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Defining the Bodybuilding Lifestyle[Download a free issue of Iron Man Magazine for iPhone and iPad]

In defining the bodybuilding lifestyle, IRON MAN follows the philosophy that the mind and the body are one and embraces the direct correlation between action and reaction. While a wide range of interpretations exists regarding how to follow the bodybuilding lifestyle, the basic building blocks are the same—exercise, nutrition and supplementation on the “body side” and emotion, intelligence and other psychological factors on the “mind side.” Recognizing that the effects of the workout go far beyond getting bigger, stronger and faster to include a calmer, clearer mind and better sleep is the difference between working out and reaping all the benefits of the workout. None of the actions and their results exist in isolation—the workout profoundly changes the way you feel on many levels of both mind and body.

The bodybuilding lifestyle reflects the awareness that everything you do affects your mind and body. Knowing that is one thing; the challenge is in the implementation. Every decision you make has an effect that ripples through you like a pebble dropped in a pond, radiating a wave of energy in the still water.

The bottom line: Our decisions either create or diminish us—there are no neutral actions. It reminds me of a quote I once saw on a Ferrari poster: “You can only coast in one direction.”

So, what started out for most of us as a simple workout to transform our physiques becomes both a metaphor for change as well as the change itself. There is an inevitable series of dominoes falling. To paraphrase Arnold, it all starts with want, which is the desire to improve ourselves, but as we pursue it, we discover that the want becomes the will, which leads us to action.

The dominoes continue. The bodybuilding lifestyle grows from that first workout with every bit of earned knowledge and insight—the energy wave radiating out on the pond. The result: a journey of discovery on the mind/body continuum.

The practice of the martial arts is sometimes described as an all-encompassing, “spiritual” process. Bodybuilding is not unlike the stylized practice of the martial arts. The two activities are both powerfully transformative because of the way they focus the mind. It’s impossible to perform any heavy lifting without lockout concentration, and that concentration leads to re-creation of self. That’s the true power of the bodybuilding lifestyle. It has the potential power to re-create both the body and the mind.  IM

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