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Last year was my last year of competing and as I look into my future all I see is an abyss of nothingness. Why work out? What’s the point if there is no endpoint? Now I go to the gym without purpose and my workout plans sift out of my head. I start doing legs and realize that I have already done them this week. I am definitely suffering from a bad case of Gym Dementia. My mind meanders. Is this the third or the fourth set? Did I do the right arm already? Does it matter?

I look around at the people in the gym and I wonder at their motivation. None of them seem to be getting ready for anything in particular. In the past 6 months, they don’t seem to have gotten stronger or more defined. They are not sporting a shirt from their latest Spartan race. Not even a sweatshirt from a Polar Bear Plunge. So why are they here? And why do they keep coming? What’s the point?

At this time of year - barring an unexpected surgery or a worldwide pandemic - I am usually getting ready to start my prep. The first weekend of each New Year, I sat in my kitchen counter with my laptop, looking at dates and locations and counting back the weeks when I will need to start my diet. I called friends for one last night of dinner, drinks and desert before I “go under”.  By the time tax season is over, I have already started. I have always competed in the Summer, so that the more intense parts of the diet and exercise regimen coincided with the kids being off from school. I tried for at least two to 3 competitions (though the last one is always dropped) and I planned the family vacation right after the last competition. Perfect timing. I always looked great in my vacation pictures - as if I looked like that all year round. But not this year. This year, tax season is just tax season. (Sigh.)

I thought it was just me until I met another bodybuilder who felt the same. We bemoaned the lack of direction in our lives. He was subsisting on the thought of maybe entering a show in the next few years. Maybe. When life wasn’t so hectic and his knee injury improved and his job wasn’t so demanding and his kids were’t so young. He had managed to enter quite a few competitions in the past despite these obstacles but this year they seemed to overwhelm him. So we sat there and complained about not competing and all the reasons that this was not the year. He, too, was feeling bored in the gym. He too was aimless.

What do you do if you are goal-oriented and have no goal? What do you do for the rest of your life without a date to look forward to? No T-shirt. No trophy. Nothing?



(I think I’m gonna look at the competition calendar again. Maybe I can squeeze in one more show? Hmm.)

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