by Matt Weik
It’s common today to find workouts and samples of nutrition programs flooding fitness magazines around the globe. Likewise, just about every single fitness website that shares content has the same. So the chances of you paging or clicking around just to find the next big program to get you jacked or shredded is very high. If it’s published it has to be a great program, right? Maybe, but it could also be a terrible program for you personally.
But my buddy got great results…
With everyone being an internet fitness guru these days, it’s difficult to weed through all the fakes and frauds out there to find yourself a coach or trainer who can cater to your individual needs. Note how I said “individual needs”? That’s exactly what you need. It pains me to even be saying this as it brings up a negative within our industry, but “trainers” these days have no idea what they are doing. They are giving cookie-cutter workout programs to their clients without catering it to their needs or even their physical limitations. Same goes with these guru coaches who give their clients a nutrition plan that they either found online or they got themselves if they ever worked with someone.
Or better yet (this one really gets me pissed off), there are contest prep coaches out there who have a great reputation in the industry for getting clients on stage are having them take in under 1,000 calories a day. Not only is this stupid and foolish, it’s downright dangerous. More than likely, those same contest prep coaches are also having those very same clients doing anywhere from one to three hours of cardio every day. Talk about royally screwing up your metabolism. Once your body adapts to the low calories, it’s going to force that individual to go even lower in order to continue losing body fat. Doing so is a downward spiral.
If I were to write up a program for you which added ten pounds of lean mass to your frame in a matter of months and gave that same program to your buddy, there’s a possibility that your buddy won’t see any results. Your body is different than mine, and my body is different from both you and your buddy. No two people are the same. Each person has a different metabolic rate, different free testosterone levels, different insulin sensitivity, different ways of storing fat, etc.
So let me ask you a question… Why would you take an arm workout you see online or in a magazine and buy into the hype that it guarantees an additional inch of growth on your guns after just one day? Sounds too good to be true. More times than not, if you get anywhere close to that type of “growth” it’s temporary. You’ll see workouts where you have to hitting arms twice a day to add size in one workout, yet all it’s doing is giving you a pump with zero actual growth. The body simply cannot build and repair tissue (let alone an inch worth) in under 24 hours. Adding a legit inch to your arms (of lean muscle mass) takes months if not years depending on how quickly your body responds to your workouts and repairing the broken down muscle fibers. Therefore, let’s just debunk those types of ludicrous workouts right off the bat.
If you are going to follow any workout you see in magazines or online, take them with a grain of salt if they make outlandish claims. By all means you can follow them if you wish. It might just be what you need to get out of your boring workout program and change it up a bit. But if they make claims that challenge how you know the human body works, simply take it for what it is—a new workout to give a try.
Learn your body
Because your body is different from everyone else, you need to truly pay attention to it in order to understand how it responds to different muscle stimulus as well as how your body responds to changes in your nutrition. You might find your body responds better to high volume workouts which could be different from your friend or workout partner. Likewise, you could find if you keep your carbohydrates high when bulking, you put on more body fat than you did with a lower carbohydrate intake and increased fats. Bodybuilding is about trial and error and figuring out what works best for YOU.
Many say a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. While this is kinda-sorta true, it’s also kinda-sorta not. Your body doesn’t look at food as simply a “calorie”. Where that calorie comes from means more. When you look at different macro-nutrients, they all play a different role with how your body works and operates. You can think of it this way… If a calorie is just a calorie and you were tracking how many calories you take in each day, what do you think would happen if you simply ate all of your calories from carbohydrates? You’d probably look like a Rolly-Polly, right? So you can’t sit back and think that just because you hit your calories for the day that you’re on track to hit your goals.
If diet and nutrition were easily understood by the masses, you wouldn’t see more than half of American’s being overweight these days. It takes time and understanding to not only know what macros do in general, but how your body reacts to each of them. The fun part about your health and fitness journey is that you’re manipulating and making changes to your workouts and nutrition and seeing how your body reacts. If you make too many changes all at once, you really don’t know what accounted for the change. So make slight changes and base the results off of your findings.
Enjoy the process and learning your body. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. But you don’t want the easy way out, you want a challenge. Something to test you both physically and mentally. It’s a journey in which the path you take isn’t always straight. Sometimes you have to go off on your own in order to find what you were looking for. You will get there, it will just take some trial and error. Good luck on your journey!