What do Reggie Bush, Wladimir Klitschko, and George St. Pierre all have in common?
1. They train to perform better. They focus in improving things like speed, power, endurance and quickness.
2. Each of them is as shredded as can be and physiques that a lot of guys would dream of having.
So what gives? Why do they have insane physiques, while the average guy at the gym – who wants nothing more than to build an amazing-looking body – struggles to put on just a bit of muscle, or lose just a bit of fat?
There are the obvious excuses we can throw out there. We can talk about these guys have insane genetics – true. We can go into how they have more on the line than we do – really? Or we can just look at what they do that we don’t do, and implement the stuff that works for guys like them into our routines.
So, what the hell do I know about “accidentally” putting on lean muscle, or building my ideal body?
Well, to make a long story short, I trained for 7 years doing the “usual things” in the gym. I focused on bodybuilding but expected improved performance, or I thought I was improving my performance, but was going about it in the completely wrong manner. I have done things that don’t work, but then I began to do things that did work, which lead to me gaining 32 pounds of lean muscle in 32 weeks.
The thing about those muscle gains was that I was still fighting, trying to remain in my fighting weight when I started my new training regiment. I wanted improved performance, but had no idea that muscle and performance gains would be the result.
What did I change in my routine – and what are those pro athletes doing that I wasn’t doing; and you might not be doing today?
1. I don’t think a lot of us really understand what an intense workout looks or feels like.
That was the first thing that I had to understand – even though I may have thought I was working hard, I wasn’t working nearly hard enough, and I found a great way to test this.
When I started this new system, I put everything I had into every session, and one thing I noticed was that I couldn’t talk in between sets because I was just too exhausted. Where I used to be laughing and chatting, I was now hunched over, trying to recover in time for the next set.
2. Quality vs Quantity
Your workouts have to be concentrated and focused. There can’t be mental rests in a training session, leave that for after the workout. Get in and get out as fast as possible.
This also pertains to rest. Quality sleeps, naps, or recovery days.
I cut my time training dramatically, but upped the intensity and improved my focus when I was training.
3. Short periods of intense and focused training, followed by even shorter periods of time off.
People set goals like: in 3 months I want to have added 10 lbs of muscle, and lost 3% bodyfat. They then start their routine fully expecting to train every week for those 3 months, but it rarely happens. They get 6 weeks in and they get tired of the strict eating, the hard work, and just want to chill – so they give up.
My advice: train for 3 weeks, rest for 1.
If you can’t keep up the training at a high intensity for 3 weeks, you probably don’t really want it that bad. But at the same time, 3-weeks of training intensely, and following a ‘diet’ is a lot. A scheduled week off replenishes both our body and our minds. That first week back into the routine is always an awesome one.
The same can be said for work. I’ve started breaking my work up into hour-long increments that always end with a 10 minute rest period. The quality of my work has sky-rocketed, and I end up getting a lot more stuff done as well.