5 Steps To The Bodybuilding Mindset
Take a more methodical view of what you are doing in order to prosper in your bodybuilding lifestyle. The 'Mind over Body' principle has never been so true with regards to a long term goal of health and beauty, so here are some pointers on how to maintain the process.
1. Make Things More Difficult
Pretend you are on holiday and the hotel gym is extremely limited in both equipment choice and weight of the dumbbells, barbells and machinery. In this scenario the tendency is to be a bit disappointed with what's available and that at best you'll walk away with a light pump and 'maintenance' level stimulation (not Intense enough to really change your body). But what if someone held a gun to your head and told you that unless you solicited muscle gains from this workout then they would pull the trigger? Would your mindset change? Would you do everything in your power to hit the target muscles with every single protocol that could make it more intense and challenging for your muscles? Slowing down the rep tempo, drop-sets, short rest periods, pre + post-exhaust sets, super-sets, giant-sets. This is the mindset every bodybuilder should have walking into any gym, even the most well equipped. You don't have to use different set structures all the time, but you must focus on how 'deliberately' you are causing tension to the muscles.
2. You Are Not A Weight Lifter
Imagine the difference between a fine artist and a workman who paints walls. They both use paint, brushes and overalls - but their intentions differ on a profound scale. One needs a huge roller with plenty of paint to cover a huge surface with just one colour. The other needs a range of small finely haired brushes and very tiny amounts of many different colours, blending them intricately together over a long time with very delicate brush strokes. Now, if both the workman and the fine artist swapped tools, do you think they could achieve their original tasks? The fine artist would find it very difficult to paint his small detailed portrait with a huge roller and only one colour, and the workman wouldn't be able to paint his huge wall with such tiny brushes and small tubes of paint... Lifting a huge amount of weight will not create a masterpiece, all exercises must be performed with intent to grow, not with intent to lift! Are you a Fine Artist or a Wall Painter?
3. What Would Coach Say?
This is a 'Be Your Own Voice In Your Head' game. We are obsessed with impressing ourselves and others 'in the moment', and rarely think about the future consequences of those actions. Being stronger or at least showing you are strong in the view of others is a big motivator and dictator of our actions whilst in a gym environment. Even on our own we want to prove to ourselves we are getting stronger or prove we're already strong. This is a disaster. When we sacrifice form, time under tension and safety we actually sacrifice our long term goals; to grow muscle. You know when your form wasn't great, you know that you didn't get enough reps, you know when you're taking too much rest. Knowing is not enough, what matters is that you act on eliminating these things from your training. When you feel that one of these is coming on, ask yourself - what would a coach tell me to do right now? Learn proper form for Bodybuilding here.
4. Being Judged Is OK
Bodybuilding is a very lonely sport. After all, no one else can do the work for you. Social pressures and other commitments can and will distract you from your goals. Obviously, some commitments cannot be ignored, however some can be - and you must pick and choose these distractions wisely. If you are serious then you are already shunning anything that would prevent you from training, getting in your nutrition or compromising rest. Some might view it as anti-social, some might view it as being selfish - but what other's think should be irrelevant to your goals, they aren't the ones sacrificing time and effort or staying true to your principles. Sure, the odd alcoholic drink or skipped workout/ meal won't matter in the long term - but it is your own responsibility to make these things a rare occurrence. Acknowledge that you will be judged for your commitment - and then carry on.
5. Less Is More
Bodybuilding is the art of knowing exactly how to shape your body, both muscularly and body compositionally. It is the application of colour with a finely haired brush instead of slopping white wash on a wall with a large paint roller. It can be argued that if you need to train every single day to build muscle and constantly cut calories to 'lose weight' then you simply aren't doing it right. These things can and should be done sparingly and with precision; the frequency you train at doesn't govern how you train, and the amount of calories you consume doesn't govern what you consume. Make your training more Intense and focused using training approaches with the intent to stimulate growth. Eat nutrients that will feed muscles instead of starve body fat. Learn more about Nutrition here, and Fat Loss here.