|To be successful in any field requires hard work, and hard work, being hard, always requires motivation. Some would say that a natural predisposition or good genes set aside the good bodybuilders from the great. But if the truth is told, your body can only take you a certain distance. Eventually, you will get to a point where you feel you have reached your peak, or you think you have reached the height of your "genetic potential," and that there is nothing left to do. Even the most motivated athletes can lose confidence in themselves, and convince themselves that they have reached a plateau, which either results in a subsequent maintenance of the current position, or more likely a disinterest and therefore decline. There is one way to combat this, and it is much more easily said than done. And that is:||
Hard at Work!
1ST MAJOR POINT:
You create your own limits.
I can hear the science minded out there saying 'That is ridiculous, how can he say that, everything has limits.' BUT, the limits one places on his or her own goals will always, always, fall far short of the hallowed 'genetic potential.' This doesn't mean set your goals to seemingly unachievable goals, because more often than not, this will have a psychologically detrimental effect, making you feel like what you aim for is always so far away. As an example, say I wanted to work on my pecs, so I said to myself, 'Steve, in four months, I want to be benching one rep of 160kg.' And lets say my current one rep is 140kg. So breaking it down, in the next month I have to increase my one rep max by 5kg, which means every week I want to increase my max by around 1.5kg. If I work my chest twice a week, I have to add an extra 750g each session. 750g each training session, for four months to raise my one rep max 20kg. This seems like a fairly logical way to work towards a goal one sets oneself.
But look at it this way. Instead of saying to myself, 'Steve, in four months, I want to be benching one rep of 160kg,' I say to myself, 'Steve, each time I go for my one rep max I want to put on an extra kilo.' So 1kg times two training sessions a week, times four weeks in a month times four months is 32kg. 172kg instead of 160kg. This brings me to my second major point:
2ND MAJOR POINT:
Never give yourself a restriction.
Sorry to be negative there, but it is the only way it can be said. Work forwards, never work backwards. This ties back to my point of creating our own limits, and aiming to have reached a certain level by an organized time is very limiting. The best way to go about weights training is to look at what you are doing, (technique and weight) and see how you can push yourself the most. The best goals are set when you first put foot in the gym. However, this kind of perspective is, although I believe the most effective, the hardest to remain motivated. A steady progression towards a future goal is great motivation to push the pain aside and go the extra rep, and many people find it hard to take weights as one training session at a time, which brings me to my third major point:
3RD MAJOR POINT:
One step at a time still gets you there.
This is a very easy point to convince yourself isn't true. Most of us would run 10km in blocks. We would say to our self, 'Its only two 4km runs then a little 2km sprint, I'll be sweet.' The top sportspeople would break it down even further, and I implore you to break it down to 10 000 steps. The difficulty comes when you get to your 3 469th step, and you tell yourself, 'Only six thousand, five hundred and thirty one steps to go.' That is not the way to view your training. What you need to get in the habit of saying is 'Well, I've taken three thousand, four hundred and sixty nine steps, and now I'm going to take one more.' And then 'Well, I've taken three thousand, four hundred and seventy steps, and now I'm going to take one more.' And so on, and so on.
Keeping motivated when taking one step at a time takes a very strong person. Motivation to get up and go to the gym is the big problem when working from this perspective, and what I say to this is just do it. Put weights as a high priority and not something that can be pushed aside to fit in with the rest of your life. Make it routine and just get there. No excuses. And I mean that. Really, no excuses. So you have a cold, so your girlfriend dumped you, so what? Get into the habit of going no matter what and the motivation to go hard will come in spades. Once you're there, you will know this is where you want to be, and you are going to work yourself. And thus, my final major point is:
4TH MAJOR POINT:
Love the gym, and it'll love you back.
Spend time with the gym, be punctual and treat him with respect. Because of all the time you're spending there, it will become your second home, so treat it like one. When this happens, you'll find it easier to get up and go every day and your weights will stop being a means to a built body, but a time when you can go and explore your limits. When it comes to weights, if you don't want to be your own worst enemy, you must manipulate your thinking to your own advantage.
Finally, here is a little recap on the four major points of this article:
- 1- You create your own limits.
- 2- Never give yourself a restriction.
- 3- One step at a time still gets you there.
- 4- Love the gym, and it'll love you back.