Welcome to the first installment of Diane's Diary. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to write this column to be able to share my thoughts and insights into the world of fitness and bodybuilding. During the past five years as a competitive bodybuilder, I have learned a great deal about the intricacies of the sport, as well as myself. Throughout time, I would love to share some of these lessons I have learned with you.
I am a lifetime "natural" athlete, meaning I have never taken any substances listed on the natural athletics list of banned substances. My opinion is very firm with regards to this. Any athlete who enhances their strength and muscle gained by any unnatural source is cheating the system, and that is something I cannot support. In my opinion, the sport of bodybuilding is the most beautiful sport in the world. It deeply disappoints me that the wonderful gifts bodybuilding has to offer, has been sullied by a bad reputation for steroid, testosterone, HGH and any other substance abuse you can imagine. The positives of the sport far outweigh the negatives, but unfortunately it is impossible to study one portion of the sport without studying ALL portions of the sport.
This is the point where I digress on my discussion about the negative aspects of bodybuilding: as you have probably noticed by now, I love the sport, flaws and all. What is it, you may be thinking, that makes this woman think that bodybuilding is so beautiful? To me, bodybuilding is like an unopened gift, the anticipation can be intense. For the better part of a year you lift the heaviest weights possible, trying desperately to add more muscle mass and to bring up any lagging body parts. While you're doing this, you're eating a wide gamut of healthful, nutritious foods to fuel those strong workouts and to accelerate the muscle repair and growth process. Finally contest prep season comes along and the diet gets streamlined allowing those full, thick muscles to begin to show through, after having been covered up by an unsightly layer of body fat for the past few months. Even though body fat is unsightly, now that it's time to get shredded and lean, it is important to remember that it served you so well as a fuel source in the off season. Week by week, the excess body fat slowly begins to melt away, allowing your beautifully developed muscle mass to become more visible. Finally the day of your competition arrives and it's time for you to grace the stage, showing off a years worth of hard work, and hoping your effort is rewarded with a high placing by the judges. The irony is every athlete up on that stage has been through the same process that you have and is hoping for the same result. Many factors determine how well you present your overall package on the day of the show. The week of the show you must follow a precise, strict diet to ensure your peak properly on the day of your show. Peak week includes carb manipulation, water intake and depletion, in addition to perfecting your overall conditioning. If any of these factors are skipped or miscalculated, you run the risk of coming into your show either flat or bloated, missing your peak. Your overall presentation is also affected by how much time you've spent perfecting your posing and working on your routine. on the day of your show, you should have practiced for this day so many times that is is almost second nature to you. You want to feel so confident and comfortable on stage, as if you've gone through the motions a million times already, and this is just one more day. Make sure you leave nothing up to chance when it comes to the day of your competition. If there is a close decision between you and another competitor, you want to make sure that the final nod goes in your direction.
Living the life of a bodybuilder is a full-time commitment and not for he meek of heart. The training and preparations can be grueling and knock you to your knees, but the athletes who have stayed the course and made it through the process will have learned a valuable lesson bout inner strength, and will become a stronger, more confident person for the effort. For that person knows, no matter how many times a self destructive inner voice tells them to cheat, to take a day off, or that it's too hard and they may as well quit; that person knows they have the determination to rise above any craving or challenge that comes their way, and to persevere. The ability to persist when everyone else would give in and quit is the mark of a true champion.
Until next month, train heave and hard!! Train NATURAL!!