Looking back now of course I can see that I was perhaps a bit too strict in my ways, and that so much of energy and time was directed towards things that didn’t matter, or perhaps to the point that I was going way beyond the threshold of the effective dose. The two prime examples of this was the fact that I felt I needed to eat a minimum of 6-8 meals a day in order to be effective. I was of course wrong in regards to meal frequency, but even when I was focused on the right variables such as sleep I perhaps took it too far. It was to the point that if I missed something on the days “to do” list I felt myself back tracking or withering away. Looking back now many of these symptoms were all in my head, but that is not exactly what I want to focus during this piece. I want to focus on little thing that in hindsight I did right. I didn’t become this overly obsessive bodybuilder overnight, but on the contrary it was something that slowly evolved to be. Sure it was unhealthy, and I am glad that I didn’t burn myself out early, but one of the reasons that I didn’t burn myself out was the fact that I slowly build myself to be that obsessive bodybuilder. I only took on additions to the current protocol that I knew without a doubt I could commit to.
Ironic as it sounds I would always ask myself “is this sustainable” and can I see myself bodybuilding in this manner for a long time. I recall asking myself this when I added a 4th day to my training week during my 3rd year of training. “Can I do this, and keep up with it?” Very similar to progressive overload (slowly overtime adding more weight and reps to exercises) inside the gym I took the same approach when it came to how I approached my approach. No quantum leaps, just reading the latest and greatest information (albeit often wrong) and then deciding if I could take this on. By the way I didn’t tack on a 4th day to my training until I was approaching my 4th year of training. So while I at my most neurotic didn’t really reflect that character trait it certainly was there. In part because early on I realized how invasive the sport was to a “normal persons” life and that was especially the case when it came to my slightly more than usual free spirited self. Okay so here is the point I am trying to make really and that is way too often bodybuilders take on more than they can swallow. When using a relative scale to I would say that most physique athletes have levels of adherence that are not too far off from what I would commonly see with general population clients.
You know its January 1st and it’s your new year’s resolutions to get into shape, and you kick off your plan with attempting to make it in to the gym 5 days a week. No different than the gym rat who spontaneously decides they want to do a show because it’s “always been on my bucket list” as you will so often hear. The former hasn’t seen a gym in eight months, and the latter hasn’t ever been able to fully complete a casual fat loss diet once before, but now wants to do so competitively and with a deadline. While the goals are very different you can see that both situations have so much in common. I know that from the sound of the first part of this series it seemed like I was going to flat out give it to the modern day physique athlete for not being tough enough. While I do agree that this is partially true it’s not a story of “suck it up butter cup” at all. If anything I feel that most bodybuilders would benefit from slowing things down a bit and relearning some of the basic skills that will be useful to them when they might be deep into a show prep, or so deep into their bodybuilding career that they do need to start sweating some details that in the in the past they didn’t need to. In my next instalment I am going to go over how to do this, how can we fortify our willpower. We always commonly hear about bodybuilders “ego lifting” in the gym, but the same can be said about trying to do too much way too early and in a similar manner slowing down their progress. Can’t wait to get into the next instalment of this topic!