Sometimes it's hard to see the forest with all the trees blocking your view. In bodybuilding, it is easy to lose sight of the fundamentals and get caught up in the nitty-gritty details you read about in the magazines all the time. Time for a little checklist of do's and don'ts to make sure you're on track!
- Be consistent. Hit-and-run doesn't work - you have to stick to your program and do your best every single workout. Try to make some kind of improvement every time you go to the gym.
- Stick to the basics. Dead lifts, dumbbell presses, chins, squats, military presses and heavy bicep curls will never go out of style.
- Allow yourself enough time to recover between workouts. Be sure to watch for signs of over training.
- Eat plenty of high-quality food. Your diet should consist primarily of rice, pasta, oatmeal, vegetables, chicken, lean beef, tuna, and other staple foods of bodybuilders.
- Sleep at least 8 hours per night. You need this time to recover as well as benefit from the natural boost of natural growth hormone that occurs during REM-sleep.
- Avoid getting stuck in a rut. Doing the same things with the same exercises month after month will not challenge you. The difference between sticking to a program and being stuck in a rut is whether you change things around and make progress or not.
- Substituting good food with supplements is a bad idea. Supplements are great for giving you an edge, and perhaps help you get the nutrition you need when on the go sometimes, but it can never take the place of real food. Plan your diet around solid meals, and use the supplements to cover pick up the slack in-between.
- Never ignore budding injuries or signs of over training. Be sure to rest and/or talk to a doctor if you experience stubborn joint pain or similar symptoms.
- Don't let what you read in the magazines get to you. If some juiced-up pro says he does dozens of sets for biceps, that doesn't mean you have to. If your experience tells you that 6 sets are enough, stick to it. Listen to your body.
- Last but not least, don't lose sight of the big picture. Even if you may be on a plateau and motivation is low right now, there's only one way to beat it - by trying harder and training smarter. The reward will come when you get off the plateau and start making progress again. A positive attitude is everything.