Failure is part of success, and bodybuilding has taught me to keep myself more focused on the process than on results. Surely, fitness is something that you build up each time you workout on a regular basis. That means it is supposed to take you time, effort, concentration and fulminating will. Bodybuilding has been my preferred way to work on my fitness level. After almost every working day, I rush to the station so that I can make it on time to catch the right train and the right bus at the right time. If I miss one of them, I miss my chance to train, because my multi-functional fitness machine has been in my grandmother’s attic since I bought it, maybe a decade ago, and she goes to bed super early in the evening.
What is bodybuilding though? Bodybuilding is the art of building your body from the ground up. In other words, it’s about developing and growing your muscle mass through exercise and food. How did I get into it? Well, as usual, there is a backstage story to it. I have always had problems with my body and there was always this odd feeling of being completely detached from it. I never felt home inside my own body. Not when I was morbidly obese at age 15 nor when I lost half of my body weight. I have been very interested in the mind-body connection theme partially because of that. How could I ever feel at home, grounded in my own body? Could science help?
A few months ago I accidently learned from Wendy de Rosa that this odd feeling of feeling alienated from one’s own body is linked to hypersensitivity and to early experiences of abandonment and rejection. When we are tiny babies, our small body can’t take huge amounts of pain and suffering. As a result, our consciousness is somewhat hijacked from our body and the mind-body connection is broken or damaged at the root chakra level. This chakra has been identified as the energetic centre responsible for our sense of security, safety, and grounding. Once we damage this centre, we disconnect from our physicality and we start operating from upper chakras like the solar plexus chakra.
Being the first chakra related to matter, the root chakra corresponds to the deepest part of who we are and it plays a very important role when it comes to balancing all the other chakras above. Without a strong and healthy root chakra, we are prone to have, for instances, problems around boundaries and emotional expression. If you are a highly sensitive person or an empath, it’s very important to start working at the root chakra level. This basically means you need to look after aspects such as food, water, shelter, safety, and most importantly your muscular and skeletal systems. That’s why I picked bodybuilding as my way to reconnect with my body.
There are, of course, many misconceptions and myths around bodybuilding. More often than not, when people think or hear about it, they picture beasty guys and gals lifting and raging in the corner of the gym. Many women also still believe that they shouldn’t practise bodybuilding, because otherwise they will get a manly body. A bodybuilder doesn’t have to necessarily be or become a big guy or gal. It can be me or you. What makes a bodybuilder is his or her commitment to a steady workout routine and lifestyle. You need to be disciplined and know the purpose of what and how you are doing it. You have to be willing to workout even when you just want to go home and sit on the couch watching TV.
Besides helping with grounding and reshaping my body, bodybuilding has also given me many other benefits. These include increased health and energy, better posture, greater self-esteem as well as increased self-confidence and happiness. I honestly bless the day I decided to start and commit myself to a 12-Week bodybuilding training regime. On average, I worked out four days a week for about half an hour. I call it ‘Round 1’ because it’s a basic package of bodybuilding exercises in which my main goals were to 1) build a first foundational layer of muscle and 2) create a consistent routine. In this round, I didn’t worry about changing my nutritional habits or being too strict with what I could or could not eat. I simply conditioned myself to show up as much as I could and I kept increasing the weight I was lifting on a weekly basis. You can find below my workout plan of ‘Round 1’. Please remember: quality and consistency over quantity is the key.
- 5-minute light jog
- 60 shoulder rotations (30 forward, 30 backwards)
- 60 arm rotations (30 forward, 30 backwards)
- 3 sets of each exercise
- 12 repetitions each
- Tricep pushdowns
- Bench press
- Bicep and Lateral pulldowns
- Lateral pull downs
- Inclined bench pull
- Leg extension
- Chest press
- Leg curl
- Chest flys
It’s important to add a final note here. I have matched my bodybuilding training with light yoga exercises or light walks on resting days. Bodybuilding increases blood concentration in our muscles so it’s very important to keep flexibility training and stretching in mind for our own overall wellbeing. Another important note: I avoid doing cardio as much as possible because in this round I was more focused on building muscle rather than losing fat.