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Daniel Schwarzenegger

When you’re an athlete and a parent, you want your kids to be your biggest fan.  You’d hope that they’d take a genuine interest in your sport and it become something that you both can enjoy, like a pastime.  Creating these kinds of memories can truly be fulfilling.

I’ve only been a bodybuilder for a short period of time.  I competed in two shows, neither of which I actually won.  The diet itself is enough for a person to give up and walk away and decide that this struggle is not for them.  The training is rigorous.  The diet is crazy.  The emotional rollercoaster that you find yourself on is difficult to endure.

But the moment you get all oiled up and step on that stage, you realize that its all been worth it.  Every chicken breast, every broccoli floret, every rep of every set, every second of cardio and every minute in the sauna.  It was all worth it.

During the prep for each of these shows, I spent a lot less time with my son.  I felt guilty a lot of the time because we were going back and forth with baby sitters and he was really miserable through it all.  Initially, I was taking him to the gym with me, but it was so frequent, that I think he was just maxed out on it.  Which I can understand.  Somedays, even as a kid, you just want to go home after a long day and relax.  Taking this into consideration, I hired a baby sitter.  She would come over and kick it with him while I worked out.   It worked out for the most part, but he really missed me.  So I switched back and forth.  Some days I would take him with me and some days I would leave him with the baby sitter.  Once the show was done, things returned back to normal, at least for a short period of time.

Then there was show #2.  The same mess all over again.  I found myself apologizing and explaining to him that all of my hard work was going to pay off and if I did really good, I could win a trophy.  Like literally, this meant nothing to the kid, but it was worth a try.

He didn’t come to my shows.  The first show was literally that, my first show.  I didn’t really know what to expect so I kind of didn’t need to try to focus on being a mom and being a competitor at the same time.  His dad was supposed to bring him, but that didn’t happen  (I try not to dictate what his dad does on his time).  The second show was basically the same, only I should have brought him along.

So at this point, he’s seen pictures but doesn’t really know what I do.  It never dawned on me that he might actually like it.

My gym partner was competing in a show yesterday and I was determined to support him, by any means.  This meant taking Daniel along.  I knew this show was going to be super long.  I had a good distraction plan in place and events for the interim between shows.  Much to my surprise, none of it was needed.

Initially, I gave him my phone so he could watch movies on Netflix.  I looked over at him a few times to see that he was actively engaged in watching the show.  Boy, was I surprised.  He enjoyed every minute of it.  He made new friends, (sat with some girls) and learned all the poses the men did.  He cheered on the other competitors and was disappointed when his “favorites” didn’t win.  I was astonished by his interest in the sport of bodybuilding.  I felt ashamed that I had kept him from my “other life” for so long.

Even today, he’s still talking about what he saw yesterday.  He even got a photo with the champ and the champ let him wear his medal! What a lucky kid!!

I feel like attending that show solidified the bond that we have.  I have adopted a love for superheroes because he takes genuine interest in them, and I believe he took a genuine interest in bodybuilding yesterday.

I promise to have him at my next show; my biggest fan.

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