Being passionate about something for 12 consecutive years is rare for any regular person, but try keeping a very healthy life style, filled with 2 hour workouts most days of the week for 4 months at a time. This is a typical schedule that occupies the life of a busy English Teacher/Artist/Bodybuilder – Christopher Maslon. This is Christopher’s second feature on The LOVE Project and we respect and admire his hobbies and his energy for a creative life! If you’d like to see his other ancient passion, click here.
Alla Ponomareva: First of all, how long have you been into weightlifting?
Christopher Maslon: I started in 2004.
AP: What did you used to think of fit/weightlifters before you got into the sport?
CM: Fit people that I saw, I had just assumed they were given those bodies. And I was an unlucky soul who didn’t have the gift that they were given – to be fit or become a weightlifter. Bottom line is I saw myself as just a man with a coat-hanger style body.
I had always seen other men as bigger, more developed, or just larger compared to myself as a youngster. I had no idea how the body could ‘morph’ because of exercise. If I had known then what I know now I would have started earlier.
AP: What prompted you to begin?
CM: If you look up the word “ectomorph” in the dictionary there might as well be a picture of me. My whole teen years, college and into my thirties were very difficult as I struggled with being underweight and skinny. In 2002, I began working at a Technical High School for boys. The school has no elevators and countless stairwells to climb. In April of 2004, I went to work in the morning. I remember that morning that I had just reached the bottom stair of the main building and just couldn’t climb the stairs.
By the time I reached my office, I became winded and exhausted. After work, I called my wife and said “Take me to the hospital”. The doctor stating I was perfectly healthy; he went on to ask me “How much exercise do you get?” I replied “exer-what???” This lead to me walking at night after work around our school’s large rugby field. As fall set in, I was looking for a warmer place to walk. I began to use a running machine in a local gym. There I met a PT trainer named Bek Sang Ki. A friendship was created. He wanted to improve his English and I wanted to look like Sang Ki did. We traded one hour of English study for one hour training. This went on a few years. I had noticed major improvements to my body. I now sailed up our school’s stairs, could out chin and out push-up most of the people I met.
AP: Do you have a good support system, how do they motivate/support you?
CM: My family. My wife is my manager and overseer of my physique. And my daughter cheers me on.
AP:I’m sure your family is incredibly proud of you. Would you briefly describe your typical routine.
CM: Monday: Chest/triceps
AP: What would you recommend to a beginner weightlifter?
CM:I’d like to ask them this question “Do you want to change your body?” If they answer with wishy-washy reply like “Well, yeah, maybe I can do it” or “Ah, yeah, I may not be as good as you are now but I’ll try” These are bad answers.
A positive, strong, outrageous “YES! I WILL change my body!” or “I CAN do it!” are the only acceptable answers. If you don’t have that mindful thinking – you’re setting yourself up to fail. Reprogrammed people say super positive things like “I CAN succeed!” or “I WILL be awesome today!” This is the power of the mind. Change the mind, the body follows. Total Positive Thinking (TPT) is needed.
First thing to know is how you treat your body is what you become. Eating crap like sodium filled prefabricated chemically enhanced meals in Mr. Supermarket isle #9 – doesn’t cut it. Whole fresh homemade meals are king. All bodybuilders who are real bodybuilders eat what they cook only. We cook and weigh out our meals. We know what we are putting into us. Not what others want to put in us. Food is power.
Diet is 70% of bodybuilding. Exercise is the other 30%, and not the other way around. Consistency is king in my book. You need to see that transformation is not a “now and then” deal, but a rock steady real Monday through Saturday consistency, get to the gym and work deal.
AP: What are some of the biggest benefits/disadvantages to this sport?
CM: Honestly speaking, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. In the plus corner: Body of your dreams. Respect from others. Self respect. Disadvantages: You need to buy new clothes often! As your body changes – so does your wardrobe. I went from a size 90 to 105 in 6 years in Korea. All my old suits don’t fit anymore. I am getting more muscle and it just is too tight in the sleeves for the old suit. In 2014, while teaching I was writing on the board and heard a really loud ‘rip’ sound- I realized that I had ripped the sleeve from the jacket via my bicep size not being able to fit anymore.
AP: What do you think about competing in Korea? Does it differ much from back home? Or how do you think you would do back home as an athlete?
CM: You know what? That’s a GREAT question! Korea is an amazing country. There are so many differences in South Korea training compared to US. For example bodybuilding in Korea is a team sport. We in the West look towards individualism. Which is the “I”, while in Asia there is a “We” spirit, which we don’t have.
You’d probably say “So what?”- Well, in Korea with the “We” at the forefront the focus is making sure everyone on the team is the best. If one person from the team wins, they all win. Because of this spirit they train harder, and are accountable to each other. Partnership and training together are vital here.
They have another awesome thing we don’t have in the West – Team Posing. Team Posing is when eight bodybuilders will get together on stage doing all seven mandatory poses in many unique formations. Teams are judged on originally, synchronized movements and style all set to music.
AP: What keeps you motivated to keep going after 12 years?
CM: Honestly I can sum it up in one word “Attention” wherever I go and my body is seen without a shirt on, I get a lot of attention. From being nobody to having folks wanting to be near me – that’s a fuel for the fire.
I am married. I get a lot of my wife’s friends saying “Wish my husband looked 1/2 as good as yours!”
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