Today is August 27, 2011 and if he was still alive would have been my Fathers 62 birthday. Being that today is both my Dad’s birthday as well as the day that puts me 12 weeks out from the finals of the 2011 NPC Nationals I found myself thinking about life and of course bodybuilding and how I got to where I am today in the sport. Sure their was hard work, determination, some luck, and patience, but the biggest key that essentially got the ball rolling was my Mother.
My Mother had me at a relatively young age and since the minute I was born proved to me and all the world that she wanted nothing more than to be a Mom. Due to circumstances within her marriage she only had one child and that good fortune fell on me. Without outlining every situation that ever happened in my life I will tell you that she made countless sacrifices for me and stopped at NOTHING to make sure that I had every opportunity to chase my dreams. Between the sacrifices that she made and the support she gave I knew and know without a shadow of a doubt that nobody ever believed in me like she does. From the moment that I would decide that I wanted to chase a dream she would get behind me and do whatever it took to see those dreams become reality. She literally did EVERYTHING she could possibly think of to propel me to success and with bodybuilding it was no different.
I remember the turning point in my bodybuilding career as if it was yesterday. I met my Mother at a Chili’s restaurant for lunch and we were chatting about me (like always) when I told her that I had found my passion. At the time I had been tinkering with working out and had done a couple of shows locally with a very small amount of success but I had finally decided that I wanted to chase this goal for real. I explained to my that thus far I was just tinkering and was not putting nearly enough effort into this if I wanted to be a success. I explained that the top guys eat the best foods, have the best trainers, get bodywork like massage and ART, and they utilize these tools day in and out year round to become the best they can on stage and win titles. After chatting for a bit my Mom asked if I knew how to get in touch with these trainers, massage people, and what foods to get. I explained that with the Internet I could find out about any of these things but that I was going to need to find a sponsor because there was no way I could ever afford all of these things working in retail sales at House of Fitness (the sports nutrition chain that I now own) but for now I planned on getting a second job so I could afford to get the ball rolling and in due time a company would notice me and give me the financial support I would need to take it all of the way.
About a week after our lunch discussion I get a call from my Mom and she tells me she wants to meet again to further discuss how I am going to start down the path of becoming a professional bodybuilder. I remember driving to meet her and loving the idea that not only had she once again shown interest in my latest crazy plan but she spoke to me as if my success was eminent. When I arrived I quickly learned that it was Mom’s turn to talk and my turn to listen. She explained that she believed in me 100% but after thinking about it she did not like the idea of me taking on another job to chase my goals. She wanted me to both focus on my goals and also have time to spend time with my friends and of course come visit her (my Dad and her had recently divorced). At this point I started to explain that their was no other way for me to afford this when she cut me off and said “Your first sponsor is going to be me.” Puzzled and knowing that my Mother was doing good financially but like everyone in the middle class did not have a ton of money just laying around, I asked what she meant. She explained that she had spent the last few days looking over her lifestyle and eliminated enough “unnecessary” spending so she had decided that she wanted to give me $1000.00 a month to help me chase my dream. I was completely shocked!!! I was not some 15 year old kid but rather a 24 year old man and here I was once again sitting with the one person who never once doubted me and who once again was ready to do whatever it took for me to have the opportunities that many never have.
I’m sure it was a struggle but every single month for an entire year without fail on the first of every month my Mom would hand me ten one hundred dollar bills as if it was nothing. She would ask about my training, diet, etc…almost daily and constantly offer to help in any way needed. During that year I went from a kid with a pipe dream to someone with enough potential to be noticed…about 14 months after my Mom started supporting my bodybulding I found myself wearing IForce Nutrition clothing and signing my first sponsorship deal with the company who still supports me to this day. Sure, I put in the work but as you can now see I would have never had the opportunity if not for my Mother.
The title of this blog is “How did I get here?” and although their are countless side stories of discipline, hard work, hardship, etc…the real heading should read “Thanks Mom!” Without her support I would not be living my dreams and writing to a group of people who are now offering support and encouragement like she did from the very start.
Hopefully after reading this blog you can better understand why I say that a support team is one of the biggest keys to success in the sport of bodybuilding. Since starting on this journey my support team has grown to include my amazing wife, IForce Nutrition, Failure’s No Option Apparel, my closest friends, my mentor and trainer Dante Trudel, and many people I have never had the opportunity to meet but in the beginning it was just me with a dream and Mom with belief.
The time is now…