Day 3 of 51 of the book – 51 Days No Excuses by Rich Gaspari
When you read this you will definitely want to buy the book!!
When You Hit Rock Bottom
I had accomplished just about everything I set out to do in competitive bodybuilding. My titles include Mr. America (now known as the NPC Nationals), Mr. Universe, Professional Mr. World, 1st Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Champion, and too many others to list here. Sure I had some professional disappointments. Three times I was runner up for the biggest and most coveted title in professional bodybuilding—Mr. Olympia. But if you come in second place to Lee Haney, a true freak of nature and a longtime friend and workout partner of mine, you still have a lot to be proud of if you know you did your best. And I knew I did.
It was 1993. Injuries had caught up with me and my professional career was clearly over. I had opened a gym that was bleeding money—and it wasn’t like I had made a lot of money as a professional body builder in the first place. I hadn’t really prepared myself for the transition from being a competitor to being a businessman. I hadn’t dug very deep on how to set up a business plan. I didn’t know the real costs of running a business. I think I assumed that my work ethic and optimistic spirit would be enough. The number at the bottom of my combined personal and business balance sheets was shrinking faster than I could think. I needed to get out from under owning the gym but couldn’t find a buyer. Things quickly went from bad to worse.
To my great embarrassment, I went bankrupt.
There I was—34-years-old and moving back home to live in my mom and dad’s house—starting over. I felt sorry for myself—but not for long. That’s not how I was raised. I got my game face on and began the slow and painful process of rebuilding. I worked as a trainer and sold supplements on the side. Because of my years as a bodybuilder and all I had learned first-hand and through my voracious study of nutrition, I started working with a supplier on developing my first custom supplements—I believed it was time to upgrade the industry. After seven or eight months I was definitely picking up some momentum in rebuilding my finances and my new business. I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t long before I expanded my operations from the basement and took over Mom’s garage too. It served as my warehouse. That may not sound like much to you—but I was darn proud of progress.
But then one day my mom’s house caught on fire due to an electrical problem and burned completely to the ground. Thank God she had insurance to cover rebuilding the house and replacing her belongings. But I lost all my competition memorabilia and my entire supplement inventory—which was uninsured. Before you shake your head and roll your eyes, just remember I already told you I hadn’t made the transition to businessman yet! I know better now. I look back and laugh at myself now—but it was no laughing matter at the time. I had gone from the frying pan to the fire!
I’m going to finish the story of how I built my business later—it’s a good one—and tell you what I did to rebuild yet again.