Most of us learned what we know about training from people who didn't have any substantial knowledge of proper form, nutrition or how to design a good routine. It's unfair, I know-just as it's unfair that we weren't born to rich parents and don't look like the models in GQ. The
majority of us got our first instruction from fathers, older brothers, football coaches or friends. These people all told us what they thought was true, but there's a good chance it was just bad advice that's been passed around for generations.
When I was 12, I assembled a dumbbell from odds and ends in the basement and asked my brothers friend Maurice how many curls I should do. As far as I knew, concentration curls were the only exercise in the world for arms. Maurice was 19, did the occasional bench press and curl and had arms that were probably no more than 13 inches-but to me, a 12-year-old runt, those 13-inch guns seemed as big as Paul Dillett's 24-inchers do now. Maurice in his infinite wisdom told me to do 100 reps a day, every day, for each arm and soon my arms would be humongous. Well, they went from nine inches to nine inches in two weeks, and I gave up.
That was the first bad advice I got, but it wasn't the last. Here are a few gems that slowed me down in my quest to get big: "Train chest and arms every day for two hours." 'Use only brand-X machines; free weights are useless." "Do very high reps for definition." "Nutrition doesn't matter as long as you lift every day." "Rear lat pulldowns are the only back exercise you need." It's impossible to go back in time and slap some of the morons who doled out that foolish advice, no matter how much I'd like to. When we're young, most of us accept as gospel whatever we're told by an authority figure.
When it comes to bodybuilding, we often see anybody bigger than we are as an expert. Little do we know that the guy we're so impressed by may be an idiot when it comes to training. He might just have great genetics or years of lifting experience-or a lot of drugs in his system. My advice to you-and I promise it's good advice-is this: Learn absolutely everything you can about exercise physiology, anatomy, nutrition and bodybuilding. Just being able to rattle off the top 10 at the Mr. Olympia won't do a thing for your physique.
Bodybuilding may not be rocket science, but if you read every book and magazine on the subject that you can get your hands on, you'll make a lot more progress than if you follow the advice of those nitwits in the gym who've never bothered to learn what they're doing. Being an expert on training and nutrition won't guarantee you the physique of a professional bodybuilder (only great genetics and drugs can do that), but it will ensure that you never waste your time following bad advice.