We aspire. That’s what we do. We aspire to accomplish, without thinking too much about what we do achieve. Little victories don’t hold much merit, considering they’re often factored by progression. What I mean by this is hitting two plates on each side for the bench press is a great step for a beginner lifter…but how much does it really matter when it only takes a few seconds to add an extra plate?
When so many around us are doing so much more than we are, and it takes so long to make little steps, it’s hard to stay motivated. I get it, the motivation part is the hardest aspect of bodybuilding. The actual workouts just involve being motivated enough to push ourselves. Even a half-assed workout can pay off big time, when paired with proper nutrition.
This brings us to a point…
Today, people are thinkers-not ‘doers’!
We think about where we want to be and how we can get there. We make a plan and we get started. We think about our progress and how we may be able to do better.
Sure we do what we schedule ourselves for, but we are never motivated to do things to an extreme. We are also rarely motivated to keep hammering through the bad times. We kick it into fifth gear and let our egos go into overdrive, then we burn out and struggle to get back to that previous momentum.
The problem is that we aren’t looking at it rationally. We approach a “dream physique” and think that we can achieve it with just a few years of training. At the same time, we don’t actually follow the training routines that work for those goal physiques.
Let Me Give an Example
This may seem like just a bunch of hot air, so bear with me and open your mind a little to really understand where I’m coming from.
Many of us are guilty of following the pattern of bulking during the winter and cutting during the summer. Correct?
Many of us also go a step further and clean bulk throughout the winter, which makes us put on as little body fat as possible.
We want to look great for the next summer season and that’s understandable. The problem is that we are just going to become the best primed version of ourselves from where we are at now. We are not going to be the different version of us that we aspired for in the first place.
So we put on as much muscle as we can possibly put on, or at least we hope to, for probably six to eight months. In this time frame, we believe that we are actually accomplishing something. While some gains are noticed, they are minimal.
We start bulking after a cut. During the cutting phase, we lost a little bit of muscle. It’s impossible to prevent – it may not be a lot, but some muscle mass was lost.
So we start our bulk and spend the first part regaining that lost muscle. Then we really feel confident and we are giving it all at the gym. So we start to pack on a bit of muscle mass, but we’re getting close to the end of our bulking phase.
The last portion of the bulk is when we kick it into overdrive and believe that we are triggering maximal gains. However, we end up switching to a cutting phase and wiping out those last-minute gains.
This means that the majority of the muscle that we packed on happened in a fraction of the bulking phase. There’s no concrete number or percentage, but let’s say three or four months of our hard work will get noticed, not six months!
We ride that roller coaster and hit the same peaks, maybe a little higher. We never give ourselves the chance to spike our progression line. We see visual results, but nothing close to night and day.
If we stick to this approach, staying motivated for many years, we may start to see major differences. We may even be close to that dream physique that we wanted.
What Should We Be Doing?
We desire a physique that is highly based on muscularity. So we should be focusing on making our diet and training as anabolic as possible. This means that we have to disregard that whole “look good for the summer” logic and focus on packing on muscle at all costs.
Personally, we believe in the approach of getting to the leanest point possible and then going on a two or three year bulk phase. The key to this is doing a slow, progressive bulk. This will allow for muscle to be added on without any noticeable fat gain. The muscle mass growth in those years will be massive. Even a huge ripped physique will be within reach by the end of the bulk phase – it will just take a shortcut and another lean bulk and we’re golden!
That approach really helps avoid the major errors that many of us make. We think that a patterned routine between bulking and cutting will provide optimal gains. The truth is that we should be minimizing transitioning between these phases as much as possible.
After all, we will lose roughly the same muscle mass regardless of when we begin cutting – why not lose that amount of muscle once instead of four or six times?