All right, all you Iron Addicts, listen the fuck up: You've heard me command you to grow on multiple occasions, but many of you barbell monkeys still don't seem to get what "growth" really means. So it's time for another lesson in ironology. I'm the ironologist, you are my pupils, and I will deliver unto you my 10 Commandments of Muscle Growth!
Now, my name ain't CT Fletcher if I don't bring some hair-raising intensity into this article, so you better stand the fuck up and get ready to take notes. This iron knowledge isn't the kind of thing you want to absorb while sitting on your pizza-eating ass.
Get ready, little one: Class is in session and shit is about to get real.
CT Fletcher 10 commandmentsWatch the video - 13:07
Train your mind harder than your body
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The body is merely a vessel for the mind; your body does what your mind tells it to. Command your body to grow, and it will obey. Simple, right? I think so! But some of you punk-ass motherfuckers have the gall to come up to me and whine with shit like, "CT, I told my muscles to grow, but they wouldn't listen." Boo-fucking-hoo!
I'm not surprised. Your mind is weak! You lack the adequate mental attitude and fortitude to steel yourself against the pain and suffering of your corporeal body. Your mind is your puppet master. It will sustain you when your body fails, but only if you let it.
"I command you to grow!" is more than just a string of words or a catchphrase. It is a belief system that holds more sway than the Pope himself. It must be said with full belief and trust. Only then can you grow!
A command delivered without true belief is meaningless. If you do not believe in your own words, then do us all a favor and shut your goddamn mouth.2
Never accept someone else's limitations
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Inevitably, some assholes in your life will tell you that you can't do this or that. I'm here to say, fuck those people. They're just average for a reason. Just because they can't do it shouldn't mean their limitations automatically become yours. You alone are the judge of what is possible and impossible.
Don't let someone at the gym or some scientist dictate what you can and can't do. If we had always accepted what all those fancy hat-wearing "experts" concluded was impossible, we'd all still be sitting in the dark. We wouldn't be flying through the sky on planes or enjoying countless other human marvels.
Question the impossible and try everything for yourself first.
Pain is essential
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If you want anything bad enough in life, pain is inescapable. In the Land of Iron, be willing to accept pain and discomfort as necessary evils, for it is out of these extreme conditions that new muscle is born.
I'm not trying to imitate those other clowns that try to be all like, "Pain is weakness leaving the body." No, you dandelion-twirling motherfuckers, pain is the bully the average person instinctively shrinks away from, but as an Iron Warrior, you teach yourself to accept him and befriend him, and then kick pain's ass till he submits to you.
Pain doesn't own you; you alone have the power to own it. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Look for the pain!4
Listen to your body
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Your body is the product of Mother Nature's highly intelligent engineering. She has equipped you with the ability to accomplish amazing physical and mental feats.
Now, if you stop being cocky and pay close attention, you can always decipher what your body is trying to tell you: "I like what you are doing here, so you should keep doing it," or "You should stop doing this because it's not working for me." Your body knows best; it never lies or betrays you.
Let your body guide you in and outside of the gym. It knows you better than you think you know it!
Your body can tell you just how many sets you should do and how heavy you should go. Don't simply look at the numbers in someone else's routine or follow exactly what someone else is doing. They don't know what the fuck your body is telling you, unless they're a human body whisperer (at which point you should just stay far, far away from that weirdo).
Just shutting your trap and deflating your ego for even a fucking moment can open you to prodigious wisdom from your body.5
Visualize the body you want
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Focus! What does bettering yourself every day in the gym mean to you? If your answer is anything along the lines of "I do it just 'cuz," then stop reading this article and go on a fucking time out. Don't think for a second I am playing around here, because I don't spend my time preaching to casual lifters or "weekend warriors."
This path of growth, pain, and personal, physical conquest should not be something you've haphazardly chosen to dedicate yourself to "just 'cuz." You've chosen this path because the image of your success and betterment is seared firmly into your mind's eye. You must commit to the Iron Addict lifestyle.
The next wishy-washy motherfucker that says "just 'cuz" to me will rue the moment he spoke when I shove those words so far down his throat he shits 10-pound plates for days.
Be focused, pick your goal, and stick to it—or get the hell out of my sight.
Don't let your body adapt
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CT hates repeating himself, but he will—and in the third person! Your body is magnificent. It's smarter than any motherfucker in a white lab coat holding a goddamned test tube. Your body will adapt to anything you subject it to after a period of rigorous training. Therefore, you must change your routine; keep it guessing, throw it a curve ball, make it your bitch, and tell your body, "Don't you dare get comfortable!"
Going into the gym every day with the mentality of "business as usual" will guarantee you stagnate and stop growing. Change is essential to growth, punk. Command the reins of change, and you shall have growth.7
Multiple angles are essential to growth
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"What do you mean by angles, CT?" you ask. Shut up a moment and let the Growth Guru explain! First, you have to understand that each body is unique, and I'm not saying this in a "puppies and rainbows" sort of way. Your insertions—the way your muscles connect—and bone structure are different than mine.
In theory, you and I can perform the same action but experience different growth stimuli. We might even "feel" an exercise the most at different points of the same muscle. The angle in which you position your body to an exercise apparatus contributes to growth. Experiment with the angle that allows you to feel the pain. Find the angle that makes you feel the muscle work within the targeted spot.
Don't be afraid to go outside the norm, because the perfect "angle" for your body may not be anything anyone else would do.8
Learn the Meaning of "Overload"
Watch the video - 1:51
The term "overloading," as defined by myself, has two meanings:
- Tax the fuck out of your muscle by putting heavy-ass weights on them and forcing them to lift that goddamn weight, even if they're like, "Oh, please CT, this hurts so bad!" Suck it up, muscles, because this Chief Growth Officer (CGO) is steering the ship toward progress and continuous improvement!
- Keep doing the movement until your muscle screams in bloody agony when blasted with significant volume, or the total amount of work your muscle can handle. Do not give up after just a few sets. Lift with enough volume until you can lift no more!
In both instances, you push your muscle way past what it's comfortable with. Treat it like a beast of burden and make that muscle work for its master! Command that motherfucker—it is your muscle and you must will it to adapt and grow.9
Watch the video - 1:52
Obsession gets a bad rap, but it is the crucial, missing ingredient in people who will always be just "average." Greatness in mind and body cannot be achieved without obsession. Hell, you'd have to rip my iron addiction from my very soul!
Whether you want to be the best at flipping pancakes or washing windows—I don't give a damn—there's no pussy-footing around this; you must be obsessed. The desire for ocean-parting, jaw-dropping greatness must consume every fiber of your being.
You dream that shit. You sleep that shit. You eat that shit. And you smell that? You breathe that fucking shit. Obsession hangs heavy in the air around you, for without it, you will never amount to any greatness, even if it's folding 967 paper cranes in a goddamned row.10
Never become satisfied
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A full, satisfied man is happy with where he is and what he has achieved. A hungry man will tear that satisfied man into two half-smirking bodies to get what he wants. (I'm using "man" universally here. Ladies, I'm talking to you, too!)
Satisfaction and complacency are poisonous because they signal to the mind that you've reached the end of your growth—the end of your journey. Do you think I, the Superman of Compton, would be where I am today if I had said to myself 20 years ago, "Man, CT, you've reached your limits. It's time to be average."
Fuck, no! Say it with me now: Fuck. Average. Never be satisfied. Always move forward. Always grow. That's the last and most important commandment. Never. Be. Satisfied.