It may sound a bit strange at first to suggest that the route to success in bodybuilding and powerlifting lies in controlling your ego in training. After all, those two sports are among the most self-centered of all athletic activities. Yet your ego can be both a blessing and a
curse. Although the proper channeling of it can enhance your competitive drive and stimulate your desire to excel on stage, your ego can also lead you to do things that are self-destructive. This can hurt you in the long run, since it may lead you to select training techniques
that reduce or even eliminate your strength and size gains.
Dare to Be Different.
You have to accept the fact that you've chosen a different path to athletic success from that of others. While steroids are illegal, they continue to be easily available at most gyms. Thus, your decision to be natural is due to long-term health and) or
moral considerations. This personal choice has numerous ramifications for your training regimen that you can ignore only at your peril.
Don't be influenced by the so-called accepted truths you may hear at the gym. You need to make your own decisions, based on your body's unique abilities to recuperate and grow. You shouldn't do something just because you see others doing it. Those athletes may be reacting to
their own ego requirements without any thought of the long-term results of their actions. This is not the key to natural mass gains. You must recognize that your fundamental goal is to boost muscular strength in order to produce permanent size increases. That means you need to
control your ego.
Focus on Effective Techniques.
The desire to lift the heaviest weight is strong. When you lift a heavy weight, you get an immediate ego boost. You feel strong, as if you could take on the world. Yet while iron game athletes need to increase their weight levels in order to produce
muscle hypertrophy, you must resist your egotistical desire to jump to the biggest dumbbell or weight stack possible. The fastest route to gains is to make slow progressions in weight levels over time. Big jumps in poundage can rarely be sustained, and when you inevitably drop
back on your lifting totals, your ego will be badly bruised. It's much better to gently massage your ego with smaller yet continual weight gains than to set yourself up for a fall. Bear in mind that you should pick a weight that will allow you to do at least four repetitions and
that your average rep range should be six to eight.
Keep your form as perfect as possible even if you have to drop the weight to do it. The path to muscular greatness does not lie in the sloppy execution of an exercise movement. Weight levels that are too heavy invite injury and you can't grow while you're out of action with a
sprain or muscle tear. You wouldn't think of doing the compulsory poses with poor form when you're presenting your physique on stage, so get into the habit of using good form year-round. You should also restrict the volume of your workouts even when your ego demands a marathon
session. There may be days when your ego will be flying sky- high, but focus all of your efforts on achieving progressive resistance-not punishing your muscle fibers with excessive numbers of sets. It's an irrefutable fact that natural bodybuilders and powerlifters are more prone
to overtraining, and the athlete who recognizes this fact will be the one who achieves victory in the end.
You need to recognize that your goal should be long- range ego gratification, not counterproductive short-term ego fluffs. When you hit a plateau in your lifts, back off a bit to regroup. While your ego maybe be temporarily bruised by this momentary reduction in weight, in
the long run your muscles will welcome the respite and will reward you with solid gains. Sure, we always want to he at 100 percent, but it simply doesn't work that way. If you admit that your selfish and shortsighted ego can hold you back from your peak potential, you'll achieve
what we all seek. Furthermore, even though your ego wants to be in the gym as often as possible, you have to fight the urge to pump iron excessively Adequate recuperation is the key to natural muscle growth.
Accept the Challenge.
Experiment for the next six months and prove all of this to yourself. By incorporating these lessons into your training regimen, you can produce greater gains in that one half year than you've seen to date. Control your ego and learn to channel it to suit your
long-term goals. The greater muscle mass you achieve will produce more confidence in your athletic abilities and in the end will result in greater ego gratification. So work with your ego and make it a positive force for strength and size gains. Instead of being a hindrance, it
can be your ally for growth!