The Success Mindset

The most underrated factor when it comes to attaining success with building your physique is your mindset.

Training, diet, supplements and even recovery get almost all of the headlines, but the importance of having the right mindset is largely swept under the rug.  I ask you when it comes to contest prep, what’s your mindset?

A lot of folks in the natural bodybuilding game are just happy to go to a show, step on stage in any condition, get whatever place that they get, and go home.

Plan Of Action

Having a plan of showing up just to show up at a competition may be acceptable for bodybuilders who are not serious about bodybuilding.  But I take it seriously.  And if you take bodybuilding seriously, your mindset has to be that you are prepping to win the show every single time.  It’s not good enough just to show up to show up.

Now obviously, no one will win every single show.  My overall contest record as it stands today is 1-8.  I’ve won the overall once and I haven’t won the overall the eight other times.  I’m only counting overall wins to make it easier to follow.

The all-time great champions of bodybuilding history like Steeve Reeves, Sergio Olivia, and Lee Haney suffered losses.  In natural bodybuilding the great champions like Brian Whitacre and Alberto Nunez have also lost.  And more than likely, you will lose too as it’s a part of life.

None of these guys, including me ever lost due to a lack of effort.  But if your mindset is “well I’m just hoping to place 6th at the show” you’ve already lost.  The success mindset demands that you prepare for a show with intention of winning.

Possess The Success Mindset Even If You’re Not Ready

the success mindset

I was new to the competitive natural bodybuilding game in 2010.  Even though I had never stepped on stage, I always had a deep love for bodybuilding. 

My dad, the great Jim Brown, would get us WWF (now WWE) magazines when we were young.  I remember wanting to look like the Ultimate Warrior.

In the 1990s, back in Philadelphia, my uncle used to have a magazine rack filled with Men’s Health magazines.  As a young teenager I would read them from cover to back cover, trying to absorb all of the fitness information I could.

In high school I evolved to bodybuilding magazines like Flex and Muscular Development.  But there was a major problem with all of the magazines: all of the featured bodybuilders and fitness models were on steroids.  This is no judgement, it’s just the truth.

I was not and am not willing to take anabolic steroids so discovering natural bodybuilding in the early 2010s was a God-send for me.  I was nowhere close to being a complete natural bodybuilder, but I was determined to compete.

But even at that stage in the game, with my first show approaching in May 2011, my mindset was that I was going on that stage to win.

The result of the 2011 NGA Mr. Natural Philly was not good for me, at least to the public.  I got blown away, folded, and embarrassed on stage.  I finished 6th in my class.  My training, diet, and recovery protocols were all unrefined.  And despite all that I went into that show with the mindset that I was going to win.

The Lion Mindset For Success

the success mindset

Lions don’t go into a hunt with the mindset that they are going to fail.  They go into a hunt with the mindset that they are going to get their meal by any means necessary.

The lion mindset is a state of mind marked by a fearlessness and a determination to reach your goals.  When you are prepping for a show, you have to prep to win that show.  That means your training, diet, recovery, and mindset need to be on point.  Don’t leave stones unturned because the worst feeling is that you look back and say things like this:

1) “Dang, I shouldn’t have skipped those workouts during prep.”

2) “I shouldn’t have cheated on my diet so many times during prep.”

3) “My workouts were unproductive, and my fat loss slowed down because I didn’t get much sleep during prep.”

Having post-contest regrets is one of the worst feelings ever, especially when you don’t place as well as you thought you could of.

A lot of bodybuilders don’t have the lion mindset.  They don’t have the mindset of a winner.  As a natural bodybuilder you have to accept the fact that there are going to be days during contest prep, when you just don’t want to do it.

There are going to be days when you want to quit.  There are going to be nights when you want to hang out with your friends and eat what everybody else is eating.  It’s not wrong to have these feelings because we’re all human.

But it is during these low moments when the success mindset must carry you.  Remember your goals.

The Chosen One

The main difference between you and the average lifter is that you have chosen to compete in natural bodybuilding.  Let’s also extend this to non-competitive natural bodybuilders who just want to build a crazy physique.

I put the emphasis on that word chosen because no one is forcing you to compete.  You have chosen to commit to the natural bodybuilding lifestyle.  To attain success, you must have the mindset that you will have to lead a different type of lifestyle, especially on the nutrition side. 

The completion of your primary goal, and how achieving that goal will feel has to outweigh the temporary feel-good endorphins that you will get from cheating on your diet.  Achieving your goal is a phenomenal feeling as the greatest moment of my bodybuilding career was finally winning Mr. Natural Philadelphia. 

Winning the pro cards was a nice cherry on top.  But earning the title of Mr. Natural Philadelphia, and being recognized as the best natural bodybuilder in Philadelphia for the 2022 competitive season is what I really wanted.

Now when you win that competition, you can do exactly what I did when that competition was over.  You can go eat a whole pepperoni pizza (I very rarely eat pork) and then go on down to Crumbl and get yourself some cookies.  You can do this because you have accomplished your goal!


If you are trying to do natural bodybuilding at a high level, you have to be committed to the lifestyle.  If you don’t love this lifestyle, that’s fine, but you’re not going to last long in it. 

I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,

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