Building a Better Body and Life

Jeff McDonough


I have been bodybuilding competitively for 11 years. I have been involved with Mentor Discover Inspire (MDI) for two and half years. Prior to October 7 of this year I had competed in six bodybuilding competitions. The highest I ever placed in my weight class (super heavy weight 225 pounds and up) for a competition was third. Most times third actually stood for last place. This changed after MDI.

All my life I have been competitive. Growing up I was a tremendous golfer and basketball player. At the age of 18, I tried out for the U.S. Open for golf. At the local level I never lost in competitive golf. I burned out playing golf, and when I was 24 years old I picked up the hardest sport I could find: bodybuilding. A sport that did not match up at all with my physical appearance (6’3 and skinny). Most bodybuilders are short and stocky. I had my work cut out for me.

I started competing immediately and started to lose. Every bodybuilding show I did took months of preparation and dieting. I am a competitor with a history of being a champion, and every time I prepared for a show I hoped that I would win. When I would get to the competition I would quickly realize I was outgunned, out-sized and was going to lose. My heart would sink as I realized I did not measure up. At each show I would go find a quiet place and gather myself. This usually involved crying.

Despite losing I would not quit.

I began to do my work with MDI. For one year I would drive one hour each way to attend a meeting in Holyoke, Massachusetts. I was inspired by these men and I did the Sterling Men’s weekend. Soon after coming back from the men’s weekend I got engaged, received a promotion from work and decided to start my own men’s team in Connecticut. My men’s team – The Connecticut High Ballers – have been together for one year and had 11 men at our last meeting. I’ve been married for seven months.

On October 7 of this year I competed in my seventh bodybuilding competition. After 11 years of trying and trying, I finally won. I had tried six previous times to win and never did better than third place. I joined a men’s team and won. I did not win once but twice in the same day.

Coincidence? NO WAY…

This time I was bodybuilding with integrity. Like most sports, bodybuilding is a game of inches, meaning if my diet calls for eight ounces of chicken I am to measure the chicken with a scale to the exact measurements. A man with less integrity could just eyeball the chicken and get it close. I did this type of measurement for years.

During my preparation for this competition I knew I was acting differently than in the past. I was assigned to do 30 minutes of cardio first thing in the morning five days a week. I could remember previous competitions doing cardio for 28 minutes and feeling lightheaded. I would hop off the treadmill and think “28 minutes is close enough.” This time I was a man with more integrity and I would do cardio until the timer said “30:00 minutes” like I had committed to my coach to do.

These two seemingly insignificant examples added up to the difference between third place and first. Trust me there were many more small examples of integrity showing up in my training.

I joined a men’s team because I wanted more friends in my life. What I got was my dreams gradually coming true. I got way more than I intended on getting.

So my questions to you:

  1. Where are you in need of more integrity?
  2. Where are you showing up in third place when you are capable of first?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *