NOTICE: This is article #12 of this series. Click HERE for the front page.
Now that my contest is over, I have to make a new plan of attack. I am taking Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off from lifting and dieting. I get to eat the foods I haven't been able to. Then starting on Thursday, it's back to business.
Stuff To Think About For Your Future
Bodybuilding is unlike any other sport. In bodybuilding, your work is never done. Just because you've won a contest, or reached 200 pounds doesn't mean you are done. In fact, you are far from it. Every time you accomplish a goal, you should set another one. Doing this will allow you to continuously better yourself and make gains. Whether being gaining muscle or losing fat, you are bettering yourself.
No one can honestly ever reach the top in bodybuilding. Because there is always someway in which you can better yourself. Maybe you need to add more mass to your chest. That is my main concern right now. So what needs to be done? First, you need to set up a routine which will allow you to properly stimulate your chest. Different exercises effect each person differently. So try to find the exercises that work best for you. You could also try different techniques. I know I always do dips at the end of my workouts. Maybe I'll try doing them at the very beginning. I technique that people use for their lats is to start each back day with 50 wide grip pull-ups. So why not try that with chest? Try doing 50 dips at the beginning of your chest day.
You could also try a different rep range. If you have been sticking with 6-10 reps, why not try 4-6, 10-12, or 12-15. The only way to find out if it will work for you is to try it.
People always ask me, "What can I do to gain weight?" That is the easiest question to answer. EAT! Then they say, "Well I do eat a lot already." Then EAT MORE! Start keeping track of your calories. If you are not gaining weight at the your current calorie intake, then increase your intake. The same principle applies to losing weight as well. Keep track of you calories. If you are not losing weight, then lower your calories.
There is always something you can improve on. One thing I am going to start doing is training my neck. I have done neck exercises before, but they were always at the end of my workout and I only did a few sets. After reading Big Red's neck article, how can you not train your neck.
If bodybuilding isn't your thing and you are into powerlifting, there is still plenty to do. In powerlifting, you are constantly trying to increase the amount of weight you can lift ... be it Deadlift, Bench, Squat, or whatever. Try setting goals for yourself. For example, if you can bench 250, why not say, "I want to be able to bench 275 in two months." Then bust your butt to accomplish this.
Maybe you can already lift an insane amount of weight. You could try lowering your bodyfat percentage while keeping your strength or increasing it. For example, say you are 210 lbs at 15% body fat and can deadlift 500. Would it not sound more impressive if you were 190 lbs at 8% body fat and could deadlift 500?
If you are considering competing in a bodybuilding contest, start practicing your posing. Even if you are not thinking about entering for another year, start practicing. Throughout the 10 weeks of my contest preparation, I was practicing my posing. With each week, I got better. The difference in my posing ability from when I started compared to now is amazing. Here are some good online posing videos to learn from.
Another thing you could work towards is keeping a stricter diet. This is extremely important no matter what stage you are at in bodybuilding. During my contest prep, I admit, I cheated a few times. When I think about it, the only thing I was doing was cheating myself. The bad food I ate no doubt negatively effected my appearance on contest day. Whether a little or a lot, it doesn't matter. It was still a negative effect. This goes for when on a bulking cycle too. Some people have the belief that, "I'm bulking so I can eat whatever I want." It is true that the point of bulking is to gain weight, but wouldn't you really have the weight you gain be muscle and not fat? I'm sure you would opt for the muscle.
Perhaps the most important aspect of bodybuilding is increasing your knowledge and understanding of the human body. By understanding how your body works, functions, and operates, you can greatly increase you gains. Did you ever wonder where the saying "Knowledge is power" came from?
Basically, what I am saying is never to think that you cannot better yourself or there is nothing left for you to do. There is always some area in which you can better yourself. Be in size, strength, will power, knowledge, whatever. Bodybuilding is a never ending battle against yourself. It is up to you to decide when you are done battling.
Return to my Contest Preperation page to continue!