On just about every website dedicated to bodybuilding there are dozens and dozens of articles that discuss sets, reps, exercises, routines, and intensity techniques…and rightfully so! After all, if getting bigger, stronger, and leaner is your game, then you better be on point when you enter the gym.
However, no dialogue on training would be complete without discussing the mind’s role in the equation! It would be a true disservice to my readers not to include what may be the most important element in your pursuit of reaching the outer limits of your genetic potential.
Start by asking yourself these very important questions…"What separates the good from the great? The athlete from the all-star? The competitor from the champion. The big from the best?" Is it luck? Is it steroids? Is it genetics? Or is it something that each and every one of us is capable of tapping into if we are willing to reach far enough? Something that we could learn to harness, not only to significantly hasten our results in the gym but to positively affect the very direction of our lives!
The truth is that most of us tend to look for external solutions to our bodybuilding problems. "Am I using the right training program; the right diet; the most powerful supplements?" But did you ever stop and consider that the true key to progress might lie somewhere within? Do me a favor…please go take a good long look at your face in the mirror. Are you looking? Good.
Do you realize that the most powerful computer known to man is not sitting on your desk, propped up on your lap, or in the palm of your hand? In fact, it is not available at any of the top electronics stores. No, it is stuck just behind your eyes, right between your ears, and smack inside your skull!
Yes my fellow iron freaks, I am talking about your brain…or more specifically, your MIND. The extraordinary power of one’s thoughts cannot be denied. "Mind over matter," is real. Turning the impossible into the possible begins in your head…then bleeds into your heart, and finally, bathes your soul. Learn to “use your mind in muscular development,” and your body will follow! This is something I can assure you of!
Now that I have your gray matter firing on all cylinders, please read the remainder of this article very carefully…then reread it! For if you can take these ideas and ingrain them so deep in your mind that they burrow into the subconscious, you will not only have the ability to live bodybuilding on a whole other level but perhaps your entire existence as well…
Every night before you go to sleep think deeply about exactly what you would like to look like. Form a clear visual in your "mind’s eye" of every muscle…every vein…every cut…and every striation that you want to see on your body. Imagine the BEAST! Then, visualize your workout for the next day from beginning to completion in your head. See the gym, the people, and the equipment.
Hear the music relentlessly pounding in the speakers, the weights clanging and the dumbbells smashing onto the floor. Smell the atmosphere. Feel the sweat as it drips from your forehead onto your soaked tee shirt as you perform every rep with masterful precision, inducing the most intense pump you have ever experienced in your life. Embed into your subconscious exactly what you want to accomplish during your workout, and your body will be pre-programmed to follow!
Learn to approach each and every workout with an enthusiastic and positive attitude. Expect that you will have a more productive workout today than you did yesterday. Know that the weights are going to feel lighter, and each exercise, easier. Enjoy the pain. Embrace the pump. Be fully aware that this workout will bring you one step closer to your goals, and that every rep of every set is going to command that your muscles grow bigger, harder, and stronger! Leave doubt at the door. You WILL have the best workout of your life today…and NOTHING on this earth can stop you!
Don’t just lift the weights…ATTACK THEM! Tear them apart! Treat every rep as if it were the last you would ever perform. Lift like your life is on the line. Look at the weights and then listen as they mock you… “C’mon wimp! You can’t lift us! Go home and curl up on the couch with your dolls, and some potato chips, and watch Oprah!” Then, go ahead and retaliate with the kind of ferocity that you are saving for your worst enemy!
Do whatever it takes to psyche yourself up. Yell…growl…slap yourself…think of people you hate (or taxes). Just get PISSED OFF! Then, channel all of that intense anger and emotion into every rep of every set. You cannot simply whisper at your muscles, you must scream at them! Don’t just work out...GO TO WAR!
During every set, concentrate profoundly on what you are doing. While resting, concentrate on what you’re about to do. If you are serious about becoming a freak, then think about just one thing while you are in the gym…what you need to do to BECOME A FREAK! Put away the cell phone, drop the newspaper, quit the chatter, and stop staring at the hot babes (ok, stare a little…just for a testosterone boost).
Ponder about the body part you are working with laser-like focus. Forge the “mind/muscle” connection. And if you want to work out with a partner, make sure he or she is just as passionate about training as you. If you can’t find someone like this, then go it alone! Always remember one thing: Your time in the gym is a gift! Don’t waste a single moment.
If the first few sets of your workout don’t go as well as planned, DO NOT let that get to you, and DO NOT let that set the tone for the remainder of your workout. If you attempt to set a personal lifting record and fail, DO NOT get depressed. Regroup! Leave the negativity behind, and look ahead. You KNOW your next set will be better…and that each successive set will be EVEN BETTER! The gym is no place to hang your head low…or to be a crybaby!
The gym is your sanctuary…your domain…your temple. It is where you go to leave life’s problems behind. While you are at the gym YOU are the boss and YOU are in control. You make the rules, set the pace, and make the decisions. Remember, the gym is the one place where reaching “failure” is a good thing! Yes, setbacks are bound to occur, but this is when you must dig deep, pick your head up, and OVERCOME! What does not kill you makes you stronger!
It’s perfectly ok to pat yourself on the back after a solid set or productive workout, but don’t let that smile get stuck on your face! In other words…GET OVER IT and GET ON WITH IT! Set your sights on the next set or next workout and think about how you will CRUSH your previous accomplishments. Complacency is the enemy of a bodybuilder…especially one seeking FREAK status.
Remember, your body is an adaptive machine! You MUST push further to progress to the next level. Kick your butt today, but kick it harder tomorrow! You just benched 315 for the first time? AWESOME! Now it's time to figure out what it will take to nail down 320. To reach your potential you cannot merely be hungry…you must be starving!
Do not avoid pain…embrace it! Everyone knows the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” This applies to the art of bodybuilding perfectly. There is simply no way around it…if you want to be a FREAK, you must learn to deal with pain. Learn to think of pain as your closest friend, and invite it over every time you lift a weight.
When pain occurs (unless it is "injury" pain…please learn the difference) while training, do not think this is the end of your set, but just the beginning! Think of pain as a signal. It is telling you that you have entered the growth zone. It's the juncture of the set that will trigger the physiological mechanisms that will lead to growth. When your muscles are burning, your heart is racing, and the nausea is overbearing, simply smile, and remember…you are now one step closer to your goal.
Simply put, you must have faith in yourself and faith in what you want from life. If you have faith in your workout program, dietary regimen, and supplementation strategy, you will greatly increase your chances of success.
Believe in your heart that the path you have taken is the right one for you, and do not let ANYONE get in the way. Surround yourself with people that share in your faith and feed your spirit. Faith is the foundation from which you will grow.
DO NOT set limits! DO NOT let anyone tell you what you can and cannot accomplish. Ignore the guys in lab coats that claim you can “only get so big.” Laugh at those that tell you that you can’t get big or ripped unless you use steroids, clenbuterol, insulin, and GH.
Your body is only limited by where your mind is willing to take you. People defy the “laws” of science and reason every day! Nobody ever thought that Roger Maris’ home run record could ever be broken…but it has been smashed more than once!
Nobody ever believed a 4-minute mile would ever be run…it is now commonplace! An 800lb bench press was once thought insurmountable…now there are men that do reps with it! Conceive, believe, and then ACHIEVE! Those that are afraid to dream are bound by the limits that their mindsets for them. DREAMERS see beyond what is and seek out what can be. So dream my friends, and dream BIG! Always look to raise the bar…and once you do, jump right over it and don’t look back.