I woke up this morning at 3:30am after six hours of sleep, dragged myself downstairs for my routine two cups of coffee and then I opened up my Instagram to check out the latest happenings. First thing that popped up on my feed was a post from my good friend and teammate, Alberto Nunez. As I was reading the post my heart was filled with pride and joy because he reposted a video from one of my athletes I personally work with. I know I sound all mushy, but my athlete, who is 19 years old has a physque that is way ahead of the game. His physique looks as though it should belong on someone who could be 10-15 years his senior. Terrific symmetry, an abundance of muscle and conditioning that’s been steadily improving week after week as we are currently prepping in his rookie season. At first glance, some may find it easy to assume this kid (technically an adult, but at my age he’s a kid lol) might be on gear. Keep in mind, I was filled with pride and joy reading Alberto’s post because Alberto was giving props to my athlete, but once I started reading the comments on the post my pride and joy turned to frustration, anger and to be honest pure disappointment. Comment after comment these individuals questioned the natural status of our athlete. “No way he’s natty…” “Don’t understand how you are promoting natural bodybuilding yet coaching someone CLEARLY ON steroids” “If y’all think this 19 yr old is natural you’re fooling yourself.” “There goes your legitimacy @nunez3dmj” “Not natty” I think you get the point and as someone myself who was accused of steroids years ago as a teen it’s truly heartbreaking.
When I was 17, I was accused by a few of my peers in high school. Social media wasn’t around back then (thankfully), so I wasn’t exposed to more widespread accusations. What is really bewildering to me now in hindsight, is how they could be so quick to judge without really knowing too much about me? I wasn’t friends with these cats, but yet they judged me based off of how big my muscles were. They didn’t know my character, my integrity, my work ethic (not to toot my own horn, but I outworked everyone in the weight room back in high school) and they had no clue as to how I trained or how I ate. Maybe they judged me based on how big I was in comparison to them? Possibly judged me based on their own insecurity, lack of knowledge and experiences?
Now I don’t want to sound like I was a perfect person because as the years rolled on I became those cats I just talked about. I recall back in ’99 at the INBF Capital City (now known as the WNBF Muscle Mayhem) there was a guy backstage who was shredded out of his mind. Far more shredded than myself and I’m not too proud to say now, but I instantly drew a conclusion that he was on gear. Of course, I didn’t call him out on it and I really didn’t talk shit to others about my conclusion, but in my head I told myself there was no way he was clean. My quick judgment was solely based on my own insecurity because I looked more like the Pillsbury Doughboy in comparison to him. No way someone at a natural show could be more jacked and shredded than me! I was definitely used to being the big fish in the sea, but it really turned out I was just a big fish in a fish bowl. I laugh at myself now and I’m totally embarrassed to write that, but it’s so true I was that arrogant, insecure, uneducated, unguided and to be frank, so hard headed. The fact is, that competitor was more than likely smarter, working harder, working longer, and may have had far better genetics than myself. But, I didn’t know any of that due to the fact I hadn’t put my own ego and insecurity aside to actually start a cordial conversation with him to learn more about him in order to possibly improve myself. I chose to avoid him and tear him down in my own head in order to protect my own ego.
This mentality was definitely holding my potential back and thankfully as the years progressed my maturity level evolved. In ’09, I met my fellow 3DMJ coaches who further instilled more maturity and humility in me. Instead of solely relying on work ethic and ego, my newfound humility allowed me to effectively gain real knowledge and to have real positive experiences. Slowly but surely my game improved and eventually I won one of the most prestigious natural pro shows on the planet. And again, not to toot my own horn, but my physique was now light years ahead of the gentlemen’s I once accused of being on gear backstage in ’99.
To close this out, I guess what I want skeptics to realize is not everyone who is young and jacked is on the juice. Sure there are those out there who are indeed drinking their juice, I get that as I’m not naïve, but really why should you care? Unless of course they’re not forthright and are a danger to you or others, but often their reasoning for choosing that path may be much deeper than just wanting larger muscles. That’s a topic and conversation for another day, but try and understand there are individuals out there who are indeed natural, even though it seems they’re not. If you happen to be a skeptic, maybe you just need a little more time to mature in order to keep growing physically, mentally and emotionally like I once did. There really is such a thing as great genetics (not that it’s required to get jacked), terrific work ethic, true humility, a willingness to learn, sound structure, and a high level of integrity which opens up the door for some youngsters to get way ahead of the game.
Just like my man Josh.