Completely New? Start Here...

For the past few years, A very nice guy named Randy Roach has been writing a series of novels detailing the history of bodybuilding and the strength business, stretching all the way back to the 1870's in scope. It's destined to be three novels in length with the final one due at some point in the (hopefully) near future. They do not appeal to everyone because the first two volumes were well over 700 pages each and cost at least $50.00 (They probably cost so much because the auther went blind while writing them. If I was blind and writing a book, say nothing of three books totaling over 2,000 pages, I'd expect to get well-paid for them too!) Many of you reading this page wouldn't buy them (but I recommend that you do) but there is one thing I want you to take away from these books and you don't even have to spend money. That would be the title of the series: "Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors."

The simple fact is that the strength and fitness industry that we all know built deception into their business model. They make money by keeping their customers in a hampster wheel, moving towards goals that you never really get. They don't really want every single customer to get into shape. It only makes sense that most popular fitness clubs clutter their buildings with some variation on walking machines that go nowhere. If you're new to my blog, and especially if you're new to strength training/fitness/whateveryouwanttocallit, this is the first key point that I'd want to tell you about getting stronger and healthier. These places, and this industry, gives you a low chance of success if you buy into it.
This isn't the only key point that I'd want to tell you if you're new to my blog or getting into shape. There are lots of other things to say but for the sake of some brevity, I decided to boil down, crystalize, and present to you the most important ones that I think that everyone should concern themselves with. These are the ones that I think that everyone could gain the most benefit out of. Being fitter and stronger than the bulk of my friends and family (Not really a boast. My circle is probably like yours: filled with really out-of-shape people), I'm ocasionally confronted by people asking me for, "a few routines to get in shape." I used to say sure, and I still do. I just don't follow through. Maybe I'm an ass but it's a waste of my time. You can tell when someone's serious and failure to show willingness to get their diet under control. That brings me to my next key point: you can't possibly exercise away bad eating. It's just not possible to become as strong, healthy or as lean as you can be when your diet is a mess.

Don't give a shit how much he lifts! This just sucks!

Conversely, you can't diet your way to a strong and healthy body either. I firmly believe that good training is the best way to figure out if your diet is really good for you or not. If your eating sucks, then training will feel abusive. There's an epic gap between eating and training out there. There are unhealthy strength training junkies who don't give a shit about what they eat and there are health nuts who are as weak as premature puppies. The truth is without good diet, neither are the best they could be because they're each leaving out a key detail: they belong together!  Don't make the same mistake.

Along the lines of eating right, I get two seemingly different training goals with answers that are inextricably linked. It splits along the gender line: men who want to pack on more muscle and women who want to tone up without getting bulky. They might be polar opposite training goals but they both have the same answer: Muscle mass only happens when you eat more while training. A LOT MORE. It's the most basic rule of physics: matter cannot be created or destroyed. You can't create muscle to your body unless you add more matter (aka: food) to make it with. When I say more food, I'm talking about a doubling and tripling of daily caloric intake. If you're not doing that, then you can either erase your fears of getting bulky or kiss your aspirations for bulk away. It's just that simple.

Do you remember how I mentioned a few paragraphs earlier how health and fitness clubs basically suck? The truth of the matter is that you don't any gym's faulty assembly line of bodybuilding machinery. You don't even really need weights (you may want them and that's fine). The truth is that you can get into fantastic shape and become incredibly strong with just your bodyweight only. You simply have to think past the normal, high rep method of doing of push-ups, crunches (which is my second-most hated exercise), and pull-ups (which if you've turned these into a high rep exercise then I congratulate you). That was the original intention of my blog when I started it: to show people how to use their own body to create varying levels of immense resistance. While I work out with weights now, a solid 60% of what I do is still BW-only. It really does work that well. You don't only get strong by lifting weights. You get strong by creating progressive overload. Weights are only one way to do it. BW has another ways.  Furthermore, learning these ways can make better use of less weight.  So, you get just as much rewards with less stuff.  I don't have a lot of money, probably like you.  I find this appealing. 

The last, and probably most imporantly, point that I need to make to the newcomer here is about your goals for training in the first place. We all have different ones but if your goals turn into a comparison to someone else (I want to be strong like...I want to look like...), then you need to stop right there. Every facet of that evil McFitness industry thrives on the fact that most people want to look or be like someone else. It's just not possible. You're and individual and trying to make yourself into someone else is just a ride on that above-mentioned hampster wheel, destined only for failure and disappointment. If you're working out to be like someone or something else, then you're doing it wrong. I like what Bodytribe, my favorite gym of all, put on their homepage: You. Only Better. That should sum up your training goals.

There are always going to be other ideas and thoughts worth saying.  If there weren't, I wouldn't bother writing after a certian point.  If you're just getting started at getting better through hard, physical movement, these are the thoughts I'd want to put in your head first.  After all, if you don't get your head into the working out game properly, you're just a rodent in a cruel toy.

1 comment:

Australian Ninja said...

Just ordered Muscle Smoke and Mirrors, probably nothing new for me, I've never touched Protein powders or any of that rubbish, read a fair bit or real Nutrition (Weston Price style, not the PC correct pseudo-science they teach these days) and have been reading for years on all forms of physical training etc, but I love to read and this looks like a good yarn, thanks for the recommendation!