A story of Commitment: The Bryan Barth Interview
If you want to know what commitment looks like, meet Bryan Barth. Things haven’t always gone his way, but he remains dedicated to his career and to his personal goals. Whether he’s training clients are preparing for a show, Brian’s commitment to excellence is unwavering. We’re very happy to share his story with you.
Not everyone figures out how to make their passion a career. How are you able to do it? What sacrifices did you have to make? Wow, what a loaded question, LOL! I’ve been training 4-5 times a week for many, many years. I met my now ex-wife while I was bartending my way through school. I would finish at the bar and go straight to the gym. A 3 AM workout was normal for me. After about a year of dating, my ex and I were in the gym together training. She looked at me and asked why do you train every day? Why is it so important to look like that? She asked me these questions, and that resonated. She asked me the ultimate question that started me on my quest. Why not try a bodybuilding show and see how you do?
All my life, I’ve been fascinated with muscle, and the comic book characters/superheroes we all grew up with. Read all the Flex, and MuscleMag magazines. I gave it some thought, and started seeking out a trainer/nutritionist. Even in my younger years, my father being an ex-military taught me to attempt anything without doing research, being strategic, and getting as much info on the task, is futile. You need a guide, or map when attempting to do something you’ve never done before, especially if you want the best result. I’ve never been one to go into anything with eyes closed. So I sought out the best in Houston. It wasn’t long before I met Johnnie West. The next thing I know, I’m dieting for 20 weeks for the 1998 NPC Muscle Beach Classic, where I placed second. I had never dieted before, not strict anyway. But the diet was really no big deal. And this was back twelve years ago, before everybody started doing I I FM, flexible dieting, and cheat meals. Having been raised by a hard-core, regimented, and disciplined single father who doesn’t believe in the word can’t. In his world, failure, or being week isn’t tolerated. Those 20 weeks of dieting, the structure of it all. Well I fell in love with the process.
It wasn’t long before I realized that bartending and bodybuilding went together like oil and water. I was never much of a drinker, but when you’re getting ready for show, people getting drunk and stupid around you tend to be funny, aggravating, and frustrating all at the same time. I really admired and respected Johnnie, my trainer, who I mentioned earlier. I was already in college studying computers when I realized that I wanted to be in the gym all the time. I also knew that if I wanted to continue competing it would be better for me to make a full commitment to bringing both my personal and professional worlds together. Johnnie mentored me, taught me about nutrition, and training, steered me towards what books to read, and what courses to take. Johnnie trained and mentored me for four years. I began personal training part time, while I was still bartending at night. Then came the day when I just really had enough of the nightlife and bartending. I said to myself it’s time to go full time. So I walked into the manager’s office and let them know that I wasn’t going to be working that evening and walked away from nine years of bartending. As I said before, I was working as a trainer part time, but when I went full-time it was like a wave of clientele started wanting to work with me. It was truly a godsend, and I am forever grateful the transition wasn’t as hard as I thought it could have been.
And the rest is history.
We all get busy with “life.” How do you stay disciplined as an athlete when it comes to your training and diet? I do agree we all get busy with life, and a lot of people use that as an excuse. But the real question in my mind is, are you too busy with life, or you just not making time for yourself, and your health? I truly believe that in today’s society, lack of discipline is the true problem of why we have such widespread obesity, and health related issues. Sorry, I went off course, your question was how do I stay disciplined as an athlete? That’s really actually an easy question for me to answer. I put me, my body, diet and training first before anything else. I’ve spent the last 12 years with a focus on turning IFBB Professional and to my dismay several times, life, and things got in the way. However, over the last few years, I’ve reverted back to my original way of doing things. Which is constantly asking the question, is what I’m about to do helping me, or hindering me from achieving both my physical goals and lifelong goals? If it’s not helping me, I don’t do it. I’ve always been an extremely driven, goal oriented person. To tell you the truth, when I don’t stick 100% to my regimen every day. I get pissed off at myself, because at the end of the day, I let myself down. Living this way every day gives me a sense of accomplishment and something to be proud of. I also find comfort and solace in the regimen.
“When it comes to my clients, I tell them when all hell is breaking loose, and you feel like everything is out of control, there is one thing you always have control of, and that is your health and physicality. Even if you don’t have the best food, supplements, etc…It doesn’t take much to get an hour of exercise in, to make better choices in what you eat, or drink, and to put your health first. As long as you maintain that schedule, making your health the number one priority, keeping your focus on that, soon all the things that you don’t have control of will start to settle down.
When training others, what’s the number one reason people fail to achieve their goals? The number one reason people fail in their fitness endeavors, and in their personal goals is the lack of a strong, deeply personal commitment and emotional connection to what they want.
Simply put, they just don’t want it. Being a personal trainer/nutritionist for the last 18 years you become very keen in knowing who wants to achieve their goals and will do anything to get that done, and who doesn’t.
What has been most rewarding about your career in fitness? There’s just so much that I can answer this question with, but to sum it up, I would say it’s the people that soak up the knowledge, try as hard as they can every day, and learn that they can do things they never thought they could do before. The greatest joy of doing what I do is almost like being a parent teaching a child to crawl, walk, and run. Being that person that believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. Helping them realize that they can do anything they want as long as they put in the work.
If you had the sum up the bodybuilding lifestyle in one word, what would that word be? Oxygen!
When you have feelings of discouragement, what do you do the snap out of it? Honestly, I welcome discouragement and failure. I use it as fuel, it is actually the greatest catalyst for me to push myself harder. Discouragement makes me reassess everything that I did. Find the things that I did wrong, correct them, and then work my ass off to make sure it doesn’t happen again. One thing for sure, there will never be a harsher, more vicious, critic of me than myself.
You’ve been very successful as a competitive athlete and as a personal trainer, but neither is easy to do. What’s your advice for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Being a successful competitive athlete and a professional trainer/entrepreneur is hard. It isn’t for the weak of heart or of weak mental resolve. What’s my best advice? What I’m about to say here is going to sound like one of the many motivational videos you might pull up on YouTube. But it’s all so very true. What do your dreams, and aspirations mean to you? Do you spend hours thinking about them, does it make your heart speed up with passion? Does the thought of not doing it hurt? Does it feel like you can’t live without it? If you can say yes to any one of these things, then I say the most important advice I can give you, is to put on some blinders, get focused, don’t listen to the naysayer who is negative, or those who try to steer you away, and grind hard, do everything you possibly can to full exhaustion every single day without fail to achieve it. Keeping in mind, it is the man, or woman who is willing to give up everything who usually achieves everything.
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