1.Train Hard & Smart
You may shoot 1000 arrows, but if none of them reaches the target, nothing happens. You may hit the target 1000 times, but if your arrows have the strength of a summer breeze, it matters not.
Progress requires both – power and accuracy.
Many people go to the gym to simulate. Those would be the soy boys and girls who make sure their butts leave an impression on the seats of every machine for 3 sets of 10. Naturally, the rest periods are filled with texting, Tinder swiping, YouTube binging…etc. The next time the trainees return to repeat the exact same workout. This is not training. The proper term would be machine maintenance and testing.
Training hard demands an acquaintance with the kind of pain that mutes everything around. If you are lifting in front of cardio bunnies in daisy dukes, and your brain has the capacity to hear and decode their conversations during your work sets, you can’t possibly be training that hard.
In addition, you will go nowhere without a direction and long-term planning. The goal, however, is not to destroy yourself every time you fight gravity. Many unaware muscle apprentices do all kinds of torture in the weight room, but their lack of focus and vision leaves them frustrated and sad. Those would be the triceps kickback boys who obliterate every body part until the muscles are drowning in lactic acid capable of filling oceans. Yet they remain fragile? Why?
Because they are training without a purpose and chasing feelings rather than measurable results.
Progress in the weight room comes in three main forms:
- strength increase
- muscle gains
- fat loss
Your lifting and nutrition should reflect your goals. Luckily, if you are training for strength, you are also stimulating growth even if you don’t want to. As long as you are not eating too little, you will grow. On the other hand, if you are training to lose weight, a caloric deficit is in order.
Steps to ensure progress
- Choose a few solid exercises (compound movements)
- Get strong by following some sort of programming (training cycles)
- Eat in a way corresponding to your goal (weight loss, weight gain or maintenance/slow bulk)
- Don’t stop. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t change your routine too often. Don’t forget that little progress is still progress.
2.Don’t Try To Gain Muscle and Lose Fat At The Same Time
Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is close to impossible for the natural bodybuilder unless master obesity is in place or the lifter is still a beginner. But even then one of the processes will be dominant. Of course, the industry wants you to believe that there is a mega secret diet that could add 10lbs of muscle to your frame while cutting 10lbs of fat, but that kind of magic becomes a reality only when steroids and other drugs are imported in the body.
After the beginning stages, it is better to focus on one mission for a reasonable amount of time instead of expecting to become super shredded while acquiring extra muscle mass.
3.Spend Less Time On Forums and YouTube
It’s midnight again. The scroll wheel of the mouse is squeaking. The light of the LCD monitor is exposing the dusty air that has been inhabiting my room for the better part of the day. I’m hunched over, as always, trying to decode the muscle game by filling my mind with as much info as possible. I’ve opened so many tabs that even NASA’s supercomputer would go out of RAM memory. As a bonus, a YouTube video starts infecting the space with vibrations. It’s the former mercenary Jason Blaha with another clip on Layne Nordstrum and Mike O’Tren. My brain begins to rewire under the pressure of the info…
But why am I complaining? We live in the Era of Information. I should be grateful for having the ability to info-bomb myself, right?
“Our ancestors would kill to have access to the same tech,” says a voice in my head.
“Yeah, right. The cavemen don’t know what they’re missing. They would kill to spend their days in front of soulless machines instead of being out in nature…” answers another.
I feel dirty and press ALT+F4 until the beast is sleeping…
Truth be told, the more experience you gain in the weight room, the less you need the forums, blogs and YouTube videos. You don’t have to know everyone’s opinion to make a decision. People didn’t have the same amount of information before but did just fine in the lifting sector. Also, don’t forget that humans tend to lie a lot on forums and online in general.
And if you are afraid that you will miss out, don’t. Forums don’t evolve. They stay the same. If you leave a forum today and return after one year or more, you won’t notice a difference.
4.Don’t Take Any Supplements
In most cases, supplements are a complete waste of time and money. Unless you have some sort of deficiency, and there’s a medical reason to take a specific product, you are better off forgetting that supplements even exist. And by the way, that’s also true about multi-vitamins and even fish oil. I am not saying that those products have a negative impact on you, but if you are eating a sufficient amount of good food, the benefits are slim to none.
If you don’t believe me, do the on/off experiment. Take supplements for 3-6 months and then go off for the next 3-6 months. After the initial adaptation phase, which is mental to a large extent, there won’t be any difference…especially in terms of body composition and strength.
Don’t forget that most supplements are essentially incomplete food in the form of powder. Therefore, they are as effective as food at best. According to some, whey is not even absorbed fully because it doesn’t come with fat. But even if it is absorbed to the last gram, it’s still incapable of producing the miracles promised to you.
5.Don’t Trade Aesthetics For Numbers
I get it. You lift more when you weigh more. But if you are natural, you can’t weigh a lot without having the physique of a sumo wrestler. Don’t listen to the clowns promoting dirty bulking. Unless you are very tall and/or your frame is mega thick, you will be hard-pressed to break the 200lbs barrier in a lean condition (10-12% body fat).
Is benching 30lbs more worth the extra 30lbs of fat on you? I know my answer. I’ve been on the fat side and didn’t like it. When I lost the weight (44lbs), I felt relieved. I was me again – not the over-bulked boy that the misleading industry wanted me to be. My old clothes were fitting again. I was light and free. Was I weaker? Yes. All my lifts went down. Yet the quality of my life improved.
I am almost sorry to inform you, but you are not going to break any records naturally anyway (unless you come from Krypton). If you know this, why are you bulking like a sumo wrestler? If it was muscle mass, I would understand, but the extra weight is fat and water. Why bother?
P.S. Girls don’t like bulky boys with bloated faces and 40-inch guts…unless you are rich and high status.
What is the point of building a better physique if you are going to cover it with clown clothes? Hate it or love it, clothing makes a huge difference in the way people perceive you. Don’t believe me? Dress like a rapper and go outside. Notice how people look at you. The next day put on a suit and repeat the experiment. Technically, you are the exact same man. Nothing has changed…and yet people’s perception of you is different. But more importantly, your perception of you is different too. I am not saying that you should wear a suit. It’s not very practical unless you are an oil magnate. But putting more effort into dressing better could bring you many benefits.
Avoid super baggy clothes because they hide your curves and actually make you look smaller and childish. The main purpose of clothing is to compliment your frame and physique. The right clothes enhance your looks.
No, I am not talking about buying some mega expansive designer brands. It’s not about paying more. It’s about making better choices. Buy pieces that fit you and look good on you.
7.Don’t Follow “Magic” Routines
The fitness world is full of magical cookie-cutter routines promising magnificent gains. Every big boy has a secret that will allegedly make you as big as him. Well…he does indeed. That secret is called steroids – not 5×5, 10×3, 8×6 or some other nonsense.
The only fast gains that you are ever going to make will be within the first 6-10 months of training hard. After that period is over, your gains will slow down substantially regardless of the routine you decide to follow. This is the nature of the game.
Do yourself a favor and forget about fast gains. This happens only in the steroid world. I don’t care that some bro got “amazing results” and is now generous enough to share his monster gains training plan for just USD 50 if you buy it within the next 10 minutes.
8.Don’t Develop OCDs As a Result Of Lifting
The industry wants you to believe in the existence of a precise code that you must enter in order to open the growth safe. That’s why the system installs hesitation and self-hatred in you. They want you doubting yourself all the time. They want you to blame yourself and no one else for your failures. This mechanism preserves the perpetual loop and the money printer. [more].
You ate 1 waffle. You missed your post workout shake. You consumed 85 grams of protein instead of the projected 120 grams. Who cares? Really. Even if you hit all the targets (whatever they may be), you are still going to look like a natural at the end of the day.
End the guilt.
Stop the needless obsession and overthinking.
9.Don’t Try To Fill Your Whole Life With Lifting
Many muscle building addicts try to fill their entire capacity of free hours with lifting. Those would be the guys who buy unlimited gym memberships and start spending enough time in the gym to be mistaken for part of the staff.
What if I tell you that you don’t have to?
What if I tell you that you could be just as strong and big with less training?
Don’t believe me?
Start training 6 days a week. Do it for as long as you can. Then, switch to training 2 days a week. As long as your diet and energy expenditure stay the same, your body composition will not reflect the drop in frequency.
If you fear that training less will turn you into a human tree, simply replace the gym days with other sports – swimming, running, martial arts, shooting…etc.
10.Don’t Eat Clean All The Time
You don’t have to eat clean all the time. Even if only 80% of the food you eat is clean, you are doing better than the vast majority. Adding sin nutrition to the table occasionally will not destroy your efforts in the gym. If anything, it will ease the pressure.
P.S. Bodybuilders and fitness models rarely eat clean. They may do it before a show or in front of the camera, but for the most part, they import a healthy amount of junk in their bodies. Of course, the extra musculature and the drugs allow them to remain lean despite consuming bad foods.
11. Make People You Care About Exercise
The average humanoid is living an artificial and sedentary form of life. Most grown men can’t do five pull-ups with good form because they are too fat and weak. Most women can’t do a single push-up because they are fragile, lazy, brainwashed and deprived of the need to acquire physical strength.
“I am a woman. Why should I lift heavy,” says Becky.
One of the best gifts that modern humanoids can give to their bodies is movement. Undoubtedly, those close to you will benefit greatly from your knowledge. The key is to expect little from them. Not everyone will share your love for the iron and that’s fine. Something is better than nothing.
12.Don’t Use Your Smartphone To Track Anything
Smartphones want a piece of every market. There’s an app for everything today. The truth, my friends, is that most apps are useless code designed to keep you in a dopamine loop. You are better off skipping the extravaganza apps when possible.
You don’t need an app to calculate your warm-ups or the plates to put on a barbell.
Leave the phone down for a while. Take an old-fashioned notebook and a pen to log your sets.
Honestly, the only useful features of a phone in the gym would be the stopwatch function and the camera [to examine your form later].
13.Don’t Try To Educate/Convince People. [Don’t Argue]
You can’t convince people through arguing. The more you argue, the more they fight back. People convince themselves after acquiring the necessary experience. You can’t expect from people to admit that they are wrong even if it’s obvious. Our ego doesn’t allow it.
State your opinion and leave. Don’t get emotionally invested in similar fights. Let the kids learn on their own. Don’t worry. They will recall your words when it’s time.
14.Don’t Do Low Bar Squats
Powerlifters engineered the low bar squat to lift heavier weights. This was the original purpose of the movement.
Regular lifters who do squats to build their legs do not benefit from this modification because the stress on the quadriceps is reduced. In addition, the position of the bar often places too much stress on the shoulders and elbows even when the form is good. The vast majority of the population would do better with regular high bar squats. And don’t worry about your posterior chain. It’s working plenty hard during high bar squats.
Most people do low bar squats simply to claim higher numbers. But do those higher numbers really matter?
15.Don’t Anticipate Applause Or Support
Don’t expect the support of anyone until the table is covered in green, my friend. People respect you only when your actions are rewarded by the economy. Your family and friends don’t care how hard it was to reach a deadlift PR. If you are not making money or earning mega-fame, the world remains blind to your efforts.
16.Train Your Neck and Work On Your Posture
Schools, factories, TVs, computers and now phones have been trying to turn you into an ape for a long time. Just look around, and you will see many humanoids walking with a smartphone neck.
A poor posture destroys your aesthetics 10 times faster than a fat gut. To preserve your aesthetics, you need to fight this negative effect.
Neck training, back work, walking with the head up for prolong periods of time and confidence construction will help a lot.
17.Train As If Nobody Is Watching
The world shames beginners. You are supposed to be good at everything. This is one of the reasons why people stop doing new things after a certain age. When I first entered a gym, I was ashamed to record my sets because I was weak but did it nevertheless. Truth be told, nobody cares about you. People are focused on their own stuff. Unless they need you, you are invisible.
Train as if nobody is watching…because technically nobody is. They are all buried in their phones and nursing their self-centered existence on social media.
18.Don’t Run On A Treadmill Unless It’s Unavoidable
Treadmills function on the masturbation principle – you burn calories and your legs work as intended, but you are not going anywhere. You are paying to run at the same place.
Moreover, the running surface of a treadmill is perfectly flat which according to some running coaches is bad because the stress accumulates at the same trigger points. Therefore, running on uneven terrain like grass may actually be healthier.
If you want to run, do it outside – away from the noisy TV screens in the gym…away from the stupid conversations…away from the artificial environment created by humans to cope with the painful reality of the modern world.
19. Don’t Sacrifice Your Form For Numbers
Deadlifting with bad form has been one of my biggest mistakes in this life. Why did I do it? After all, I know how to deadlift properly… It’s simple. I wanted to satisfy my ego by impressing strangers who couldn’t care less about me or my numbers. As trivial as it may sound, it’s better to lift less with good form than push hard for nothing.
Many beginners think that their motivation to lift will never die and consequently fail to understand why some individuals quit the fight against gravity.
The truth is that there will be many times when you will doubt the mission. Maybe you are demotivated by the natty reality. Maybe you found another goal that you want to pursue. Maybe you are simply tired of sharing oxygen with morons in the weight room. Whatever the problem is, your desire to lift will drop sooner or later.
Once I quit all lifting for 18 months. I did my best deadlift ever and came to the conclusion that lifting is 100% pointless for me and stopped training. I thought that I was done, but one day, I passed by a pull-up bar and slowly got back into the game. Did I regret the pause? To be honest, I don’t care. But if I could turn back time, I would simply train once a week. It’s a lot better than doing nothing.
My advice is to never quit because you will always come back. It makes more sense to invest a minimal effort and maintain what you already have.
21.Don’t Compete In Bodybuilding Shows
Yes, brother. This isn’t a typo. In my humble opinion, true natties have nothing to gain from competing in actual bodybuilding shows. I am not kidding. Here is my motivation:
1.The competition consists of fake natties
There is no such thing as natural bodybuilding. I don’t care about polygraphs and sweet words. All I know is what I see. Even on a regional level, you will compete against typical gym rats who cycle test and a few other compounds on occasion while claiming natty for life. If you don’t agree, you could simply check for yourself.
2.Bodybuilding competitions are stupid (to me)
If you like bodybuilding competitions, you should obviously go for it. But I don’t think I am the only one who dislikes posing in underwear. You have to shave yourself, get a tan, dehydrate your body and then dance around…For what? A plastic trophy that you are probably not going to get anyway because you are natural…
Bodybuilding competitions are just another surrogate activity that people do to distract themselves from their otherwise plain lives. I am sorry, but this is how I see things.
3.The diet could wreck your hormones
Unless you are a mutant, you will never be bodybuilding lean without some brutal dieting. That comes at a price – you emotional stability. Reaching a true single digit body fat will require you to endure pain that is probably not worth in the end.
As a bonus, your male hormones go into depression mode when you are doing this. Not to mention the insanity that will begin to inhabit your life.
22.Don’t Waste Your Time With Gymnastic Movements Unless…
Here’s the truth – gymnastics is a sport favoring short men just like basketball favors tall men. The advanced movements like planches, iron cross and maltese are close to impossible for a man with long limbs to achieve. Tall men (over 5’11”) are a minority in gymnastics. Sure, they can acquire some of the movements, but it will take an extreme amount of time and dedication. Most will never get there.
Does it matter? Well, if you like training like a gymnast, you should obviously do it regardless of what anyone says. But I think it’s better to know the limitations instead of letting yourself be brainwashed by the sellers of bodyweight hope.
Many people want those movements because a guru once spread the idea that gymnasts owe their physiques specifically to difficult bodyweight elements. It’s true, but only up to a point.
Gymnasts’ bodies could become a reality without ever doing the advanced stuff.
Chin-ups and dips with added weight are better mass builders than planche progressions for instance. They place less stress on the joints while producing just as much growth stimulus.
If you are pursuing advanced movements because you think that they are capable of inducing some extraterrestrial natty growth, I would advise you to examine the situation once again.
For the vast majority of people, barbells coupled with chin-ups and dips would work better in the long run.
23.Understand That You Are Not A Saint
Far too many natties expect extra love because they remain injection-free. You are not going to get it. Nobody cares that you are “honest” and drug-free. This world worships other values…visual ones.
If you want to remain natty, you have to do it for yourself because you will not receive any validation from the outside world. Moreover, being natural does not make you a good person by default.
24.Don’t Try To Be Good At Everything
These days you are expected to be a ninja – a one arm pull-up master, a shredded monster, a good squatter…etc. If you are not, you are judged harshly by people online who as I understand are all genetic freaks breaking the limits.
Of course, it’s all an illusion. Focus on the basics and keep pushing forward. Don’t change routines and exercises often. It takes at least 1 year to develop significant strength in a movement. Don’t expect to acquire mastery in 3 months.
A narrow focus will lead you far. Use it to your advantage.
25.Become Aware Of The Natural Limits
It’s time for the sad melody.
When I first started lifting, I made the mistake of believing every single lie that the industry tells you. Everything. I honestly thought that you can become exceptionally massive without taking any drugs. I also accepted the false belief that most powerlifters are natural and owe their thick musculature to heavy lifting, bulking and sick programming prepared by high IQ coaches who turn paper boys into soldiers of fortune.
When I started to see needles in the gym trash, the picture called reality began to acquire more details. It took me a while, but eventually, I learned that it’s all a lie.
I got mad and didn’t let myself see the truth for a long time. I began to juggle routines while hoping that “someone is telling the truth.” I remember reading everything written by Serge Nubret (or whoever was behind his name online). I was naive enough to believe that he was natural and equipped with the blueprint leading to high-end natural muscular ascension.
Whenever I want a smile to take over my face, I think about those delusional times.
The truth is that the limits are way lower than many people realize. Becoming acquainted with the natty reality will save you from the traps of the industry.