Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Is Your Training Program Realistic? - Bradley J. Steiner

Idealism: The practice of forming or pursuing ideals, especially unrealistically.

I would venture that an inquiry among 100 bodybuilders, all of whom were experienced and knowledgeable, concerning what was the "right" way to train, would bring 100 different replies. 

Few people seem to agree on any one correct way to work out. 

And that's partly understandable. 

First of all, it is absolutely essential to keep in mind that training must always be tailored to the individual's requirements. That doesn't only mean to the requirements of his specific goal (i.e. to get very powerful, for example), but tailored to the unique demands of his own psychophysical requirements for achieving that goal. That is, what Mr. A finds perfect to build his power might be woefully inappropriate for Mr. B's needs. And it goes on. 

Second, there are one's normal life responsibilities, and how they will affect one's training. True enough, there are a few extremists who arrange their total existence around their workouts - but we can't all do that. And even if we could, it is debatable whether or not that would be a rational thing to do. 

Taking into consideration then, first that we are all unique and we therefore require unique training programs to accommodate our individual characteristics and peculiarities; and second, that life responsibilities (family, job, et al) contribute to the factors that we must consider when determining how we ought to train, let's ask this question: 

Do you feel that your present training program realistically accords with your unique requirements psychophysically, and with the responsibilities of your daily existence? 

Regardless of who mapped out your routine, and no matter what any muscle-building "experts" have to say - if you cannot reply to that basic inquiry with a resounding Yes! then you are not going to be ultimately fulfilled by your program.

The Personal Considerations

There are three primary physical types. These are: Mesomorphic (medium boned, naturally athletic and well proportioned persons), Endomorphic (heavy boned, naturally strong and bulky individuals), and Ectomorphic (small boned people who tend to find the acquisition of size and power something of a problem). 

While no one is 100 percent ecto-, endo- or meso-morphic, many people are almost so; and we are all primarily one of these. 

In addition to bone structure, we all are unique in muscle quality. Body tone and skin thickness are also unique attributes that will affect our development. Mental factors are perhaps the singularly most important - though few people understand this. 

If you tend to be mentally disciplined and calm, you possess an enormous advantage in physical training. If you are high strung, erratic, seriously neurotic, etc., you may find these factors to be very detrimental to your progress. 

In any case, no matter how you stack up . . . your training program must fit YOU; not Mr. America or even the guy you train with. 

My experience has taught me that the most difficulty is encountered with small boned people who want to build up. 

Generally, there is no way a true ectomorph can achieve world class muscular development or power. It might as well be admitted up front, because the truth may be slightly disappointing, but futile efforts over a three to ten year period in pursuing a phantom is sure to be worse! 

Hard gainers need brief, intensive, heavy programs. Generally, an hour of super hard work three or four times a week, interspersed with lots of sleep and rest, and a well balanced, ample diet, will trigger the best gains for ectomorphs. Even when advances, the small boned bodybuilder generally will maintain and progress best on 1-1/2 to 2 hour workouts, thrice weekly. More will simply be, in most cases, too much.

Choice of which exercises to use is not difficult to assess. The large muscle groups should receive the lion's share of attention; and very, very effective progress can be made on schedules of perhaps three or four basic exercises . . . like the squat, the press, rowing and deadlifts, for instance. 

If a man works right, he can work out his whole body well in less than an hour. I know fully well that the majority of bodybuilders will scoff at my remarks and brand me as an old-time trainer, but I can - and I have! - proven that my methods do work for even the most difficult gainers and the weakest people. 

Energy is a factor with everyone. No one has an unlimited supply, even though there are many people who do seem tireless. In training, the energy factor is crucial. If you, or anyone, exceed your energy level, you will REgress, not progress. Some people, it is true, can train very hard to two hours and after a shower be ready to train again! I admire such energy - but I am not naive enough to suppose that everyone enjoys it. Most do not. Most people can train reasonably hard fore about 30-60 minutes and give their major muscle groups a tough workout in that time. Then, they need to rest. Weight training when done right is concentrated hard work. I can take ANYONE (yes, even Mr. America) through a 30 minute workout that will leave him depleted for the day. Most people don't work that hard or even want to work that hard. Fine. But what must be understood is that hard work is needed; and what must be guarded against is passing your energy level's ability to recuperate your system. Don't look to others to find out what your limits are. Look to yourself. And, when you know your energy level, train well within your abilities. 

I hasten to point out that it is not uncommon for even the weakest people to find that progressive training does, after a while, greatly increase their energy levels. Fine! If you discover that your energy level is greater six months down the road, you may adjust your training accordingly. But please, for your own benefit, don't jump the gun. 

The question of how important "pushing to the limit" is, and how frequently this ought to be done, is significant. I do not feel that anyone can benefit from training to his absolute limit more frequently than once per week. And very often (as in the case of heavy deadlifting, for example), one ought to refrain from going the limit more often than once very two or three weeks.

There is no contradiction in urging people to train extremely hard three times a week, and then saying that they should restrict total efforts to once per week, or less.

A hard workout that fully exhausts the muscles is not going to one's limit, per se. Going to your absolute limit means that you try new limit poundages, even cheat a bit on your last rep or two. It often means that you fail on your last rep - but you do so only after exerting your maximum physical strength and willpower to make that rep. That is tough, brutally hard effort. No one could do it several workouts running for more than a week or two before going stale completely. That's why we limit such effort. Hard workouts that make you work until you are well fatigued are another story. You can recuperate for those in time for another session within 24-48 hours. 

BE REALISTIC! Train correctly for the long haul.
Don't try to do it all overnight! 

Your Life Responsibilities

Life is stressful, and, often, seems hardly worth the candle. [Nice old expression there!] The pressure of social relationships, business, etc., and even just the simple hassle of working at a dull job every day to earn your food and a roof over your head can drive you, occasionally, to the conclusion, "All I want to do is train!" 

Certainly, I sympathize with my fellow physical culturists in their desire to devote all available time to their training objectives. But I also know that, for 99 percent of us, building muscle and achieving physical perfection is NOT enough . . . even if we feel from time to time that it is. 

Possibly you are not inclined to marry, or, if you do marry, you have no wish to raise a family. Possibly you live frugally, and perhaps you are really offbeat and different. Fine. That's what makes life interesting and enjoyable - human differences. But we all need to fulfill ourselves . . .    

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 

. . . and we all  need to achieve a balance and harmony between the intellectual, the spiritual, the physical, and the economic or financial. There is just no escape from this, so long as we live in human society. 

 "Pause (The Dukes of Hazard '69 Charger and Ted Kaczynski's Montana Refuge)"
by Chris Larson

Many people have no problem at all combining their training with their business and family life, and I applaud these people. But I am intimately familiar with the others - with those who love lifting, and who are tempted to forego everything for it.

Hate me if you wish - but I am telling you that the pursuit of muscles to the exclusion of everything else is a mistake. You just can't fulfill yourself as a total human being by such myopically one-sided living. It is like the pursuit of wealth at the expense of health. What for? Who will live to enjoy your profits? 

What's the point of having a great physique, fine health, a good appearance and not a decent income or satisfying career with which to experience total fulfillment and enjoyment of your attributes. 

Aim, I beg you, to attain BALANCE. 

When planning your training routines, and setting up your training schedules, please don't forget that there's a world - and a life! - out there. Your friends, family and business are important. You do want a good income, a fine home and the security of human companionship, unless you are truly odd. Face the fact that you must put training (like everything else) in its proper place. 

It should be something that serves YOU; 
you must not become a slave and thus live to serve it.

A book and a movie: 

  You can read it in one sitting.

  You can view it in one sitting.
It will stay with you for much longer than that.

The hard copy journal/newspaper/mag/serial has a lot of ads.
Personally, I find the ads way more interesting than a big percent of the articles. 

Now, the New York Review of Books 
has become something not worth the time it takes to read.
As for the New York Times Book Review, well, all contributors and backers of that rag should be taken out weekly and summarily shot.  

Okay, last thing . . . 

Excellent Film! 

"Port of Call" (2015) 

Okay, I lied again . . . 
Fans of Stanislaw Lem will be excited about these new editions!!! Jumping up and down at midnight in a frenzied state of total abandon, eh. 

His Master's Voice
The Invincible
Return from the Stars
Hospital of the Transfiguration
Memoirs of a Space Traveler 

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