super hero

Today is day twelve of the Oxygen Magazine Fitness Challenge. If you are not familiar with the contest I will tell you that it is a ninety day body transformation fitness challenge hosted by Oxygen Magazine. The grand prize winner will be chosen based on results, as in, who has the most show stopping body transformation. That person, the winning person, will fly for a cover model photo shoot.

When I read the rules of the challenge I decided that the odds are not in my favor to win. Accepting my inevitable failure, I entered anyway, and as I registered I told myself, “You will win if you choose to win.” Then I got in line with at least 5,000 more contestants between the two teams. There are two pro-athlete fitness trainers and two teams of participants. #TeamErin #TeamAmanda

The best thing about this contest is that the winner does not necessarily need to represent the fitness brand. If you are not sure what I mean by that I will explain that fitness is a culture that includes a set of rules called LIFESTYLE. The rules are extremely simple and this is amazing news for anyone who is longing to change their body through fitness. Fitness is really easy and so much fun until you start reading the rules of LIFESTYLE.

I don’t think people realize what they are looking at when they read these fitness magazines. I don’t think they realize that many fitness models prepare for photo shoots the way a bodybuilder prepares for a fitness competition. Before I continue I need it to be known that I am about to write a generalized statement, meaning that I realize there are exceptions just as I know that there is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. I am writing with that in mind. I wish to illustrate the wrong way and it’s easy to chose that path and call it “sacrifice” when your ultimate goal is to win.

We hear rumors that bodybuilding is not healthy, or at least I know I have. I had assumed that the health concern was steroid use, but then there came a time that I did some first hand research. I decided I wanted to compete in fitness and I decided that when I do I will win. Yes, that is the way I do things. First I decide, then I decide the results, then I do. I am constantly reading people who say that talk is cheap and action is the only value. I imagine those same people moving on a fast track to nowhere because we are not mindless doing. People are a planned construct. Buildings are not built by hammer and nails. They are made by pencil to paper first. They are written as plans and then more action.

First I decided I would compete in fitness, then I announced that would earn my pro card as a figure competitor (I did so publicly to ensure I stayed the course), then I started researching what I would need to do to win. The knowledge I gained is the reason I no longer care to compete in fitness. The knowledge I gained is the same reason I am not wrapped around a fitness lifestyle as my holy grail of health and success. The knowledge I gained made me realize that fitness is not the lifestyle for me. I want a life that focuses on WELLNESS.

When a bodybuilder steps on stage to show the judges his muscles he is depleted to such a state that organ failure is a threat. This is not something I read about somewhere. This is something I know as FACT. I followed a bodybuilder through the stages of competition as I researched my own path. I was so close to this athlete that I spread his cheeks to shave the inside of his butt crack with a razor because body hair needs to be completely gone by show time. I sat by my phone to make sure I could text him, “Are you OK?” It was the night before his big show in Venice Beach, California. We were at Muscle Beach, the same beach where Arnold Schwarzenegger made his name in bodybuilding.

I was worried because my friend spent most of the night before his competition in a hot sauna. He was trying to sweat out the remaining bit of water left in his body and he hadn’t had a drop of water to drink in 48 hours. “Me vs. Me,” he told himself as he flexed and posed against his competition. He looked amazing on stage, but he was a clear second to the man from Africa. He was out muscled by genetics alone, coming in second after all his near death efforts, and what about what is happening to the inside of his body while the outside looks so great?

The last I spoke to him he was considering adding steroid to his regimen. By now he’s earned so many first places, and a collection of seconds, and then there are a few third and fourth, but what next? How are all his gains and wins benefiting him when the cycle is bulking, cutting, and depletion to look the part and not live the part?

I am thinking about that this morning. I am thinking about the price of success and what can be lost when we think we are gaining. Yesterday was a good day for me thanks to Facebook stalkers, accident gawkers, and pizza. I have a Facebook stalker and she won yesterday. She’s been following my blogs for two years now and every time she reads that there is bump in my relationship she pounces to message my guy, “Hi… I hope you don’t think it’s weird that I am messaging you on Facebook. I just want you to know that you are soooooooooooo sexy. You remind me of David Beckham.”

He is such an idiot. He falls for it every time. “Who me??? Do you really think I am sexy!? Tell me more and what are you wearing? You should take it off….”

She’s like a cat with a mouse in her mouth because she’s so happy to have him back in her life. “I just want to be friends. There, there, I know you must be suffering, please let me comfort you. I am here for you. I have always been there for you.I will always be there for you…”

Whatever. #stalker

He was my boyfriend of two years until I broke up with him because of her and other people he needed to have affairs with. He says he was not cheating, but he was. He cheated on me our entire relationship and I forgive him because now I know that he really can’t help himself. He needs that sort of thing to make himself happy and he let me go because it was the kindest thing to do. Who can fault a man for being true to himself. He promised me he was doing me a favor, by not letting us get back together and he was. He can not commit himself. Yes, I know. I learned, just as I learned the truth about fitness. The issue was not infidelity, the issue was commitment. Cheating is something you do to yourself. Not to other people.

I had a slice of pizza last night as I sat with him to call a truce. I told him I hated him after I learned he had messaged her back and that the two of them are reconnecting like long lost loves and soulmates. He even gave her a secret email to message him at. I don’t think she stopped to ask herself why he already had a secret email address handy when him and I have only been split for weeks and why would he need to hide if….

Here’s the thing about stopping to gawk at accidents. Wrecks are rarely free of casualties. There is usually some damage done when two things collide and then break apart. After that the finger pointing begins as there are two sides of opposing force and which one had the right away? If you were involved in the accident and gravely injured by it, the event could last as long as a lifetime, as the pain is relived both by body and memory. The accident, the catastrophe, can become an identity.

“I’m sorry I told you I hate you,” I said from my couch as I decided to splurge on a slice of pizza.

He looked hurt and not quite sure that I meant it. I wanted him to feel it, so I got up and came back around to him. I threw my body on top of him to hug him. I felt his bones tense and is body grow hard as he did not warm up to be being close. “I shouldn’t have said those things to you. Of course I love you. I was just hurt because you could not be honest with me as I have always been honest with you.”

He grimaced, “You shouldn’t be snooping in my messages Amber. It’s not what you think.”

I believed him and I agreed. “I know it isn’t. I get that. I trust you. I just wish you could have trusted me with the same truth. I hate that you let me crash into it instead of loving me enough to let me see it easily.”

“You don’t see it though,” he said. “You only see what you want to see.”

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