince him that he was viewing the situation intelligently. He persuaded Robert to believe that the real enemies were the Scottish rebels who wanted to change things. Keeping themselves in their comfort zone – even though they lived in oppression – they thought was easier than fighting. Because of this, Robert the Bruce’s father plotted to destroy the efforts of Wallace.

Many natural bodybuilding contest promoters are acting just like Robert the Bruce’s father. In an effort to attract more competitors and promote their organizations, they often resort to searching for what’s not exactly right with the other drug-tested organizations. “Our organization uses this method and that method. Their federation only uses that method!” they often profess.

They may not realize they are subtly, or sometimes not so subtly, questioning the credibility of the other organizations. This stance also indirectly attacks the character of the bodybuilders of the rival natural organizations. They pit one group of natural bodybuilders against other groups. These promoters fail to understand that we are all in this together.

Being a matcher by nature, my experience dealing with many of the natural organizations is that they are more similar than they are different. Any one of these groups is usually just as passionate and as dedicated to the cause of drug­ free bodybuilding as any other.

Let me take you back to the movie. William Wallace was not going to sell out to the mighty English. He was prepared to fight for what he believed. So admirable were his intentions, he even earned the respect of his arch-nemesis Robert of Bruce. “He fights with passion and inspires!” he said of William.

William did inspire many of his fellow Scots to join him in fighting their enemies. Although the odds were heavily against them, they fought with passion and intelligence, and by implementing clever strategies. Most of the Scottish clan fought also with courage and unity.

But there were also many within their own camp who tried to kill Wallace and extinguish his efforts. Isn’t this similar to the state of drug-free bodybuilding today? If anyone comes close to achieving outstanding results, their fellow drug ­free peers come down on them like a ton of bricks accusing them of using steroids!

Some cowardly warriors wanted to give up the battle and flee to save their lives. “Will you fight?” Wallace asked. Many of the men said, “No! We will run—and we will live!” In one of the
most emotional parts of the movie, Wallace delivered a very eloquent speech saying, “Fight, and you may die. Run, and you will live—at least for a while. And when dying in your beds, many years from now, you would be willing to trade all the days from this day to that one for one chance, just one chance, to come back and tell our enemies that they can take our lives—but they cannot take away our freedom!” Whether you courageously join the natural movement to push yourself toward a new level of excellence—or stay in your comfort zone—the sport will continue to evolve. Bodybuilders using drugs will not have anything to do with your own development. The only person oppressing you is you. You are free to take your body to its genetic potential—if you choose to do so.

Don’t find yourself years from now wishing you had fought hard to find out every strategy possible to develop your drug-free physique to outstanding levels. Fight to find these strategies with courage and passion! People today are searching for leaders. People follow those with courage. Become a model of what can be accomplished without the use of drugs to others in your gym.

“I want to believe as he does,” said a regretful Robert of Bruce. Then, in a moment of strength he declares, “I will never be on the wrong side again!”

At the end of the movie, Wallace suffers the ultimate sacrifice and dies for his beliefs.

Personally, I would never want to succumb to regressing to a “believably” natural physique to appease the masses. Doing so would be a sure sign that I had slipped into mediocrity. I’d rather die!

If you have embraced an identity of being “believably” natural, is it serving you well? Is holding onto your beliefs that your body can only “realistically” get so good helping or hurting your efforts? Does that belief make you a better bodybuilder, or does it merely brace your fall if you fail to achieve what you really want?Viewed ourselves as a bunch of zealous, warriors determined to annihilate the perception that we can only take our physiques so far? Wouldn’t that Braveheart perception of ourselves be a far more empowering identity?

  1. Anonymous 19 February 2008 at 06:03  

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