One of the most frequently asked questions I have received, and any trainer for that matter has received is for general tips and tricks to gain muscle quickly. It stands to reason that in a society of instant gratification, people want results as quickly as they can swipe through their social media feeds. And while I have hundreds of tips, adjustments, and nuances that might move the proverbial needle in your favor of gaining muscle a little more quickly, the REAL advice I have for anyone looking to get into bodybuilding can be boiled into three primary philosophies:
1. Know Your WHY and Fall in Love With the Journey
2. Follow a Program, REALLY follow it
3. Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees
Know Your Why: Before you embark on a muscle building journey, and enter a bodybuilding lifestyle I believe that it is of the utmost importance that you understand WHY and WHAT you are hoping to achieve by this. Despite the fitness industries infestation of vanity recently, wanting to bodybuild simply for aesthetic purposes is a recipe for disaster. Too many young and impressionable would-be bodybuilders end up doing long-term damage in the pursuit of short-term gains. For example: Taking every supplement known to man and following “fitness Instagram stars” workout routines that aren’t properly programmed and that do NOT take into account the variability between people. On top of that, you may begin eating the SAME thing every day and damaging both your gut, and relationship with food, and even taking potentially dangerous anabolic steroids. NOW, this does not have to be you. What bodybuilding is, and always should be, is the pursuit of consistent DAY by DAY improvement of both the BODY and DISCIPLINE. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle and you can NOT rush results – period. Bodybuild not because it makes you look better, bodybuild because it can make YOU better.
When I say to follow a program, it doesn’t have to be one in particular. While I DO believe that MAPS ANABOLIC is one of, if not the best, programs available to a novice bodybuilder – regardless of the program my sentiment is this: STICK TO IT! I am guilty of the dreaded “program hop”. This is moving from one program to the next before completing it. Programs are designed to systematically increase volume and / or intensity and work with your bodies natural recovery mechanisms to help drive gains in either strength or size. Jumping out of a program onto another one that looks more “sexy” is like pulling a pie out of the oven before its done. Your best bet is to find a program that checks off on all of the following:
1. Fits your schedule
2. Fits your fitness level
3. Accounts for your needs and wants/Has Flexibility
These three may seem simple, but they are the foundation of success in sticking to a program. If you can find a program that checks off on all three of these, start it, enjoy it, and most importantly – FINISH it.
“Don’t miss the forest for the trees” is a euphemism for focusing on the LITTLE stuff instead of the BIG stuff. Some examples of what this looks like when come to bodybuilding are:
• Spending $200 a month on Supplements, and $150 on low-quality groceries.
• Focusing on isolation movements rather than compound movements while working out.
• Focusing on punishing your body rather than working out at a RECOVERABLE volume.
These are just some examples of the most common mistakes many novice bodybuilders make. In conclusion, while there are hundreds if not thousands of little tips and trips for optimizing your bodybuilding journey, none of them come remotely close to the importance of the three mentioned above. When bodybuilding just remember, fall in love with the process, live and breath discipline, don’t rush or expect perfection, embrace failures and the sky is the limit.
Author: Daniel Matranga
NASM: CPT, CES, PES, WLS, SFS, WFS, GFS, YES
ACE: TES, OES, and MBS