2014-07-12 22.23.57“200 pounds. Ripped. Tattooed. Bench 405, squat 585, deadlift 600. Furocious. Feared. Physically dominant over anyone I encounter…”

This was the expectations. This was the motive. If any of these numbers slipped, I was no longer good enough. I was no longer significant. I might as well end my life.

IMAGE. A detrimental and often disillusioned perception of ourselves in comparison to others. The mirror became my DEEPEST enemy. How do we get to the point where we set that internal bar or standard so high that anything less is gravely unacceptable? How did our exterior all of a sudden begin to define our entire existence? How can these numbers be maintained? How can a person even have any quality in their life compulsively attempting to maintain and battle this urge to be physically superior to all?

The answer is, when a person’s heart and soul are shattered, physical appearance seems to be the only real CONTROL left so once this realization is born, things can spin wildly out of control…QUICKLY. People can hate you, fire you,  break up with you but they cannot stop you from being a physical specimen. The problem is, to answer the next 2 questions is that, these numbers cannot be maintained for a lifetime and there is an extremely low quality of living scrambling to hold onto what we’ve concluded is the “best version of us.”

We grow up and are told we can be anything, do anything we put our brain, heart, and mind to. This is true, TO AN EXTENT. Studies show, some of the most exceptional physical specimens are the most DEEPLY afflicted individuals mentally and emotionally. How do I know? Because I lived it. I STILL live it, every day. I’ve won major weight lifting competitions and have one of the top deadlifts in the state of Pennsylvania but I still found myself…..EMPTY…wanting, needing, CRAVING more. When my addiction was at its worst, so was my body dysmorphic disorder. An obsessive compulsive thought process mixed with an insanely impulsive attitude is a combination of character defects that can strip you of everything you were meant to be spiritually, mentally, professionally, and emotionally. Beware….

I see it every day. Pictures, posts, and videos of lifting, training, and eating habits. Plates of food and advice. When called conceited or self-absorbed the quick lash back defense response is, “I’m inspiring others.” This may be the case for some, but not all…search your soul, question your intentions…

I get agitated and my ego puffs up like a hot air balloon some mornings when I see people self-glorifying but then I realize, that might be what THEY need to stay motivated. They may NEED affirmation from others. I did and STILL DO sometimes but I’ve concluded, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you’re great, YOU have to be at PEACE with YOURSELF in EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE to be truly “healthy.”

If we’re completely consumed with our own image, what is happening to our heart and soul? Something always suffers when we neglect certain parts of ourselves. The same goes for people who are all about spiritually or their career. Their health tends to slip. How do we become well-rounded then?

The answer is within YOU. It’s not for me to tell you. I just know my own experience. I know that when I get too obsessed over physical appearance, I become an emotionally and mentally ugly human being that no longer serves others. Exercising is beneficial. Yes. I’ve been a trainer for 5 years and promote exercise and healthy habits. The problem lies when that becomes someone’s center….when the mirror and scale becomes….their GOD.

Those numbers I spoke of at the beginning of this article. 200, 405, 585, 600. Yes, they were very real for me. I hit and even exceeded most of them, at one point. I still could. But in reality, I’m 30 years old. I’m trying to better my life professionally and spiritually. I’m 193lbs, I bench 355, I squat 475, and deadlift 600. You see, those numbers have decreased… I’ve fallen short of my unreasonable expectations. I still have days where I punish myself in the gym because of the unhealthy cyclical pattern of thinking that leads to me looking in the mirror saying, “You’re  failing.” The notion that I’m a pathetic failure….the torture, the isolation, the self-punishing behavior of not feeling good enough for my family, my friends….anyone. Not even MYSELF.

When I take a closer look I see that I’m not failing. I’m growing up. I’m realizing that life has more dimensions and branches to make the tree healthy. If one branch is strong and the others are weak, it’s imbalanced and will tip over…

So, anyone on a lifting or fitness journey, UNDERSTAND one thing. It can be as detrimental as heroin, cocaine, crack, acid, alcohol, and opiates. It can absolutely become a drug. Drugs kill. So, although it’s a huge oxymoron, working out can be very much UNHEALTHY for certain human beings. It can take your soul. Don’t let it do that. Take a day off. Keep your workouts to yourself. Realize that power, strength, and beauty fade. Be beautiful in the way that can NEVER BE taken away…….INSIDE.#BzBe13

Strength and blessings.