by Matt Meinrod
To guru or not to guru, that is the question. It’s not easy to be a bodybuilder anymore. Forget that it takes brutal discipline, now you have to hire an expensive super genius to guide you along the path. There are about 5 or 6 big time names out there that most of the pro’s use, but then there are dozens of junior guru’s that aren’t as well known, but might be even more knowledgeable. But what are you supposed to do? You’re not Phil Heath or Kai Greene.
Hell, you’re not even Dusty Hanshaw. Should you spend the $2-3K for a prep or do it on your own? Should you get a local guy that can watch you several times a week or are you better off mailing in your pictures to a name on a computer screen?
Don’t ask Evan Centopani or Dennis Wolf this question, both have been adamant about not using an “All Seeing Eye” to help adjust their macros, increase dosages, and set cardio inclines. Evan started his career using Dave Palumbo, one of the aforementioned super geniuses in bodybuilding. He leached out the information like an alien on War of the World’s only to drop him and go guru-free for a few seasons, before succumbing to the pressure and mounting 5th place finishes. He then hired Chris Aceto to watch him pose in the mirror in his tube socks and boxer briefs – Chris is so lucky. The trouble is he hasn’t improved since going guru in 2012.
Dennis Wolf said strongly, “no more gurus” after coming up short time and time again. Since doing prep himself the past few years he’s been on rocket fuel placing 2nd twice at the Arnold and finishing 3rd at the Olympia last year. Maybe Wolfy doesn’t suffer from the same mirror body dysmorphic behavior that the rest of the IFBB does. After all, if you can say no to cheat meals, yes, to more cardio, and when in doubt take another shot of tren acetate, how hard can this bodybuilding thing really be?
Let’s assume you’ve decided to hire a guru, because you’re a typical anxiety wretched human being/bodybuilder crossover. Who should you chose to slap down your hard earned cash over to guide you along the way to diced glutes and separated quads? Unless you’re one of the non-broke bodybuilders out there that has the extra spending money to hire George Farah or Hany Rambod, you have to factor in food, supplements, bills, and drugs; after all of that, who has any money left over to pay for one of these big time guys? Sure, there are some fiscally responsible bodybuilders out there, but let’s get real, most of you guys are scraping buy or hustling to make ends meet. Maybe going local is the smarter move.
Here’s why the local guru might be better for you. First, he is going to see you every day or almost every day if they’re really doing a good job for you. Second, you’ll probably know other bodybuilders they have worked with before. And third, there are questions and nuances that you’ll be able to ask that might otherwise go unnoticed or unasked through email, telephone, or Skype. And there’s a great chance that you won’t go on food stamps after your contest due to hiring one lesser hyped on the internet.
So what happens if you decide to not hire a guru at all? Believe it or not, there was an era when nobody had one. As great as having a second or third eye might be to your success, it really isn’t the end all-be all. For every pro guru-ite out there that claims that every great bodybuilder or athlete has a coach to help them, there are just as many that say it’s unnecessary. Peyton Manning has a quarterback coach; Tiger Woods has a swing coach; Phil Heath has a prep coach. Good enough for the best in the world then good enough for you, right?
If you know yourself, but more importantly are honest with yourself, then the odds of you needing a guru is most likely unnecessary. The trouble is the vast majority of us are not honest with ourselves. Being in ‘after shower, all by yourself posing shape’ isn’t the same as being oiled up on a contest stage with hot bright lights beaming down on every inch of your body. Most of our minds don’t see what everyone else sees. Good enough, is never good enough in bodybuilding.
There are also the opposite, neurotic bodybuilders that will go to the other extreme – 3 hours of cardio, severely low calories, and excess fat burners to get into what they think is supreme condition. Little do they know that they’re losing muscle faster than a Jew at concentration camp. These competitors undoubtedly need a guru to scale back the madness and present a bigger, less emaciated bodybuilder.
My best advice for your average, run of the mill NPC competitor is to go local, if you go guru at all. If you’re a top level NPC or IFBB athlete then it might be smart to invest in a high powered, full-throttled guru. They can do things like help you get more sponsorship opportunities through their connections and also play the politics game which can lead to higher placing’s for reasons otherwise unbeknownst to me. And if you’re not a competitor at all, there’s plenty of good info on the internet from guys like John Meadows or Ken “Skip” Hill. YouTube is your best friend!
Matt Meinrod is Creative Director at Blackstone Labs and Prime Nutrition. You can reach Matt on his website, www.MattMeinrod.com or on Facebook and Twitter @MattMeinrod