RIP Zyzz

Many of you may be familiar with Zyzz.  He was an amateur Australian bodybuilder, but had an absurdly over-the-top online persona.  I personally thought he was trolling the whole time, but I know some people were actually turned off by his ridiculous self-absorbed attitude.

So, why am I telling you about him?  He was a hardgainer in all senses of the word.  There are some videos around that depict his transformation, and as you can see from the picture, his physique was truly impressive.  Unfortunately, about a week ago, he collapsed and died as a result of cardiac failure.  Here is the sticky part though: about a month ago, his brother was caught with anabolic steroids.  More thoughts after the jump.
First and foremost, I do not want this post to turn into a debate about whether or not he used steroids (for the record, I think he did).  And yes, if he did, that does indeed cheapen his image a bit.  Whether or not they were linked to his death is still unclear.  One report mentions that his cardiac failure was associated with a preexisting issue, though drugs could have accelerated the process.

But I digress.  My main interest with Zyzz is that he was a huge motivator for me, even with drug use.  He was really skinny, but he was certainly passionate about the gym.  Even through the incredibly ridiculous persona in the videos, you can still see that training was part of his embraced lifestyle.  I can fully appreciate living this way, as I currently could not imagine not going to the gym regularly.

Zyzz’s death is a wakeup call.  Training regularly is such a huge part of my life, but I must be careful to not let it become my life.  Perhaps I’m getting too philosophical here, but just take a moment to consider the following scenario: If you were to die next week, would you be satisfied with your life?  And I don’t just mean your training life.  Going to the gym is an incredible way to augment life, but it cannot become the sole purpose.

There are several underlying points here.  The first may be obvious: don’t neglect friends and loved ones for the sake of training and nutrition at all costs.  Interestingly, I’ve also found this relationship to be synergistic in that I actually make the best gains while I am happy and unstressed in my personal life.

The other point is less obvious, but I would really urge you to take some time to consider it.  We all have goals (you do have a physique goal, right?) – so now let us assume you have reached that goal.  Tomorrow.  Magically, you have gained 20 lbs of muscle mass or can squat twice your body weight or whatever else it is you want to accomplish.  Will your life be that different?  You might claim confidence would improve and I’d agree, but it’s not like things will all of a sudden get better unless you make the effort to make it that way.  In a way, it’s liberating because any lifestyle change you want to make you could in fact make right now.  But I’m just saying that if you had one of the greatest physiques on the planet (as I think Zyzz did) it won’t open any doors you couldn’t open now.

I love the gym.  And I probably always will.  But don’t get obsessed to the point where you wake up 5 or 10 years down the road with an impressive physique but relatively shallow interpersonal relationships and surface level interactions with others.  It will result in misery for certain, so be sure to incorporate some balance into your life.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think in the comments.

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