Are you a Competitor or Poser?



1: One who attempts to appear to be something they’re not: wannabe

2: A person who is not what he or she pretends to be: impostor

Unfortunately, it’s now in vogue to call yourself a competitor, whether it be in bodybuilding, physique, bikini, or whatever other “physique” class the sanctioning bodies currently have or decide to add. It’s not uncommon to see a national qualifying show with 200 to 400 competitors as opposed to 70 to 100 up to 10 years ago. Some may argue these watered down shows with only a few competitors worth watching is a good thing, but they are obviously a part of the participation trophy generation.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not think you have to look like a national champion in order to compete. On the contrary, as a coach, it’s great to see somebody you’ve helped who doesn’t crack the top ten, but has a great attitude, a good work ethic, doesn’t act like a moron on social media sites, but continues to bust their ass to improve. Much to my dismay, this is not the norm.

What you’re getting on stage in large part now as opposed to the 1980's and 90’s is people who by and large not only lack genetics, but more importantly the discipline, and inner drive that only a true competitor has. We have arrived at a point at which people who would usually be an audience member are now competing; the only people going to see these shows are the competitor's close friends and family members.

As sub-average as many competitors are in self-esteem and mental toughness today, one only has to observe the way they act in the gym, or peruse their social media sites to be made aware of just how dysfunctional many of them are. I’ve never seen so many inflated egos trying to be something they’re not, which is the most negative aspect of competition today. They want so much to be a part of the hardcore subculture of bodybuilding, and go overboard to build that facade. They want the accolades of being a competitor on the same stage as a die-hard bodybuilder, but could never be a bodybuilder if they got on all the drugs they could afford. Not just because of a lack of genetics, but mainly because of a lack of work ethic and passion. We are talking about the participation medal generation here.

You’re a poser not a competitor if…

…you don’t have legs. Sorry men’s physique.

…you use the catch phrase, beast mode. If the athletes who actually train like beasts don’t use it, e.g., powerlifters and strongmen, then why would a bikini competitor use it. Honestly, if you use this phrase, you’re a douche bag.

…you compete out of shape. This pertains to most of today’s competitors. It’s one thing to be a little off, but another to be fat.

…you cheat on your diet then lie to your coach. It’s offensive after >30 years of coaching, competing, and training that a client thinks you won’t know when they’re not following your diet.

…you change trainers over and over and still don’t get it right.

…you continually post on social media sites how difficult your diet and training is, yet how determined you are to make sacrifices and move forward. What you’re really saying is, “I’m a pussy, because I have to publicly complain about a self-imposed diet that’s necessary for something I’m supposed to be passionate about.” By the way, the definition of sacrifice is; the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don’t. Dieting for a show is not a sacrifice.

…you are awarded a IFBB pro card by default. How pathetic for an organization when somebody who places 2nd or 3rd in a national, or worse, junior national show can become pro. Even more pathetic is the poser who placed 2nd or 3rd to accept the pro card, even though they can’t win their class against meager competition.

…you place 5th out of 5, and on your facebook you post that you got top 5.

…you use the term macros. So now that you’re a competitor or a coach, the terms protein, carbs, and

fats just don’t cut it anymore.

…Putting others who beat you down, when you clearly lost.

…Use catch phrases like beast mode, killin it, etc. for weeks up to the show, but when you end up getting your ass beat you claim you were sick, or any other lame excuse you can think of.

…continuously post pictures of yourself under specific lights in peculiar poses. My favorite is holding the phone at chest level with both hands with the lats flexed. These idiots are always looking down at the camera, because they don’t have the coordination to take the picture while looking in the mirror.

…you get fat in the off season. This seems to be an epidemic today. Many competitors aren’t just getting a little smooth as one would in an off season, they’re getting fat. Can you honestly say you’re a competitor, an athlete, when you’re literally classified as fat?

Having said all of the above, I have met and trained some good competitors in recent years. They are disciplined, hardworking, and have been a pleasure to work with. Unfortunately, most of the individuals they’re competing against, are posers.

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