I got into bodybuilding because I needed to look good for the ladies. (LOL) Of course, a good number of dudes who aren’t professional body builders go into bodybuilding to impress. Have you been to the gym on a Saturday?
Truth is, humans would always seek validation, it may not be OK but it happens a lot.
It didn’t exactly start like that for me but something like that happened along the line. While growing up, I had 4 older brothers to look up to, they did everything I would have loved to do and more, and body building was one of those things.
The Older Brother Effect
The eldest of my siblings is the hardest and wisest amongst us (are they usually like that). He would put anyone of us in line when we overstep. I always looked up to him in more ways than one, he doesn’t know that, he might never know.
I remember one time, I made it a point of duty to write the way he does (Influenced my handwriting today), mimicking his handwriting and signature. That’s how much influence he had on me; ironically, we have a striking resemblance too. LOL
Well, he made me fall in love with bodybuilding. He would do a lot of press ups in his room, I wouldn’t be watching, but I would be listening and he always comes out bloated and sweaty. He trained that way often and I would wish I could do it just like him, but I knew at the time that my body wasn’t strong enough for the stress. When press-ups weren’t cutting it anymore and because of how resourceful he can be, he constructed a local gym with Cement and concrete.
He was buff, intimidating and well respected amongst his peers in the neighbourhood, his nickname is still very much present on the lips of those who knew him then. Well into midlife, he still goes by that name, even within the family, sometimes we forget what his real name is. (LOL)
Imagine having such older brother and not wanting to be like him. He eventually moved out of the house but the he had already made his mark on me and soon enough, I felt I was big and strong enough to do what he did.
As a beginner, I would do a couple of reps of press-ups and I would fall flat, thinking to myself, nah, I don’t think this is for me, I don’t think I can do this. (Do I really need to be buff? I can just be skinny in peace. LOL).
I was approaching my late teens and I was lanky as hell. I had things to do and things to think about (like just being a teenager) and building muscles was just too difficult to be one of them.
Fast forward to my early twenties, I was in the university, and there were all kinds of competition going on. Competition for who is the coolest dude in the department, who is the alpha male, who gets to be the ladies man. In these kinds of competition, being buff actually increases your chance by a lot...You don’t get to do much once you are buff, just talk slow and say few words, smile (I already had that going for me) and turn up at events.
This was my reality on campus, I was studious alright, but I wasn’t going to be just about the books, variety happens to be the spice of life.
The Turning Point
The reality I painted above was already there but it wasn’t what really jolted me into hitting the gym. I was hanging out with two of my favourite boys one morning right before lectures, we sat behind these 3 girls who were deep into a nothing conversation about guys, good looks and all that crap (LOL. I am vexed already, you will know why soon). One of them casually mentioned how she was a sucker for tall handsome, dudes.
I heard this, I could hear their conversations but I was totally indifferent, but my friend, dude wouldn’t leave it alone. He motioned at them, the sucker girl turned around and dude pointed at me and said "how about him'? (Apparently I had all the qualities she mentioned, but she didn’t mention everything LOL) She said nah, your friend is too skinny. (Kill me! F**king kill me). Hahaha.
I was really embarrassed, like she could have just ignored him or better still; dude could have just kept his mouth shut. LOL...things progressed pretty quickly from there.
That was my turning point there.
Ladies and gentlemen, at that moment, my world almost came crashing but I knew I was paper weight and nobody would notice if I’d fall(LOL) So, I took in good strides and just like my elder brother did, I hit the gym. I didn't have the funds to register in a standard gym so I improvised. I got myself a single dumbbell that weighed about 15kg (it was plenty heavy, I was just a rookie). I would do press-ups and curls for at least 40mins, 3x every day. (Like a 3 course meal).
It wasn’t as easy as I just described it though, at first, the pains were unbearable, I couldn’t wash my back in the shower, I could scratch my butt (LOL), my muscles were sore and painful as hell, but I knew those were the price I had to pay and with time, the pains were going to go away. And it did, I was still a rookie but I had left the novice level and I was working my way up to intermediary.
Something was happening; I noticed some changes, not just about my physicality but about how people talked to and addressed me. I was getting noticed and getting complements from all and sundry. I loved that feeling, it was nice hearing ladies complement me on my body. Have you felt that? No? (Hit the gym then).
The Body Builder
I was outgrowing my normal routine of press-ups and dumbbells now, I needed something better, something heavier and since finance was a constraint, I built my own gym.
I had enough room in our backyard to build a local gym that had everything, from squat stand to weight bench and more room for lunging and dead-lifts. I was set, ain't nothing stopping me. I was so motivated by what I saw in the mirror and in people's eyes that I became obsessed with bodybuilding. I would workout in the rain, alone with no one spotting me. My routine was mad, because all I did was workout, eat sleep and go for lectures.
From once being a lanky dude, I had blossomed into masterpiece. I had the genetics so everything just fell into place and it doesn't get any better than being 6ft1. Massive!
Soon enough I had guys from the neighbourhood coming to join me in my gym. At one point, almost every young man in the neighbourhood wanted to build their body - at my gym. I became an instructor without knowing it.
Normally I would allow people do whatever the hell they liked (Some know-it-alls don't like being told what to do in the gym). But those who enjoy my programs and the form with which I workout usually want me to guide them.
The Gym Coach
With time, I outgrew my local gym and outgrew the attention I was getting in school from the ladies, attention I once craved. I no longer cared to be the alpha male or cared for the attention I got from the ladies because I was no longer doing it for them, I was doing it now because it feels so damn good, and because of how much I enjoyed coaching newbies and watching them grow and make the kind of progress I did, I took up gym coaching in one of the gyms downtown.
I had left the comforts of my backyard gym, I was in the big leagues now and I had to be the best trainer there could be, I had to be up to date with regimens, programs and diets. I really morphed big time, I was practically a gym rat. A body builder, coach and nutritionist and there was no better feeling. I carried my huge body with grace and excellence, as I should (LOL). I got recommendations for personal security, while I could still coach, but I didn’t want it at the time, but it eventually happened.
A few years later, I dabbled into club bouncing and the bustles of night life. It was fun and risky because you were literally responsible for making sure drunk, irate people (sometimes dangerous) are always in line. The job requires intelligence, poise, discretion, confidence and strength...because you would be carrying a lot of people out the club. The bouncing job paid better but proved to be more mentally, physically and emotionally tasking and I knew it couldn’t be a long term thing.
It was not always grim though, bouncers are a high demand commodity for the ladies - especially good looking bouncers. On a good day, you'll get women throwing themselves at you, call girls and customers alike. Sometimes they write and stuff their phone numbers down into your pocket with some nice tips too...you get unsolicited kisses planted on you by drunk women and some would rub their behind on your crouch to draw a reaction.
I got married and left that job (such a high risk for my new marital status)
Many years have passed and a fire that was ignited in me by my older brother is still with me. I might not work out so much now but I am still in love with body building and I am something of a nutritionist now. You always see me telling everyone around me what to eat and what not to eat, how to balance meals up, and best ways to lose weight without skipping a meal. All these, just born out of passion for working out and it had stayed with me till now. Talk about influence.
Take-Away From My Rant
· When you are within and around kids, act right, they may be watching you. Kids would naturally want to do what they see you do.
· When you find yourself in a position of power, try to be more of a positive influence.
· Hitting the gym as a young man is one of the best things you could do for yourself. It gives you confidence, keeps you fit and healthy both short and long term.
· When you are prepared, opportunities usually meet you well.
· Explore, do things you love, you will be happy and grateful for it as you advance in life.