When you break it down, building a great physique is pretty simple stuff (though never easy), but unfortunately there is a little more to it ... Many trainees fail to take charge of their greatest training asset of all (and I know I have fallen guilty of it plenty of times myself): your mindset!
I just want to talk about your general perception and how it will affect everything around you. Please note that I am no physiologist, nor do I specialize in this field, but I am just like you.
Every day I go to the gym and bust my @$$ to get that little bit stronger and that little bit bigger, and you can rest assured that I use every advantage I can get. On top of this, anything that works for me, I will most definitely pass onto you.
Is The Glass Half Full, Or Half Empty?
Have you ever heard this saying? I know I have. I had a teacher through high school who would proclaim this during just about every class. I though he was a nut bag because I always thought it was the same thing. Half full, half empty - it's still half. It wasn't until much later on that it finally dawned on me.
It all boils down to perception, and if you are a positive person who is always looking for ways to capitalize on an opportunity or not. "That's great news, I have half a glass. That's better then having nothing."
On the flip side, you have the negative person who will never see good in anything and is always looking for ways to not only bring yourself down, but others as well (that's the most damaging of all).
Well, I'm telling you - the road you choose to follow (and I do say choose) will affect every aspect of your life. But bringing you back to our core business, which is training, if you want better results in the gym, then start getting positive and taking care of every opportunity that presents itself in front of you. Excuses are only for the weak!
From the moment you get out of bed in the morning, till the time you crash at night, you are presented with a ton of opportunities, and depending on how you manage them determines your ultimate success or failure.
Bringing it in line with your physique goals, you might think that this is solely related to training, when in fact it is related to every aspect of the bodybuilding lifestyle.
What's Done Is Done
I remember a few years back, I was reading the Q&A section on a bodybuilding website, and a question that spiked my interest was, "If you missed a training day, could you just make up for it later?" The response intrigued me because the author stated that once you missed that session, it was gone for good and you could never make it back up.
So, if I missed Monday's session, couldn't I just do it on Tuesday? Well, you could, but what the author was trying to rationalize was that once that specific moment in time was lost, then it was gone for good. You could never get that time back; hence, it was a missed opportunity. It's great that you might have been able to double up later on, but the fact still remained that the specific opportunity on Monday was lost for good!
And you know, this does carry over into everything. If you miss a meal, there is no going back. If you miss a supplement feeding, there is no going back. If you are determined to sleep 8 hours per night and you only get 5, there is no going back. What is done is done.
Out Of Control
You might say that some things during the day are out of your control and, yes, you're right, but I can guarantee that out of everything you say you have no control of, the truth is that for about 90% of those things you do. You just failed to take control of that opportunity and you have no one to blame but yourself.
You could have eaten better, but you chose to go to McDonalds' drive-thru. You could have gone to bed earlier, but you chose to watch the Simpson's Marathon on Pay TV, etc. It all falls on your shoulders, and that - most definitely - includes your overall success.
So, does this mean that to become a successful bodybuilder you need to forego all of Life's joys, no matter how unproductive they are? Of course not (and don't expect me to do so, either)!
We are only human, after all, and it's in our nature to slip up every now and then. But the point I am trying to make is that you are still in charge and calling the shots. If you want it and want it bad enough, then you need to make sure that you capitalize on the majority of the opportunities that are presented to you, such as:
- Try to lift heavier during every session.
- Try to eat all your meals on time.
- Try to take all your supplements on time.
- Try to get to bed on time.
And so on.
Excuses, Excuses ...
Ah, the excuse people. Out of all the people who frustrate me, these people frustrate me the most. Why?
Well it's simple. If you are feeling out of whack because life is throwing you a few curve balls, I can understand that. It happens to all of us and that is what makes life challenging. But when it comes to excuses in the gym, I just don't get it. You control things here and no one else.
"Can't" and "won't" should not be in any gym member's vocabulary. At the end of the day, people are in the gym because they want to be there, and want is a pretty powerful emotion. No one is forcing you to be in the gym.
Yeah, it takes some effort to train hard consistently, eat consistently, and get to bed on time, but at the end of the day this is a self-imposed lifestyle. Who would live this lifestyle 24/7 when it is no desire of their own?
Let me ask you something. How many times have you walked into the gym feeling like crap and produced a brilliant workout? Walking in there, you are probably thinking you'll just take it as it comes and see what happens, and then you smash your previous bests on every exercise. Why?
I have thought a lot about this in the past and I believe it all boils down to perception and expectations. It would be so easy to walk in and 'convince' yourself that your workout will be sub-par. You know what I mean; blaming lack of sleep, poor eating habits, training partner didn't show up, etc.
Yet the funny thing is, how can these factors affect your session when you haven't even started the session yet? They cannot, but if you think like that I can guarantee that you are setting yourself up for a fall. Or maybe, just maybe, you are getting the excuses ready to cover your butt if things don't go 100% to plan.
"Yeah, I never made that lift because my training partner never showed up," "I won't try that new weight because I only got 4 hours sleep last night" - what a load of crap!
When you get to the gym, it is time to work. Who cares if you didn't eat brilliantly the day before, had a late night watching Star Trek re-runs, or maybe even spent some time with the spouse? So why worry about things in the past?
No amount of stressing about that missed meal is going to give you any extra strength - but more than likely the opposite will result. You will waste so much time and energy worrying about things that cannot be changed that it will negatively affect your performance - so just get on with it before that happens!
Plus, when it comes to the crunch time, great performances are more about heart and desire than anything else. Just because you could not get down that last potato at dinner doesn't mean that you will miss your bench press the following day.
When it boils down to it, we are presented with opportunities to improve every day. It is the way in which we approach these opportunities that will determine our level of success. Attack every opportunity and give it everything you have and avoid getting the excuses ready at all cost.
Because you know who uses excuses the most, don't you? It's the guy in the gym who is full of bragging rights, yet never seems to get any better month by month, year by year. Or maybe he doesn't even train anymore - nothing more to prove, right?!
Remember that you control your success; you just need to take advantage of what is in front of you.