Election Day … make a personal stand for the good of the whole!

I was thinking the other day about how to best manage my website … keep it poppin’ while pluggin’ away at work.  I possess an extremely long and demanding work schedule so when I do come home, the last thing on my mind is to blog away.  However, I know the MOTIVATION must go on.

My friends,  Election Week is upon us.  Tuesday is the day that many Americans will patiently stand in long lines to cast their votes of HOPE for the future.  I will be one of those.  I don’t know about you, but I despise the way Propositions are allowed to be so misleading.  Why should I or you have to search the internet  or sift through tons of political mailings to gain a better perspective on candidates and possible law amendments?  If it were “cut and dry” with the measures, then I wouldn’t be blogging on the delimma.

With the final election day looming (tomorrow), take your time to understand each and every thing that you are voting on and make a “educated” decision.  I truly believe that most Americans don’t take the time to educate themselves and end up going to the polls on pure emotion.  Don’t look to others for your decisions.  Have the will and the courage to make a personal stand that you can be proud of at the end of the day.  Only then can you empower yourself with the ability to wake up in the morning, take a deep breath, look at yourself in the mirror, and smile.

Halloween is spooky, but it can get spookier if you don’t plan ahead …

It’s that time of year again when we all dress up as ghastly ghosts and goblins, or as our favorite comic characters in celebration of Halloween.  To most its about “tricks and treats,” but for me it signifies a time to physically stop, reevaluate, and plan ahead for 2013.  This time of year is a fittingly “scary” because it is the time of year where people party the hardest.  While food and libations are an integral part of the celebrations, they are also the culprit to unwanted pounds and unsightly accumulation of body fat.  I am in no way trying to get you to trash your plans … I’m merely trying to get you to see the long-term picture and minimize the potential damage.  How can you possibly do this?  Just read along and I will show you how.

First … if you are going to drink hard, then plan on doing cardio just as hard upon waking up the next morning.  Yes, get your ass out of bed and get the toxins out of your body.  This will minimize the damage by restoring your body’s ability to process and utilize nutrients throughout the rest of the day and beyond.  If you don’t, your body will be wasting time and energy ridding itself of the alcoholic toxins when it should just be working normally.  This relationship is consistent with the quality of food ingested as well.  For example, when you eat a breakfast consisting of egg-whites, oatmeal (with fruit), your body is able to process it much easier than when you ingest whole eggs, bacon, and toast.  The toxin in the aforementioned is none other than saturated fat.  Fat not only clogs arteries, but also makes the digestion of the “good” components much more difficult … in much the same way that alcohol inhibits digestion.

Between now and the end of the year, I am confident that you all will be tempted with a seemingly endless supply of cakes and pies in and out of the office.  I am a realist so you won’t be hearing me tell you to not do it. Instead, I will show you how to manage it.  How?  The best way to minimize the damage done by the dessert is to minimize as much of the actual absorption.  I find that by eating my healthy meal first then ingesting the fat and carb laden desserts last is effective.  The idea is to take up as much of the stomach with “good” material so that there is less space to take in the “bad.”  Get the idea? ;)

I will be adding more helpful tips to end 2012 so stay tuned.  I will end with the following Bui-ism:  Happiness is not Perfection.  Happiness is achieved thru consistent self love and respect.  If you follow the aforementioned constants of happiness, you will then achieve functional splendor and realize that happiness is purely a figment of your imagination.  It is simply as good as you want it to be.

Good morning everyone! I’m back and have a newfound sense of purpose …

I know its been a very long time since my last blog entry, but I have taken some much needed time to get back to me.  I knew that life after the IFBB would be a challenging transition, and it has been everything (and more) than I had ever imagined.  Why?  As an IFBB professional, I was paid to eat, train, sleep, and repeat … over and over again.  Needless to say, this schedule is nothing like what happens for the majority of people in the real world.  I started managing at The Vitamin Shoppe about four years ago and it has allowed me the time and the ability to transition into a “regular Joe.”  I work a normal job with a normal schedule, but my heart beats with the purpose of inspiring others to achieve a greater sense of well being.  Armed with an acquired wealth of knowledge from The Vitamin Shoppe that is fortified by my own experiences and accomplishments from the world of bodybuilding, I am driven to help everyone discover and rediscover their inner/outer mojo.  In essence, what you do and what you ingest are essential to creating and maintaining a newer and more vibrant you.

In saying “regular,” I am in no way saying that being regular is a negative thing.  I definitely feel much better today at 180 pounds.  I still weight train and eat well.  The biggest difference is in how I train, and how I eat.  As for my training, I devote 2-3 days a week to weightlifting and do cardio 6-7 days.  This shift in my training regimen has allowed me to shave off unnecessary muscular bulk, in addition to reversing much of the damage caused by the rigorous supplementation done while competing.  Although 30 pounds lighter and not as pumped up muscularly as I was an an IFBB Pro, I spend the majority of my time fine-tuning workout programs and diets for people who are looking for a healthier path towards health & wellness.

I will be blogging at least once a week with the intentions of keeping all of you, my friends, on track to a better you.  I may not be able to help you shed 20 pounds of fat overnight, but perhaps I just might be able to help you make sense of (1) who you are, (2) what you are trying to do, and/or (3) change where you are headed.       If you are one of those who drags ass to mass on Sunday with hopes that the priest or pastor will give you plain and simple instructions on how to live and be, then you will get nothing out of me.  I am no priest, deacon, or pastor, but my message will only be fully understood if you open your hearts and your minds to the message. Sometimes this means listening before thinking, while other times it may require you taking my message and splicing it into your life … gotta add that into my book of “Bui-isms” … “a splice of life” … I like that ;)

2010 Post-Olympia Report

I attended the 2010 Olympia Expo over the weekend and as much as I detest the politics that mar the sport, being around the scene made me miss the competitive aspect of the sport.  I miss having something to train hard for … I miss the experience of watching my body transform itself from off-season bulk into show-shape granite.

Admittedly, I haven’t followed much of the hype surrounding the Olympia competitors, but I did know that Jay Cutler was the incumbent, and everyone else included the likes of Phil Heath (Jay’s protege), Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren, Kai Green, Victor Martinez, Dennis Wolf, and many others.  I missed prejudging as my flight got into Vegas at 9:30PM, but IFBB Pro Lionel “L-Train” Brown kept me updated.  Lionel and I became good friends back in 2005 shortly after I turned pro … he is a class-act when it comes to what professionalism means.  Many of my IFBB peers are too self-absorbed to give back to the fans that help make the sport successful.  Thank goodness there are guys like Jay Cutler for Lionel and I to emulate.  Jay always makes time for everyone (I have witnessed this on many occasions) and goes above and beyond with his guest appearances.

I really thought everyone brought a GREAT package to the Olympia stage.  Most of the time, there will be a few guys who come in too soft or flat, but the 2010 Olympia brought the best out of everyone.  I was expecting a better showing from Kai Green, but he still looked great (although not his best).  Now the real question … DID JAY DESERVE THE WIN?  Although I do believe Phil Heath and Branch Warren both brought exceptional packages to the stage, Jay deserved to win because he was simply not off.  I also believe that Phil will eventually take over the crown as he is the youngest on stage and has many more years to accomplish the goal.  Again, it is a rarity that everyone shows up in great shape … 2010 was one of those exceptional years.

Many thanks to all of you who stopped by the Magnum booth … it was awesome catching up with old friends and fans, and of course making new ones.  So funny that we handed out about 2,000 copies of a 2009 Status Fitness Magazine Calendar.  At any rate, everyone that stopped by walked away with a lot of cool freebies.  I am still a Senior Writer for Status Fitness Magazine so please show your support with a subscription.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail …”

The aforementioned is a quote that has so many meanings to so many different people.  However, the underlying theme of importance is the same … you can’t expect to succeed when you keep utilizing the same plan that has failed you time and time again.  I remember back in 2004, soon after turning pro at the NPC Nationals, when my email box was bombarded daily by aspiring amateurs wanting to know the formula to my success.  I didn’t realize it then, but I certainly know now that every single newly crowned professional gets bombarded by those who are seeking to accomplish the same feat.  So then what was so different about what had done to put myself in the best position to win the 2004 NPC Nationals?  Simply put, I planted a seed early on that eventually blossomed into a huge victory on stage.  I recall walking away from the 2004 USA’s in July after finishing 2nd and going straight to the cardio room of my hotel room to start my preparations for the Nationals in late November … all the while, my friends and others were partying the night away.  There was going to be no reason to celebration besides winning.

There is always time for the things that you need to get done, versus things that you want to get done.  When you need to do something, you make the time … you make the effort … you do whatever it takes to get the job done.  Just think about the time you were successful at something.  Think about what you had to do to make it happen.  I am sure it took careful planning in the form of perseverance, determination, and plenty of hard work.  No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish, the formula pretty much remains constant.  Trust me my friends, if you are not going to do what it takes, then the person who will beat you in the end certainly will.  There is only one 1st place, one champion … only one spot for one person to fill. Stop trying to utilize a used plan that someone else devised.  Think about what you can do differently that will separate yourself from the rest of the field.  There is plenty of room for improvement … find it, execute it, and win!

Congratulations to all of my friends …

Just wanted to give special praise and recognition to all of my friends who competed in the USA Championships over the weekend.  Julia Aragon was in my opinion the star of the entire field as she pulled off a pro card on her first try at a national level show and just her second NPC show ever.  Geez, talk about hitting the jackpot on your first spin … LOL.  Anh Jung, my good friend Jea’s wife, finished in the top 10 of her bikini class (Class A), but I honestly thought she should have placed much, much higher.  I just don’t understand the judging these days.  Anh does not have the common “Y” shape that many of the girls have, which means that she actually has curves to her tiny frame.  Initially, I thought that not having that “Y” shape was what doomed her.  However, after seeing the overall winner, I am not so sure.  She was in great shape and should be very proud of her performance … I certainly am proud of her.

As a whole I thought the judging was decent on the bodybuilding side.  I just wished that the competitors were judged more thoroughly … just not enough comparisons.  There was actually a guy (Anh Nguyen) that was in the second call-outs that finished in the top 5, which was a weird occurrence since I would have expected him to be side by side with the rest of the top 5 in some comparison shots.  This never happened to my dismay.  Anh looked massive, but he may have been knocked for not being conditioned enough.  I don’t think Al Auguste should have bested Pete Ciccone for the light-heavyweight crown.  Pete was more conditioned and muscular than Al in my opinion.  Knowing the competitor that Pete is, I am sure he has already booked his flight for Hot-lanta (Atlanta, GA) and the 2010 NPC Nationals.

After perusing the entire Flexonline.com coverage of the USA’s, I really feel that many guys absolutely missed out on a grand opportunity at stealing a national championship.  Why do I say this?  The field was pretty weak in my opinion.  “Whatever happened to conditioning?,” was a question that kept coming up as I scrolled through seemingly endless pages of contest pictorials.  I hope the 2010 NPC Nationals will contain competitors who actually want to come in and impress.  Come one, come all … the fields are literally wide open for the taking.

Huge weekend at the USA’s …

I have many friends competing this weekend in Las Vegas, NV at the 2010 NPC USA Bodybuilding, Figure, and Bikini Championships.  I want to wish each and every one of them the very best as they embark on perhaps their greatest competitive accomplishment thus far.  I still miss competing at the USA’s … always had a great time, and the show always seemed to bring out the absolute best in my physique.  The hard training leading up to the show, the months of bland food, the tremendous anxiety waiting for the show to start, the thrill of victory, and of course the agony of defeat … what a roller-coaster ride! LOL.

Way too many names to throw out there so I’ll just say “Good Luck!” to all of my bodybuilding friends competing.  So many familiar faces that I competed against back in the day still vying for a victory and pro card.  Also, so many fresh faces of very hungry talent looking to make their mark in the sport.  I have said this before, but the USA Championships is my favorite of the two major NPC national level shows.  Always in the same place, and always around amazing food & entertainment.

To Anh Jung … you looked fantastic last night.  With so many fit bodies up there, sometimes its easy to get overlooked.  Keep your head up and soak up the USA atmosphere.  Jea, you did a great job helping her through her first national level show.  To Julia Aragon (Figure, Class A) … good luck this afternoon.  Your ride through the NPC may be a very short one if you can come up with a victory this weekend.

What a HOT summer!

Don’t know about everyone else out there, but southern California is friggin’ hot these days!  I guess it could be worse considering my son is in Texas where blazing hot weather is the norm … coupled with humidity that can be cut with a knife and daily thunderstorms, it can certainly be much, much, worse … LOL.

On a different note, I am still getting a lot of emails about returning to the sport of professional bodybuilding. Although I do miss the art of transforming my flesh into chiseled granite, I definitely don’t miss all of the bullshit.  I have many friends who still compete and are still caught up in the political turmoil that continues to plague the sport.  When the competitive bug bites hard, all it takes to dissuade me is to log into Bodybuidling.com’s contest coverage and check out the latest contests news and pictures.  I guess to the average eye, the physiques all look the same.  However, there are always a few bodybuilders who get overlooked.  At the end of the day, its still about who’s with whom and the almighty dollar.  I can certainly sympathize with all those who are not given a fair shake … I have been there.  I just don’t see how “the powers that be” expect competitors to try their absolute best when they are judging by a completely different set of rules.  Just let the best physiques place … how hard is that?  But then again, some people compete just for the sport of it.  I walked away because competing was no longer fun.  I had great sponsors that took care of my expenses, but I just wasn’t having fun.  To each his own, but I don’t see how anyone would want to compete when all it does is eat away at their finances.  Isn’t the whole point of turning professional to make a living at what you are doing?  Oh well … if it doesn’t dawn on them today, it certainly will dawn on them at some point.  The sad thing is that many of them have families to support.  For those of you who can relate to this last paragraph, let me leave you with a simple thought.  If competing robs you of your finances instead of building it … and if competing robs of you of your health instead of nourishing it … then, is it really worth it at the end of the day?  It doesn’t matter how many championships you win or how many Sandows you attain, you are only as good and as remembered as your last victory.  One life to live, and an extremely limited time to fulfill a legacy for those who matter most … your family.

How the heck did I start with the weather and end up on life?  Sorry folks, I went off on a tangent there.  I guess spending time with some of my closest friends who still compete, and listening to them vent about their frustrations has made me really thankful that I walked away from the IFBB with my life intact.  I don’t want to be remembered by my accomplishments on stage.  I want to be remembered as a good person who helped others become good people.  Now that’s a legacy worth striving for.

Looking forward to an amazing 4th of July at Muscle Beach …

I will head-judging the 4th of July Muscle Beach Championships.  Once again, Joe Wheatley has planned a fun and excitement filled weekend at the world famous “Pit” in Venice Beach, CA.  Not only will there be plenty of hot bodies on stage, but for the first time in Muscle Beach history there will be a wedding held as well. NPC National sensation Jerome Ferguson and IFBB Pro Marnie Holley will declare their marriage vows on stage and set off fireworks long before the evening festivities are slated to occur.  If you have never been to a Muscle Beach event, don’t miss this one.

Many thanks to Joe Weider and his family for donating four extra bleachers to accommodate the thousands of spectators who come out to support Muscle Beach.  Be sure to bring plenty of sun-block as the bleachers are not covered, but are plenty comfortable for all to enjoy.  I hope to see everyone out there.  Don’t hesitate to stop by the judges table to say “hello” … I certainly do not bite … LOL.  No matter what you decide to do, do it responsibly and be safe.

Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day Weekend!

I will be in Venice Beach, CA on Memorial Day (Monday, May 31st) to judge the Memorial Day Muscle Beach Classic, featuring bodybuilding, figure, and bikini competitions.  Joe Wheatley always does an amazing job of promoting and producing a fun and health filled extravaganza.  Please come out and support the event. Last I heard, Joe Weider will be on hand to christen a set of brand new grandstands that he personally donated funds for … what an awesome way to show his support and appreciation.  Also scheduled to make a guest appearance is Sylvester “Sly” Stallone.

I absolutely love what the Muscle Beach Classic stands for … a true celebration of health and wellness.  Last year, we had not only local competitors, but also those from literally all parts of the world (Russia, South America, France, Mexico,  Vietnam, and Japan).  Again, come out and enjoy the festivities.  Have fun, be safe, and have a blessed Memorial Day.  Most of all, please take a moment to remember those who gave their lives, and give special thanks to the countless others who’ve risked as much so that we have a reason to celebrate.

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