In the age of social media, the world of bodybuilding has undergone a significant transformation. The once-niche sport has exploded onto our screens, with perfectly sculpted physiques showcased for all to see. However, amidst the allure of attention and online validation, the true essence of bodybuilding is often lost. In this article, James Ayotte, head coach of Team Atlas, sheds light on the importance of competing in bodybuilding for the right reasons—reasons that center on self-improvement, discipline, mental and physical strength, and a sustainable approach to fitness.
Beyond the Likes: Finding Purpose
The journey towards a bodybuilding competition is an arduous one, requiring dedication, determination, and unwavering discipline. Many aspiring bodybuilders are drawn to the allure of social media attention and validation, but James Ayotte emphasizes the significance of seeking a deeper purpose. Competing solely for external validation can lead to a lack of fulfillment. Instead, he encourages athletes to focus on their personal growth and transformation, treating each competition as a unique opportunity to better themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Building Discipline and Mental Fortitude
Bodybuilding is not just about building muscle; it’s about forging a disciplined mindset and cultivating mental fortitude. Competing for personal growth has helped individuals develop a powerful work ethic, teaching them the value of consistency, patience, and perseverance. The process of preparing for a competition demands sacrifices, rigorous training routines, meticulous attention to diet, and strenuous posing practice. This journey, if undertaken for the right reasons, can foster a level of discipline that extends far beyond the stage and into every aspect of life.
The pursuit of a bodybuilding competition is a journey that tests both the body and the mind. It’s not just about lifting weights and following a diet plan; it’s about pushing oneself to the extreme physical and mental limits. Competing with the intention of self-improvement enables individuals to tap into reservoirs of strength they never knew existed. Mental resilience, developed through challenges, becomes an invaluable tool that extends beyond the gym, positively impacting various life situations.
Sustainable Fitness and Health
Crash dieting and extreme contest preparations have become synonymous with bodybuilding. However, James Ayotte advocates for a more balanced and sustainable approach to fitness and competing. Competing for personal growth encourages athletes to embrace a healthy lifestyle that extends beyond the competition phase. Rather than resorting to drastic measures every prep, athletes should focus on adopting sustainable eating habits, maintaining a reasonable body fat percentage even in the offseason, and continuously striving for overall health. Accumulating excessive body fat during the offseason due to a failed reverse diet or an excessively high-calorie approach, and subsequently adhering to an overly restrictive diet to shed the extreme surplus of fat during each preparation phase, is neither physically nor mentally healthy, nor is it sustainable. This method may potentially contribute to the development of an unhealthy relationship with food and poor health. James Ayotte emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy body fat level in the offseason, ensuring that athletes look and feel like athletes year-round. If you accumulate a significant amount of body fat during the offseason and find yourself needing to lose 30-40+ lbs before each competition, it might indicate that competing may not be suitable for you, as this yo-yo approach can be extremely unhealthy physically and mentally.
Final Thoughts from James Ayotte
In conclusion, the world of bodybuilding offers more than just social media validation and fleeting attention. James Ayotte, along with Team Atlas, firmly believes that the true essence of competing lies in the journey of self-improvement, discipline, mental and physical strength, and the pursuit of sustainable health. By shifting the focus away from external validation, athletes can embark on a transformative journey that leaves them not only with an amazing physique but also with a resilient mindset and a commitment to lifelong fitness.
For more insights from James Ayotte check out the Atlas Podcast.