Physique Challenge – Why Am I Doing This?

For me, there are 3 main reasons why I have set myself this goal. It might surprise you that none of them really have anything to do with bodybuilding.

Obviously this challenge is going to be physical, and my years of gym experience, education in exercise physiology and experience in strength and conditioning are going to help me with this part of the journey. Fitness always has and always will be a huge part of my life, and in some ways this is just my next challenge, like training for a marathon. However, this time I am looking to be competitive, not just a participant, so I know I need to approach my training and preparation with a lot more focus than just showing up on the day.

So, am I a little bit excited about getting into the best physical shape of my life? Yes, part of me is definitely curious to see the end result. I mean, I’ve been fit and strong for years, but have never explored the bodybuilding side of things as my focus was in using the gym to make me better at sport, so to see what I am capable of is going to be fun.

However, it is really the psychological journey I have to go through on the inside that I am really intrigued to explore, and there are 3 main areas I am hoping to explore further.

Personal Mental Toughness

I’ve studied the psychology of success and achievement for years, surrounding myself with some of the best coaches and teachers, listening to every audio program I could find and spending days upon days in seminar rooms trying to understand why I do the things I do. While I have applied many of these lessons and had some success as a result, if I am honest with myself, my mental toughness has been inconsistent over the years. I’ve allowed my motivation to fade and become swallowed by the status quo. I’ve been distracted by the shiny and new rather than committed to the path in front of me. I’ve also let fear hold me back form chasing my dreams, masking the fear as perfectionism or procrastination so I have never had to truly experience failure.

Even though I am at the early stages of this journey, I can already tell this is going to test every aspect of my personal mental toughness. This time around, however, I appreciate this for what it really is, the rite of passage that every successful person needs to go through to reach a goal of significance and value. I am planning to face these challenges head on, documenting everything along the way, approaching the development of my mental toughness in the same way as I look at every physical workout I put myself through. I look forward to those physical challenges every morning in the gym, and will consider the psychological struggles as mental toughness workouts that are helping me develop a different set of muscles.

Motivational Speaker Content

The principles of success and personal development cross boundaries. It doesn’t matter which area of life you want to experience success, you will need to apply all of the same success principles to realise your dreams. This is why the top motivational speakers in the world come from so many different backgrounds. We can learn success from those who have experienced success in any are of life. Climbed a mountain? We can learn from you. Overcome incredible adversity? We can learn from you. Earned a world record? We can learn from you. The principles of success are universal, and we can draw lessons from success in any area of life any apply it to our own circumstance.

This goal and journey will allow me to finally teach and speak from a perspective of personal experience, rather than external commentary. The lessons I am already learning from climbing this metaphorical mountain are the exact things I wish I had truly understood 20 years ago as I began my self development journey. In documenting the entire journey, not just the picture-perfect, social media veneer but the behind the scenes mental struggles that I know lie somewhere on the path, I hope to finally connect with my authentic voice as a speaker so that I can help others, not only on their own fitness journey, but in applying the success principles in any area of life.

Gym Escapism & Addiction

The last area I am curious about is more of a hunch than anything. Over the years, I have used the gym as a way to de-stress, choosing to inflict physical pain through exercise as a seemingly healthy way of purging anxiety and emotion that often arises in life. I say “seemingly” as the behaviours that I have seen myself and others exhibit in the gym seem to have a lot of parallels to other addictions, and my theory is that there are a lot of people in gyms that need a therapist as much as they need a person trainer.

Mental health still has a stigma attached, and many people find it hard to talk about their emotions, choosing to escape through distraction and addiction rather than address the underlying issues. I think the gym is full of the kind of people that would benefit from talking more about their mindset, dealing with underlying depression and negativity, and finding a holistic release, not just a physical outlet. I have no idea how my efforts toward my goal of being a physique competitor will help, but if I can even help drive mental health awareness to a new group of people that need to hear that message, then I consider that a good use of my time.

So there we have it. This is my “why” behind the goal. This is what I think about when I feel tired before a workout, when I feel tempted to reach for some junk food or when I step on the scales and things don’t seem to have changed since last time. This is me stepping out from the shadows and putting myself in the scary situation where I finally discover what I am made of and who I can become. This is me doing something I love and I am passionate about and doing it to the absolute best of my abilities with the hope that when I eventually step on stage, it will mean more to me than the simple physical challenge of building a solid physique. The gym is the easy bit, I know I have that taken care of. It is everything else around that which is unknown, untested and scary, but that is what I know I must face and I am excited to fully explore!