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Bodybuilding and Self Esteem

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Bodybuilding and Fitness Newsletter 1/26/2022

Believe in Yourself

You MUST learn to ignore the negative comments of those that would wish you failure in achieving your fitness goals; you need a strong will and positive attitude to build muscle and succeed in bodybuilding.

By Bradley J. Steiner

Regardless of what you want to ultimately achieve in life -- no matter who you are, and no matter where you're going, you will not make it if you don't believe in our own capabilities and potential as a worthwhile human being."Luck," regardless of how much people seem to daydream about its magic power, plays a very, very small role, if any, in the attainment of anything in this life worth having. HARD WORK and an unrelenting pursuit of one's goals and values is what wins out in the long run. This is doubly true of bodybuilding.

The late Jerry B. Paschail once wrote that the primary job of the muscle building magazine (now online) should be to help the bodybuilder keep at his training, and to offer encouragement for his efforts. This makes an awful lot of sense. In essence, I would like to take steps in this direction right here and now with this article.

I often think that if every fellow who trained with weights would spend half the time that he wastes brooding over the fact that he doesn't look like Reg Park on working out, this country might develop a new race of people! The transformation of all these self-pitying "might-have-beens" into rugged, muscular young athletes would certainly be something of a renaissance in the field of physical culture. True, we probably, still wouldn't have too many Reg Parks or Bill Pearls around, but we'd have a populace of healthy, fit young men who LOOKED like men. They'd be strong and confident, and they would set an example for their own children that would insure a continuance and, improvement of the art of bodybuilding through future generations.

The fact remains though, that this is an individual project. It's up to every person to take his own life into his hands and to shape it into the form of this personal ideal -- mentally, spiritually and physically. Nobody could or should force a person to take steps toward self-improvement. The drive and determination has got to come form YOU, mister,and it can be pretty tough to put forth a determined effort if you don't believe deep down that you'll make it.

Auto suggestive techniques are one method of aiding you in bodybuilding, but sometimes even this form of "super-concentration" (which is what auto suggestions is) cannot be mustered. This is particularly true when a young man is starting out, and he's got about as much muscle on his frame as an anemic anchovy. Let me give you an example of what I mean. I started systematic weight training when I was 16. I was so underdeveloped (having a naturally small bone structures) that I was the guy that the ninety-seven pound weaklings picked on! I wanted muscles like a cat wants fish, though and when I bought a set of weights I was determined to stick with it and get the kind of build I wanted. My starting poundages were ridiculous. In the squat I used a little over fifty pounds, and I refuse to say what I began curling and pressing.

At any rate, I mention the above to show you that I had (to say the least) plenty of obstacles of a purely physical nature to overcome. I told myself that if I'd only stay with it, work hard, and keep adding weights whenever possible., I'd make progress. But there were other obstacles too, obstacles that I've come to learn many beginners have -- ones that can be much tougher than the physical ones. I'll mention mine and if you identify with them please don't tear up the magazine and leap into the air in a fit of rage. Hold on, and we'll examine them so that you'll be able to deal with them and progress in spite of them. First: I had a family that all but rolled on the floor in sarcastic, hysterical laughter at the mere mention of my wanting bulging biceps, broad shoulders, powerful legs and back and all-around physical fitness. Second: I had "friends" who constantly prodded me about being wrapped up in such nonsense. After all, they assured me, "those guys with the muscles that ya see on the magazines were born that way." It sounds silly to ME now, but it may not sound silly to you if you're a kid who's hoping beyond hope that someday you too (maybe, maybe, maybe!!!) will have a build like those guys on the magazines. If you're in this boat now, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

If you're going to overcome psychological obstacles of this nature you simply must have something stronger than the forces that oppose you - WITHIN YOURSELF. You won't get it from any muscle-building course, but you should know what it is and how to use it. It's simply an UNSHAKABLE CONFIDENCE AND BELIEF IN YOUR OWN CHOICE OF A WORTHWHILE GOAL. To digress momentarily to my own case: I assure you that there were plenty of times when the caustic remarks and pooh-poohing every effort I'd make, presented a far greater difficulty than sticking to my training schedule.

After all, the inevitable ups and downs of barbell training offer more than enough of a challenge to a guy without any additional harassment. To a your person who's just experienced the thrill of added muscle on his arms, or who's just had the satisfaction of increasing the poundage in an exercise that's been giving him problems, a sarcastic, "So what ...big deal ... so what does that nonsense mean anyway?" can be like a slap in the face. AND I KNOW IT CAN. But I've also learned this too, fellows: if you will but shrug these people off, YOU WILL MAKE IT. You will make it, and don't listen twice to any screwball that regards your self-interest and development as a joke to be made, at YOUR expense. Keep everlastingly at the pursuit of your goal (be it bodybuilding for what have you), and keep your eyes clearly fixed upon the goals YOU to achieve. Remember: When a person chides and ridicules your efforts he's doing it out of jealousy, meanness or ignorance, and you've got more important things to concern you than misfits who want to discourage you. People who are satisfied with themselves always stand above any need to belittle and browbeat others. Go for those muscles with everything you've got, and sweat bullets to get 'em if you must!"

Written instruction is in a sense a limited means of communication. The words here must appear less forceful than they would if I were speaking to you personally. Consider then, that if I were personally instructing you, I'd have grabbed you by the shoulders and shaken you out of your slump. I'd have yelled, ranted and raved until I got the point across to you. YES, I sincerely believe that it's just that important.

It's the purpose of this article to guide you and encourage you along the road toward greater physical development, buy you can only be guided as far as YOU YOURSELF are willing to go. And I think that you know it's worth going all the way or you wouldn't have read this far. Please! Don't succumb to outside influences that urge you to give up one of the most rewarding activities you'll ever take part in.

Primarily these remarks have been addressed to the newcomer to the iron game, to the guy who has arms like straws, and who doesn't want to go through life with them. It has been directed at every one of you who has had difficulty working out. Keep at it; it's worth it. Keep at it despite any remarks from others. Keep at it despite those well-meaning know-nothings who pretend to "know what's best for you," but who really couldn't care less. Keep at it because you know within yourself, deep down, that it's a goal worth achieving. Don't let ANYBODY tell you it isn't.

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