It’s truly amazing when one considers the excellent lengths where most bodybuilders will go so as to get a pound or two more of muscle–especially natural bodybuilders. Let them know that there’s some new African herb which runs down the bark of a forbidden tree in the center of a lion’s den, and off they go to be a ringleader.
It doesn’t matter if it tastes like dung and smells horse manure. If it is going to grow muscle, then it has to be consumed. Digestion whatsoever costs. I literally read of a bodybuilder that became sick from drinking too much of a supplemental beverage he vomited some of it up and then swallowed it once more. That may sound crazy and disgusting, but it gets much worse than that.
Understand, I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve consumed my fair share of nutritional supplements and gross drinks. In actuality, I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on supplements–some good and some not so great. I even bought a few low voltage electroshock machines, which were assumed to increase muscle mass through intensive, invulnerable contractions.
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I won’t ever forget the look on my brother’s face when he walked into my bedroom to find me shaking all over the bed. He laughed until he was blue. The joke, however, was on me. I had to learn the hard way and I did. That’s not to say that supplements aren’t important. Quite the contrary, I think they are an imperative. In actuality, I feel that supplements may be the difference between mediocrity and greatness.
Supplementation has come a long way and today gives the natural bodybuilder incredible metabolic support. From the natural testosterone boosters into the glutamine and creatine, we’re blessed to have such a plethora of quality goods at our disposal. My passion is helping others to build muscle naturally without making the same mistakes that I made.
I’ve studied the science of bodybuilding extensively through the years and I have learned how to pack on muscle naturally without using anabolic steroids if that’s the road you choose. It can be done and the satisfaction is really unbelievable. As a Personal Trainer I’m in the gyms daily and never a day goes by without someone asking me how they could pack on the size. At least one or two per week will approach me and ask me if I’m on steroids.
While it can get bothersome, I try to help somehow, while leading them into the fact they don’t require anabolic enhancement to acquire good muscle–notably with all the natural options available (time-realeasing proteins, cell volumizers, growth hormone stimulators and much more). It’s true, the secrets to muscle growth can be allusive with respect to certain nutrients and their time and partitioning.
However, the most important foundational truths are basic and simplistic. The main muscle building truth is that the one most abused. Most therapists overtrain and do this compulsively. In actuality, they can not help themselves. They go in the gym and spend hours upon hours doing exercise. I feel some of these should pack lunch and dinner, and possibly even a tent. They could literally spend an entire day working out.
Is it worthwhile?
If they were making profits and putting on muscle then perhaps yes. But the sad truth is that some of these never appear to change. I see them day after day and week after week and they seem exactly the exact same exact way they did a year ago. As a personal trainer and fellow bodybuilder, this can sometimes frustrate me to no end. If you’re working the same body parts over and over again without sufficient rest, it is very probable that you’re doing serious harm to your body and losing ground in your quest for muscle.
Most individuals fall into one of two classes: those who do not train enough and people who train too much. Do you fit into one of those categories? You may come to understand that you truly belong to both of these. What I mean by that is this: the biggest mistake I see people doing is exercising endlessly with weights which aren’t heavy enough to cause the muscle adaptation that contributes to growth. In plain English, most train with weights which are far too mild to cause any legitimate increase in lean body mass.
Instead, they work feverishly to find a pump. Unfortunately, a pump can kill your chances in muscle growth. I’ll save that for another article at another time. Let’s get back to the dilemma of poundage. If you are training in the 12-15 rep range all the time, then in my opinion you won’t ever see the sort of muscle you need –if any at all. Why? Muscle will increase only as it’s forced to adapt to a load larger than it is accustomed to moving. If you are always lifting in that rep range, you are likely not challenging your muscles with the essential overload to induce development.
You might be moving up a bit in weight and using that rep scheme. But you are still not hard your body with the essential overload that contributes to hypertrophic protein synthesis. So as to stimulate maximum growth you need to use a heavy, intense, low rep scheme. It’s heavy lifting that recruits the white fast twitch fibers that have the best potential for growth. However, it’s essential to be careful not to lift too much. Lifting too much for too long can result in overtraining.
It is pushing your body to a state at which the workload is greater than the body’s ability to recuperate. It has a profound effect on your nervous system, also. If your nervous system becomes overtaxed it’ll cause fatigue, overall muscle fatigue and premature muscular contraction. Physiologically you will decrease your testosterone levels and interfere with your immune system. You’ll also realize that you have a substantial decline in motivation and focus. All this contributes to zero-growth.
You’re carrying the muscle fibers to the point of no return. As they keep trying to mend, you keep stopping the procedure. Try to keep this picture in mind: overtraining is like picking a scab. If you keep picking the scab, it never heals. If you never allow the muscle repair and recuperate it won’t ever lead to new development.
Don’t pick the scab!
Let it heal and it’ll grow. Besides overtraining, intensity is another place where most absence. The main reason for the lack of intensity is directly related to the weight they raise and the mindset that’s required to drive the body to its limits. If the weight is heavy enough, the intensity will follow. Lift heavy but lift clever. Bodybuilding requires leaving your ego at the door. Forget about what somebody else is raising and focus on your objectives and your limitations. Proper form is imperative.
I’d make the following recommendations concerning intensity and overtraining. First, pick a weight which you could control for 4-6 reps with strict form. Once you can do 7 reps, it is time to raise the weight. Do no more than 9-12 total sets per body part–not including warm up sets. Never workout for over 45 minutes. Once you pass the 45 minute-mark you’re entering what I call the point of no return. Testosterone levels drop, cortisol levels increase and it makes for quite a catabolic environment.
I know this is a difficult one but here goes: attempt to train each body part only once a week–twice only if you are confident that you have fully recovered. This is also where I need to take some time to discuss the value of supplementation.
Creating an anabolic environment is absolutely among the main things a bodybuilder has to make certain to focus on. I also think that the cultivation of an anti-catabolic environment is just as important. This may be accomplished with good replenisihment throughout the period between workouts utilizing excellent glycogen loading supplements, together with an excellent protein MRP. Make certain you consume at least 1.5 to 2 g of protein per pound of bodyweight a day with 35-45 g coming in immediately following the workout. Also, be certain to include at least 25-50 grams of complex carbohydrates along with your protein. I would also incorporate pre-workout BCAA’s an hour before training.