Almost every bodybuilder that I have ever met considers themselves “Hard-core” or the most dedicated, knowledgeable, or hardest training athlete in the gym. Over the 20 years I have spent in the sport I have been asked many times what does it really take to be successful in the sport? My answer might surprise you but let me tell you it’s a question everyone has to ask themselves. What’s more is the answer you give yourself reflects whether you’re a Real Bodybuilder or Just another Wannabee!
Most magazines, scientists, and competitor’s are quick to point to genetics as the deciding factor. While on the surface there seems to be some truth to this when a person looks deeper into the sport this is not necessarily the case. In fact in every contest I have ever competed in, or watched I have rarely seen the person with the best genetics win the show.
I asked my friend, legendary bodybuilding coach Scott Abel the same question about what he believes makes a true bodybuilder successful, and Scott’s answer was pretty quick. He summed it up in one word… “Heart”.
Now Scott has trained over 200 titled winners on all levels from amateurs’ right up to Olympia contenders including myself to a National Title as well as a birth into the Mr. Universe contest. He’s also had the opportunity to work with the broadest range of personalities, genetics, and mental aptitudes so his opinion carries a lot of weight.
I tend to agree with Scott. From my own experience coaching thousands of bodybuilders around the world I feel the real successes are always the guys/gals who understand that bodybuilding has more to do what’s going on inside the mind than anything else.
Winning Comes In Many Forms
Winning and success come in many forms and so many people equate a trophy or a title with success. Considering how many of the top professional and amateur bodybuilders in the world have serious health problems and rather chaotic personal lives it’s hard to equate success with their professional status or their drug-swollen bodies. That being said, there are a handful of professionals who embody the ideals of true bodybuilding but they are definitely few and far between.
Of course, you have all kinds of guys/gals in the gym coming up with a host of reasons why they haven’t stuck with their diet, followed through on their training schedule, and simply not made the gains they desire. Although both cases represent opposite ends of the extreme; everyone fits somewhere in between and many are still left asking the question… What makes a “True Bodybuilder?”
While everyone has to determine the answer for himself, my own definition of True Bodybuilding is significantly different than “The Hardcore” Version portrayed in the top Magazines. Although at one time I aspired to be like the “gargantuan” individuals who grace the pages of the magazines, I had a change of heart once I reached the National Championship Level. Here’s why.