By Tom Venuto
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Every so often you meet a bodybuilder who is very different. They radiate a mysterious strength, power, and charisma that is seldom seen. You may not be able to put your finger on exactly what it is that is that makes this person stand out, but something special is definitely there; they are a champion.
Skeptics would say that it is drugs that makes these athletes better than the rest, but if you had the opportunity to study a group of these exceptional athletes, you would find that every single one of them has certain outstanding characteristics in common that the losers do not. They all take specific actions every day. They all have similar thought patterns and belief systems. They all talk alike. They all have specific personality traits. They all have certain habits. It is these traits that set them apart from the failures.
What are these qualities that make these people so exceptional? And why do so few have them while most do not? This list of 12 traits will describe what qualities separate the winners from the losers. If you cultivate these traits in yourself, you too can become a champion and you will grow with an aura of strength and power that will set you on the road to bodybuilding success.
The 12 Traits of Champions:
(1) Champions are positive thinkers; they believe in themselves.
Undoubtedly the most important quality that all champions share is an unwavering belief that they will succeed. Champions always look for the good in every situation. No matter what obstacles they encounter, they always continue to think positive. Without confidence, faith in your abilities, and positive mental attitude, you’ve defeated yourself before you ever step onstage.
(2) Champions visualize their successes.
Champions understand the importance of positive mental imagery or visualization. Champion bodybuilders visualize exactly how they want their bodies to look, they see themselves standing onstage accepting the first place trophy, and they mentally rehearse every workout in vivid detail. They do this over and over in their minds hundreds or even thousands of times before it becomes physical reality.
(3) Champions surround themselves with positive people and avoid negative influences.
Champions keep themselves in a "positive shell" and do not associate with negative people, places, or things. Arnold Schwarzenegger put it this way: "I have nothing to do with negative relationships. I stay away from negative influences. I have no time for negative thinkers and pessimists. Such people will suck you dry until you have become as pessimistic as they are. Then you’ll have not just one but two losers."
(4) Champions are goal setters.
Champions realize that if they don’t know where they’re going, that is exactly where they’ll end up; nowhere! Champions consistently set long and short-term goals. From day to day workout goals to long term career objectives, champion’s have written out specific, measurable goals with a deadline.
(5) Champions have a burning desire to succeed.
Champions not only have goals, but they ardently desire them. Robert Collier, summed up the idea of desire beautifully in his 1926 self-help classic Secret of the Ages." He said, "Very few people know how to desire with sufficient intensity. They do not know what it is to feel and manifest that intense, eager, longing, craving, insistent, demanding, ravenous desire which is akin to the persistent, insistent, ardent, overwhelming desire of the drowning man for a breath of air, or a desert-lost man for a drink of water, or the famished man for bread and meat." Champions have burning desire. They want it and they want it badly.
(6) Champions are disciplined and consistent.
Champions live and breathe the bodybuilding lifestyle all year round. They are committed and disciplined in training and dietary practices. They know that in bodybuilding there is no off-season and success does not come overnight. Champions never miss a scheduled workout and never miss a meal. Champion bodybuilders are probably the most dedicated athletes in any sport.
(7) Champions are persistent
Champions never, ever quit. Thomas Edison was the epitome of persistence: He conducted 10,000 experiments before finally finding a filament that would burn in the electric light bulb. Champion bodybuilders approach their vocation with the same diligence of an Edison. They know that if they persist long enough, eventually they must succeed.
(8) Champions learn from their failures
Champions don't view losses as failures, they see them as learning experiences. When asked how it felt to fail 10,000 times, Thomas Edison replied, " I didn’t fail, I learned 9,999 ways that wouldn’t work." Champions know that they haven’t failed until they quit; but once they quit, then they have failed. A champion finds a lesson in every apparent loss and finds ways to grow from it.
(9) Champions have incredible powers of focus and concentration
Champions set goals and then maintain a laser-like focus on them. They have the ability to always keep the long term objective in their sights while focusing 100% on what they are doing at the moment. If you watch a champion train you will notice that they are completely oblivious to their surroundings. 100% of their focus and concentration is on what they are doing. They almost appear to have slipped into a hypnosis-like trance. This peak physiological and psychological state has often been referred to as being in "the zone" or being in "flow." Champions can access this state instantly at will. When it comes time to train they turn everything else off and zero in on what they are doing.
(10) Champions have a deep love and boundless enthusiasm for the sport.
To a loser, training and dieting is work and drudgery. To a champion, training and dieting are a love, a joy, and a passion. Champions are enthusiastic about what they do; they can’t wait to train each day. Motivational speaker Tom Hopkins once said, "Work is anything you’re doing when you’d rather be doing something else." Champions are doing what they love, so to them it’s not work at all, its fun!
(11) Champions strive for constant and never ending improvement
Champions are never satisfied with the status quo; they never rest on their laurels. Champions aim for small improvements every day in every way. Champions are open-minded and are always looking for a better way to do things. Although champions are always striving for more, they also realize that success is a journey, so they enjoy each moment and savor every step along the way.
(12) Champions are hard workers; they are willing to go the extra mile
Positive thinking, goal setting, visualization, desire, persistence, and enthusiasm are vital, but without action and hard work, these traits are all worthless. Edison said, "Success is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration." Champions are hard workers. Champions take consistent action and they are willing to do the things that the losers are not. Champions make themselves go to the gym when they don’t feel like going. Champions stay on the bike another 15 minutes, even when they are exhausted. Champions do 5 extra reps after the losers have stopped. Champions are steadfast with their diets when the failures break down and cheat. Champions have the willingness to train through the pain barrier while the failures quit when it starts to hurt. In short, champions go the extra mile.
Tom Venuto is a bodybuilder, gym owner, freelance writer, success coach and author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has written over 150 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom's inspiring and informative articles on bodybuilding, weight loss and motivation are featured regularly on dozens of websites worldwide. For information on Tom's Burn The Fat e-book, click here: www.burnthefat.com.