University & Bodybuilding – Part II: Classmates over Weights

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Alex here, bodybuilding university student by day and business entrepreneur by night, back with some more tips on juggling the demands of student life.

Okay, so we’ve already established that, given our passion for the sport, we’re different from everyone else, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We are who we are because we love what we do. If people think otherwise, they can suck it!

You probably find that the majority of your friends do the same thing that you do: lift, eat, sleep…oh and study! But, despite our shared love for bodybuilding, we’re not all in the same university programs. We all have different interests from Engineering, Arts, Law, and Finance to Marketing, Psychology, Anthropology, Civil Engineering, and….you get the picture. We all strive to get a degree in the field that we study. If you’re in some kind of Sports program, then it’s smooth sailing for you. However, if you’re the only person in your program or in your class that is all about fitness, you’re going to need to make some “non-fitness friends”.

You’re probably thinking to yourself ’there’s nothing wrong with that – I already do have “non-fitness friends”.’ Yeah, maybe, but they’re not in class with you when you’re whipping out a can of tuna every hour and scrolling through YouTube videos of half-naked men posing on stage while everyone else in your class talks about last night’s reality TV show and sips their mocha frappuccino ice cap. We both know you should be doing your work, but you need to watch Fred “Biggie” Smalls’ kick-ass posing routine without worrying that everyone else thinks it’s erotic porn.

It would be easy to blow everyone off and stay in your own little world, but the better thing to do is make some classmate friends. Knowing you may be stuck with these people for a semester, or even until you graduate depending on your program, you don’t want to establish yourself among them as “The Weirdo” or the “The Loner”. They don’t know your lifestyle, and people will judge a book by its cover before they get to read the pages. While it’s pretty much too late for me, since I’ve become known as “The Goon” among the Fine Arts students, I have had some success making a few friends in my program that I want to share with you to save you the grief. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve used and still use to make friends in my program over the years.

1.  Don’t Talk About Yourself!

Don’t talk about yourself! It’s the first rule for a reason. Now what I mean by that is don’t talk about how much you benched last night or that you have to go out and buy this new brand of supplements that just came out. They definitely don’t know what you’re talking about to begin with, and they clearly don’t care. Just because we have an interest in this stuff doesn’t mean THEY will so don’t force it on them. If anything, talk about what’s going on in the class. Talk about the next exam you have coming up or the project that you have to work on. That should get the ball rolling. By doing that, you’ve made your mark that you’re here for the same reason they are: TO LEARN!

2.  Don’t Show Too Much Skin

We all have muscles, and we all like to show those gains off, but remember in class not to dress like we’re going to bang weight in the gym. Many programs have their own dress code. I know if you’re in any Business related program, you have to suit-up every now and then. When you don’t need to, you still have to look sharp. You never know who you may run into. Guys! No Razorback tank or Deep V’s. This isn’t the Jersey Shore. I myself will wear a nice solid color tank top when it’s hot or a baggy T-shirt with some cargo shorts. It’s casual, it’s fresh and yes, I still come off looking swole. Ladies! No Lulu booty shorts and no Deep V’s too. If you want to show yourself off, fine. Just don’t make it so obvious. Black leggings, favorite pair of jeans, a cute summer dress or even a stylish tank top. You’re already a bombshell of a woman to begin with because you lift. You can wear a potato sack to class, and you’ll still make jaws drop.

3.  Study Buddy

There’s always a good person in class you can rely on to study with, so if you can make the time to prep meals, go to the gym and see bae, you can make the time to have a study session with one of your classmates.

4.  Speak up!

Don’t be the shrinking violet in the room that doesn’t get noticed. Speak up and contribute to the conversation. If your Profs want you to answer the question they asked, you better answer it. You should be asking questions and answering questions and just generally getting involved with class discussions. You’re taking this course for a reason, right? It interests you, and if it doesn’t, then why bother taking it? Plus, you never know how raising your hand in class can make your triceps pop just when all the girls’ (or guys’) eyes are on you! What Did I Miss?

Now that you’ve made acquaintances with a few of your classmates, you should at least have one or two of their numbers in your phone or have them on Facebook in case of emergencies. Let’s say you’re running late for class, which leads into just not going to class. You text them a quick “what did I miss?” so they can catch you up on your Profs lecture. Eventually, invite them to your Fitness Fan Page on Facebook or Instagram (if you have one).

5.  So What Else to Do?

You’ve known one of your classmates for some time now. You should have at least talked about something else besides the course that you’re both taking. If now, finally, you can talk about fitness. They probably have a good idea of what you do by this time. Yet again, it shouldn’t be the number one topic of the day. Believe it or not, you may make them feel a little uncomfortable. For example, in my Fine Arts program I can talk about art no problem, but I can’t really talk about fitness or bodybuilding. Unless I incorporate it into my artwork, it never goes over so well with that crew. A lot of my classmates think a dumbbell is a famous underground street artist! Hopefully one day I’ll make it work and turn a few of them onto the sport. Until then, what I could talk about for hours is cooking. I love to cook, I love to cook for people and I love trying new recipes (when I’m in my off-season, of course). Find out what your classmate likes to do, and you never know – you both may have the same interest, whether it’s cooking or collecting bottle caps.

6. Can I Ask You a Question?

Finally! You get asked a question about fitness from one of your classmates. You’re there to share your knowledge with them and make sure they retain every bit of information that they can in that brain of theirs. At the end of the day, they came to you because now they see past the muscle, and they trust in your opinion. Most of the time, they’re just looking for motivation. A lot of people lack motivation to do anything physical. If no one in their family or none of their current friends do anything physical, then they won’t bother. Once they get to know someone that is a bodybuilder, fitness freak, fitness competitor, power lifter, etc., they will approach you and ask for your advice on how to eat right, how to train a certain body part, how to lose weight, and more. They’re looking for motivation at the end of the day. Be the one to give them the motivation, be that one to believe in them and tell them that they can do it. Everyone needs a little push to get them going, just like when it came to learning how to ride a bike. We all need a little push to get ourselves moving, and look at us now. You never know, your motivation could get them in the gym. They start lifting weights, eating right and end up being just like you. Then, that classmate that you became friends with at the beginning of the year is no longer a “non-fitness friend”. They’re still your study buddy, but they’re also the person that you now make gains with!

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Aleksander Forian
A former rugby player from Montreal, Canada, Aleksander holds a D.C.E. in Social Science (Sports & Leisure) from Vanier College and is currently studying Fine Arts and Nutrition at Concordia University. Combining his artistic talent with his passion for fitness, he founded and runs Old-School Bodybuilding Apparel in 2014, a company that produces apparel screened with original renditions of the great legends of bodybuilding. Aleksander is a certified lifeguard at West-Island YMCA and spends his free time building his company, working as a freelance artist, and training as a bodybuilder. He also works with others in the fitness industry to choreograph posing routines. He placed 5th in the 2013 IDFA Montreal Classic in the Novice, Lightweight division; 4th in the 2014 IDFA Montreal Classic in Novice, Lightweight division; and 3rd in the 2014 IDFA Mississauga International Championship in the Novice, Lightweight division. He trains at Monster Gym in West-Island. INSTAGRAM: AleksanderForian

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