This an e-mail exchange that I had with a young bodybuilder, Michael Bevins, at BodySpace.com.
Dave, your journey is truly inspirational, and I aspire to be where you are in fitness and in my own career someday. I’m trying to get ahead, but it always seems that the people who have already made it are never willing to give any advice. I guess it’s a competitive thing, but I’m not here to knock someone off from being noticed. I just want to be as successful as the next fitness guru! Could you possibly point me in the right direction? Once again, thank you for paving the way and for being such a strong inspiration to all.
Thanks for the kind words. The thing is, I’m just doing what I love to do.
How many shows have you competed in? My advice is, keep competing—and always be gracious, no matter where you place. Try to schedule photo shoots when you’re in top shape. Write an article about yourself and send it out with some of your best photos to all the magazines. If you’re a good writer, write some training articles and submit them to magazines or to some of the bodybuilding and fitness Web sites (there are a ton of them out there, and they’re looking for content). Get actively involved in the NPC in your state. I see that you’re going to compete in the Natural Ohio this spring. Introduce yourself to Dave Liberman, the promoter, and offer your help at future shows in which you won’t be competing.
You might also talk to Dave about how you can qualify to judge in NPC Ohio shows. You can get a great deal of insight from looking at things from the judges’ perspective. Just get involved in the sport as much as you can. Be nice to people, and be as helpful as you can. You never know who might be able to open a door for you. At some point you will look back and see how the people you have helped have gone on to help others who in turn have passed on the gift of the fitness lifestyle. It boggles my mind to think of some of the friends and clients I helped years ago who have trained other newbies who have gone on to become trainers. It makes me wonder how many lives I’ve affected in my three decades in the fitness industry.
I hope that helps. And best of luck with your training.
P.S.: I needed a topic for my latest IRON MAN column. It just might come from your message.
Thank you so much. I’ll definitely follow your advice. I had been so hesitant about getting onstage because the people around me see the sport as “less than academic,” but the truth is that there’s a science to this like everything else. As you already know, it takes an extensive amount of knowledge about nutrition, supplementation and weight training to build a well-balanced and symmetrical physique. I’m sending you my pictures today. I’ll continue to be diligent in the NPC and will also be more active and supportive of others. Thank you once again, Dave, and I’ll be in touch.
While it’s true that competing in physique sports is less than academic, another way to look at it is, rather than just reading about, writing about and discussing our science, we put it into practice. There’s a great deal of stuff that works in theory or in the lab that doesn’t translate to the real world. I would rather be a doer and show that this is what works—because I’ve done it over and over myself, and I’ve repeated it with many clients.
Those who would dismiss you as stupid or vain because you want to step onstage are either jealous of the body you’ve built, or they don’t have the guts to do it themselves! You are absolutely right that bodybuilding takes a great deal of knowledge, and it takes the ability to put all of the pieces together in the right combination to achieve the desired outcome. Also, as you well know, it takes a great deal of self-discipline to put all of that academic and practical knowledge together to reach the pinnacle of physical excellence that we strive for. Not everyone can do it. It takes a different kind of determination and drive that many do not possess.
So, my friend, I guess my point is that what we do is very special and very difficult—but it’s also very rewarding. In addition to the trophies and adulation you might receive from competing, you’ll also be wearing the fruits of your labor 24 hours a day. You can tell those who would try to dissuade you that you prefer to be both a thinking man and a man of action!
I actually used to be a powerlifter—until someone told me that anyone can go to the gym, throw as much strength and energy to powerlift as it takes to bodybuild. I guess you can say I was looking for more of a challenge, and along the way I’ve really gotten to know myself. I feel I’m late getting into the game and really wish I had started bodybuilding a long time ago, but I’m happy that I did. Thank you for being an inspiration. I’ll definitely continue on this path and be the best I can be!
I have done a considerable amount of powerlifting myself. I find it to be great fun! There’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of putting a new personal record on your back, feeling the bar flexing as you walk out of the rack, dropping below parallel and then driving the weight back up. From my perspective, powerlifting takes more strength, but bodybuilding take a heck of a lot more energy, dedication and discipline.
That said, I think that if I had the God-given ability to be a world-class powerlifter, I probably would have given up bodybuilding and avoided all the dieting and cardio. LOL! Of course, the trade-off would be that my body wouldn’t look the way it does now. Even so, I’ve never completely given up my love for powerlifting, and I think it has been a great complement to my bodybuilding training. So my advice about powerlifting is, don’t just kick it to the curb. It’s good for you.
Now, Michael, I tell people all the time that it’s never too late to get started, and it’s never too late to get restarted. I got into bodybuilding when I was 23 and then wished I had jumped in as a teenager, but there’s no point in looking back at what could have been. Once you get started, it’s all about eating right, pumping the heavy iron in perfect form and living in every repetition that you do because you have that vision of not only what you want to look like but also what you want to achieve in life and in the industry. I think you are pointed in the right direction. Get after it, brother!
Train hard, and eat clean!
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To contact Dave directly, send e-mail to [email protected] IM