Fitness has been my life for about the past 6 years, and I've been involved in the fitness industry for a little over a year now. The way I first got started is probably pretty similar to most of you who are reading this, which is by watching YouTube videos of your favorite athletes and learning the tricks of the trade along the way. This has been one of the most helpful and inexpensive ways to quickly gain knowledge of how to better achieve your individual fitness goals. However, due to the success of a lot of these popular athletes, it has seemed like the rest of the general population has begun to lose their own creativity along the way by trying to emulate their favorite athletes.
My first piece of advice is for anyone looking to make a name for themselves in this industry, no matter if you have been doing this for years or just getting started. And that is to have a goal in your mind of how you would like your own physique to look, and make this a clear goal. A lot of people get stuck by trying to look exactly like their idols, and they begin to get down on themselves because they are not achieving that goal.
The reality is that you are not genetically composed the same way as anyone else. So while you may be trying to get your abs to look like someone else's, your body just does not develop that exact way. You could have perfect abs on your own body, but just because they don't look like the person you are trying to emulate, you begin to think your workouts are failing. The world needs a variety of looks and personalities so we can all better learn from each other. You also need to have a clear goal in terms of where you are going in this industry.
The best piece of advice I've ever gotten was from my brother when I first decided to pursue a career in fitness. As a great salesman, marketing genius, and former standout high school and college athlete, he simply asked me: Why, and what I was going to do exactly? I honestly couldn't give him a solid answer at the time and it shocked me. He made me sit down and write down everything I was trying to accomplish and why I wanted to do so and my own success quickly followed. Time is the most precious nonrenewable resource we all have so everything you do should be done with a purpose in mind.
Everyone's goals are different so you have to find what motivates YOU. This applies to everything you are trying to do life even if you not trying to become a fitness professional. Too many people see the popular athletes on social media and that becomes their only motivation, to take pictures to post online. However, like Scott Herman has said before, social media “likes” don't pay the bills. Maybe your end goal is to become a personal trainer, or even just to have overall health and wellness, then all of your actions you are doing with your fitness should be getting you closer and closer to those goals.
Maybe you are preparing for a show, what is your goal or what are you trying to accomplish at the end of the day by doing that? Some people do things like this just because they see that is what everyone else is doing and so they feel like they have to do the same to become relevant. I did one physique show because I wanted to see how my body would look and react to that kind of training and dieting and I learned a ton from it. However, I will most likely not compete again just because it does not help me to get to that next step in my own fitness career. Everything should be done with a purpose.
My next piece of advice is directed at marketability. You want to diversify yourself as much as possible. Many people want to get a sponsor from a fitness or supplement company, and I was fortunate enough to get that early on from CTD Sports. The question you need to ask yourself is what makes you different or standout? There are millions of people out there with a six-pack or in very good shape, so why are you different than every single one of them who are hoping for the same thing? Why should a business choose to invest in you as an athlete?
This brings me back to my previous point of too many people trying to imitate their fitness idols. The reason that Arnold Schwarzenegger first got so much attention back in the day is because he was so different. The world had never seen anyone like that before which made him standout so much. Over the years I've seen so many people who try to imitate their idols not only from their workouts, but even down to how they dress, style their hair, the way they act, the music they listen to, and even things they say. This already diminishes your marketability from a business standpoint because the person you are trying to be already exists and is having success. The reason they became so popular in the first place is because they were the first to do it and they worked to build their own image that way. Be true to yourself and have your own personality because that is what sells.
That brings me to my final piece of advice which has to do with your workouts. I'll be the first to admit that watching YouTube videos of successful athletes is one of the best ways to learn and to gather new information. However, don't get caught up with listening to one or two people give you ALL of the knowledge that you are applying to your routines. My workouts and routines are constantly changing because of all the knowledge that I've gotten from various people over a long period of time.
You have to keep in mind while you are watching these workout videos, that these people are doing routines that work best for them and that have been proven to help improve their own physique without you in mind. They don't know if you have a lagging body part that needs more attention, or have a dominant body part that reacts differently to certain workouts. You should try as many different things as you can and then figure out how your own body responds and make the adjustments accordingly. I always research as many different workouts as I can, then I put my own spin on them to make it fit into the results I'm trying to get.
Don't be afraid to try something new. If you try someone's workout and noticed great results from it, then note that for yourself and use it going forward. Maybe the entire workout wasn't great for you, but you can microanalyze it and take away some things that might work for you. For instance, the rep ranges, or one certain exercise, or the amount of sets, supersets, dropsets, etc. So many things can be taken away that might still be useful for you.
As a former High School Political Science and History teacher, I've learned that you need to gather as much information as you can on your own, and then analyze it for yourself. Everyone's bodies react differently to different things. This will produce so much more new information out there for other people to learn from and we can all better help each other get closer to our individual goals.
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