The dream is there: chiseled calves, ripped abs that look like you can grind cheese on them, arms that resemble a Greek statue and a chest that would make Hercules and Zeus question if they can "even lift, bro."
It is a dream, a marvelous dream. Closing your eyes, it is easily visible. Both men and women will be in awe of you, the confidence to take your shirt off anywhere you please gives you butterflies and posting a "before and after" pic and finally being able to say, "I made it" is all that matters.
This is a great dream to have. Being new to the gym and adopting a healthy lifestyle is great, but the motivation — or, "fitspiration" — that goes along with all that can drain you dry after a while.
The constant shirtless selfies, the quotes that have noting to do with the pictures and the Photoshop craze that is going on in the fitness community opened my eyes, but made me hate working out. I began to think I would never be good enough, that I could never reach my goal and that my best would always be someone else's "before" picture.
Throughout my fitness journey, I've learned you have to want to be better for yourself, not because of what's being posted on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. The desire to lose weight and to keep it off needs to stem from deep inside yourself, not from momentary congratulations and a few pictures on the beach.
This is what will make you feel good about yourself and give you the confidence to achieve anything and everything you have ever wanted.
I could not find this motivation through fitspo. It drained me and left me feeling hollow. Instead of chasing my own view of my perfect body, I caught myself chasing theirs. Closing my eyes, I would envision being "like" Steve Cook or Arash Rahbar, not the best version of myself that I can be.
Fitspiration corrupted my mind and left me in a funk. It kept me down and made me think there would never be a way to get to where those people are.
For the past three years, I have resented the gym, working out and fitspo because I felt like I wasn't getting better. The pictures did more harm than good for me, and the quotes made me want to throw my phone across the room. It was a tough time. It was only then that I decided to take action.
I started by deleting Instagram. Then, I asked myself if I was ready to devote my time to the betterment of my body and my health. It took me until February of this year to finally say yes.
For the first time in a long time, since I last competed in a bodybuilding show, I began to love training again. I began want to be better for myself.
I wanted to be the best I could be, and I wanted to feel the way I felt when I was on stage: invincible, impenetrable and happy. Slowly but surely, my motivation is staring to come back, all because I deleted "fitspirtation" from my life.
Instead of relying fitspiration, I challenge you to be your own inspiration. It is only then that you can — and will — become the version of yourself that you wish to be. Fitspiration is not the way.
I challenge you to unfollow all things fitspo and let go of silly goals like losing 50 pounds in two months. Instead, take your time and lose weight or whatever your goal is for yourself. Do not do it for anybody else.
Since I have adopted this new philosophy, I have lost 40 pounds in my new lifestyle, and I have another 40 to lose for myself, nobody else.
Delete all the fitspiration accounts, dig deep, challenge yourself and return as the version of yourself that you wish to be. You got this.