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Thoughts from my Time in Natural Bodybuilding

I have spent nearly 25 years in local gyms pounding away at weight training using natural bodybuilding or power lifting, and usually some combination of the two. I canít begin to tell you how many hours I have invested in this pursuit. If Iíd applied the time to working on some money-making endeavor, Iíd have been retired to Aruba or something by now.

Like most every ironhead that gets hooked on natural bodybuilding, Iíve got my reasons for doing it. The obvious first choice is to look good. And being the strongest kid on the block would be impressive, too. But thereís more to it than that. I have found lifting to be a great stress reliever after a day at work. Natural bodybuilding and working out in general can be a marvelous way to improve self esteem, self image, and confidence. The long term benefits from proper training are significant, too.

Even with all these very good reasons for pumping iron, I guess the bottom line is- I have fun doing it! This is something that I can do for me, for my own satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, and socialize a little while doing it. It ainít crocheting doilies, but itís a hobby nonetheless, one that aids in achieving the mind-body connection.

My competition is me, and I can be incredibly demanding. This develops mental toughness and focus, which spills over into all aspects of daily living. For me, itís weight training and natural bodybuilding. For you this might be martial arts training, running, or yoga. Regardless of the exercise discipline, itís also come to be about structure and self-discipline, which are prerequisites for a naturally healthy lifestyle. Letís face it; you havenít got a prayer of achieving robust mental and physical health if you live in chaos, so get serious about living well.

Let me illustrate my point. In the time I have been training, I have seen literally thousands of people come and go in the gym. I wish I had a nickel for every time Iíve heard, ďWell, I used to squat 500 or 600 pounds in high school, but Iím just getting back into it now.Ē And this from a guy who can barely lift himself off the bench. So, I watch, hoping this will be the one who surprises me and actually trains. Typically, heíll show up for a workout two or three times a week for maybe a month. Then he starts missing a day, sometimes two days a week. Then you realize you havenít seen him for almost a month. The next time you do see him and ask where heís been, you get something like, ďOh Iíve been working a lot,Ē or ďMy wife and I have been remodeling our house, but Iím going to get back into it.Ē Yeah, right!

Now, I am not advocating living in the gym every free moment. Been there and done that. Believe me, all that will get you is overtrained and injured, and youíll miss a lot of good times and worthwhile things in this life. But I am advocating self discipline and consistency in your chosen exercise endeavor, natural bodybuilding or otherwise. Donít spend your money on club dues, and only show up two weeks before that big beach vacation trying to get buff at the last minute. Wonít happen. And it wonít help your overall health that much, either. It is possible to achieve reasonable health and fitness goals without becoming obsessive about it all. It is not possible to achieve those goals by becoming sloppy and complacent about it all! This is about arriving at a place of balance in your life by making sound lifestyle choices for your long-term health. Forget about instant gratification here. Remember: Slow and steady wins this race.

Bill Pennington is co-author and regular contributor to NaturalHealthLifestyles.com
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