Built a Better Body

Almost five months ago, I wrote a post about a new challenge Melissa and I were taking on. You see, we’re getting married in …  holy shit, 24 days!!! … and we wanted to look good for our wedding. But rather than set some vague goal about “getting in shape” (which we had already been trying to do for the past year), we decided we needed a specific endpoint. We needed something that would provide some ass-kicking focus and motivation.

Our solution? Train for a bodybuilding competition.

My original plan was to blog throughout the experience, but … uh, well, you may have noticed a dearth of posts about the contest prep. That’s because the process was exhausting, and at the end of the day, I just couldn’t find the energy to write about it while I was enduring it. All I could muster were random smatterings of snide observations on social media. Most of them had to do with food — or more specifically, hunger.

Ugggh, hunger. Capital-H Hunger. I remember you well, my foul nemesis. And shake my fist at you accordingly.

Anyway, the competition was last Saturday. Neither of us placed, but we both agreed upfront that we weren’t doing it to win. We did it to push ourselves and get as shredded as we possibly could. And we did exactly that. It’s an easy bet that I’ve never been this fit in my life. Not too shabby for a 42-year-old, eh?

On that note … quick shoutout to Jason and Francine of Body University for our nutrition and Melissa’s training, and to Anthony Pizano for my training. If you’re of (hopefully sound) mind to give this a try, drop them a line!

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A couple days ago, Melissa wrote a poignant post about our experience, and given that she doesn’t even consider herself a blogger by any means, it reminded me that I need to step up my blogging game a bit.

First, here’s what Melissa wrote:

the range of emotions that i’ve felt over the last few days was something i wasn’t anticipating. Dennis and i were having drinks at the silver fox back in december when i suggested that we take this journey together as a way to get fit for our wedding. as i look back over the last five months of contest prep, i realize that i’ve gained so much more than some muscles and a spray tan. i have met many amazing and inspiring people who are also so humble and kind. in an industry that i wrongly assumed was only about being the best and beating all of your opponents – the only person you are competing with at the end of the day is yourself. i’m grateful to Francine and Jason for all of their guidance and support throughout this process. Body University is not just another gym. I’ve said this so many times, but it truly feels like a family. These two have worked so hard and poured so much of their energy into BU, and I feel so lucky to get to be a part of it. Betzy, Kelly, Steve,Anthony; thank you for kicking my ass on the regular and being so positive and just all-around great people. I adore you guys.

most importantly, though, going through this with Dennis, while simultaneously planning our wedding could have been a recipe for disaster. not only did we both bust our asses through this process, but we held each other up, we kept each other accountable, picked up each other’s slack when needed – we were truly a team, and i think this experience has only made me love him even more. i couldn’t be more excited to exchange vows next month and continuing to push our boundaries, embark on new journeys, and make new memories together.

I do have to say, it’s kind of a cool feeling — and I’m sure it bodes well for our impending marriage — that we got through five months of competition prep without ever at any point feeling like we wanted to kill each other. Not the regimented dieting … not the intense training … not even the oft-facepalming posing lessons and practice … nothing got us to the point of being angry or frustrated with each other.

And I admit, that shocks me on some level. Through it all, we saw each other as allies, and we supported each other accordingly. Yeah, it was pretty awesome to have someone to prep with, even if we did have completely different diets and training and posing routines, and ended up doing all these things at the same time, yet totally separately.

No, we didn’t place (which, admittedly, was more of a letdown than either of us wants to admit), but we made it all the way to the end. And that’s what counts, right?

Plus, it’s kind of cool to look in the mirror and see this (now minus the fake tan — so happy to wash that off):


6 thoughts on “Built a Better Body

  1. A year ago (give or take) I embarked on a 6 week 20lb challenge. I did this mostly because I was the heaviest I’ve ever been and could feel my health and self esteem declining. I’ve never been a thin person, weight has been a problem for me my whole life but even so it was nothing as bad as it had gotten. I saw a Facebook ad and took a chance, hoping that maybe this challenge would set me in the right direction. While my husband didn’t do it with me he was there every step of the way and eating mostly the same things that I would eat. The amount of support and encouragement that I got from friends, family and coworkers is what kept me going. I successfully completed 1 challenge moved on to a 2nd (missed by 3lbs) and then did 1 more after that. All in all I lost about 50lbs, but what I gained was by far greater than what I lost. More than anything the daily support of my husband and both of us getting through all of these changes together only made us stronger as a couple and closer than ever. Congrats to you and Melissa, I may not have gotten to the point of body building but I certainly can relate to the effort any challenge like that can take. You two are awesome 🙂

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