There comes a time in every young man’s life when he wants to be a super hero whether it’s Batman, Superman, Iron Man, and the list goes on. For me, from the earliest time I can remember, it was always Superman.
Yeah, he had x-ray vision, heat ray vision, super hearing, could run fast, and was made of steel, but it was his strength and ability to fly that I liked. Being able to lift a building and fly it into space, now THAT, was cool.
Later, when the teen years hit, I somehow came across a book called, ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Education of a Bodybuilder’. Having never seen anything like that, I became very curios and read the book. That was it. From that point onward for nearly the rest of my time in High School, I made the decision that I was going to begin training to be a bodybuilder.
My mother, who had seen them on television, wasn’t too impressed with my decision because, those guys looked very gross to her. Today, I would probably agree with her, but then, it was my chance to build a ‘Superman’ physique!
Over the first few years when I was 14-15, I saved and purchased the weight set and bench for the home. Of course, I also had to get a subscription to Muscle Magazine which fit well right next to the Skin Diver magazines I also loved to read while dreaming of becoming a scuba diver (I’ll save that story for another day).
Muscle Magazine, in those days, came with the full-page posters. I would only hang the ones of Arnold, as he quickly became my idol. I know my mother wondered about me, but she had nothing to worry about!...
In his book, Arnold talks about how he visualized what he wanted to be and then pursued that vision until he attained it. He worked relentlessly pursuing his dream to win Mr. Universe, move to America, and then become a famous movie actor. All of which, he did attain.
I would love to say that I became a bulked-up bodybuilder after several years of training but, well, no. I followed all the training routines, ate right, worked out six days a week, and looked nothing like those guys.
It wasn’t until my senior year, while working out in the weight room with the football team, that I was able to get a dose of reality. There was a guest trainer visiting that day. We began to talk about the dream I had of becoming another “Arnold” and, without hesitation, he gave me a great dose of reality.
The trainer said, ‘First off, your bone structure is good, but, you don’t have the type of bones it would take to support the muscle mass bodybuilding would add’. Well, that was new, but I didn’t really believe it. It was the next thing he said that turned that light off for me when he said, ‘The truth is, no one gets that big without drugs… NO ONE. Even Arnold took them’.
My dream was crushed that day. I still loved the exercise and being in shape, but wasn’t willing to cheat to get what I wanted. Later in my life, while a youth pastor, I had a chance to meet a former Mr. America who told me the same thing. He quit the business because they wanted to dope him even more to get him even bigger.
The lesson I learned was that, we may have dreams and unwavering faith that we can accomplish them, but reality is often not going to participate. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming and pursuing that dream of course, but we must be willing to accept that it may not be possible.
Sure, I was 6’1”, had some German in my blood, and had a symmetrical structure, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my integrity, and health, to achieve a dream.
You may be thinking about one of those dreams that didn’t happen in your life where the reality didn’t meet the expectation. If you’re like me, looking back, you may be glad it didn’t. Life has moved on, we’ve matured, and what was important to us then may even seem silly today, like bodybuilding has for me (just the thought of wearing those outfits covered in oil in front of a crowd of people… NO THANK YOU!...).
It doesn’t mean that we should give up on our dreams, it just means that we should take an honest look at them, get wise counsel, and ask God for His wisdom along the way. So, hang in there if you are on a path you know you should be on. It still may very well come to pass.
For a brief laugh before the weekend is over, I’ll leave you tonight with a clip of ‘Hans & Franz’ opening up for the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition.
Hope you have a blessed week my friend!
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