Bodybuilding’s bottom line

No matter what training routine you adopt, equipment you use, food you eat, supplements you take, or how knowledgeable you are about the bodybuilding world in general, unless you deliver on the effort and dedication fronts you’ll never make decent bodybuilding progress.

To deliver gradually ever-heavier exercise poundages over the long-term—always performed with correct exercise technique—effort and dedication must be in abundance.

Astonishing transformations have been achieved by bodybuilders of average genetic potential who trained by themselves in garages using just a bench, squat stands and a barbell set, and without any food supplements. Never lose sight of priorities. Successful bodybuilding is basically very simple—very hard work on appropriate training routines, in combination with sound rest and dietary habits.

Effort and dedication, correctly applied, rule.

The joy of effort

The opportunity and ability to train hard—to be able to pour in the effort to work your body to its limit—is a joy, blessing and privilege. To have a body in sufficient condition for it to be pushed to its limit, time after time, and to keep coming back for more, is a wonder.

Temporary injuries and sickness are reminders of the importance of good health.

Look after yourself. Avoid habits and environments that will reduce your potential to be energetic and healthy.

To discover the bodybuilding potential you possess, you have to realize it. To do this necessitates training hard, intelligently and consistently for a number of years. To be able to do this you need to be healthy.

Pouring forth

No training routine, exercise equipment, food, food supplement, magazine, book, website, seminar or DVD exists to get you to drive yourself to the limit in the gym. The buck stops with you.

Many people think they train hard when, in fact, they cut every work set short.

While you’re in the gym, regard your training as the most important part of your life. Treat each work set as if it’s the last one you’ll ever do. Give your all, but in correct exercise technique, of course.

Use any idea to help you grind out more reps. Use promises of rewards and deprivations to ensure that you get all your target reps.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of workout and meal planning, while neglecting the pivotal factor of hard work in correct exercise technique.

When you train, “become” your training.

Few bodybuilders really train hard. But among the minority who do, many don’t take enough rest between workouts to permit themselves to grow, and many don’t eat enough. So, effort and recuperation is the combination to get in order—again, the effort must be correctly applied.

Training supervision

It’s rare to find a bodybuilder who’s able to push himself very hard consistently. Most trainees can get themselves together sufficiently to push to the limit in one or two exercises in a workout, especially the smaller exercises, but to do it in every exercise in every workout for the duration of the hard stretch of a training cycle is another matter.

Many people make a lot of fuss in their workouts, to suggest that they are at their limit, but only very few really are.

Those who do train very hard are highly motivated and, often, properly supervised.

A good supervisor would urge, implore and motivate you to do every rep possible of every work set, and to do every rep with 100% correct exercise technique. But because very few people can afford to pay for their own personal training supervision, find an alternative.

Keep a training logbook, and work out with a good training partner (who acts as your supervisor).

Keep a record of every training session, so that you always know exactly what you need to do to make your next workout a progressive one. Don’t leave your achievements to memory. “Did I bench press five reps with 292 pounds and had a helping hand on the sixth rep, or did I make all six by myself?” “Did I squat 20 reps with 312 pounds, or was it 314?”

Keep meticulous records.

Get a training partner. This person should ensure that you get everything out of all your maximum-effort sets. While it’s not imperative that you’re of similar strength, or are training on the same routines, it’s preferred. Better that your partner is a little stronger than you. This should bring out a competitive streak in you, to your benefit.

Whatever discomfort your training partner “inflicts” on you, give it back when it’s your turn to supervise.

With a good training partner, and accurate records, you’ll quickly understand what exercise intensity is about. You may be surprised at how comfortably you were taking your workouts previously.

While it’s possible to progress well without a training partner, a highly motivated, serious training partner can make a huge difference to your bodybuilding progress. Get one if at all possible.

After each workout, go through what you did, and evaluate everything. Discover what can be improved, and then make the following workout an even better one.

But don’t drop straight into high-intensity training. Work up to it over the initial few weeks of a new training cycle, to ensure you develop the gaining momentum and conditioning needed to benefit from the high-intensity stage.

Muscle growth has to be earned. Few people are willing to give the required effort. And that’s one of the reasons why so many bodybuilders get distracted and confused by other considerations.

Dedicate yourself to delivering the required effort.

But apply it to training routines that are appropriate for you.

And dedicate yourself to fully satisfying the components of recuperation—enough nourishment, and enough sleep (and rest in general).

Then be patient as your body builds bigger muscles.