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Opinion Person Of The Month - Jason Woodson

My name is Jason Woodson, I am from Richmond Virginia and I was picked as the May Opinion Person Of The Month because I entered into my first bodybuilding competition.

Tell us a little about your fitness journey

Like the majority of kids, I grew up playing sports recreationally so I’ve always been what you would consider “active” but I would say my fitness journey started after I graduated college in 2018. I was still staying in my college town the summer after I graduated while I was studying for my CPA exams. I knew that to be successful and pass my exams I needed to establish a routine, so I decided that was the time I was going to get serious about going to the gym on a regular basis.

Like most people when they first start off, I didn’t really have a plan and would just go in a do some random workouts or a circuit I found online from a fitness influencer. As the the months and years went on I began to do more and more research around training, workout splits, and nutrition as it continued to become a large part of my life and identity which eventually led me to getting my Group Fitness Certification and NASM CPT Certification when I moved to Minnesota in 2023.

What was the reason you wanted to sign up for your first show?

I have always admired the art of bodybuilding, the discipline and dedication it takes to craft a physique. I honestly saw it as the next evolution of my fitness journey. I had spent the better part of the prior 6 years building what I believed to be a decent amount of muscle tissue and felt that there was never going to be a “perfect” time to compete so I might as well just go for it in 2024!

Were you doubted at all entering into your first competition?

I can honestly say I haven’t come across one person that has doubted me or told me I couldn’t do this. Now, are there people out there who have probably said behind my back that I’m crazy for doing this? Or don’t understand the rationale behind bodybuilding? Absolutely.  But I knew going into this that I needed to surround myself with people that were going to be there to encourage me and lift me up when the process, inevitably, got tough. However, I would’ve never imagined I would be getting the amount of support I’ve received so far. From family, friends, co-workers, gym friends, complete strangers, you name it, everyone’s encouragement and positive vibes has really kept me going. 

What has the hardest part of prep been?

You’re probably expecting me to say the cardio or the cravings but for me it’s been managing my day-to-day relationships. I learned very quickly that between the cardio, training, and lack of food that energy is finite on prep and you have to be very intentional about where you give that energy. As someone who prides themselves on being present and intentional in every interaction I have it’s been tough having to turn down social functions or decline FaceTime calls because I know I can’t truly give my all to an interaction because the gas tank is truly on E.

While this has been tough, it’s given me a whole new perspective and appreciation for the people in my life because they’ve all been so understanding of my situation even though they’ve never been in my shoes before. My relationship has grown stronger because of it, my ability to express my emotions and be vulnerable has grown tremendously, and I truly believe this is the hardest thing I’ve put myself through in my life so far and the man that’s going to come out on the other side is going to be 10x the person he was going into this.

What tips do you have to anyone who is looking to fitness in general and is nervous to take the first step because they fear judgement going to the gym?

First, find your why. Some people go to the gym for therapy, some people go for social hours, some people go to train for a competition, some people go to escape a bad situation at home, some people go for a mixture of all those reasons, but the commonality is that they all have a why.

Secondly, I’d say don’t fear being judged because we all started somewhere. The good thing is 98% of the people in the gym are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet and are more than willing to help anyone that needs it.  Everyone in the gym is there to get better in some way, shape, or form and they want the same for everyone else in there with them.

Don’t just look at your fitness journey as one hour in the gym a few times a week. Use it as an opportunity to take full stock of your life. Look at the people you surround youself with, do they support your goals? Look at your relationship, do they support your goals? Look at your lifestyle habits, do they align with your goals? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then you need to change something and it’s more likely than not that the change is going to be something outside of the gym. Fitness is just a piece of the larger puzzle that is life.