Some will go through their entire lives searching for what makes them truly happy. I am fortunate enough in that I not only found what defines me as a person, but that I also have the opportunity to live that dream every single day. Since childhood, I have always wanted to be a competitive bodybuilder. For most people, the lifestyle that I live looks miserable. But the truth is that I absolutely love everything about it, and if it were taken away from me tomorrow, there would be a huge void in my life to fill as a result.
My quest down this road began in 2010. I was preparing to compete on stage for the 2011 season, but as life usually does, a curve ball was thrown my direction. I was given a second chance to put the pads on and play football, and I sidelined competitive bodybuilding for the time being. To be an effective Offensive Lineman, I had to pack on quite a bit of weight. I started at 220 lbs in 2011, and by the beginning of 2013, I had built myself up to 351 lbs. But I also began to realize how much I had to “let myself go” physically. No matter how you slice it, putting on 131 lbs naturally in an 18 month period isn’t going to translate well in terms of body structure. Although I carried the extra weight “generally” well, I was still unhappy nonetheless.
By the end of 2013, I had tried out for, and was offered multiple contracts with professional indoor football organizations in the Midwest. Before the indoor football season started in 2014, I made the brash decision to hang the pads up for good. One of the major underlying reasons was because I was miserable with the way I looked. I immediately went to work and set my sights on what I considered to be my passion in life, as well as the struggle I knew it would be to successfully get to the stage.
Fast forward about 18 months to the end of June of 2015. I stepped on stage for the very first time at the NGA’s Titan Classic in Urbandale, IA, weighing in at 246 lbs, and although I wasn’t perfect and there was still some obvious room for improvement, I was presentable. My second show was at the NGA’s Peoria Natural Championships in Peoria, IL on Halloween of 2015. I made remarkable progress since the first show, and am absolutely excited about getting ready for the 2016 season and the direction I am headed in this sport.
My best piece of advice for others is simply this. Be patient. It takes time and a willingness to persevere. Expect to fall off the proverbial horse. It happens. Just make sure to get back on and you guarantee that you won’t fail. Finally, dream big. I don’t care how unrealistic your goals may seem, have the courage to chase after what you want in life, and turn your back on those that scoff at you for doing so.