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Why I Competed And Why I Will Again

As a teenager I was lanky and probably had a pretty ideal body for rock-climbing. Skinny, sinew-y, long limbs. And I hated it. I wanted to be like my He-Man action figures.

My father bought me weights and a workout machine while I was in high school. It didn't do any good. I couldn't put on weight no matter what I tried. I once ate a gallon of ice cream and an entire pie in a weekend and lost five pounds. And while I'd love that now, at the time I was horrified.

Finally, in college I put on some muscle and I've worked relentlessly since that time to get in better shape despite the demands of life, fatherhood, health setbacks and age.

In my late 30's and early 40's I finally started putting on weight. In part, this was due to a sagging metabolism that comes with age, lack of sleep from having youngsters and probably a number of other factors. Fortunately, with my increased weight I was also increasing muscle, just not at the ratio of muscle to fat that I would like.

And I became close friends with a couple of guys from the gym, one of whom had competed in the past and was gearing up to compete again at the age of 50. He convinced me to compete as well. That was last year. I was 43 going on 44. It was my first competition after 25+ years of working out and my first athletic competition in 20+ years.

Had I known how difficult it would be I'm not sure I would have done it. Being perfectly honest with you. That said, knowing now what I was able to achieve, the pride and self-satisfaction, the camaraderie backstage with other bodybuilders who had been through their own self-inflicted challenges...yeah. I'm hooked.

Now in year two of competitive bodybuilding things are easier; my body responds faster; my mind-set more constructive; my nutrition dialed-in; my knowledge overflowing.

Is it scary putting yourself up on stage nearly naked, having your body judged by strangers? Yes. But it forced me to take my fitness to the next level. I would never recommend competing to anyone else but if you're so inclined, go for it.

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