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Inspiration For The Hardgainer!

When you're in that gym, no matter how old you are, and no matter what size you are, you have every right to be there. I wish somebody had told me that...
I'll never forget the first time I stepped into a gym. I was maybe 14 years old, weighing all of about 120 pounds. I had already reached my current height, 5'9", so I was, in a word, skinny. In there with my friends, doing bench press with the bar and maybe a few sets of curls, I looked around and said, "Wow! There are some big guys in here!" I began to feel pretty stupid, being just a skinny kid that could barely bench his weight. I left that day feeling very intimidated, and it was a good year or so before I ever lifted again.

Don't make that mistake I made. When I was in the gym that day, the only thing that really bothered me, the only thing that was really on my mind, was how out of place I felt just because I wasn't tossing plates around like a pro. When you're in that gym, no matter how old you are, and no matter what size you are, you have every right to be there. I wish somebody had told me that, but it took playing high school football to give me the self-confidence to go back to the gym.

A lot of us folks with super-high metabolisms, the hardgainers, make excuses. I know I did. "My parents are super skinny, and I'll never be able to gain weight. I eat all the time, but I still don't gain!" Don't let being a hardgainer get inside your head. Look at it as a challenge. A lot of people wish they could eat as much as we could. And anyone can make gains, no matter what your genetics are. When you step into that gym, you have to step into a whole new mindset if you truly want to travel the road of the bodybuilder. You have to accept the challenge that to make gains you are going to have to eat constantly, and get plenty of sleep. You're going to have to lift heavy, and train right. And you are going to have to work for those gains; you're going to have to work hard. And it won't happen overnight, it won't happen in a week. The gains might come slowly, but when they do, you will have accomplished something great.

The gym may seem a daunting place when you first start out. Looking around, you're going to see those big guys, throwing up plates like they're nothing. The egos in a lot of gyms run as thick as the testosterone. As long as you know gym etiquette, you should never have a problem. Use the equipment correctly, carry a towel and wipe up your sweat, rack your weights, always be ready to give someone a spot, be courteous when waiting on equipment, offer to let people work in, etc. Never, ever be intimated to ask for help! If you don't know how to use a particular piece of equipment, ask someone who works there and they should be happy to help. If you need a spot, no matter how much weight you're lifting, just ask someone! Spotting for other people is part of the game, and everyone in a gym should know that. If you follow these rules, and work out seriously and courteously, then you have as much right to be there as anyone else, no matter what your level of experience is.

Another thing I had to learn to get over is how much weight I used for my lifts. Don't fall into this ego trap-it's really silly. Bodybuilding isn't about how much weight you can lift; it's about the total package, your development and symmetry. When I would be really pushing it to get reps with 95 pounds on bench press, or having to work to squat 135, I often felt silly. When I would go pick up the thirty-pound dumbbells to do incline with, I felt like maybe I didn't belong in a gym because I couldn't do more. Sometimes someone would look at me, and I would wonder if they wondered why I was using such low weight. It was an insecurity thing, plain and simple. Don't ever, ever feel like that. We ALL have to start somewhere, and I and anyone else with a shred of integrity will respect anyone in the gym who is serious about working out.

I got over that, mainly because I was playing football and I had my friends and teammates encouraging me, and most of them were in the same situation as me. Like I said, we all have to start somewhere. By the time I finished with football, I had found the gym to be my second home, and I loved it. I really hope every one of you can feel that way too. Today I get looks sometimes to, though it's usually when I pick up the hundred-pound dumbbells and get some reps with those on bench. It's a good feeling to impress people like that. And anyone can reach that. What's even better is that it never stops. Sure you may hit a plateau, but you can always tweak your routine, change your diet, and try some new supplements. In bodybuilding, your dedication and commitment make you get better, every day.

What I am basically trying to say here, is that I know what it feels like to be that skinny kid in the gym that may feel a little out of place, and who is wondering if his work will ever pay off. I know what it's like to rush to weigh yourself, only to be disappointed again. But with good knowledge, and dedication, the rewards will come. And the hard work it took to make those gains will make it so much sweeter. When you get on the scale and realize, "Wow, I've gained three solid pounds," you'll feel like celebrating.

When you realize that you can squat 200 pounds six times easily, you too may look back and remember when you thought you might not ever be able to do that. And for us hardgainers, I think the rewards are even sweeter, because those gains seem to come so slowly. But in the long run, they are going to come, I promise you.

Never doubt that you belong in that gym, because bodybuilding really is a brotherhood, and you earn a membership in that brotherhood by learning everything you can, and dedicating yourself to putting those principles to work to make the temple that is your body something to behold. The power lies within you, and never let anything stand in your way. Good luck!