Are you delusional or realistic about your physique goals?
If I were to ask you point blank what your body fat is what would you tell me face to face?
If I were to show you a picture of someone else's body that is very similar to yours, would you acknowledge it or be in denial?
If you and your significant other see a man walk by twice the musculature that you are, and much leaner, would you credit him or tell yourself that if you took the “same stuff” he took (assuming he was taking Performance Enhancing Drugs), you would appear the same?
These are all questions and scenario's that I have witnessed, and reminds me that some people cannot grasp reality.
Let's start from the beginning...
When you first begin weight training, you are usually clueless and unaware of proper nutrition, rest, training and all the key variables involved in getting results. For the fresh beginner, results will manifest regardless, simply due to "foreign stress” that is happening to your immature muscle tissue. Muscle growth, increase in metabolic rate, and a better sense of well-being will inevitably happen.....AT FIRST. Once this grace period comes to a halt (usually after several months) you will need to further educate yourself about proper nutrition and more sound training routines to keep the results soaring.
Let's investigate a typical, hypothetical scenario -
Although everybody gets results in the very early stages of weight training, some people respond ABNORMALLY well to lifting weights and will leave their training partners in the dust! So if both trainees started weight training at the same time, but one surpassed the other by a huge margin, it is very apparent that genetics are crucial in muscle hypertrophy and favorable body composition.
The training partners will both accrue more knowledge in regards to nutrition, supplementation, and different training techniques but the genetic superior will always stay way ahead. As time passes the thought of hormonal assistance is becoming extremely tempting to the genetic inferior. In fact, he begins his first cycle of “Prohormones” (that might be over-the-counter for the time being, but are designer hormones and “the real deal”) in hopes to surpass his training partner.
He begins to put some weight on (water-->via-->glycogen retention/sodium retention), his strength begins to increase, muscles appear fuller (more 3-dimensional looking) but he still does not look like his training partner! I mean, he has put on 15-20 lbs. in 4 weeks, and has gotten stronger, but he still is not as impressive as his gifted training partner!
This scenario is so harsh and disheartening for most people to accept that it literally drives them insane. If they don't accept the fact that some people’s genetic makeup responds better to muscle stimuli, food, elevated hormones, and all other pertinent aspects of muscle growth-they begin to make assumptions and excuses for their shortcomings. Perhaps thinking their superior training partner is taking some special product behind their backs, taking huge amounts of performance-enhancing-products or all of the above.
Reality check time!
Let's say the “genetic superior” decided to dabble in the same Prohormone cycle his “genetic inferior” training partner took.
This is when the genetic elite trainee EXPLODES! His already lean and muscular physique becomes even more profound with big, round muscles and low body fat.
As you can see from this common scenario, it will be obvious right from the beginning who is in a predisposition to be a lean & muscular elitist among people with “mediocre genetics”.
So what can you do about this painful, yet rude awakening fact of life?
First off, get your training and nutrition down as best as you can before even CONSIDERING advanced supplementation beyond your protein powders, BCAA’s, creatine etc... How many times have you seen younger "newbies" choose a harsh “over-the-counter” methylated, designer hormone before considering a high quality protein powder, let alone even looking as if they lift weights to begin with? People want to take shortcuts and assume that exogenous hormones (pro-hormones, steroids, SARMs, etc…) are the missing link to them looking like a Greek God.
Listen very closely now – patience is a virtue.
In this Bodybuilding game, patience is absolutely mandatory. You must understand that nothing comes easy, nothing comes without sacrifice, and hard work will ultimately pay off. The current trend I am seeing now days with the uprising stock of young, aspiring Bodybuilders is –
● “More is better”
- “Training and nutrition is not as important as advanced supplementation”
- “Every IFBB Pro or amazing looking Bodybuilder is abusing XYZ product, and is keeping secrets from everyone about how they transformed into their current physical ”
- “Health issues are overrated, and fabricated due to media”
The real truth about the above way of thinking is THE OPPOSITE of these misinformed youngsters and their dogmatic beliefs. Less is actually more. If you can get the “most from the least” you are on the correct path for longevity, health, results, and for maximizing your innate potential.
Just because protein builds muscle, does not mean you should go from 300g a day to 600g a day, assuming it will double your muscle growth potential. It will likely stress your digestive tract, increase blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, and could convert to glucose, and ultimately store as fat.
Just because training once a day in high volume fashion produced amazing results does not mean training high volume twice a day will double your results. Central nervous system fatigue, elevated cortisol levels, and constant muscle breakdown could lead to heightened creatine kinase levels, which could lead to a catabolic condition called rhabdomyolysis.
Stepping on the gas & kicking things up a notch-
Once you stress all variables at your disposal, and want to compete at the upper echelon of competitive Bodybuilding competitions, you will be tempted to engage in exogenous hormonal enhancement – be it legal prohormones, or Doctor prescribed hormone therapy, or non-prescribed anabolic agents. Once you commit to hormonal enhancement, understand that you will get results, but DO NOT become irate when you don't turn into Mr. Olympia afterwards.
It is truly sad when someone who fails to grasp reality will implement exogenous hormones into their regimen and gain a respectable amount of muscle (8-14 lbs.), gain some strength, lose some body fat, yet are let down they did not achieve more?
You must still continue on with your diligent eating and training regimen that you SHOULD HAVE been doing in the first place. To truly maximize your supra-physiological hormone levels, you must feed the muscle high quality protein, essential fats, and complex carbs every day. Just because you have an athletic friend from “Nigeria” or “Germany” with God-given perfect DNA makeup who can eat candy, potato chips and fast food all day, then go to the gym for a half-ass workout and look better than you, does NOT mean that you shouldn't do everything in your power to make the most of what you got.
Let's make a checklist for variables that MUST be addressed before committing to hormonal assistance or OTC prohormone usage.
The Checklist -
1.) I have stressed all avenues of nutrition and found out what suits my body best.
2.) I have stressed all facets of training and found out what suits my body best.
3.) I have been training diligently for more than 3 years while eating and training consistently.
4.) I understand that genetics play an integral role in nutrition response, training response and hormone response.
5.) I understand that you CANNOT continue gaining 10-15 lbs. each and every year.
6.) I understand that there is a "diminishing returns" effect when using higher amounts of just about anything and side effects become prominent.
7.) I understand that SAYING I eat 5000 calories a day is much different than LITERALLY EATING 5000 calories a day.
8.) I understand that SAYING I am 8% body fat is much different than LITERALLY being 8% body fat with ALL abs fully visible and having a very thin skin fold measurement all throughout the body.
9.) I understand and acknowledge all of the above.
If you can understand & oblige to this list, then you are realistic enough and mature enough to take things to higher levels. You must segregate yourself from false perceptions and accept reality. Please do not become discouraged from the information given and use it to your benefit and seek out your underlying potential, just be realistic about it.
I personally have witnessed several competitive Bodybuilders' with average genetics annihilate genetically gifted or "elite" athletes due to impeccable work ethic, adherence to perfect nutrition, and giving everything they had to achieve the end result they sought after. I have noticed a lot of the time, the genetic elite athletes understand that they can do the bare minimum and look better than 95% of everyone else. This awareness makes them LAZY. Can you imagine if that genetically gifted person had the drive, will power, and persistence as the average athlete that is a work horse? It would be a sight to behold.
I hope everything discussed in this article will "sink in" and let each and every one of you acknowledge the importance of all variables involved in this muscle-building equation. Leave no stone un-turned, and give it everything you got, because for most humans........building high-quality muscle isn't easy.