It is hard to know where to start on this section. I have written many articles (some of which appear at the end of this book) and by far many people have liked my philosophy on bodybuilding more than anything else.
So rather than have a set framework to delve into here, I will just write and let it flow and hope that some of my insights into the mindset of a bodybuilder will be of benefit to you. This is one area that will make or break you and as much as you train your body, you should also train your mind with as varied and diverse information you can find.
Your mind is the most powerful muscle in your body. Nothing compares to its power and its ability to shape your life. Your mind can give you all the answers to bodybuilding that you need.
Another author, whose work I do respect, did however say something I must contest. They basically suggested that if you are natural you should only expect around a 16-inch arm and never to expect anywhere near the development of even the smallest drug assisted bodybuilder.
While you must be sensible with your expectations, sure. You will never be as big as the guys on drugs, period. It hasn't happened yet and it won't happen. That is the sad fact but you can also make it a liberating one. Just because you won't be THAT massive does not mean you cannot be massive and look like a fully-fledged bodybuilder.
Its hard to say how big and in condition you can get because you are unique and almost everyone who has ever be on stage, in the magazines and certainly won a top show has been or are on drugs. So it's hard to compare yourself to, well almost anyone. The old, old, ooooooooold timers of the 1940's and '50s may be possible but I don't even trust their 'I've never touched drugs stance.'
If you could get a 20-inch arm drug-free (and the exact measurement is not important, it's the level of development we are talking about) why the h-ll do you think modern bodybuilders take so many drugs and inject all manner of products into them. Just because they like the pain, or are lazy? No way, it is because you cannot get that development without doing just those kinds of things.
But remember a 19-inch arm looks HUGE and I have grown just such an arm drug-free so it can be done. A 17-inch arm, well developed and lean looks HUGE. In fact many of the guys in the past who say they had 20-inch-plus arms had nothing of the sort.
Many measurements have shown their arms to be as many as three inches smaller but to look at them you would never guess because an arm looks huge even when many inches under 20 inches. Believe me when you get a 19-inch arm and it is in shape you can tell someone it is 21 inches and they will never disbelieve you. I know because I have done it, he-he, the secret is out! And this, guys and gals, is ... I guess, what I am trying to tell you.
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You may not get freaky huge and with the same measurements as the guys you read about, but you can still look damn big and to the everyday person on the street, you will look HUGE. However don't limit yourself to this, you'll only get 16-inch arms crap, or you'll only weight 200 pounds non-sense. If this is how big you get, after every effort on your part, all well and good, but don't limit yourself from day one.
The main limit to what you can achieve will be what you think you can be, what you think you can achieve. If you do not think you can ever achieve your goals, do you think you will put the work into the paths needed to reach them? Of course not.
So forget an artificial limit and say I am going to look good and I am going to look HUGE. That's it - full stop. Set no limits and you can reach the stars. As you travel on your path, you will know instinctively what parts of your goals and dreams to tailor to what you are experiencing on that journey. Some lucky bast ...
I mean some lovely people may be lucky enough to actually have underestimated their progress and may be able to raise the bar and their expectations. However many people will fall into the other category. If you are, for example, finding it hard to put any size on your arms, you need to re-think the situation, but certainly not give up.
Every arm was built an inch or a more likely millimeter at a time. A tiny, almost immeasurable achievement but an achievement none the less. So don't give up, just pull back, see the situation again and what you can change and then go full steam ahead once more. Almost every set back can be a fantastic event that can be used to progress.
In fact the people who often progress the fastest are the ones that simply throw themselves at what they are doing and not to let doubts or 'I can't do this' to get in their way. They make mistakes sure but because they make them, they learn and they grow both in mind and body.
Tools Of The Mind:
There are so many mind tools that it is impossible to cover them all here and to be honest my expertise starts to get less and less when discussing other topics.
Self hypnosis, visualization, stress management, NLP and various other tools can be used with great success. But the main thing is to believe in yourself, not in a wishy washy way, but to develop a real BELIEF in your ability to achieve your goals.
You are no different from anyone else who has succeeded in bodybuilding or other areas of life and if there is any part of your mind software that is not like those that have achieved what you would like to achieve, you can always learn to re-programme your mind to do this.
I like to say set no limits. Because, even if you fail, the higher you set your standards, the more you will achieve. I should know, I have been up against sometimes overwhelming odds but have managed to achieve far more than many other people who have had it far easier in life. And when you aim high, you also achieve the act of doing the best you can and this is a powerful medicine for feeling good about yourself.
Often it is not the achieving but the 'doing' that brings satisfaction. The wise man knows that he cannot win every time but the wise man also knows that if he tries, win or lose, he wins because he learns and grows and most of all he has given it a go. So there can be no regrets, no 'what if I would have tried this, or done that.' This is what you should do with your bodybuilding.
Make a choice on how far you want to go, what you are willing to go without for example and then go at it with every fiber of your being. Be determined but not obsessive. Value those around you and always remember that building up 17-inch arms is not more important that have meaningful relationships with those around you. Then you cannot fail in any sense of the word.
First of all make a choice. How much can I spend on this project? How much time can I devote to it? It is better to take the time to plan and save and do say 2 months all out, perfect, than to try and stretch out that investment over six months. You'll get the same gains or more in those two months and you can hit the target each time.
We can all do something spot on for a limited time mentally, physically and financially. Then you keep what you have gained and save up for the next battle. Do this even just once a year and you'll be amazed at how much muscle you put on. No one can afford to go flat out all of the time.
Smart bodybuilders go all out when they can and then consolidate what they have and wait for the next opportunity. This is a great mental release. To realize that you can train like this and still progress. It is better to do it in mini-cycles like this and make it work than to TRY and make it work all year round.
If you cannot afford to do this, you'll end up worrying or trying to make ends meet. Both of which are not good for gains. If you have limited cash, do it in cycles. Even if you have limited motivation, do it in cycles.
One of the best ways to fail is to try and make your lifestyle fit your bodybuilding. It won't work. You'll end up becoming obsessed and obsessed people drain those around them and typically live a very limited life. Being obsessed is almost as bad as overtraining or not eating. Have a life outside the gym, enjoy the process.
If you cannot afford a tub of protein then make do with food and save up and get the tub of protein. Making one tub last five months is not going to give you results. Save up and get three tubs for 1 month and you have the basis for good gains. Then keep those gains and plan for the next assault. I hope I am making this clear. You can achieve anything you want, it's just sometimes you have to plan a little differently from those around you.
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For every problem, there is a solution and you only have to look inside yourself for the answers. If you take small steps you can reach the stars! Take a step, relax, then take another and so on. It's far better to do this than to try and run up a slope. You may cover more ground, but you will also stand more chance of slipping back down.
Do as your lifestyle dictates. For most of us we are lucky that we want to look good, feel good and gain some muscle. Why then should you let bodybuilding rule and possibly ruin your life? Make it a positive part of your life, something you enjoy and something that those around you are happy you do, not something they dread you talking about! Make the best of any situation.
If you lose your job, what are you going to do? Spend all your savings on protein powder? Only if you need your head examined. Do what Lee Haney, 7 time Mr. Olympia did and eat nothing but rice and bean sandwiches because that contains all 22 amino acids and he still kept on training when times were tough but he allowed his lifestyle to dictate his bodybuilding.
If you let your bodybuilding become a source of stress, this will also keep you small because stress releases cortisol which eats you from the inside out. Keep calm, make the best of any moment in time and you will reach for the stars. We are here at the end of an e-mail if you need any assistance.
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We don't know it all but we will always assist the best we can. We aim to help each other out, that is something we should all have as a goal. As bodybuilders we know what it takes to succeed so we should all help each other out. This is the goal of Area Nine, it should be your goal to. What goes around comes around. The person you help today could be the person who gives you the answer to brutal gains tomorrow.
Since 2002 I have helped countless bodybuilders for free and continue to do so. Few people have openly given more, yet I also learn from those questions I am asked. Something that few people seem to think is important when they say I should be charging for my advice. What price would you put on the knowledge and assistance I then get back from my fellow bodybuilders?
I had a friend who would always ask and never do what was advised. He never grew; he wasted money on gear and supplements and still never grew. Having the knowledge is one thing, applying it is another, but it is in the application of knowledge that makes you grow, lose fat and achieve all your body performance goals.
You can do it, what makes you any different from those that have achieved their goals? You have just as much ability if you dig down and do what needs to be done and believe in yourself.
Stress kills. It is one of the biggest causes of illness in modern society. Now we won't go into the illnesses and problems stress causes for mere mortals. Let us concentrate on why it is bad for gaining mass.
- It destroys appetite
- It uses up our energy
- It floods your body with cortisol which keeps you from growing
- It burns off calories
Relax first thing in the morning. Why? The morning is the time when you are most catabolic. This is not just because it is the time when you have gone without food, but because it is the time when biochemically you are programmed to be at your most stressed.
| What Does Catabolic Mean?
The breaking down in living organisms of more complex substances (such as muscle tissue) into simpler ones, with the release of energy.
People who suffer from anxiety will often feel more anxious first thing in the morning. Why is this? As daylight approaches you body gears you up for action by releasing adrenaline which raises cortisol levels and raises blood sugar. So a good routine to get into in the morning is to relax as much as you can, mentally more than anything else. Listen to relaxing music or better still go for a walk, light aerobics being excellent at quickly reducing cortisol.
Relaxing throughout the day is also of high importance. I knew a person who ate well, took gear and trained like a beast in the gym. By all accounts he grew well after following this system. Then for no reason he stopped gain and actually started shrinking. The only change was his level of stress. He was going through a stressful time at home and he simply could not relax. His stress ate away at his muscles and in the end he gave up training.
Stress is a fact of life. Even our best laid plans can be tested by life. But it is how we respond to stress that will make or break us. This won't happen overnight but is another thing to work on.
Remember that each time you get stressed you place your body in a negative growth state. So it should be a positive step in anyone's estimation to limit this. There are so many ways to relax and I am by no means an expert on this subject. What works for me may not work for you. There is plenty of information on how to relax and beat stress and this would be time well invested looking into them.