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Translator: Queenie Lee Reviewer: Riyad Almubarak Hello, everybody. I have a question for you: What is the first thing which pops into your mind when you hear the term “bodybuilding?” Chicken breasts, brown rice, and broccoli, right? (Laughter) Or is it rather a way too muscular, narcissistic guy like overtanned, flexing in front of the mirror of your gym, or the classic: steroids. (Laughter) That’s what I always hear. It’s usually another very positive idea, and to be honest with you, for a long time, it wasn’t for me either. Well, today I’m going to tell you something about bodybuilding. I’m going to tell you how I used this powerful lifestyle as a tool to become the best version of myself: mainly through learning how mental and physical fitness are connected to each other, recognizing self-reflection as a success driving attitude and learning that failure is a necessary step towards success. My name is Mischa Janiec. I’m a personal coach, entrepreneur, and a natural pro bodybuilder, and I’ve been doing this sport for almost eight years, that means I’ve completed over 2,000 workouts, and spent over 5,000 hours in the gym so far.

(Laughter) Unbelievable! I’ve also bench pressed over ten million kilos, that’s the equivalent of 100 blue whales: the biggest and heaviest animal on this planet. It’s a good amount of weight, don’t you think? But let’s start where it all began eight years ago. I grew up in Switzerland as a very non-reflected, lazy troublemaker. (Laughter) You know, the kind of kids teachers never wanted to deal with, and also lacking in willpower, and afraid of leaving my comfort zone. It’s a wrong slide by the way … (Laughter) of leaving my own comfort zone.

Well, today I can say I made a lot of mistakes. That was also the reason why I lost my first apprenticeship at an insurance company after only eight months. And the funny but also sad fact about it: I didn’t even recognize it as my own mistake. So a few months later, I got diagnosed – my back started to hurt very bad, and I got diagnosed with scoliosis. So scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person’s spine has a sideways curve.

The most common symptoms for scoliosis are a limited mobility, and pain in the shoulder, back, and neck. Funny story: at the screening for the Swiss Army the cardiologist couldn’t even take a proper X-ray of my heart, because my spine was twisted so bad that it got covered almost completely. And this started to worry me about my future, especially my health. Time went by, the doctors were adamant that I had to take on physiotherapy but after a few weeks I gave up on that again. Time went by, and my back issues got worse. I was secretly hoping that there is a magic pill which could solve my problem overnight. But back at the doctor’s office, he confirmed that there is no quick fix. Instead, he offered me the solution which turned out to be the key to my success. He proposed going to the gym only twice a week to build up my overall muscularity, and help my condition.

Now that didn’t sound like a bad idea, you know. I instantly saw chances of approaching women, walking on the beach with a nice six-pack and muscular arms, and of course, all the girls staring at me. And that was actually how it began my journey (Laughter) to become the best version of myself. Yeah, now a few of you will ask, like: how can swinging some dumbbells in the gym change your life so drastically? I strongly believe that your physical fitness has a great influence on your mental health, and you can’t enhance one without the other to a certain extent.

Therefore, you need to build up your physical strength to reach your full potential. Let me give you a few examples here. As soon as you start to work out, you start to sweat, you start to breathe deeply, and after you finished you just feel absolutely amazing to not say [unlimited]. And the reason for this is endorphins: a hormone your body releases after you get physically active. It’s comparable to the high runners get after they surpass the first heavy miles. And it’s also the reason why so many people nowadays choose the gym or a run as a part of their morning routine, you know, to get a head start above everyone else. Another even more important reason is your body posture.

It’s not only proven that a bad body posture causes people to appear insecure and sad, but also to change their whole mental state. And it goes in both directions: that means, as soon as you start to work on your physical appearance, you’re not only going to look happier, you can become happier, more secure. Amy Cuddy held a very interesting TED talk about this topic, like body language shapes who you are, be sure to check that out. And, I mean for a lot of you guys, I see so many young, ambitious students here, that you guys, you’ve already worked hard, you know, like you have dreams. You study for weeks, months, years, even for decades with the goal to change the world someday, right? But what if you can’t make it out of bed anymore, because you’re going to suffer from chronic back pain. That’s actually the case for a lot of young people nowadays – working in offices, and studying in schools.

This should give you a first impression of how your physical fitness affects your mentality as well. But there is more. Natural bodybuilding also, helps people to become self-confident. And, people wrongly assume that the muscle itself are the reason for this change in attitude. But, I want you to explain why there is a way more relevant factor when it comes to this change. You know, as soon as you start to work out, you’re going to realize that the mirror is both your best friend and your worst enemy. Looking in it will always reveal something new you want to work on, and this kind of self-criticism is necessary, if you really want to improve, not just in terms of bodybuilding. The reflection in the mirror creates the ability to reflect on oneself on a much deeper level, and it gave me courage to become my own biggest critic in everything I do. And, it can help you as well. Self-reflection is a process; it builds up slowly but constantly.

You learn to accept yourself because knowing about your weaknesses is not enough, if you’re not willing to work on yourself. People still struggle to overcome their doubts, and to take action in order to get better. Something deep inside them won’t let them believe that they need to invest in themselves if they want to succeed in life. And, I get it, you know, because taking action requires courage, right? But why is that? Because you could fail. I always hear failing is something bad, you should avoid failing, like society tells us failing is negative. But I want you to understand why failing is actually important if you really want to get better. Let’s take it even a step further here. You need failure in order to grow but how can I be so sure about that, because failing every day made me one of the best natural bodybuilders in the world.

Yes, you heard it right, people. I fail almost every single day, and I love it. Every time I step into the gym, my goal is to push myself past my limits. I know that reaching failure will only make me stronger in the long run. Well, some of you heard about supercompensation, there would be a slide right now here, but there is not. So supercompensation is a scientific term which explains that as soon as you overreach a certain capacity your body has, you get stronger than before.

So that means you have to overreach and overreach and overreach, and with this, you get stronger and stronger and stronger every time. So failing for a bodybuilder is nothing new. What most people don’t get: it works the same in your everyday life. So why do people apply this logic in the gym but not in everything else they do, because the road to success is never straight. You know this cooperation like that, that’s what you hear like the road to success how people think it is, and actually how it is, it’s the same like supercompensation, and it’s up and down.

And that’s the reason why so many young people nowadays choose natural bodybuilding as a key tool to personal growth. So, should everybody in this room now become a natural bodybuilder or what? (Laughter) Of course, come on. No, of course not. But everybody in this room should strive to become the best version of themselves. And natural bodybuilding is a major stepping stone to get there. Look at the bigger picture, and forget the negative prejudice; it’s more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.

Why don’t you start today – invest in yourself, go beyond in the gym, and I promise you, you will go beyond in every other aspect of life as well. It’s your decision. Thank you. (Applause).

As found on Youtube