Bench Like An Animal: Part 4

I can’t begin to tell you how having good people around you can really put you over the top. Good people produce a good bench...

Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 1
Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 2
Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 3
Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 5

I can’t begin to tell you how having good people around you can really put you over the top. Good people produce a good bench. There are many aspects to becoming a balls out, championship caliber, no bullshit, get-the-fucking-steel-moving machine. I can tell you from experience that training at the highest level is a job in itself.

Training and sticking to the diet necessary to dominate is one of the hardest endeavors you could ever strive for–work a 40, get all the shit done you need for everyday life, and then hit the gym and pound the steel to make sure you are at you best to smoke the competition.

Sounds easy in print, looks easy in print, but a fucking bitch to execute in real life. This is something I am familiar with.


To be the best, your life must have balance. In order to have balance, you must find a way to get the things you need done in order to do the things you want to do. If you can follow this simple blueprint, and never give up, this sport will provide the most rewarding experiences of you life. I deem this the “blueprint of a champion”.

My blueprint has not been so easy. I wish I could tell you that I got paid to train, sleep 8+ hours every night, and received all of the supplements I needed. But, living in the real world, none of this is true. I have a degree in structural engineering and work long days.

My job does, however, keep my life structured (no pun intended). It just means that finding time to eat and train is that much harder.

Just the other day at my construction job, I was walking and carrying materials in the mud, wearing my Carhartts (damn heavy clothes), heavy steel-toes on, in less than appealing weather. Then I came home and had to go to the gym. My muscles were so damn sore that my brain couldn’t even comprehend going to the gym to move more weight.

I didn’t have much ambition to train. But these are the days that are so important. These are the days that count, when you have to push and make sure you get there. I don’t mean that if you are seriously sore then you should go to the gym no matter what. All I am saying is that we all have things that get in the way of our life’s mission.

This is where the true Animal inside comes out. If you want it bad enough then you will find a way to get the job done and become a true champion.


Imagine that you’ve had a long day. Now you have to train with a bunch of dickheads at the gym. How much desire would you have? How hard would you push yourself to get to the gym if this was the case? There are a lot of times when that crew of guys you lift with could be your sole reason for heading to the gym.

You look forward to seeing the lifters who know how to push you, who you push back in return. Checking out the women at the gym can be a positive force too, as long as you aren’t spending your time chasing them instead of moving steel.

Because as we all know, a hot woman, in skin tight clothes, will add big pounds to your bench. I can only speak for the men, but I am assuming that if it was a woman going for her max on the bench it could work the same way.

When it comes to becoming a champion, it all comes down to a lot of small things. It’s too easy to overlook something simple in your training. While it may seem small, it could have a huge impact on your progress. It is more then training hard.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone wanting to be powerful, and eating like a bird. This is still something that amazes me and will continue too. The misconception is that one needs to cut out fat and carbohydrates and just eat protein to look like the “guys on TV.” This is the most insane thing, and yet everyone is doing it.

I have to say it again, and I know I have put it in writing several times, but if you want to bench big you have to eat big! Ok, I am not opening that can again.

What I have been saying for these last few paragraphs is there has got to be some kind of motivation for getting to the gym. In 99.9% of the cases, actually getting to the gym is the hardest part and whatever kind of reason you can find to go will usually be a damn good one. I always say, “99% of the time the gym sucks, but it is that 1% that kicks ass and makes it all worth it.”

You could train for 3 months and see no improvement and one day you walk in and someone screws with you to throw some extra weight on and when you try it and bar goes up. Something just perked up your mental game 1000%, and that something could help you go on for months.

Again, it’s the little things that you have to pay attention to, not the big pay off. Very rarely does the big payoff show up. Another thing that many lifters miss is the gains that they have made over a time period. Everyone looks at where they are now, and where they want to be instead of seeing how much they have gained.

I always tell people write down what numbers they are doing now, and a shirt they wear now into a box and then check the box in 6 months to compare the gains. When you do this, you can actually see the gains you’ve made.

Look At The Big Picture

Remember, you can’t just look at training. Our jobs have to be taken into account. Daily activities have to be part of the training schedule. If you have a desk job, then training would obviously come easier for you than someone who works construction.

There are so many things that could throw off contest day or not allow you to gain the strength you want. The more you learn about the sport, the more you have to pay closer attention to the things that got you to where you are.

Too many go in for the “research” approach and get caught up in how the body works and reacts to certain things. Others read up on all the supplements out there and get caught up in pseudoscience bullshit. Take a pill to to relieve this, enlarge that, or oxidize the shit out of my thingamajig. Man, you could get seriously lost.

While knowledge is always good, remember to balance it and keep things simple: know your body, use supplements that have worked for you, and stick to the basics. My body has been built by experience, Animal packs, and good old-fashioned hard lifting.

Don’t ever lose sight of your goals and never give up. This is the Animal way. This is what it’s all about. If you think that your training can’t ever go further, then you are wrong. If you think there is nothing that will ever raise you to the level you want to be, you are wrong.

If you watch that big guy in the gym when he puts up huge weight and you want to be that guy, then never give up. You have to go for it. You have to make a difference. Until the next time, always be an Animal.

Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 1
Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 2
Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 3
Read Bench Like An Animal: Part 5


Paul S. Vargo, Nationally-Ranked Bench Presser