The last few weeks I have been visiting an old gym close to work. I used to go there about two or three years ago and spent a total of 8 months training in this dungeon about 4 times a week. On the third day of my return I saw a guy who used to teach me proper form on biceps Scott curls. He was one of those naturals with a decently sized gut, but since he also had some meat on his arms he behaved like an expert on everything.
Anyway, the guy looked absolutely the same compared to his shape from a few years back. He was still fat, and there were no visible muscle improvements. In a conversation with another bro he said that he has been training at this very gym for the last five years. This brought my mind to an unavoidable conclusion: natural bodybuilders don’t change much, if at all, past a certain point. The guy was a pretty good proof himself. Even though his arms were somewhat big, especially compared to mine, he was still the same size, and his gut was definitely still there. Nice progress for over 2 years.
The next week, I met the same guy. In this gym everybody says “Hello!”, even if they see you for the very first time. This was new and weird to me, because I have spent much more time in gyms where grunting like you are getting banged by an alien and spitting on the floor is the norm. Things like “Hello!” are replaced by a mean silent look with a special underlying message: “Go fuck yourself, insect!”
So, this bro said “Hi!” to me and proceeded with what was supposed to be a chest and biceps workout. He started, as expected, with flat bench press while I was accumulating sin by having fun on the leg press machine. The guy was benching about 50-55 kg. I though this was just a warm-up and he was going to go to at least 90 kg. It wasn’t the case at all. He didn’t up they weight and proceeded to the incline bench press. Meanwhile, I was even deeper into Sin City doing sets of 20 on the leg press, getting some crazy quad pump .
The bro used about 40 kg for his incline barbell press. I expected him to be much stronger than that. After the incline he switched to some 10-15 kg dumbbell hammer curls and finally finished his workout with an easy 10-20 minutes ride on the bike.
Unless the guy was having an ultra light day or some medical issues, I don’t think there’s a respectable reason to be this weak after 5 years of training. You can’t possible find benching 55 kg at a bodyweight of something like 85-90 kg difficult. Well, the next week came and he did the same workout.
The guy was a classic example of the “I will do the same thing every time and expect things to change anyway.” principle. There are a lot of people who live by this rule consciously or not. I am certainly not an exception either but in other areas of life. When it comes to training repeating the same workout in terms of weight is just as boring as it gets for me.
I felt kinda sad because many people use stuff like that to make naturals look bad and accuse us of poor training. However, I don’t think the guy’s spa workout is the reason he looked the same compared to past years. Sure, he was fat and that can be changed with proper dieting, but muscle size wise, naturals truly don’t report substantial changes after the initial gains.
This phenomenon is unfortunately observed even among guys who train harder. I can’t say that I train the hardest of all people, but whenever I train I always try to push myself one way or another. Doing the same weight for months is something I don’t do. I have never done a routine that did not include some kind of progressing overload. Yet, I can’t say I look exceptionally different compared to previous years.
Ironically, yesterday I found an old pictures of me right before I started lifting weights. They were from a short trip abroad. I have definitely progressed compared to my insect level from that era. At that point I was incredibly skinny and my legs were untrained. However, it’s nothing like the before and after photos you see on Instagram.