In my 18 years plus in the iron game I am often asked what is the biggest secret to building a championship physique or at least a great body. The answer of course has a multitude of components but it boils down to a few basic truisms.
1. You need a systemized training program that evolves as your body evolves.
2. You need to follow a high quality nutrient dense diet
3. You need heart, discipline and a compelling REASON WHY.
In the first part to this series we will examine the first component the need to follow a systemized training program.
If you want to travel from New York to Los Angeles there are several ways to achieve this and several modes of transportation you can take. First and foremost you need to select the mode of transport such as walking, car, boat, train or airplane. Each mode of transport provides advantages and disadvantages as well as differences in cost as well as time taken to get to the destination.
If you have never made the trip and have no knowledge of the transport systems the best way to get to your destination would be to consult with individuals who have made the journey and select which modality meets your criteria of cost and time invested. Much time on the journey can be saved with planning your trip in advance as well as selecting the most cost effective method of transport. If your goal is to build a strong, well developed physique a little planning before hand can save you a lot of expense and headaches as well as ensuring you get to your destination.
Having the route planned out and the modality of transport is best left to a travel agent someone experienced in getting people to their destination. Likewise in building a great physique consulting with an expert coach will save you a great expense of time and money as well as providing you peace of mind. A great coach will provide you with a systemize scientifically proven training program for without a good program you have almost no chance of building a great physique.
Imagine trying to get from New York to LA without a road map, any mode of transport, or any knowledge of how to get there. As insane as this sounds many individuals that embark on this journey to build a great physique, with this type of mindset which pretty much guarantees failure. Of course there are a few rare individuals who have made the journey by following many trial and error methods to build there physique but in reality no wants to waste years and years following useless routines and getting discouraged. Every great athlete requires a coach to reach there ultimate potential as fast as possible.
The lack of planning and coaching has put bodybuilders at the mercy of slick marketing, pie in the sky supplements, and magazine mysticism that leaves bodybuilders desperate and frustrated. For some reason bodybuilders are so hooked on the "genetics is everything" that they consistently fall prey to giving less then there best effort leading to disillusionment and discouragement. Often times the individual takes steroids and other bodybuilding drugs to compensate for a poor routine found in a magazine or randomly selected exercises performed with terrible form. These individuals also tend to build belief systems that support the use of drugs to build the physique. This mentality is pervasive even at the pro-level and is a cancer to the science of building muscle. Basically once you take the drugs away most people have a terrible physique and an even worse state of physical and mental health.
For the Natural Bodybuilder Endless Growth is not only possible it is a certainty once the individual diligently follows a step-by-step sound training program. The best programs will be geared so the athlete trains the nervous system to handle increasingly challenging demands so that new neural pathways can be developed to build muscle. The body becomes it's function is a great truism so you need to first develop strong neural drives to each muscle group to maximize it's development.
The training routine also needs to take in account the development of muscle in strategic places which is first accomplished in the foundation phase. In the second phase of training particular attention is directed to smaller muscle groups to improve the shape, function and aesthetics of the physique. Usually accompanying this stage is a dietary regimen that strips away body fat to reveal the underlying musculature. This is a critical aspect to fully realize where one's physical development is and where improvements need to be made.
The length of time of each phase depends on the maturity of the nervous system, goals of the individual, and body fat percentages. For most trainees these two stages should compromise approximately 1-3 years depending on how fast the individual responds to training and the continuity of the effort exerted. In reality most people take 3-5 years to get there nervous system to the high levels of training capacity in a given discipline.
Cycling back and forth between Foundation training for the structure and Innervation training for the aesthetics compromises the bulk of these stages until the individual get's down to single digit body fat levels with a significant level of muscle mass. At this point a more complex routine is required as the body's ability to adapt to training has significantly improved (See stages of training Freaky Big Naturally). Stricter attention to nutrition as well as advanced supplementation and serious psychological training is then required to overcome perceived limits in performance. This is where most trainees falter and there physical development halts. Intense effort is required to break past this barrier, and this takes incredible self discipline, and desire (Big Reason Why).
In this third and ongoing stage both foundation and innervation training are performed throughout workout regimens and training reflects constant change to maximize growth and overcome underdeveloped areas. Each month specialization on weak aspects is a must while maintaining or improving strong points. Arnold refers to this stage in Pumping Iron when he discusses how he overcame his weak points and now in order to increase one muscle in size he must change every part of his physique in order to accommodate this change. Of course few people will ever reach Arnold's development but the implications are the same for every trainee when it comes to advanced workout design.
This long term healthy scientific approach to bodybuilding is far superior to training using drugs because without drugs the individual needs to first follow sound training science and sound nutritional advice. By building a solid base to your training and nutrition long term improvement is guaranteed and bodybuilding becomes a long term and continually improving pursuit.
Conversely, bodybuilders who use drugs to build their bodies quickly lose there gains once the drugs stop because of poor training and poor nutrition. Also the psychological dependence on drugs cause many top level Bodybuilders to become so depressed after they stop a cycle that their training and physique quickly degenerate thereafter. This loss of identity and false euphoria that drugs create can often lead to other more serious psychological/sociological problems. Natural bodybuilding is a far superior way to build every aspect of your physique as well as your mind and emotional state. Natural bodybuilding is a compliment to a productive and happy level not a detriment.
Many natural trainees continue to improve late into there life. I have personally witnessed people making gains in their 50's, 60's and even 70's with consistent and applied scientific effort in Natural Bodybuilding. More importantly the long term benefits of Natural Bodybuilding far out weigh any short term illusionary gains that drug use provides...
In the next part of this article we will discuss the second part and most overlooked aspect of training; following a nutrient dense diet. Until then train hard, train smart and most of all train natural.
Wade McNutt http://www.freakybignatural.com is a Natural National Bodybuilding Champion and an IFBB Mr. Universe World Champion. He combined the secrets of Eastern Yoga Masters with, scientific, muscle building to produce a revolutionary new system called Freaky Big Naturally. Learn More at: http://www.freakybignatural.com