Bodybuilding - Can You Follow
The Pro Routines and Other Pro Advice?
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you had a safe and great week. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are so glad the weekend is here after a very stressful week.
From reading my blog, you know I work out between five and six days a week to keep up muscle mass because I have to deal with chronic HIV wasting. I have received messages from many of you asking about articles in pro muscle magazines and the confusion you have when reading them. So I decided to write the blog for today on the issue.
Here is one of the questions I received recently:
I read a lot of bodybuilding magazines and I read the routines and diets of the pros. However, some of my buddies at the gym say that all of that is garbage. Since you have been involved in bodybuilding for a while, I hope that you can help me.
Pro bodybuilding has gotten a bad reputation due to all of the steroid use associated with the sport, especially at the professional division. However, while most pros have incredible genetics and may be have some drug assistance, it is not wise to conclude that all of the advice from a pro bodybuilder will not work for you. It is just like with anything, it depends on the source of the information.
Since I have been lucky to meet many of the top pros, here are 5 things that anyone can learn from a top pro bodybuilder:
5 Things That You Can Lean From Pro Bodybuilders
1) They view failure as an opportunity to learn, make adjustments, and try again to succeed as opposed to viewing it as a permanent condition. No matter what you do in life, you will encounter some setbacks. Instead of letting these setbacks put you out of commission permanently, use them to learn from them and become a stronger person. Every setback is an opportunity for personal growth and for learning what not to do in the future. The only time that you fail is the minute that you decide to never stand up again.
2) They have the mindset of a successful bodybuilder. In other words, when problems come up, instead of letting these interfere with their fitness program, they look for solutions to get through them. Bodybuilding is both a physical and extremely psychological endeavor. Of course, we all get frustrated when our schedules are affected by work, or any other life circumstance that may be thrown our way. Life is full of monkey wrenches in case you haven’t noticed and it does not make it easy for us to get our workouts and meals in. Therefore, we have to fight aggressively and plan ahead if we want to get our workouts and meals in.
As bodybuilders we must keep our eyes on the ultimate goal, which is less body fat and more muscle tone. In order to accomplish that one must be consistent with the training and diet. If for whatever reason the program that you have mapped out is too much of a time commitment at a certain period in life, then the solution is to modify the program to one that does fit the time schedule…be flexible. For instance, back in my engineering days there were periods when I had to work 60-70 hours a week, I modified my training to where I would hit the gym 5 days a week for 40-45 minutes of weight training. Since I had no time to do cardiovascular exercise, I would superset antagonistic muscles in order to get some sort of cardiovascular effect refer to my 25-30 minute workouts.
That is all I could afford to do at the time. I always tried to get my training in before work, but if for some reason I would miss it in the morning, then I always had lunchtime to make it up or later in the evening after work. Worst case, there was always the weekend for makeup sessions. Regarding meals, I always brought in all of my meals with me pre-prepared and also enough protein shakes for those times that I was really on the run.
Some of you for whatever reason may not even be able to do more than three sessions a week. If this is the case, then no issue; make the most out of the time that you do have available to train. The key to making lasting bodybuilding and fitness gains at the end of the day is that you have a realistic plan that can be executed consistently, not trying to follow one that looks really good in paper but cannot be executed. You will get to where you want to go, it may just take a little bit longer depending on how much time you can dedicate to reaching your goals.
3) They have a positive attitude and believe in their ability to achieve their goals. This point is of extreme importance as if you do not believe that you can accomplish something, more than likely, you won’t. Thoughts are very powerful things and the way that you see things is the way that your reality becomes. It is my experience that most of the obstacles and limitations in life are placed by one’s mind. Thus, make sure that you are not limiting yourself! Unleash your potential by bringing down all imaginary obstacles!
4) They have an incredible work ethic and schedule their workout times and meal times with the same importance as they would schedule any item at work. Most people give their meal times and workout times a secondary importance. “I have too much too do, so I can’t work out”. Thus, the workouts never get done. How often I hear this! Most of us have a lot to do! We are all busy so if we want to get in shape, we need to make a commitment to it! Committing means having a very structured day where you have a time for your work and a time for your workouts. Again, I am not talking of living in the gym. 25-30 minute workouts can get the job done! However, you do need to allocate that time to your workouts. As far as the diet, how often I hear, there is no way I can eat 5-6 times a day. Well, if you have a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner, with protein shakes in between, there is no reason why you could not go ahead and have all of the required meals. And if the excuse is that there is no time to get all of your meals ready, then I suggest that you prepare your food for the next day the night before. Pre-package everything the night before and that way, when you wake up the next day there is no time wasted in the morning with food preparation. You just carry all of the food with you in a cooler and you are good to go.
5) They have an unbreakable determination. After all, determination is the key to success and when you have a person that is truly determined to achieve something, there is nothing that can get in the way!
What Should You Consider When Reading an Article from a Pro
Here are some things to consider when reading the article from a top pro bodybuilder:
1-If it is a training routine, is it their personal training routine or a program that they created for people with your goals?: This is very important. For the most part, when you read an article from a top pro in a magazine, you are looking at the routines that they use today. However, these routines are tailored to their own goals (which sometimes can be to specialize in certain body parts while de-emphasizing others), recovery capability (which for most is incredibly good), and their schedule (which 9 times out of 10 is much more flexible than for the rest of us, and as a result, they can train multiple times a day). My advice is to keep these things in mind as you look at the routines and apply anything that you see useful in them to your own program. I always find that when I talk to one of the pros about training I get a few new tricks up my sleeve. However, implementing their full training program as is may not do me much good.
2-Everything said in point number 1 is true of the diet as well. If it is a diet article, are they presenting the diet that they used to compete at the Mr. Olympia or the diet that they used at the beginning of their career to get big? That makes a huge difference. The latter may help you out tremendously while the current diet program may be of no use to you when used as is. Again, just like with the training, see if you can get any ideas or tips that you can implement in your diet program but keep in mind that using the exact same diet presented more than likely will not work for you.
Like anything in life, you just simply need to consider the source dispensing the information and then you need to have a critical mind. If you have been implementing a lot of my articles then by now you know how your body works and are able to take a look at the routines and diets of others and take what can help you from them.
Speaking of good sources, if you are wondering who I think are good sources of information in the Pro ranks, for me Lee Labrada has always been an INCREDIBLE source of training and nutrition information over the years. An engineer like myself, Lee has always been a thinking bodybuilder. I have always found his advice to be science based and practical. And though he stopped competing in the early 90’s today he could still step on any top IFBB bodybuilding stage and cause quite a few headaches….and that is just with his “off season” shape which is probably no more than 4% body fat! He talks the talk and walks the walk, which is one of my requirements for judging whether someone is a good source of information or not. On top of that, he is a class act.
If you are wondering about current IFBB pro competitors, lately I have also been learning a lot from a top pro bodybuilder that is currently making his way up through the ranks and who I met back at the FIBO in Germany at the QNT Sports booth. His name is Ben Pakulski. Ben is an incredibly smart bodybuilder also who is constantly looking at science based research and implementing it at the gym. In addition he is just a really cool guy. A soon to be family man, who is getting ready for the Arnold Classic, Ben makes me look like I’m just getting started out in bodybuilding. He’s a big guy.
Turns out that he trains at the gym I have been going to so I’ve had the chance to pick his brain over the past few months. Here are a few things that we have been discussing lately:
Form is key. Nothing new here but it is good to be reminded of it from time to time. Doing less weight and taking the muscle through its full range of motion will take you much farther than using heavy weights and just moving the weight from A to B. Things like keeping the butt in place as opposed to lifting it from the bench as you are doing leg curls will have a dramatic impact in your hamstrings training.
BCAA/Glutamine Supplementation Before, During and After the workout. Taking BCAAs with glutamine and creatine before, during and after the workout both during fat loss and muscle gain phases has a dramatic impact in the way that you will look and recover. I used this technique on Cecile for her contest and if I tell you the kind of gains I registered in a 12 week period, you may not believe me. I will just say that she gained over 10-lbs of lean muscle, which is something that I did not expect at all during a competition phase (especially in a drug free female athlete). Needless to say, I don’t train anymore without Pre, During and Post workout BCAA supplementation (in addition to the creatine and glutamine that I already took).
Anyways, back when I met him I told him that I felt he needed to put all of his knowledge together in an e-book as that would benefit a lot of people out there. After all, he really knows his stuff! Apparently, I was not the only one who told him that as he has taken that advice to heart and he just told me that by the end of the month he will come out with his book. I will be sure to get a review copy and check it out.
Hope you have a great weekend!
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,