My first show was in Edmonton, Alberta in 2013.
One of my friends from work did a WBFF show and I figured that if she could do it, I could do it, so I entered.
I trained myself how to pose, I got some diet advice from a friend, and I just rolled with it.
I had no expectations for the show other than to show up and bring my best. That day, out of 30 athletes, I was one of the top 10.
After my show in Edmonton I decided it was time to take my career to the next level. I competed in October which happens to be the end of the competition season.
I was hungry though, and I wanted to compete again. If I got 7th and I had no idea what I was doing, then the only way to go is up, with experience, right?
I set my sights on winning my next show.
I looked online for competitions I could enter for the WBFF. Locally there was nothing until the following year in June in Calgary.
I didn’t want to wait until June.
I looked at the shows in April and there were two. One was in Montreal, Canada, and one was in Gold Coast, Australia.
I checked flights to Montreal assuming that would be the obvious choice. … $900?? What the heck man.
I checked flights to Australia. $1400. Only $500 more, and I’d get to fly across the world. Heck yeah.
I booked my flight, registered for the show, and began sharing my intentions with the world. I was going to win. I was going to come home with a pro card for the WBFF.
I trained hard, long, but I wasn’t really committing to the goal. Verbally it was coming out of my mouth but my actions didn’t line up with my intentions. I found myself getting drunk behind the bar at the Roadhouse, staying up late on week nights partying, and still telling everyone that I wanted to be a champion.
I was so confident that I’d win that I broadcast it on Facebook, I’d tell my friends, my family. And every time I’d tell someone my intention to win they’d reward me.
“Oh, good job! That’s awesome.”
I’m getting validation for something I haven’t even done yet.
I flew to Australia and got crushed. I made 3rd call outs in a category of 50 athletes.
I was not ready for that show at all. Physically, mentally, or emotionally.
I took a break from the gym for a good 3-4 months. I needed some time off.
I felt like a complete failure. I had put my heart and soul (or so I thought) into my goal of being a champion and came up way shorter than I thought.
I blamed everything. The judges, the athletes being jacked, and I avoided all of the responsibility that was mine the whole time.
I got back into the gym and started working out hard in September, 2014. I was pushing myself to just get back into the gym and get into a solid routine with no expectation.
I got out of the bartending industry and started training people on the side. My passion for fitness grew and I met someone who grounded me. She had a passion for fitness and being in the gym so we spent alot of time working out together.
With my new support system in my life and a long year off I decided it was time to take the stage again. In December 2014 I committed to doing a show in April, and this time, I was going to do the Montreal show.
I trained harder than ever and this time I was going to leave no stone un-turned.
No cheat days on my diet that weren’t scheduled (I didn’t know how cheat meals worked at this time so no cheat meals ever).
No days off of the gym that weren’t scheduled.
No missed cardio sessions.
No messing around.
I gave it my all.
Every single day I trained with the intention of coming home with my WBFF pro card. And this time I kept my intentions to myself and to my closest friends.
I didn’t deserve the pat on the back that the world would give me by broadcasting my intentions. I kept my mouth shut and I did the work that no one else was doing behind closed doors.
I grinded, hard, harder than anyone training for the show.
I went to Montreal and stepped on stage with some incredible athletes. Backstage I was confident. Before I went on stage I was confident. This was my time.
After I hit my routine I walked to the back of the stage and waited for call-outs.
For those of you who don’t compete, call-outs are when they call the numbers of the top athletes out to be compared against each other.
My name was one of the first 5 to be called.
I made my way to the front of the stage, we did our quarter turns, and then off.
The evening wear round came around later in the night where awards were announced.
They called out the top 10 athletes in no particular order. Then they called out 5th… not me. 4th… not me. 3rd… not me. 2nd.. place
“Goes to Brian Mark, from Calgary, Alberta!”
I remember being excited, and HUNGRY. I was lit. I went to claim my 2nd place trophy and heard the first place name called.
When I received that 2nd place award I looked at it, and held it up to the light, and promised myself that I’d be back to the stage, and that the next time I came to the stage that I would walk home as the champion.
The next show was in 6 months and there was no time to mess around.
I came back from Montreal and everyone was so happy for me.
“Good job! 2nd is so good!”
Not a chance. In my heart I knew that I deserved to be a champion and I’d settle at nothing less than 1st place.
I hired a coach. I meditated every day. I wrote affirmations for myself. I read them daily. I wrote out post-it notes and put them all over my room. I put them on my fridge, on my pantry, on my mirror in my bathroom, as a constant reminder.
At Montreal I was told my posing needed work, and this where I learned the valuable lesson of presenting yourself on stage. Why would you spend years training and putting your body on stage and not work on the presentation? For Edmonton, the next show, I posed for 5 minutes after every workout.
This time I wasn’t taking any chances.
I was laser focused.
I decided I was going to be a champion and there was nothing that was going to stop me.
I worked harder than everyone heading into that show. I did fasted yoga for 75 minutes 6 days a week. I worked out for an hour a day with circuit training. I did 35 minutes of High Intensity Cardio 6x a week. My diet was low-no carb for 4-6 weeks. I did whatever it took to be a champion. I paid the price. And I when I drove up to Edmonton, on my way to the show, I knew that I was driving home with my pro card.
I had put in all of this time, all of this energy, all of this work, and I knew in my heart that there was no one that worked harder than me going into that show.
I hit my routine and this time I hit it with confidence. I walked out and I dominated the stage. I felt a light was beaming from my chest when I walked on stage. The light was the experiences that had lead me into this moment. All of the failures, the setbacks, the dissapointments, had gotten me ready for this moment.
This was MY moment.
I am a champion.
I went to the back of the stage and got called for quarter turns. I took front and center like a boss. I hit every pose with confidence. I knew that this show was mine.
We had our afternoon break and then came back for the evening wear.
After hitting the stage in my black suit, I waited at the back of the stage for them to call top 10.
Then the top 5. 5th… not me. 4th… not me. 3rd… not my name. 2nd… please, don’t call my name… not my name.
Yes. There was only one name left to call.
“And please take the 1st place trophy, our newest WBFF pro Male Fitness Model, Brian Mark!”
The feeling I had as I walked to the front of the stage to collect my first place trophy is unlike anything I can put into words.
I was on top of the world.
This is the best moment of my life.
This is what I learned through my 4 show journey to get my pro card.
Life doesn’t give you what you want right away. If it did, we’d have chaos.
First the universe, god, whatever you believe in, is going to test you to make sure that this is what you really want.
Not placing in Australia, getting 2nd in Montreal, these situations happened to me and it was up to me to interpret them. I could either view these as “oh, the judges sucked I should have won,” or I could say “Okay, what can I do moving forward to get one step closer to achieving my goal of coming home with my pro card.”
I learned that everything is my fault. By accepting full responsibility for my life I dictate the direction and the flow of it. I took control of my destiny by doing whatever it took to improve on my weaknesses. When I was told that I needed to work on my posing, I hired the best posing coach that I knew. When I needed a coach to teach me how to win, I hired a world champion to teach me how to win.
I took my weaknesses and turned them into my strengths.
Every time I failed, it was an opportunity to learn. And you have that same opportunity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to make it in the music industry, the art industry, you want to be an engineer, a financial advisior, a lawyer, whatever. When you try so hard at something and you fail, you come up short, it seems dis-heartening and the easy route would be to settle and to find another thing to do instead of chase that which you really want.
But failure is a learning opportunity. Failure is a chance for you to stop and assess your weaknesses and figure out what you need to do to make progress.
I learned that your actions need to line up with your intentions. Don’t say you want to win and then go out and party until 3am. Don’t tell people you’re a champion and then skip practice. Winners don’t miss practice. Winners don’t make excuses. Professionals don’t blame others. Winners take responsibility. Winners show up. Winners are the first ones to show up and the last ones to leave.
Winners are the ones in the dark at 10:00pm in the gym doing cardio on a Saturday night when everyone else is standing at the bar getting lit.
And finally I learned that the universe only gives you what you’re ready to receive. Setting lofty goals is fantastic but in order to accomplish any sort of goal you need to be the type of person that can handle the realization of that goal. If you’re not ready to be a champion than you won’t be rewarded with that title.
You must grow into the person who can achieve your goal before you will realize it.
Champions aren’t born, champions are made.