It’s almost Fitness America Weekend. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing if you are a normal, sane person. But if you are a ridiculously vain bodybuilding or fitness person thinking to yourself what Ron Burgundy once graciously said aloud, “I look good. I mean really good. Hey everyone, come and see how good I look”, then it is a chance to put yourself out there in front of industry professionals.
Some of the best natural bodybuilders and fitness models compete in different events over the course of a weekend in Vegas. And I use the word “compete” loosely, because it obviously is a subjective sport with judging based on how you look. Its more about exposing yourself, if you get what I’m saying?
With all of these hyper-fit people gathered in one place, magazine editors, photographers, supplement, and fitness clothing manufacturers come through the Golden Nugget Casino to scout new talent. For the fitness-type, it means potential sponsorships, business opportunities, and partnerships.
With the pressure on, a lot of athletes will follow crazy, extreme, crash-diet and (over)training protocols to get in shape for this one weekend, unknowingly (or knowingly) compromising long-term metabolic, hormonal, and overall health. I guess if you are trying to make a living as a fitness model or athlete, you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do. But that’s NOT the route Kalai and I wanted to take.
Here’s the deal. We don’t make our living from being fitness athletes or models. I make my living writing about nutrition, consulting with companies, and training/advising private clients. Kalai has a career completely outside of the fitness industry (thank Bruce Lee Philosophy or whatever higher power you believe in) as a manager at one of the top medical schools in the country. But we get involved with the madness for a few reasons:
1. It gives us something to train for. Both of us are ex-competitive performance athletes. Training just to “be in shape” is not motivating enough for us. “Competing” and doing photo shoots makes us feel like we are still involved in some sort of athletic endeavor. Its the in the trenches training to accomplish a goal that we love the most. The showcase part is just extra. What I’m trying to say is that if YOU are going to get results, you need a short-term goal that is going to motivate you. A vague “to lose some weight” is rarely enough.
2. It shows we have practical experience, which I think is key to being a good, effective writer/coach. Too many people writing diet articles/books can quote a bunch of science and sound smart in front of the water cooler, but they’ve never actually been in shape themselves (and really can’t get anyone else into shape). There is some “wellness coach” running around our training studio talking about how refined, white sugar (yes you heard that right) can be good for health and digestion? Sure thing buddy. He is also about 40lbs overweight and sweats walking up a flight of stairs. If YOU want to take advice from a dude like that just because he has some credential, go for it, but don’t complain about your lack of results…
3. We wanted to show you that YOU don’t have to be a professional fitness athlete or model, turn your life upside down to live like one, sacrifice your career goals, etc. to get in shape and attain a “fitness look”.
4. Kalai wanted to show that age (she is nearing 40 — sorry for sharing too much information babe) and genetics (her dad spent most of his life over 350lbs) are not legitimate excuses. We understand that not everyone can be an elite athlete. We are not elite athletes — you should see some of the athletes and models that hit the stage, it’s the best of the best from around the world. But call us optimists, we believe with the right knowledge and some discipline/dedication, anyone can improve from where they are at and get into decent shape. It’s about making it a priority, not an afterthought that you pay attention to once in awhile.
5. I wanted an excuse to trim the ol’ “manbush” and slap on a fake tan (there are no legitimate excuses for that nonsense, but I’m trying to rationalize).
6. It’s a great opportunity to promote my Samurai Diet book, and promote the benefits of the approach. The reason is it goes against a lot of the established “fitness industry truths”: you must live in the gym, do 3 hours of cardio a day, eat 6 small meals a day, drastically restrict calories/carbs at night, go to bed starving and dreaming about junk food, use physique enhancing drugs, pop fat burning pills like they were candy, must be miserable and grumpy with the personality of a snail etc. just to get into shape; and then binge and go through a huge weight rebound after the show because the plan was too extreme and unsustainable. Wow, I digress…
The Samurai Diet is the way we eat year-round because the plan is functional in the real world of a working professional and sustainable for the long-term because of its meal frequency and food distribution design. It goes with our natural biological and social tendencies, not against them. I’ll post more about the Sustainability of the Samurai plan in future articles.
But for now, if we can go out there and not embarrass ourselves this weekend being amongst the best natural athletes in the world, then we can show that there ARE alternative approaches to extreme bodybuilding/fitness methods to get into great shape.
Actually we’ve already proven that to ourselves this year. We were able to stay in shape year-round, and were always within striking distance of our peak condition. As a result, we were hired to do three separate fitness photo shoots throughout the year. Not bad for non-professionals hey? We might have to change that non-professional tag.
7. If we can meet some new people and/or a few industry folks like “our look”, maybe we can secure a few side jobs to make some extra cash. Someone has to pay for all of these UFC pay-per-views we keep buying. We’re hooked.