Bodybuilders Habits And Effective Ways To Change Your Approach
Bodybuilders tend to be creatures of habit. As such, we find a particular comfort zone and stay there until the need for change is glaringly obvious and diminished gains become ever present.
I’ve been trudging down the iron plated path for close to twenty years now and probably more so than any other year previous to 2013, the past twelve months have really opened my eyes to a host of conceivable and altering methods when it comes to all things related to training, dieting, supplementation and intensity. In no way shape or form have I discovered that my past efforts were all for nothing, however a realization that sometimes going back to the basics trumps the newest and latest trends afflicting hard training athletes everywhere. With time to reflect on the past year, here are my thoughts.
Often times all it takes for continued gains in your pursuit of physique perfection is a slight change to a regular pattern of events.
Such a change is true in my approach to cardiovascular training. I have always included some cardio work over the course of each week and previous to this year I had always completed it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning or directly after training with weights. After speaking with a few very knowledgeable people whom I trust and take their advice seriously, I found myself getting the cardio in whenever I could during the day. This approach has proven to be effective and I worry less about time management in the mornings and being so stringent in thinking fasted cardio was the only way to go for fat loss. The second approach that I have modified just slightly this past year is the timing of my weight training.
For years I had to always train at the same time everyday because I truly believed it was the optimal time for me to be at my best in the gym.
Well life changes, responsibilities pile up and you can’t always have things your way. So I decided that it didn’t matter anymore to me when I trained just as long as I did. Whether I train first thing in the morning or late at night, I don’t care anymore. I just go as hard as I can when I get the chance to. Finally, sleeping to ensure full rest and recovery is definitely essential for success, and if I didn’t get at least 8 hours of sleep every night I was not happy. For me I can’t always get those eight hours and thought it would be very detrimental to my training but it’s not. And I have spoken with many very successful bodybuilders who have told me sometimes they only get 4-6 hours a night and haven’t had any problems growing. So the stress related to that is now gone.
Alright, so here come some of the more drastic changes in my approach to bodybuilding. First and foremost, the nutrition aspect of bodybuilding has really changed for me. Going gluten free has been phenomenal and I have never felt better eating this way. No more stomach discomfort and no more highs and lows with blood sugar getting out of whack when eating certain carb sources. My joints feel great and I find I can handle more carbs now than before. I used to think I was highly carb sensitive but I don’t believe that is the case anymore. As for protein sources, going organic by consuming grass fed beef sources, free range poultry and eggs and adding a little more naturally caught fish sources to my diet has significantly improved my physique but more so has appeased my mentality towards meat.
For a while I didn’t like the idea of eating so much meat and often times worried about all the “extras” that were in it.
Now I feel much cleaner after eating these more natural sources and also healthier. The final drastic change I made is in regards to my specific style of training. Up until this year, I had never really bothered with any training accessories and always thought of them as a crutch. The mentality was, if I couldn’t do it all by myself then so be it, I’d look for something else or work up to it. Well, father time is ticking away and little aches and pains start adding up. So I have completely changed my view on training accessories and now when I hit the gym it looks like the only thing missing is a helmet (and if someone develops this concept and tells me it will sustain my training endeavors I’ll have that on too).
A look into the future
As a connoisseur of our craft, I am always on the lookout for what’s new and what has potential to be really effective.
A new wave of training science seems to be taking precedence right now and I am eagerly waiting to see what the research finds along with the anecdotal evidence. I happen to believe (and this is only my personal opinion) that what will be found is what we have known for decades: nothing beats a hard work ethic, with focused intensity coupled with good clean eating. We may end up seeing that different types of training techniques help spur on new growth, or new exercise sequences elicit a better anabolic response or that it doesn’t really matter what you do if you don’t put 110% into it nothing will work. Whatever the case may be, I’ll be watching for it. I also think that the theories surrounding Peri-workout nutrition will continue to grow and prosper and I for one am really excited about that as I truly believe that an intra-workout meal (shake) has propelled the training efforts of those who use it to new heights and we are now capable or going as hard as you can in the gym for longer periods of time. Whether you agree with me as I reflect on a year’s worth of trial and error or not, the message I am trying to convey is this
To continue getting better with each year that passes, you have to keep up with what is happening in our sport. You have to be willing to change and you have to be willing to revisit old patterns to see if they really work.
A well informed, intelligent trainer is a dangerous one for those who will be on stage next to them. Exercise your mind with the same intensity you do your muscles and reap the rewards.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, Endevr Brand Ambassador, Max Out or Get Out sponsored writer, Sponsored by Schiek, Inside Fitness Magazine Staff writer