PART ONE: The Introduction
By Stuart McRobert
Reading time: ~ eleven minutes.
“Are you struggling to build a better physique?”
If so, it’s high time you applied a better way of training.
Or, perhaps your training is going well, but you’re looking for ways to keep your workouts safe, practical, and effective in middle age and beyond.
Either way, this nine-part article is for you.
Why? Because through my around-1,000 articles for US and European print magazines since 1981 (when I was 22 years old), my books, and my own magazine for 15 years, I’ve been a voice of reason in the bodybuilding world for 39 years.
And I’ve helped countless trainees.
You may already be familiar with some of my work, or perhaps this is the first of it you’ve seen. Either way, I hope this nine-part summary of my message will be helpful.
My target readers are usually bodybuilders, but many powerlifters and other strength trainees have also benefited from my work. The method I teach works for all those trainees, and is easily tailored to suit the specific needs of each group.
It also works for all other trainees who are looking for a safe, effective, time-efficient way of building strength and muscle, and improving their health.
The method works for adults of all ages because it incorporates the modifications commonly required as one ages.
But it doesn’t require that you sacrifice your education, career, relationships, family, friends and/or health at the altar of the gym.
It’s a training method that’s eminently practical even if you have a busy life and limited time for the gym.
Although nearly all my readers are men, what I teach also works great for women.
My decades of greatest influence were the 1990s and the 2000s, when bodybuilding print magazines were still prime sources of information and misinformation. My last article for a mainstream US print magazine was in 2015, and my last one for a mainstream European magazine was in 2014. Since then, my visibility was reduced greatly. But I continued to write. I wrote a complex book during that period.
Now, though, I want to increase my visibility.
The lessons I teach aren’t based on just my journey. They are a fusion of the experiences and acquired wisdom of generations of drug-free bodybuilders and strength trainees.
Please keep an open mind as you read all the parts of this article.
And ask your friends who also train, to follow my posts, so they can benefit, too.
Goals: present and past
My goal here is to keep you on the path of effective training.
I teach what I wish I’d known when I was a young man, deceived by the mainstream bodybuilding magazines and books of that era.
Because of ignorance and foolishness, and no hands-on expert coaching, I squandered much of my youth on poor training routines and incorrect exercise form. Although I did some things right then, they were offset by the things I did wrong.
I was highly motivated, and dedicated, but didn’t know how to apply that motivation and dedication properly. For example, my workouts had too many exercises, much of my exercise form was bad, I didn’t deadlift, and anything over two workouts per week was beyond what I could fully recover from. I trained hard, though—too hard at times.
I needed a superior training method—the same one that will help you now.
I was so fed up with the inadequacies of mainstream training instruction that I decided to provide a specialist source of guidance for drug-free trainees, especially those who have (a) average (or even disadvantaged) genetics for bodybuilding and (b) limited time for training. So I started writing articles for bodybuilding magazines.
Eight years later, in 1989, to accompany the articles, I started a publishing business. It began with HARDGAINER magazine and was accompanied by a series of books.
Today, I continue to study, learn, train, write, and publish.
“I’m new to your material. Can you help me?”
If you’ve not read any of my books or issues of HARDGAINER magazine, you’ll probably learn a great deal from reading the other parts of this article. Apply what you learn and you’ll boost the effectiveness of your training.
Then you could learn a great deal more from reading some of my other content. And that could further boost the effectiveness of your training.
“I’ve already studied some of your material. Can you still help me now?”
Because you’ve already studied some of my work, you’ll be familiar with at least some of my views. Even so, the other parts of this article will add further clarity, remind you of important matters you may have forgotten, and perhaps identify areas of your training and recovery you can improve.
Most of my consultation clients tell me they have read some of my books and understand my teachings. But as we talk, it turns out that many of them haven’t really understood my message or, sometimes, had misunderstood it. So it was no wonder they weren’t making much progress, if any.
They were still wedded to conventional training, albeit a scaled-down version, or they had decent routines in terms of exercises, sets and reps, but weren’t applying themselves properly to their training and/or recovery. For example, when I saw the videos of their workouts, the usual situation was that their effort was insufficient and/or their exercise form was poor. Sometimes, their form was so poor that it was just as well their intensity of effort was lacking—otherwise, injuries would have wrecked them.
While the essence of my training message can be boiled down to a single paragraph, the successful implementation of it requires a great deal of the right understanding. To gain the minimum level of that understanding, you need to have studied BEYOND BRAWN. But for a far greater level of understanding, also study BUILD MUSCLE LOSE FAT LOOK GREAT, INSIDE THE MIND OF AN IRON ICON, and some issues of HARDGAINER.
If you’ve trained for many years, and are now in (or close to) middle age (or later), you’ll need to make adjustments to your training and/or recovery so that you can continue to work out successfully. I’ll address some of those issues in later parts of this article. I’m 61 years old and have trained since I was 15. So I have decades of first-hand experience of training as a youngster and in middle age, and also of writing about it.
By “conventional” or “mainstream” training methods, I mean those popularized since the 1960s by the leading (drug-assisted) bodybuilders, and promoted by the mainstream bodybuilding magazines. It means four to six workouts a week, split routines, and typically three or four work sets for each of three or four exercises per body part.
Conventional training methods are still common today, but still produce little or no progress for most drug-free trainees.
Later, I’ll outline a much better approach. One that’s effective without drug assistance and requires way less training.
The interpretations of “bodybuilding,” “strength training” and “weight training” vary, but they refer to the same fundamental activity: the use of weight-lifting equipment to build muscle and strength, and improve appearance, performance and health.
Each of the other eight parts of this article will take around ten minutes to read.
READ – GRASP – APPLY – PERSIST – ACHIEVE!
Next time: Part Two—The Groundwork.