People often contend that Mr. Olympia competitors are simply genetically gifted and they take large amounts of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) so everything else they do is immaterial and subsequently swept under the rug. While I would be foolish to dismiss the significant role of genetics and PEDs when it comes to building a Mr.Olympia-worthy physique, I would also be remiss not to mention the other aspects of what goes into becoming an elite bodybuilder.
Therefore, I found it worthwhile to compose an article that takes a deeper look at the habits of top-level bodybuilders. Frankly these habits are not just the habits of Mr. Olympia competitors, but most any individual who has built a respectable physique. Even if you’re just an everyday gym-goer who wants to build some muscle and shed some fat, you can learn some useful things from this article. Read on as we discuss the seven habits will make you a highly effective bodybuilder.
1. Stick to your diet
It’s kind of sad this is even on the list considering bodybuilding is more or less a sport of eating properly. Nevertheless, many competitors and gym-goers simply do not stick to a proper diet consistently. Make no mistake that your diet in the offseason is just as (if not more) important than a contest prep diet.
Don’t slack when it comes to tracking your food intake, regardless of what time of year it is. You might as well forget about even hitting the gym if you’re not going to be diligent about what you put in your mouth.
2. When it's time to train, train
One of the surest ways to stagnate in the gym is to lack consistency; if you are constantly making excuses to miss training sessions, don’t expect your physique to change much.
If you’re having a hard time getting mentally psyched up to hit the gym, you should question why you truly want to bodybuild (or even change your body altogether). The motivation should never be in doubt, and with that you need to be consistent or you will simply not last in this sport.
3. Progress each day
It’s rather baffling to think why so many gym-goers train with the exact same weights and the exact same set/rep schemes for years on end. Is it not common sense that you should be getting better (e.g. stronger, leaner, etc.) over time if you’re training and eating properly?
Make sure you have goals when you set out to hit the gym. If you were able to bench 225 lbs for 10 reps last time you trained chest, try and get 230 lbs for 10 reps this time around. Track your weights, reps, and sets with a notebook or app on your phone. It won’t take much time at all and is sure as hell a lot more productive than checking your social media feed in-between sets.
4. When it's time to rest, rest
Along the same lines of habit #2, be consistent with your rest and recuperation. Remember, your muscles ultimately grow and repair when you are resting outside of the gym. If you constantly beat yourself into a pulp without the necessary down time to recover, than your body (and mind) will never be up-to-speed.
Advanced bodybuilders can usually get away with training up to six times per week, whereas novices generally do best with training four to five times per week. Regardless of your experience level, you should take at least one day each week to fully rest.
5. Have a daily regimen
Start each day by planning out your food and training schedule. If you work or go to school, make sure you workaround any obligations to include meals and your workout plans. Bodybuilding is just as much a lifestyle as it is a sport; it shouldn’t feel like a burden or obligation to get your meals in and hit the gym.
By writing out your daily schedule in the morning, you will be more motivated to stay on track (and more likely to not skip meals or miss a workout).
6. Reflect on your goals and accomplishments
One of the best ways towards self-improvement is daily positive affirmation. A good tactic to boost your confidence and keep you pushing toward your goals is to put Post-It notes with positive thoughts somewhere that you frequently walk by.
For example, you might put a note on your bathroom mirror that says something like, “I never fail; I either succeed or I learn.” By repeatedly reading positive affirmations your mind will start to believe and your confidence in achieving your goals will increase drastically.
7.Surround yourself with the right people
The road to the top can often be a very lonely one, but anybody who has reached their peak knows that it takes a team of people who support you to achieve that point. Even though the spotlight tends to only shine on the champion in a bodybuilding show, you can be sure that person had a supporting cast helping them behind the scenes.
Never take for granted your peers, friends, and family that support your bodybuilding ambitions. Having that positive reinforcement is absolutely crucial to your success. Best case scenario, find a mentor or coach to work with you to achieve your bodybuilding goals.