At the show, when I was in the pump up area, I knew I had it. I could just feel it. All eyes were on me. I had the confidence in my eyes and was playing mind games with my competitors....
The road to my IFBB pro card has been tough. Driven by desire and with my eyes set on one goal for the past three years, I was my maker and I made my first step across the many stepping stones that drew my final blueprint. When I started bodybuilding three short years ago, I had it set in my mind to achieve the status of being a pro. I am a very goal-oriented person and when I set out to do something I do it, I make it happen... I find a way. In all of our tasks, there will always be ups and downs. It's what you do when you are down that makes a champion. Like I always say if it was easy then we all would do it, but bodybuilding is not easy it is the toughest sport I have every encountered. I respect anyone who goes out and gives it one hundred percent and does a show no matter what place they get, because it is more than that--it is a matter of finishing what you set out to do.
My bodybuilding career started after I was done playing college football. I am a very competitive person and needed to find something to fill that gap since football was gone. Yes, I trained hard as a football player, but I had no idea what bodybuilding was really about. Over the past three years I have learned a lot and know the two training types are very different. I feel that playing football and track all my life did help me build the foundation to this House and sped the process up when I started bodybuilding full time.
When I started training for my first show I was very naive and had no idea what to expect or where to start. The first thing I did was ask around and try to soak up as much info as I could from the local gyms and gym rats. You know people say sometimes the best advice is free. Well, I can tell you this is not always true. I guess it could be but not from my area. See where I am from there are not many people that know much about the game. Knowing that when I do something I always do it 100%, I knew that I was going to need someone to guide me and show me how this game works. That is when I found my boy Andy. Andy took me under his wing from day one and helped me build the The House, take me to the next level. Remember, you might be on stage by yourself but it is who you got in your corner that makes it all happen.
When I started my contest diet for my first show I had no idea how much weight I was going to lose. I was a big bad football player and ate everything I could get my hands on. I was not fat--I was just big. I played fullback and my weight was 240 so you know I thought well I might get down to 210 or 205 and I would be ready for the stage. That is when I got a reality check. I had no clue what the times were going to bring. My first show opened my eyes and made me realize that bodybuilding was no joke. This was all work and if you wanted to do this it is a 24/7 lifestyle change.
It was not like football where once you left practice it was done because bodybuilding is a round-the-clock job. After all my dieting and prep was done for my first show it was one of the most satisfying feelings I had ever had. It did not matter on that day how I placed or what happened, all I knew is that I did it. I did what I said I was going to do. I was my maker. At that show the outcome was good I won the junior division placed in the top three in the novice and in the top five in the open light heavyweight. For my first time out I was very excited. This was good but I put more fuel on the fire and it gave me more motivation to get even better.
My second show was six months later. I was bigger and in better shape. All I wanted to do was get better each show and I did that during the next six months. During those six months I knew what I needed to do to get better and I did it. This is my goal each show, always take one step forward, move up the ladder. At this show I won the novice and placed second in the open Heavy weight class. Yes I did better but I still improve and I knew this would only motivate me in that way. Now that Andy and I knew my body better we decided to wait one year and do the same show again next year and our goal was to win the open class.
During this year I knew I needed to improve my upper body. My legs were big, I just had to let things catch up to them. So I changed my training and put a good solid eight months in before I started to cut down for this third show, where I knew I was going to have to bring my "A" game. During this off season I gained as much weight as I could so I could put some quality size on. I feel that early in your bodybuilding career it is a good thing to do because you need to grow, but the farther you get in your career I have found it is better to stay in better shape so the dieting is easier on the body. This third show was a big show and the competition was good. At the end of the night I knew I was at my best and I knew I did everything that I could have done at this point. I knew I was ready, so it was “game on”. At this show I won the open heavyweight class and won the overall. It was a great feeling, but I knew I was not going to stop there.
After winning the overall title this qualified me for national level shows. I knew it was time. Time to take it to the bigger stage. My next show was the North Americans in 2006 which was less than a year away after qualifying. I knew that it was not going to be an easy task but, this is what made me want to do it. I knew that it would only make me better. Because the harder the competition was, the better I got. Doing a national level show was an eye opener to me. All the competition was good. Everyone was a winner. We all won local shows and there were guys that had been in the game for years all trying to get that card. So it was a fight. Everyone was on their game and at this level it comes down to way more than big arms or big legs, it comes down to your total package.
When I stepped on stage at this show I did not know what hit me it went so fast. I felt like my head was spinning. It was all a blur. I placed fourth in the heavyweight class which was a great accomplishment for my first national level show, but I had different plans. I want to win... I knew I could win. Doing this show and placing fourth gave me a fire inside and gave me a different mindset and was the best thing that could have ever happened. I was motivated by failure, not that placing fourth was a failure, but anything less than a card was failure at this point.
After this show I knew I had to step it up even more. I had to take my body beyond what it had every done before. I took about four weeks off from training. After this show my body was shot and I knew I had a long road ahead if I was going to do what I had to do to win. I had in my mind to do the big three this year: the USAs, North Americans and Nationals. As I was training down for the USAs at one week out my corner men told me not to do the show--that my conditioning was not right, that I was not where I needed to be. This was the one of the hardest thing for me to do since I am a very competitive person. But at the same time it was the best thing that I could have ever done.
Not doing this show opened my eyes and rocked my world. I had five weeks to dial it in and do the North Americans. The next five weeks were the hardest weeks of training I had ever had. I busted my ass day in and day out to dial my conditioning in. I left no stone unturned I did everything I could and gave it all I had. Knowing that I would not let this ever happen to me again. I was my maker, my fucking maker. I made myself dial it in. I was one with my body and I willed it to get ripped. I did not just do the exercises and the cardio I lived every rep and step of it. Knowing it would all pay off in the end.
As I got closer to the show I was very in tune with my body. I could feel every change and feel every muscle fiber in my body. This is how I knew I was finally getting to a new level of knowing my body. This is the first time I could actually will my body to change. At a week out from the 2007 North Americans I knew I was going to be the best that I could possibly be at this point in my career. I did all that I could do. I was ready. I was very confident and knew that it was mine. I could taste that pro card. All I had to do was dry out and put on the final touches.
At the show, when I was in the pump up area, I knew I had it. I could just feel it. All eyes were on me. I had the confidence in my eyes and was playing mind games with my competitors. As they were pumping up I just sat there with my Animal gear on all covered up while they were all posing waiting to see me start to get ready. It does not take me long to pump up. All I had to do is take my Animal gear off and I was ready. About 15 minutes before I would take the stage I would start to get ready. I stood up and pulled off my sweats and it was lights out. It was over right there. Game, set, match. In my eyes I already had it. All I had to do was do what I do best and it was mine.
As I walked out on stage for my quarter turns, I felt like a million bucks. Everything was falling into place just like the blueprints said. I hit all of them just like I had done thousands of times at home with my son X. Then the sixty second round. I hit all my poses and did not stumble. As I walked off stage I was getting better and better. Now for the callouts. I was right in the middle on the first call outs. Right where you want to be, all eyes on me. I was standing tall and I knew no one could touch me on this day. I hit all the poses the judges called out just like I was at home in my living room. After that I knew it was mine. I did what I needed to do. It was out of my hands. I went back to my room and was on cloud nine. I carbed up for the night show and I was ready. When I came out for my ninety second routine all of my family, friends and fans gave me the energy I needed to put on a good show. This was one of the best feelings I have ever had on stage.
Hearing all my supporters yelling for me. when they brought the top five out on stage and they announced I won my class. My heart dropped and I knew that I was almost there I had one more step to go. I needed to get that overall so I would earn my pro status. After all the classes were over and they took us out on stage for the overall, I knew I could do it. I felt I was in better condition than anyone up on stage. I had a good overall package with good conditioning. We posed down and I had a good feeling.
As I stood there waiting for the decision, I was numb. It seemed to take forever. When they finally called my name for the overall title I was ready and I knew this was only a new beginning for more to come, another step up the ladder, a step closer to what I desire. Another challenge to become my maker. To get better and to throw more fuel on my fire. For I am my maker and this is only the start of a new road. A road that I will pave and a road that will have ups and downs but in the end all comes back to the same principle—I am responsible for what I ultimately achieve. I am my maker.
I just wanted to thank everyone that was in my corner, my wife, my son, my family, Andy, and my fans. Also Animal for helping me get to the next level and for the future we have together in the IFBB. Also the NPC for giving all of us athletes the chance to compete in a safe and professional atmosphere year in and out. Oh yeah, and a special thanks goes to all of my brothers on the Animal forum, the FORVM. Feel free to drop me a line or ask a question my thread, "Housecalls with 'The House'".
Tags: Bodybuilding Life
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