Contrary what I may have said in the past (I actually had people contact me on details of a taboo regimen I prescribed) the secret weapon to achieving optimal gains is not consuming yellow jackets and pine cones. There are many things that can attribute to achieving gains; however, I believe that there is one thing that most people lack that is truly a secret weapon.
While I agree there are a lot of things that are responsible for optimal gains, I believe that motivation is the ultimate X-Factor. By motivation I mean wanting something so badly that you will not stop until you get it, or that you are on the verge of obsessing over that goal. When you are motivated you will no longer make excuses because you will always find a way to accomplish it. You understand that when you want something, you will do everything in your power to make it happen.
One trait that successful people and/or champions possess in the fitness world is motivation. At the end of the day, they didn’t answer to that trainer yelling at them for another rep, or to their coach who was responsible for their diet. Whether or not they had someone in their corner, or support from others, they realized what I am telling you. Sure all of those things can and do attribute to gains, BUT no matter what, ultimately, YOU are responsible for the path you take. YOU dictate your success…YOU choose to push it past that failure threshold and BEYOND each and every day…YOU choose to stick to the plan and be patient when emotions run wild…YOU choose to keep grinding day in and day out, suffering, sacrificing, etc. Sure, the road may be tougher for some, but as long as you continuously beat yourself that is the best you can be, and will produce optimal gains. I figured this out a long time ago. No matter who I have supporting me, ultimately I am responsible for the gains I make. I will continue to improve, because I am motivated and will accept nothing less. No one motivates me more than the flawed man that looks back at me in the mirror every day.
Yesterday’s workout took longer than expected and no video footage was captured. The workout yesterday was an upper body focused Muscle Round day. Basically a Muscle Round is when you perform 6 sets of 4 on a given exercise, 10 seconds rest between each set. You use past performances and intuition so that the last set is where ultimate failure is achieved. Here is the jist of yesterday:
Chest Supported T-Bar Row
Close Grip Lat Pulldown
Pro Bar Lat Pulldown
Flat Bench Press
Hammer Strength Incline Press
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly
OH Cable Rope Tricep Extension
Machine Preacher Curl
For decades, men have been on a never ending quest for the holy grail of bodybuilding. Contrary to belief, there is not some secret herb growing in a cave in some remote rainforest, or in a test tube in some mad scientist’s lab in Siberia that will result in a pro-physique. The secret to becoming a great bodybuilder, is, and always will be, determined by genetics.
Genetics, not steroids, captain the ship when pertaining to the direction, pace, and ultimately distance one will go in bodybuilding. Message boards are flooded with questions and theories as to what stack Mr. Olympia uses pre-contest, how much of Drug A,B,C, and D he takes, etc. What people consistently fail to realize is that pro bodybuilders are among the genetic elite. Sure, they may take more hormones than most, but at the end of the day, if all drugs and supplements were taken out of the equation of bodybuilding, guess who would still be winning shows? The answer to this question will always be the genetic elite.
(Lee Priest at 16 years old)
Take Kevin Levrone as an example. He would literally come off of all supplements, and stop training and eating like a bodybuilder after shows, and would shrink back down to the size of a normal human being. However, come pre contest, Kevin would hit the weights and supplements, and would transform into a piece of bodybuilding art in record time. The average human could take ten times the amount Kevin took, work ten times harder, etc. and still would not be able to match the level of his physique.
The same principle can also be applied to two bodybuilders with different genetics. We’ll call these two guys Joe Blow and John Doe. Let’s say Joe has insane genetics, and John has ok genetics. Both are training partners; take the same drug protocol, etc. In one year’s time Joe is significantly ahead of John physique-wise. John also notices that Joe sometimes skips a meal or a workout, yet he still has a superior physique. John can’t understand why this is, and even ‘ups the dose’ at an attempt to catch Joe; but to no avail. No matter what John does, it just seems that things come so much faster and easier to Joe. This is a clear example of the crucial role genetics play in bodybuilding.
We have all seen a genetic freak, whether he competes in bodybuilding or not. These people seem to have the blood of Zeus pumping through their veins. They are the ones who are super athletic, abnormally muscular, stay ridiculously lean, nicknamed something like “Ox” and are just basically men amongst boys. However, bodybuilding genetics are comprised of more than just sheer size and strength. One with superior bodybuilding genetics will possess coveted qualities such as a wasp-like waist, wide clavicles, small waist, large muscle bellies, insane vascularity, freaky proportions, etc.
One thing that seems to always get lost in discussion is that those with good genetics do NOT have to rely on as many drugs as someone with less than stellar genetics. People just cannot seem to fathom that most of these guys may not take as rumored. It is a blow to the ego of the guy at the gym who is pumping tons of gear when he hears that his favorite pro is taking far less. This guy uses his advanced bro science to denounce those crazy lower dose claims, and to justify his heavy use with the theory that if it takes him that much to be the biggest guy at his gym, then the pros have to be taking as much or more than him. This is where the old cliché of “More is not always better” comes in. The genetic superiors not only possess great genetics, but most importantly, they respond to gear extremely well (a la Levrone).
Unless that mad scientist in Siberia has determined the method at altering one’s genetic code, there is nothing one can do to change his genetics. Like us other mere mortals, all we can do is put in the time and work and play with the hand we were dealt, and be the best we can be. Of course there are some successful bodybuilders that may not possess stellar genetics like his fellow competitors. This guy overcame and compensated with hard work, and that’s refreshing to see that hard work does pay off in that sense. However, as a whole, the NPC is flooded with mythological creatures with Herculean genetics, so it is rare to see someone with subpar genetics gracing the stage of a pro show. If you do happen to be one of the few descendants of Zeus or some other God/Goddess, be grateful and reap the fruits of your labor they have blessed you with.
Why am I a bodybuilder? I get asked this question more times than Taylor Swift writes a song about a breakup. So I figured I’d address that today. We all have our passions in life. Some people enjoy fishing and hunting, some people like art, some people like to sew, some people like couponing and yard sale-ing. The bottom line is we all should do what we LOVE. Guess what? I love bodybuilding.
“But why do you wanna keep getting bigger?” “You’re big enough” Etc. etc. I hear this all the time. That’s YOUR opinion. I don’t care what YOU or anybody thinks. I do this for ME. "They always say too much. I always say too much OPINION." I don’t ask hunters why they want to shoot and kill animals for enjoyment. I don’t question those who like to get up early and yard sale. Hell, I don’t question the drinkers and smokers why they do what they do…that is their business. I don’t question people because we are all different. What I do though is respect people’s passions and likes. Consequently, I expect the same in return.
OK, now that I have touched on that…let me get into why I chose bodybuilding. Bodybuilding forces self-discipline. There is nothing like setting goals that you think are unachievable, then blowing past that goal. Each year I look back and take pride in knowing that all the hard work I have put in is visible. Sure the aesthetics aspect is nice, but there’s more to than just “getting big.” This stuff takes determination, will power, fortitude, consistency, and to put it lightly, straight ball-busting work.
Bodybuilding produces much more than muscular growth. I have grown from bodybuilding in the sense I have learned to be realistic with myself. Yes, things are achievable, but we also must be realistic with where we currently are compared to what we WANT to be. You can't cheat the grind, and the mirror reflects that. I also have grown from bodybuilding in the sense that it instilled a work ethic in me like nothing else. Wrestling was the only thing that mimicked bodybuilding, but even it takes a backseat. Overall as a person I have grown in the fact that I am now more self disciplined, consistent, determined, and motivated than ever. I have learned to set goals which I will do everything in my power to not only achieve, but to exceed.This applies to all aspects of my life. I now realize that if I truly put my mind to something, and put all my passion and 100% of me into it, that I can achieve great things. When you truly believe in yourself, you can do almost anything. I realize we have one shot at this thing called life on Earth. Why settle for mediocrity when capable of so much more?
I look back at how far I’ve come and it’s rewarding to see that I am responsible for that. Nobody helped me. I did the meal prepping. I force fed the times I wasn’t hungry. I skipped the desserts and insane home cooked meals. I passed up food when I was insatiably hungry. I made myself do that workout when I had had only 3 hours of sleep and felt like crap. I did this, and despite what anyone says, they cannot take that away from me. I love the feeling of a skin-splitting muscle pump in the gym so tight that it hurts (research what Arnold says about the pump!), I love the feeling of repping a weight 10 times that I would have not dared try for one a year or two ago, I love the feeling of nearly passing out after a 30 rep squat set while my quads are so engorged with blood and searing with an indescribable fiery pain…and then KEEP going past that threshold until I reach ultimate physical failure. I love those feelings as well as the pain that accompanies them. Why? Because I know with each rep I push past the pain barrier while ignoring my mind telling me to stop, each chicken breast or egg white, each and every single rep or food or research I do, each limit and boundary I push past, that it’s going to make me better. I and no one else are responsible for the results I achieve....I EARNED this. I enjoy doing what was thought to be unattainable, that most people cannot do. Bodybuilding helps me block out all the bullshit that is going on in life. When I am in the gym, I forget the stress and the messed up world around me. I am in there to accomplish one goal…to improve. Overall, not only have I become physically strong, I have become a strong person thanks to this game we call bodybuilding.
In a nutshell....
That is why I am a bodybuilder.
Yesterday I had a much needed rest day. I was unreal exhausted. My body was begging for more sleep. For the first time in a long time, I was out like a light by 9:00 PM! I also dropped my carbs significantly (to around 100) and was way drier, harder, and vascular....woke up this morning 3 pounds lighter....that'll change once I introduce em back today!
Nutrition tip of the day:
Carbs always get a bad rap. All too often people remove them from their diet when it’s not necessary. I personally like to keep them as high as I can for as long as I can. Always time the bulk of your carbs around training: Pre workout, intra workout, and post workout. I actually lean towards faster digesting carbs post workout as well, which is why I have been eating cereal. It digests quickly, and gets the job done. Learn how the body works, and don’t always follow the sheep and the accompanying bro science.
Another great workout for the books. My gym partner and I absolutely smashed it, and can’t wait to do it again for Lower Muscle Rounds this evening.
Yesterday’s workout consisted of:
Incline T-Bar Rows, Smith Rows, Probar Lat Pulldowns, Close Grip Lat Pulldowns, Flat Bench Press, Incline Hammer Strength Press, DB Side Lateral Raises, DB Rear Delt Flyes, Tricep Cross Body Rope Extension, DB Concentration Curls, Close Stance Leg Press, Standing Calf Raises, Adductors, Abs.
Appetite is absolutely insane, and vascularity is actually increasing. Actually went over my allotted macros yesterday, but my body is demanding more food. Off days I am actually going to drop carbs more than what I originally planned, per advice from some top level coaches. Since I stopped my prep diet 3 weeks ago, I have added about 12-15 pounds to the scale on any given day. Of course to the educated this does not mean it’s muscle, probably minute or none at all, but instead glycogen and water. However, the result is nice…full and pumped muscles, and a bigger Jay!
The Olympia is in 10 days…I’ll make my predictions soon. Everyone knows who’s going to win first, but the other picks may be tricky!
Monday Funday! Despite the fact that Mondays can be rough, I tend to like them somewhat. The weekends are glorious, but I am also less structured, and tempted to eat unplanned and recklessly. I was fairly good this weekend with eating, haha. However Saturday I probably consumed a little too much "junk." About one half of a half gallon of Blue Bell's MAgic Cookie Bar may or may not have gotten into my belly....like the name says, it's magical no doubt! I also attended my cousin's birthday dinner at a Hibachi buffet. I ate MOSTLY sushi, but I did treat myself to a couple little things.
With my new training system I am off on the weekends, and I am soooo ready to hit it today. This week I am also bumping up calories slightly in the form of carbs, and a little more fats. Starting today my macros will be:
Training/Off Day: Protein @ 350/330 Carbs @ 300/175 Fats @ 60/70
Short work week this week since Labor Day was a holiday. That still doesn't mean I took off from the grind. Today was a lower loading day and I was pressed for time. The beauty of this program is that you utilize time well and I was done in under an hour. No need for cardio to stay lean.
Leg Press , 1x12
Standing Leg Curl, 1x15
Leg Press, 1x12
Leg Extension, 1x7
Leg Press, 1x10
Calf , 5x6-12
Chest/Back, 1x25/1x20 , 1x10/1x20
Rear Delts, 1x30
Appetite is still unreal so I treated myself to a pint of Ben and Jerry's Salted Caramel Core, and of course a big bowl of Frosted Flakes. With the whole selfie, swelfie, swolfie fad continuing to snowball, I figured I'd join in on the fun!
Real exciting Friday night. I was in the grocery store parking lot
slamming a pint of ice cream and eating turkey tenderloin.
Training is done until Monday. Gonna take advantage of it and have a lot of R&R this weekend.
Good luck to all those competing at the Stewart Fitness Championships in Rock Hill, SC!
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Jay, aka Joshua Wortman is an aspiring bodybuilder who has an insatiable passion for fitness and nutrition. His long term goal is to be a nationally recognized bodybuilder.