An Open Letter to the Pros

February 21, 2012

By Ken "Skip" Hill

Hell, I think most people think this is my mission when I write but that just isn’t the case. I write about what is going on around me and, unfortunately, this sport and the people in it provide plenty of fodder - a lifetime of it - if I am being honest. When I was asked to do this column I told MuscleMag that I could write a column a day if they needed me to but we agreed on two a month, instead. That leaves me with about enough material to last well into my eighties, if my calculations are correct. So, without further ado, I will get straight to pissing someone off – and maybe even more than one, you know, if I’m lucky.

I correspond with and know many professional bodybuilding and figure competitors due to working in the industry and because the gym I train at here in Denver, Colorado has a ton of bodybuilding and figure professionals, as well. Some pros are very down to earth and relatively humble people but not all of them, of course. So, this is an open letter to all pros: If I hear one more of you complain about hard it is to be a pro, I am going to puke. If you are a pro and reading this and you get pissed at me, don’t bother asking me about it. Instead, go back and read what I have to say again and hopefully it will sink in. If you aren’t pissed at me, then I wasn’t talking about you.

Nobody wants to hear how hard it is to be a pro. We don’t sympathize with you and we won’t believe you no matter what you say because your lifestyle appeals to almost all bodybuilders that have ever picked up a weight. No one wants to hear you talk about how hard it is to workout twice a day, do double cardio, make your meals, tan, answer fan mail etc.. Honestly, we don’t care because most of the people in this sport would trade to be in a pro’s position in a heartbeat. You see, the rest us in the sport of bodybuilding do all of the same things you do as a pro, minus answering fan mail. We still have to train. We still have to make our food for the next day and we still have to tan, do cardio, etc.. However, we still have to work a forty or fifty or sixty hour week on top of it. Quite frankly, I am surprised that I am the only one irritated by this because I know if I was a fan and had to hear someone tell me how hard it is to do all of the same things that I do, but not have to work, I would be pretty pissed.

When you are exhausted from traveling and you act like a dick to the very people that support you, cheer for you and buy your merchandise, that’s a douche move. None of your fans care to hear about how you only got six hours of sleep when most of the people standing in line waiting for an autograph from you didn’t get that much sleep, either. And they aren’t bitching about having to wait for two hours to meet you. They don’t even bitch and complain when they get a half-smile from you and eight seconds of your time with zero eye contact from you. I don’t know, I guess getting paid to pose for ten minutes, being put up in a nice hotel with meals paid for and having to talk to people that look at and treat you like some sort of demigod is difficult work, making you so exhausted that you can’t be nice to people. Yes, it’s a bitch being you.

There is no doubt that eating and training properly while traveling frequently would be a chore, sometimes. Still, this isn’t brain surgery so your stress levels shouldn’t be terribly high. Last I checked, the pros were getting paid well for traveling and doing guest posings – better than the alternative, anyway: being a trainer, stripper or doing online porn. (hey, I did not mention any names) I am sure it isn’t easy being away from your wife and kids, either. However, it is still part of the game and just as necessary as someone who would work for a software company and have to travel with their job, being away from their family for short periods of time. Get over it. You chose your line of work. It isn’t like you are stuck in a job that you hate.

Just speaking for myself here, I know I would have a lot more respect for someone that was honest enough to admit that they have it good and that being a pro is a dream job. I would like to hear a pro say that they are thankful every day that they get to do what they love to do and impact others in a positive way. An admission that their dream job of being a pro won’t last forever so they want to have as much fun as they can with it now, would help, too. That would be the humble, down-to-earth way to look at it. The problem is, no one wants to admit that they have it good and that they aren’t working their ass off. It’s human nature to complain about how hard things are and that way we look like fighters and victors as we triumph over all of the hard work.

Mr. Pro: do us all a favor and return some of that respect to the rest of us that are shooting for what you have accomplished. Statistically, most all of us are going to come up very short and not come anywhere near reaching the goal that you have attained. However, it won’t be from a lack of training hard, eating right or putting in the time. If you pass me in a gym or see me at a show, don’t get pissy with me about this rant. I’m not hating on the pros as much as I’m sticking up for the fans.

Hey, I’m Just Sayin’.

The Skipper