Every so often I reminisce about my bodybuilding days. I used to train so much that people at my gym thought I was over-training. What they didn’t know was that I was over-training at more than one gym. I thought that if I did just a little bit more than anybody else that I would win. If I ate weirder foods than everybody else, like boiled squid, I’d win – and I did.
I recall my decision to quit the sport. I was on stage posing down with the heavyweight at the 1984 Western America. She was big and muscular with ropey veins. She won her weight class and so did I. We posed down and it was a tie. This was at a time when the bodybuilding world was trying to decided which way to go – with a more muscular look or keep the femininity. By one point muscularity won.
But that’s not why I quit. I was struck by two things that day. Earlier that morning when I was posing in front of the judges I noticed one of them eating ice cream and not paying attention to me. I’d dieted for 2 months and worked out like a crazy person – I wanted their full attention for those few minutes. Then that night during the show when the heavyweight was declared the overall winner, I was shoved aside and told to get out of the way while everyone took photos of the winner. As number 2, I was not important.
Bodybuilding suddenly lost it’s luster and I was no longer going to practically kill myself to win. I’d already won enough trophies and who really cared? Not me. Not anymore. I left LA the next morning and ate nonstop all the way home to Northern California. When I got home I gathered all my trophies, ripped off the plates and tossed their hulking remains into the garbage.