By WFF Pro bodybuilder Henk ‘The Tank’ Smith
I have been asked on a number of occasions how I started bodybuilding. Almost always the question takes me back to that 65kg youngster who wanted to put on some serious size for rugby. Back then I was too shy to approach the mass monsters in the gym for advice. I pretty much started out learning the ropes through trial and error.
Today I see some of the guys in the industry brushing off questions from so-called “wannabes” and walking around as if they are totally superior to anyone who is looking for some advice and guidance.
When I am approached by people who genuinely are looking for assistance I always try and help them in a positive manner. I regard it as my way of giving something back to a sport I have loved ever since I was an amateur. Don’t get me wrong. I will definitely cut a conversation short if I am training but in the politest way I can muster.
A good ambassador
I remember witnessing one bodybuilding icon (I won’t mention names) a few years ago acting like a complete asshole. A boy of approximately five or six was looking at him in admiration. The bodybuilder turned to the boy and said: “Loop kyk vir jou ma!”
I was absolutely stunned by the champ’s behaviour and decided there and then that I would from that day onwards always try be a good ambassador of the sport. Be kind. I believe kindness will serve you well throughout your life. And it costs nothing!
In bodybuilding the basics will always remain the same – train hard, eat clean, recuperate and repeat the process. And the most important aspect of all, be patient! There are no short cuts and no magic formulas. As long as you are working hard and slowly improving you are on the right track. To make this happen you need to be totally committed.
Next time you are approached by someone for advice, try to be courteous and helpful.
Remember, you too had to start somewhere.