The Day that Inspired Change
The Day that Inspired Change - By Natalie
Reflecting back on a day that called for me to change and chase down a dream.
A long line snakes down the hallway of the auditorium. People are excitedly chattering to one another, borrowing portable chargers and lassoed in wires attached to the nearest outlet to make sure they have enough battery life to capture (for some) a once in a lifetime moment. They are all anxiously waiting to watch a loved one, friend, spouse, coach, or client walk the stage for a 15 second moment of glory. A moment to show the result of their year in training, weeks of meal planning, and days of preparation to reveal their greatest transformations.
I am a bystander at best, new to the Beachbody community as well as physique competitions. I traveled across the country to watch my boyfriend, Steve, compete and attend an event I didn’t quite understand – The Beachbody Classic.
I cling to the side of a few new friends I had made days prior and, like many others, I am silently observing and starring. I see shirtless men in bright neon trunks and women in colorful glittering bikinis with numbers pinned to the side of their waistline. The competitors were colored like oompah loompahs with spray tans 5 shades darker than their natural skin tone. Like fish to a scuba diver, I’m looking at my surroundings like I’ve just arrived to a whole new world; admiring the oddities as well as the beauty. There are people of all different sizes, ages, and dimensions. Each telling a story without words from the smiles on their faces to the stature of their bodies.
If there is one thing I remember most, it was the energy I felt in the room. The finalists were warming up with nervous excitement as they stretched and tightened each muscle fiber like gladiators preparing to enter the ring. And then, there was the crowd. Not 100, but thousands that filled the seats as soon as the doors opened for the show. I followed the dimly lighted path that one would see in a movie theater and made my way near the front. Music was playing overhead. A mix that you might find on your playlist at the gym with a heavy base and solid beat. I patiently wait for the show to start.
The lights go out and it begins, top executives of the company find their way to the stage to make their announcements and address what Classic is all about. I learn that I have arrived to a physique competition hosted by Beachbody designed to show what you can achieve with the right mindset, programs, and products. After a brief introduction, participants enter like runway models, but shaped in all forms that celebrate the labor of their hard work. Some bare all and strut because they have lost over 100 pounds, some have battled with eating disorders and are finally happy in their own skin, some are 65+ years old who are feeling incredibly youthful, and then there are some people like Steve... Who compete to place as you would in a traditional physique competition and show up looking like an elite athlete.
As their reasons and appearances were different, there is one thing each competitor shared in common.. The road to the stage was not an easy one and Steve was no exception. When he started his journey to better his health he was a pre-diabetic and 20 pounds overweight. At 38 years old, he decided to turn it all around. Day after day, month after month over the course of a year he improved his physical condition and on a whim decided to sign-up for Classic.
Waitlisted for what seemed like an eternity, he was finally granted his shining moment which brought us both to the heart of Nashville for a thrilling night we will never forget. When the time came, he assumed his position the stage proudly, with shoulders back, chin up and a grin so large and infectious you couldn't help but smile back and feel the same level of personal pride. He had made it through pre-judging the day before and knew he had been selected for the top 20. Then, unexpectedly, it was announced that he had made the top 10 against some impressive contenders. With my fingers crossed, stomach in knots, heart pumping vigorously and a phone in both hands trying to capture it all on film - the show proceeded with 15-second posing routines and ultimately ended with Steve winning a 2nd place trophy!
To this day, I am still amazed by what he was able to accomplish, but what really impressed me was how he did it. He did it by giving 100% effort while battling critics, he ate clean in front of temptation, he hit the gym at 5 am, 11 pm and on the road when traveling for work all the while making time for me, his kids, work, his new job, move and some fun time permitting. He did it with little complaint, some minor obsession, and a positive attitude. His motivation surprisingly wasn't driven by his ego, but by his focus on long-term health and being an example to his kids.
After witnessing the struggle as well as the feat, I was inspired to follow in his footsteps to tackle my own challenges and work toward being my best self. If you are interested in improving your health and physical condition, please reach out! Steve and I are looking for individuals to join our team including those who are trying to get healthy or take their fitness to an advanced level. All you need is little grit, positive attitude and being open to enduring a little hard labor consistently each and every day for the long term results you have always dreamed of!