It's probably pretty safe to assume that if you're reading fitFLEX, in one way or another you're interested in fitness. Some of you harbor the ambition of unveiling the next Arnold to
the world. Many just want to transform a body you've grown increasingly uncomfortable with into one you can wear with pride. Others, like myself, don't really have the burning desire
to break into the competitive arena but want to look as if we could if we decided to.
We all have our reasons for embracing the bodybuilding lifestyle, and it's fairly easy to conjure up the vision of what we don't want to look like. While it's true that one man's or woman's dream is another's nightmare, it's no secret that obesity is not presently in vogue.' Muscles are in style-and big time. Even the beautiful people who sell us fashions, cosmetics and colognes are sporting more muscular physiques these days. These folks are not what hardcore bodybuilders would consider competition material, but-let's face it- not a whole lot of people aspire to take up that much space.
While I continue to endorse a high-fat diet devoid of sugars, white flour and processed foods, I never have and never will tell you that I prefer a pudgy-and I don't mean Stockton-rotund look to lean, defined muscle. I'm talking about eating fat, not wearing it. A certain amount of weight adds strength and energy, not to mention a healthy, happy immune system-as opposed to the perils of over-dieting and dehydrating the body for that ripped look-however, too much excess baggage taxes your heart and your joints. Try carrying a bowling ball around strapped to your stomach. Real comfortable-not!
When you're on a high-fat diet- lots of milk, cheese, eggs and meat- you've got to keep a close eye on your waistline. If you notice that you're putting on a little more than what you want in that particular area, try doing one of two things:
1 Add some aerobics-not a lot all at once, just a slight increase. Keep your diet exactly the same and monitor yourself in the mirror until you feel you've hit that mark where you're still putting on muscle but everything else is getting burned off.
2 Slightly decrease your fat intake. Again, keep your workouts routine and keep your eyes on the mirror until you've found your personal limit.
Very few people, hardgainers or otherwise, can eat with absolutely no concern for how much they consume. My personal weakness is cookies and milk right before bedtime. I realize that it's not the finest habit, but I enjoy it. I do pay for this habit-in sweat. You may be familiar with the Santa Monica stairs, a long, winding flight of steps that leads down a hill in Santa Monica, California. Well, those stairs see me at least twice a week, and for half an hour they show me what a good aerobic workout really is. I breathe heavy and get soaking-wet clothes every time, but it's worth it. I love my cookies and milk. When I put on my bathing suit, I know what I want to see, and fat doesn't fit into that picture.
As we get older, our metabolisms tend to slow down a bit-not because we're older necessarily but predominantly because we tend to get more and more sedentary. Working at a computer all day, for example, isn't too physically demanding. For this reason we need to keep a constant eye on our diets.
If you're aspiring to get bigger, you're going to have to eat more than usual to give your body a little extra to work with. Even so, it's the quality not the quantity. Use the mirror as your guide. It'll be the first to tell you if you're storing those extra calories instead of converting them to the muscle mass you want. Just as each of us looks different, we also digest differently. Get to know yourself inside and out. This is the key to successful bodybuilding.