I recently read a great forum post by a lifter on bodybuilding.com. Check it out here. It’s called the 80/20 Rule for Lifting and calls your attention to reality: 80% of what you do doesn’t matter.
Supplements, routines, macro nutrient minutiae: all that is distraction to a degree. You should focus on the 20% that matters and I’m calling that 20% “The 3 C’s: Challenging, Consistent, Clean.”
The 3 C’s are what you must do to achieve any growth or body change result:
Lift weights that challenge your muscles to failure and keep increasing weight as you gain strength.
Keep at it. This is how results happen. It takes time, but if you keep at it you will see your body change.
What you eat matters. Lean protein, complex carbs, natural fats. Don’t eat crap or else you will never get where you want to be. Your body is made in the kitchen – no joke on this one.
Follow the 3 C’s above, see results, repeat.
I’m changing my outlook on this bulking period and sticking with it until March: Screw the details.
Lift heavy, lift often, eat enough, rest enough. Oh, and have fun.
What does your bulk look like?
It’s a new year, and while that doesn’t mean it’s time to start over, the beginning of a new year is a good place to start.
I have been training myself since my competition last November, and while I have positively changed the appearance of my physique (stronger, more define abs, better glute structure), I have not gained the upper body size I have been chasing after for two years.
Over the holidays, I got the urge to compete again in order to have a focus, a plan, a goal; however, after reviewing the pure financial cost associated with pursuing another competition – forget about the opportunity cost – I just can’t swing it this year.
While chatting with my targeted trainer / coach the other week, I told her how I had been lifting for over a year but hadn’t gotten the size gains I wanted. She mentioned that I probably needed to stimulate my body in new ways – more dynamic movements and a modified diet, consisting of more carbohydrates.
So while I save up the funds to hit the stage in 2015 – if not sooner – I have resolved to make some shifts in my overall training / diet regimen starting this week to see where it takes me.
The Plan: Clean bulk over the next 3 months, starting the cutting phase in April
The Diet: 45 carbs / 40 protein / 15 fats
– Starting with 2000 calories, making adjustments as I review my measurements and weight every week
The Workout: 3 days instead of 6 days
– Incorporating more rest days
– Targeting all body parts each work day with more dynamic / power movements
The Results: Will keep you posted with photos and measurements
My first training session last week was a killer: Leg day.
I couldn’t walk without wincing until Thursday and if you had seen me wandering around New York City Tuesday or Wednesday you would have noticed a distinct limp. It was an intense session.
In between one-legged squats, lunges, jump squats and leg extensions my trainer and I talked about what I would need to do to get into competition shape.
Albert said I would need to adjust a few things first so we could get the muscle I needed like: increase my calories to 3,000 per day (really?), adjust my macronutrient intake to 2:1 carbs:protein (get out of here!) and lastly he said he wanted me to gain about 10lbs.
Hold the phone, sir.
As I started my next set of squats I couldn’t get “10lbs” out of my head. Rep count: 7, 8, 9, 10lbs, 11 and…12! I handed off the bar to Albert, “Nice set.”
“Ten pounds?” I panted, “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
He told me that he most certainly did and that the 10lbs would come over a period of several months. He wanted me to gain about 2-3 pounds per month and that we would be gaining good clean weight: muscle.
It was made clear that I would not be permitted to eat sleeves of Oreos, entire pizzas or fatty cheeseburgers, but that I would need to make these gains through consistent clean eating and training.
He said that at competition time I would be back to my current weight but that the 10lbs I would lose by that point would be 10lbs of fat (whew) and that I would be a ripped Figure Competition Winning Machine.
So maybe 10lbs wasn’t so bad?
As we worked through the rest of the session I realized that I did have a lot of muscle to gain. My shoulders need to be more cupped, my lats need to expand, I need to get more of the bubble and sweep in my quad.
When I thought about my initial reaction to the weight gain proposal I realized that I had immediately thought about gaining all the weight in my hips and my butt – and I have never wanted to gain 10lbs in my hips or my butt.
But as I finished my final group of sets I thought about gaining 4 pounds of muscle in my arms and shoulders (nice!) and 4 pounds of muscle on my back and glutes (not too shabby) and about 2 pounds of muscle on my quads – 1 pound each, please.
Why was I fearing this weight, again? Ten pounds: let’s do this!
As I walked to the bus, legs like jelly, I realized how closed-minded I had been that night and maybe how closed-minded I have been for many years about my body and other things.
There is a lot of life out there that has the potential to make us uncomfortable, but we have to be open to understanding things beyond the uncomfortable and look deeper.
It could be weight gain or loss, initiating a job change, starting a new relationship, or even going on a trip, to a museum, movie or party alone.
If we take the time to think and look past our hasty preconceptions, we have the potential to realize amazing opportunities that are out there for ourselves.
There are new and marvelous things waiting for you out there: do you let uncomfortable hold you back?