#1 Secret To Bodybuilding Success

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#1 Secret To Bodybuilding Success

I do a fair amount of international backcountry cycling trips and on this trip it has occurred to me that as a bodybuilder and a traveller the secret to success is the same, to be well prepared and roll with the punches. If you are to be successful, you cant let obstacles dampen your resolve or lessen your enthusiasm.

The first time an American leaves the country, you don’t want to be the first fellow American they latch on to, especially if they have been on their own in a non-english speaking country for a day or more. Its easy for frequent travelers to become jaded in this respect and forget what it was like the first time we left our comfortable, orderly homes for the turmoil of the rest of the planet. Frequent travelers pick up survival skills to get along easily even without knowing a word of the language. You learn to smile and laugh at yourself, and your situation a lot. So you missed your plane and your bag is gone, its just part of the adventure, not the end of the world.

Frequent travelers learn to look for those picture signs or to do “pattern recognition” when its in Kanji, Chinese, or another non-roman alphabet. Need a train to a city whose name looks like a crayon drawing from a 2 year old? You dont have to read it, just look for that same scribble on the departures board at the train station.

Frequent travelers learn not to carry cash and not to depend on ATM cards working out of the country. Frequent travellers pack their suitcase assuming the airline will lose it so they make sure the essentials are in their carry-on baggage. They also carry a few days food with them and learn not to depend on grocery stores being open 24hrs or on Sunday for that matter. Frequent travelers learn that a passport and a stash of cash strapped to their chest is all that is required, all else can be replaced.

I still remember when I was a wide eyed newbie traveller, I made all the mistakes. Things I would just laugh at now seemed to be “world-ending” drama at the time. I remember being in Germany on a self-guided bike tour in the ’80s back when everything was closed on weekends. I went hungry all Sunday till I found a restaurant open in the evening. I remember showing up at a ferry only to find that it ran in the summer. Newbie travellers have not yet learned how to be prepared so they can minimize drama nor have they learned to appreciate it when it happens as the stuff that great memories are made of.

Be well prepared and roll with the punches.

When these newbie travelers latch onto their first english speaking homie, the floodgates are opened and the dramatic stories POUR out, seemingly without end. On and on, story after story, then after about 20 minutes they realize they have been talking non-stop and ask “what was your name again?” You smile and nod supportively remembering the first time you left the country as they continue the story of their trials and tribulations for another 10 minutes before taking their first breath.

What does this have to do with fitness?

How many times have you let any of the following get in the way of your training:

  • the gym is closed
  • the gym is busy and the machines you want to use are in use
  • your _____ is broken
  • your _____ hurts
  • you have to do a 2 week business trip to a 3rd world country a month before a big contest/race?

If you are going to succeed at bodybuilding and in fitness you need to learn how to mentally be prepared so you can “roll with these punches” to eliminate any negative impact on your training. So your gym is really busy? So what, deal with it! Be flexible! If the gym is busy, always have in mind at least five different exercises you could do next and be scanning the gym to see which of these pieces of equipment are open. Rather than being pissed that your workout is “ruined” consider it a great way to switch up your routine and help take you to the next level. If your gym is insanely busy, make a game of it. Your next exercise is the closest equipment that works any of the bodyparts you are targeting that day – even if you hate it! Too many people waste their energy and time waiting and waiting for specific equipment to open up in the precise order they want it so they can do their rigid workout – be flexible! If your good workout depends on every machine being open when you want it then you are always going to be frustrated and limited in your progress..

Similarly, if you only workout when you are feeling really good, motivated, and completely injury free then you wont be working out that much, and you certainly wont be working out enough to be successful at any but the most modest fitness goals. So what if your arm is broken, you are not crippled so do what you can! You can do legs, core, pec deck for chest, adaptive pullups for lats, and virtually any form of cardio except rowing and swimming. Unless the doctor has put you in a full body cast there is *something* you can workout. If you are in a full body cast and cant workout at all, consider it a great opportunity to read the latest research on nutrition and bodybuilding and design a new workouta and nutritional plan for when you are better.

You go to the gym on the 1st of January psyched for your first workout of the year to put you on track for your ambitious new years resolution goals only to find your gym closed. Rather than getting in a pissy mood, slamming your car door shut and peeling rubber out of the parking lot, adapt and roll with the punches. OK, new workout plan. HIIT cardio workout punctuated by pullups and pushups in the parking lot of the gym.

The secret to bodybuilding success:

Be well prepared and roll with the punches.

Note: Picture related. My lost bag right after it was delivered to me by LAN Airlines about 2 days after my arrival in Chile.