Amateur competitor is a misguided label. That’s the key lesson I learned the first time I witnessed The Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach competition out in Venice Beach, California. I couldn’t take my eyes off of these people, with their flashy outfits, orange skin and irrefutable dedication.  There were 18 year olds scarred with acne and fitted with braces, mounds for biceps, senior citizens whose muscles didn’t seem to want to give up though they dipped and stretched, powerful women with bejewelled hand weights and glittering bikinis. An all out show worthy of every Venice Beach innuendo. If this was an amateur competition then what exactly did a professional one look like? I live in LA, I eat ‘clean’, and I go to the gym. In fact I go to the gym everyday. I buy whey protein in bulk and study articles on the benefits of sprinting. I’m an amateur. You don’t get to look like these contestants do without years of training, years of research and methodology. Sure, the contest takes place on July 4th and yeah you might turn up for a drunken moment to ogle the show before hitting the beach, but heed my warning, watching that much heart strut itself on stage can get you questioning every last limitation you’ve set upon yourself. Before you know it you may just find yourself in stretch pants lifting your first rep at the gym, one of the newly anointed amateurs, light years away from your first competition - Michelle Groskopf

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