Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bob Paris Official Website

 

Bob Paris
Bob Paris Official 2012 all rights reserved

Seek Truth. Strive for Growth.

Embrace Change. Be Authentic.

 

Bob Paris Bio

Bob Paris is a writer, actor, public speaker, social activist and former professional bodybuilder.


Bob Paris Official 2012 all rights reserved
By the time Bob was 23 years old he was a Mr. America and a Mr. Universe. In a matter of four years he went from being a homeless teenager to World Champion, becoming one of the most respected, celebrated, and photographed athletes in the history of bodybuilding.

Since then, he has traveled the world speaking on topics ranging from fitness and motivation, to self-esteem, overcoming adversity and personal wellness. He has been nominated Lecturer of the Year on the national collegiate speaking circuit and has received widespread recognition for his extensive philanthropic efforts.

Also a classically trained actor, Bob has performed to strong notices at the regional level, and made his New York stage debut, at Carnegie Hall, in the Herbert Ross directed production of JUBILEE. In 2009, he performed in a recurring role on the ABC television drama, DEFYING GRAVITY.

As a fitness and fashion model, Bob’s image has been captured by the world’s foremost photographers, including Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts.

Bob Paris is the author of seven books.

His fitness books include, BEYOND BUILT, FLAWLESS, NATURAL FITNESS and PRIME. They are considered to be among the most authoritative, expertly written and user-friendly fitness books ever published.

Bob has also written three critically acclaimed works of personal memoir. His novelistic memoir, GORILLA SUIT, has been called the greatest book ever written about coming of age in the world of bodybuilding. Kirkus Reviews called it, “Surprisingly eloquent...At once empathetic and scathing.” The L.A. Times declared that with GORILLA SUIT, “Paris is at his lyrical best.”

Bob is presently writing the novel, THE PRESERVATIONIST. Also a screenwriter, his current projects include the feature film GROW.

He lives with his spouse of nearly sixteen years, Brian LeFurgey, and their standard poodle, Cole, out in the woods, on an island near Vancouver, British Columbia.

Bob Paris Contact





Bob Paris Official 2012 all rights reserved



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Monday, 5 November 2012

So, What Happened?

I've recently received several emails asking the same essential question, "What happened to bodybuilding?"

Many of these messages refer to the sport itself, with the common upshot being: "What the hell happened to the sport we used to love; why has it grown so thoroughly corrupt and unrecognizable over the past twenty-five or so years?" 

The other version of this question is directed toward me, as in: "Since you were once a champion, why doesn't your life still revolve around the sport?" 

First, I'd like to focus on the personal aspects of this. 
Official Bob Paris 2012 photo by Brian LeFurgey all rights reserved
The shorthand answer is that, when I was still involved in bodybuilding, back before I retired more than twenty years ago, I wasn't ever really what one might call a "lifestyle bodybuilder." In other words, bodybuilding was simply a sport at which I excelled. It wasn't my core identity. In fact, I often found myself (as I wrote in GORILLA SUIT) desperately wishing I could leave the by-product of my hard training (i.e. that massive and generally uncomfortable physique) in the gym, as a baseball player leaves behind his bat, a track athlete her cleats. 

*
 
Look, I've written this so many times before it's become something of a personal cliché: Back when I was 19 and wholly adrift, bodybuilding saved my life. But not because of the muscles. Rather, bodybuilding saved me because of the discipline, direction and focus it engendered. It provided both a physical and metaphorical path forward. 

I've also often written of having combined my athletic and artistic sides as I pursued bodybuilding, but there was a third part to this intertwined structure: A strong, over-riding philosophy, a chunk of which went something like this: Do the work, do it well, and get on with it. So that's what I'd do: Invest my time in the gym with absolute focus and intensity and then let it go, heading off to pursue my real life; one composed of a dozen other wide-ranging interests from theatre to books to backpacking. 
 
Official Bob Paris 2012 photo by Brian LeFurgey all rights reserved
 
It’s this diversity of interests that eventually led me away from a strict focus on hard-core weight training as a central part of my life. Don’t misread that, though. I'm the fittest and healthiest I've ever been; and certainly the happiest and most authentic. I love my intense yoga practice, my cycling, my hikes and trail runs - and yes, my regular, moderate resistance training.  

In an ironic way, I have the time spent in bodybuilding to thank for leading me toward this eclectic yet focused path, where exercise is merely one part of a fulfilling life. 

One of the initial reasons I was first drawn to bodybuilding was the notion that this was what many of us back then were after: Yes, our efforts in the gym would sculpt the best possible physique. But more than that: We were striving to build a life. A real, well-rounded, amazing life. That was the bodybuilding of Arnold, of Zane, of Reeves.
 
That was my bodybuilding.
 
Official Bob Paris 2012 photo by Brian LeFurgey all rights reserved
It is exactly this concept that completely evaporated from elite-level bodybuilding twenty-odd years ago, leading me (and many others like me) out of the sport along an inverse, carnival-side-show mirror of the  road on which we had entered. 
 
However, I don’t want this post to sound even slightly bitter. I am profoundly grateful for my path—successes, regrets and all. And in this spirit, I find myself obliged to share (once again) the core concepts I learned from my years in bodybuilding; the underlying fundamentals I have taken with me into both my work and personal life: 
  • The patient application of craft;
  • The beauty of deep inside/out, outside/in personal transformation; 
  • The active search for authenticity;
  • The development of a balanced approach toward life and work;
  • A real feeling of focus and dedication;
  • The profound blending of the athletic with the artistic (and the philosophical). 
And, if I had to add one more fundamental into this mix it would have to be: 
  • A willingness to look unmitigated corruption right in the face and speak the unvarnished truth, damn the torpedoes. 
So then, to the more general question posed at the top of this piece: 

Well, I suppose I’ll have to leave that one with the fans of bodybuilding (including the writers and publishers covering it), all of whom I hope will, one day very soon, find the courage to stand up en-mass, turn directly toward those who have run the IFBB Pro Division for the past twenty-five years and finally demand a clear, honest and propaganda-free answer: “What happened to bodybuilding?”
 
In the meantime, I truly wish you and yours peace, health and happiness,
 
Bob
 
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