When asked about the amount of effort they put into their training, most bodybuilders I talk with describe themselves as dedicated and committed. If I were to ask 10 guys who train on a fairly consistent basis “Do you work hard?” I can almost guarantee you at least 9 of the 10 would emphatically answer “Yes!”
Physique development can vary greatly from person to person. Some guys excel, others do fine, while still others produce less-than-satisfactory bodies. If they are all indeed working hard as they believe, why are there such varying degrees of development generated from their bodybuilding efforts?
Is building muscle and losing body fat simply a matter of good genetics versus poor ones? Are some physiques superior only because some bodybuilders use steroids and other physique-enhancing drugs while less developed guys are drug free? Do some physiques simply respond better to different training and nutritional methods? Are the inequities caused because some guys are lucky enough to have a steady supply of state-of-the-art supplements while others simply can’t afford them? Now, I know that the typical answer from those who excel is almost always because they work extremely hard. But, I also realize those lifters who don’t look as good, will likely attribute another person’s success to good genetics or illegal drugs. “It can’t be because they work harder than me! No one works harder than I do,” they’d argue.
Believe it or not, most of your bodybuilding destiny is in your very own hands. Not in the genes your parents carry or your stance on using drugs. Your level of success is determined primarily by the standards you set for yourself. The higher you set your standards, the better your results will be.
Learning from the thousands of bodybuilders I have been exposed with over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that difference in the results manufactured from a typical bodybuilder’s training, nutrition, and supplementation habits are determined by how tough he is on himself. In other words, it’s how high he’s set his standards.
Let’s face it. We all have different interpretations of what “working hard” or “being disciplined” means to us. For example, one person who indulges in a junk food meal three or four times a week may still consider himself a very regimented eater. Another person, who may have just three or four cheat meals in a month, may describe his eating habits exactly the same way. Still another person, who never eats garbage food for months on end, sincerely feels that he, too, is a committed individual. Which one of them is right? Any guesses? Well, they all are—according to how they’ve set up the rules of the game. Although the quality of their physiques will differ quite a bit, as long as they meet the standards they’ve set up for themselves, they all have no problems whatsoever describing themselves as hard working, disciplined, regimented, and committed.
The challenge for those bodybuilders who are struggling, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, and feel as though they’ve plateaued is they never realize they’ve set up some less-than-ambitious goals. Their standards are simply not high enough to meet their objectives. Another common challenge is that many bodybuilders give themselves too much credit—and their peers too little credit—when it comes to the amount of effort they are exerting into their physique development. When someone is better than they are, they are too quick to identify genetics, drugs, and other factors out of their control as the cause of the difference. It’s certainly true that all men are not created equally. There’s no doubt that drugs significantly aid in building muscle and losing body fat. The fact of the matter is, however, you must do the best you can with the circumstances you are under. You must make the most with all of your gifts and minimize your liabilities that are in your control. Setting standards high enough to get the results you want is definitely in your control. Let me tell you something: We can all raise our standards!
Bill Bradley, former New York Knicks basketball star and New Jersey senator, has a great saying I always try to remember “There is always someone somewhere out there working harder than you are!” I suggest you adopt that empowering belief.
Are you working hard enough to reach your bodybuilding goals? Really? How do you know for sure? What actual evidence do you have that the standards you’ve set for yourself will truly meet your goals? Why do you feel your definition of “being disciplined” is the correct one? What do you base your opinion on?