by Cade Thomas
Science has done a lot for bodybuilding. Advancements in nutritional knowledge have changed the landscape of how we manipulate our bodies and the world of supplements has proven to be a game changer. I feel confident that our understanding of how foods affect our bodies has only moved us forward and proven to be a solely positive thing, at least in the potential for positive use.
However I am not so sure the same can be said for training.
Maybe I am old fashioned, but to me bodybuilding is built around training. Through all the layers of diet and supplementation, drugs, cardio, and everything else, I truly believe at the very core is a passion for training in the gym and lifting shit up.
The very first day that I decided I wanted to build muscle was the first day I went into my garage at my parents house and started flinging around the 20lb dumbbells. Movies taught us that being your physical best meant training your ass off in any way possible, like a montage from a 80’s sports movie. Muscles were built with sweat, and the path to being larger than life was one of pain and suffering but pain and suffering that felt really damn good.
What separated the guys who progressed from the guys who didn’t was not scientific knowledge but rather a connection to ones body and ability to really feel the weights and use them to put blood into the muscle they are training.
Now it seems that many people are starting off with a set goal in their mind and skipping the part where they fall in love with training. Of course those with elite genetics can get by without being passionate about the gym but I honestly feel for most of us that your ceiling of success will be limited if you don’t thrive on training. I have a hard time relating to people whose main goal in the gym is to just get in and out and I have to wonder why one would subject themselves to a lifestyle they don’t enjoy. Most people don’t overly enjoy the diet either, so someone who doesn’t enjoy training OR eating bodybuilding foods I have to ask…why the hell are you into bodybuilding?
Now that might upset some, as they have goals with their physique and shouldn’t be considered less of a bodybuilder just because they hate the process. Well, too bad. I will never understand someone who pursues a goal when they hate everything about what it takes to get there. I feel the same way about someone who wants to be a “ROCK STAR” but doesn’t enjoy writing music or have any talent for it.
What this has lead to is lots of programs and scientifically backed training styles. These are great for some people; First comes to mind the OCD minded people who thrive on organization and following guidelines, and secondly it can be great for advanced trainers who have fallen into a rut.
Are these appropriate for beginners though? I have always felt that beginners just need to learn their bodies and develop a connection to the weights, and following such regimented outlines right out of the gate might delay the process of really learning your body and how it reacts to different stimuli. Training systems like John Meadows’ Mountain Dog Training are brilliant and can spark new life into the training of an advanced bodybuilder, but many rookies adopt these ideas right out of the gate even though the creator himself has said it is for advanced lifters who already have a base of strength and size.
Maybe I’m just bitter and think everyone is looking for a short cut, but truthfully the guys who seem to always progress are the ones who truly love this shit.