by Matt Weik
I can remember flipping through the pages of FLEX Magazine and Muscular Development when I was in my 20’s and hanging onto everything printed on those pages. After a few years, I became totally jaded after doing my own experimenting and testing. I could follow diets and workout routines religiously, and never see anywhere near the results they claim can be had from these publications. Why is this? It’s because we have a one size fits all mentality. And I was duped into thinking this way.
Ya got me!
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. The days when I jumped into the deep end feet first and wanted to take my health and fitness more seriously. I would read the workouts in popular publications but would see minimal results. I would complete workouts recommended by IFBB Pro bodybuilders, in hopes of putting on massive amounts of muscle. Yet, that muscle wasn’t coming with ease. In fact, I was getting more frustrated than anything at this point.
Eventually, I stopped reading these magazines. I stopped listening to what “professionals” in the industry were saying and I did my own thing. I took the concepts I read about in magazines and from experts in the industry, and I started applying it on my own. I tested each theory, made changes, retested, made more changes, etc. Now, mind you, I was a competitive tennis player for most of my life and my freshman year of college I was 130 pounds soaking wet. Well, from trial and error with training protocols and playing with my nutrition, I’m sitting around 200 pounds. Do I look like a professional bodybuilder? No, but that’s not my goal in life. I simply wanted to put on lean muscle mass.
People in the gym started noticing and began asking me for advice. I’d tell them what I was doing, they would implement it, and nothing changed for them. They started to think I was lying to them and was “protecting my secrets” to putting on quality size. There was no secret. It was simply what I found to work for ME. Let me say that again, as it’s super important—I found what worked for ME.
You and I may look alike, but we’re drastically different
I could give you the plan that has worked for me and there will be zero changes taking place with your physique. I could give you the best diet that I’ve followed in order to put on clean quality mass without turning into a blowfish by “dirty bulking” and it very well might yield any results.
We are all individuals. My body can react differently to certain macronutrients than yours—and that’s perfectly ok. My body can react differently to various training protocols than yours—and that’s perfectly ok. There is no one set way to gain muscle or burn body fat.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. There is no one size fits all approach as I’ve mentioned earlier. The fun (and frustrating part) of health and fitness is figuring out your individual body. What it likes and what it doesn’t like. What works and what doesn’t work. So many people give up because they aren’t seeing results. They get frustrated when the scale stops moving, or when the mirror still shows a scrawny young buck. Now is where you truly find out how committed you are. Do you throw in the towel, or do you dig your feet in and hold your ground—committed to making it work?
I’ve trained hundreds of people, and almost every one of them thinks that I can quick write down a plan for them and they’ll immediately get results—like I’m some sort of magician. It’s not that easy. You need to see how your body reacts to different foods, different stimuli, etc. While many people get frustrated when they aren’t seeing results, I enjoy the process. I enjoy the struggle. Trying new things. Changing things up when I’ve hit a plateau. Figure out a way to win.
My best advice for you
While I have been preaching to stop taking advice from magazines and “experts,” I want you to listen to everything they say. Just because you hear them, doesn’t mean you need to implement their strategies. In fact, what I recommend is for you to take what they are saying and change it around based off of what you know about your body. Test it. Test everything.
Nothing that you read out of a fitness or bodybuilding magazine is gospel. So, stop expecting miracles to happen just because Mr. Olympia said x, y, and z were his secrets to getting big and winning a Sandow trophy, doesn’t mean that you’ll ever get close to stepping on stage as a professional bodybuilder. Keep things in perspective. While I’m not trying to crush any potential dreams you may have, know that professional bodybuilders are a rare breed. Not only do they have insane genetics, but they are also willing to “do whatever it takes” (if you can read between the lines) to put on enough size to compete at that level.
Journal your journey. That is a sure way to see what has been working and what isn’t. Focus on the things that are working for you and stick with them until you no longer are seeing results. From there, simply re-evaluate and tweak the methods you are using until you start seeing results again. It’s a process. And unfortunately, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But then again, not everyone works as hard as you. Keep your head down and stay after it. Never give up, never stop learning. Knowledge is power, but executing with that knowledge is even more powerful.