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Since 1989, Tom Venuto has been involved in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, success coach, nutrition consultant, health club manager, publisher and freelance writer.
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The Joy of Natural Bodybuilding
By Tom Venuto
Many people choose not to take drugs for fear of
health consequences. Although this may be a legitimate concern depending on the
degree and duration of drug use, this is not the reason I chose to stay
natural. In fact, I believe that the dangers of steroids and other performance
enhancing drugs are probably exaggerated greatly and sensationalized by the
media. In my opinion, scare tactics like, "You're going to get a brain tumour
and liver cancer" aren't really accurate or effective. If this were an
effective approach, then drug use wouldn't be so widespread today.
It's not a matter of morals, ethics or cheating
either. How does one define "moral behaviour?" I believe the only
definition of moral behaviour that most people will agree on is that
"moral" means you never do anything to hurt another human being or
infringe on their right to do what they want with their lives. As long as
you're not hurting or infringing on others, then who's to judge what's right or
wrong? Few people would disagree that it shows questionable morals and a lack
of character to take drugs, lie about it and compete in a drug tested
competition, but as long as everyone is on a level playing field, then morality
is probably not a valid argument.
My prime motivation for staying natural is not a
matter of right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy. My motivation is different:
What I want is the joy and fulfillment that only comes from becoming the best I
can be without using any artificial assistance. I want to fully express the
possibilities of the human body, mind and spirit. I want to actualize my full
potential. If I take drugs, then I won't really know what my true
potential is; I'll never know whether it's the drugs or me.
The real joy in athletics or bodybuilding is not
in having a beautiful body or a 1st place award; the joy is in earning
it. The joy is in working hard and seeing the type of person you become in
pursuit of your goals. The joy is in watching yourself become a real winner and
a true champion - on the inside. Earning it makes you into a better
human being. You develop character, integrity, persistence, determination and a
strong work ethic - all positive qualities that transfer to other areas of your
life. There's no true and lasting joy or fulfillment in results that are
artificially produced. Using drugs is like going to the store and buying the
trophy. There's no joy in that - you didn't earn that!
Suppose you took a "magic pill" and
developed an incredible body in a very short period of time. Do you really
think you're going to feel happy, proud and fulfilled? Do you think your
self-esteem is going to increase? I don't think so. I think that despite the
way you'd look on the outside, and despite some fleeting and superficial
satisfaction, deep on the inside you'd feel that your "victory" was
hollow. In the long run, I think your self-esteem would go down!
Especially when your illusory gains quickly vanish as soon as your crutch is
If you're using drugs and winning competitions, no
matter how good you think it feels, I guarantee you're not feeling the
same thing I'm feeling. I cannot even put into words the feelings of
exhilaration and pride and joy that come from achieving a goal on the merits of
your own hard work and belief in yourself. And this feeling is going to last me
a lifetime. I did it. I created it. I earned it. On my own.
I don't believe in drugs. I believe in myself.
I also believe in a power greater than myself. And
the reason I believe in myself is because I believe that this great power is
not separate from me but is inside of me. Although most people are asleep to
their potential and don't realize it, everyone has inner power that is
spiritual in nature. By looking inside and tapping into it, every one of us can
achieve more than we ever dreamed possible. Discovering and using your inner
power is more important than any diet, training routine, supplement or steroid
drug ever conceived by man. I believe that looking for anything outside
of yourself does not make you stronger - it only makes you weaker. Real strength
does not come out of a bottle or a needle. Real strength comes from within.
The mind is powerful. I believe that too many
people set mental limits on what's possible naturally and that's the very
reason they fail to get very far without some kind of enhancement. If you look
at a drug free bodybuilder with a great physique and you say, "There's no
way that guy is natural," you're setting limitations on your own growth.
Your subconscious mind will take that accusation literally and prevent you from
ever reaching that level of development naturally.
I am not anti-steroid. I would prefer to call
myself pro-natural. I don't think being anti-anything is a good position to
take. There's a big difference between being pro-natural and being
anti-steroid. Motivational author Dr. Wayne Dyer once wrote, "Everything
you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you." During
the Vietnam war, a group of protesters asked mother Teresa if she would join
them in their march against the war and she replied "No, I won't march
against the war with you, but if you have a march for peace, I'll be
there." Natural athletes and bodybuilders need a change of attitude.
Trying to fight a war against drugs is a losing battle and a waste of valuable
time and energy. Instead we must focus on promoting the positive aspects of
staying natural, as they far outweigh anything positive that might come from
I'm not trying to wage a war on drugs or push anyone into doing anything or
not doing anything. There are certain things in life that people must discover
for themselves. Unfortunately many people discover life's lessons the hard way.
One of my mentors taught me that a person's life can serve as either a warning
or an example. My hope is to serve as a positive example. I would like to help
people open their minds, raise their standards and expand their beliefs of
what's possible. I'd like to help others realize that there are more rewards in
being natural than in being artificial.
If you enjoyed this article please be sure to check out my 340 page ebook Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle!
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer,
gym owner, freelance writer, and author of “Burn The Fat, Feed
The Muscle”: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders
and Fitness Models. Click here to visit Tom's Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle website.