Every now and again I get the pleasure of coaching, or consulting with an athlete whom has clearly worked hard for their physique. Whether male or female they stand out from the crowd with well-muscled physiques that in some cases are not necessarily lean, but at the same time nowhere near what most would consider overly fat. I’d guess roughly 50% of the folks I work with fit into this category. Of those 50%, I’d further categorize about 5% of them as what I would consider genetically gifted. Meaning, only a small percentage are “naturally talented”; but, the vast majority still have physiques most would love to have.
Please forgive me for digressing for a moment, but this is worth mentioning. I am not one to blow smoke undeservedly, but when praise is due, I give it. It’s important to take the time to praise these hard working individuals and let them know their hard work has paid off. You would be surprised to hear just how many of them humbly don’t consider their physiques praiseworthy when they hear this and don’t consider themselves all that successful. Often, their perspective is that they have much more work to do and more to achieve. Of course there are exceptions, some folks are just full of themselves; but in my experience the majority are not. When I am lucky enough to have one of these individuals appease my curiosity, I make sure to ask them 1 simple question. If they were to narrow it down to just 2 things that that they attribute their current physique to, what would they be?
Without exception, one of the two things they attribute their progress to is that at some point in their lifting career, they really busted their butt, working almost unreasonably hard for a period of years. Often, they add that they certainly were not being very smart about their training and in hindsight consider that their approach was far from what they would today consider “optimal”. Simply put, one of the most common responses is they put in good old fashioned hard work and had a true sense of enjoyment from the iron for a period of 3 to 5 years. I find that truly remarkable. These folks ALL share the common theme of simply getting in the weight room and working really hard with either no plan, or a “suboptimal” plan for years and years; yielding what most would consider a better than average physique.
I’m sure your asking what the 2nd key is, but to be honest, this tends to differ from person to person, there is no additional common theme. Responses vary, but I can say that more than once consistency was the 2nd response. Either with the plan they devised, or with the plan someone gave them, they were very diligent in executing it and following through for years.
So, the moral of the story is, if you are waiting until all your muscle building supplements arrive, or when you have more knowledge about training to craft the perfect plan, or in search of the coach with your perfect plan, wait no more. Get going, get in the gym and get to work. Take the advice of the many, MANY folks I’ve talked to whom all had the same key to success. Bust your butt doing whatever is the best plan you can come up with today, consistently, and rinse and repeat until such a time that you might be among the many who is able to add their experiences to the above.