In today’s day and age there are so many, and I mean countless, articles, blogs, videos, and outlets where we can get information about building muscle and becoming a top competitor. The problem is that there is often too much information out there and much of it is contradicting.
So many guys jump right into it without thinking much about it. They pick up the most popular pre-workout at the time, start hitting the gym, and are pumped about the idea of putting on more muscle. The problem is that many of the guys who start the journey of bodybuilding don’t stay with it. One of the biggest explanations I’ve discovered for this is that they don’t have the correct mindset in place. They jump right into the training aspect of it without stepping back and seeing the whole picture.
So what do you do? Who do you listen to? How do you stick with it and build as much muscle as possible long into the future?
There’s no universal blueprint for everyone, but here are some proven steps that can be taken to help you take a step back and put yourself in the right mental position to succeed even before you step into the gym. These are what makes the difference between someone who lifts and someone who ends up jacked!
In order to be successful at building muscle and getting ripped you have to have some sort of goal. You have to have a vision of where you ultimately want to be sometime in the future. Without knowing the destination, a GPS, gas, or a car are all useless.
Do This: Figure out what you want to do, where you want to be, who you want to be, how you want to look or perform, and study someone who is already there. If there is no one who is currently living your goal, find the closest person to it and study them. Do research and make sure you truly understand everything about your goal. Know how it will make you feel when you achieve it, how it will impact others, why you want whatever it is that you want, what it will mean, etc…You want to make the goal and the “why” as crystal clear as possible. Being clear on that will enable you to handle all of the inevitable struggles that will come along the way.
Also know that you have to play the long game. Most goals, assuming they are big enough, will take years. That’s why it’s important to break them up and even still, you have to go into it with the highest level of tenacity and persistence that you ever have. (Read This: Don’t Set Another Goal Until You Read This)
This is where most people mess up. Having the correct mindset, regardless of your goal, can make or break what happens next. Think of your ultimate goal as a house and mindset is the foundation. If you don’t have a good solid foundation that can withstand any weather condition, the house will not last. It’s the same with your mind. The first thing that is tested when you hit obstacles is your mindset. A strong, focused mindset will keep you on track no matter what, but a weak mindset will stop you from ever achieving your goals no matter how hard you work. I’m not sure who said this first, but I once read that “Your body hears what your mind says.” If, in your mind, you have doubts about how far you can go, those limitations will be reflected physically through your body.
Do This: Once you have your goals and understand what it will take to achieve them, you have to know that there are things you do not know. There are some obstacles that will inevitably come up that are beyond your control. Some people think of these as mini tests that life gives us to see how bad we really want it. Some people think it’s just bad luck. Regardless of what you want to call them, just know that they will happen and you must simply acknowledge them and find a way to overcome them. Don’t spend valuable time and energy complaining or wondering “why me?” Just keep moving forward and know it’s all part of the process that leads to success.
Lastly, in your mind you have to be obsessed with your goal. Yes, obsessed. You have to want whatever it is so badly that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. If people start asking why you’re so obsessed or why you don’t ever “just chill,” you’re doing it right. Everyone needs a break here and there, but know that results are only a reflection of the work you put in everyday.
Once you have your goals crystal clear and your mind is in the right place, it’s time to make a plan. Once you know where you want to go, you have to have a map (or GPS) to help get you there. Without it, you may get there eventually, but it’ll be much harder and take longer than it has to.
Don’t take this step lightly. Far too many people just skip this and start working toward their ultimate goal and never get there. Think about this, if you want to make $1 billion and currently make $40,000 per year, it’s certainly possible, but not if you try to make $1 billion overnight. You’d have to try to get to $60,000, then $100,000, and work your way up. It’s the same thing with bodybuilding. You can’t gain 10 pounds of muscle in a week. But you could potentially gain that in a year or two, if you have a training regimen and nutrition plan that you meticulously track and monitor.
4. Execute & Adjust
Now that you have a clear vision of your goal, the right mindset, and an actionable plan, it’s time to start taking actual steps towards your goals. This is where the plan you made in the previous step comes into play. It’s also very important to realize that while each of these steps are critical to success, executing your plan even if it may not be 100% correct, is absolutely necessary. Many people spend far too long in the planning stage because they “need to get it perfect” when in reality, they are just procrastinating.
Do This: Even if you don’t know every step of the way and are unclear on a few things, you should still start executing. Don’t spend a year trying to find “the best” training method or “the best” nutrition plan. The only way you’re going to figure either of those things out for yourself is to start doing a certain variation and seeing how it affects your body. In bodybuilding especially, you have to do things in order to see if they work for you. What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. That’s why having a plan is great and even necessary, but you have to take action to test it and know what to adjust overtime. You will never get your dream body without actually eating a certain way or stepping into the gym and seeing how your body reacts; it just won’t happen. You have to constantly take action and adjust the plan as you go.
Putting It Together
That’s only four steps, but don’t underestimate the hard work that each one represents. Figuring out your goals is the first step to making your dream body possible. If you’re not clear on where you want to be or how you want to look/perform, it’s going to be virtually impossible to put in work because you won’t know “why” you are doing it.
Once you have that goal, your mindset and will to achieve it will be tested almost every day. That is precisely why your mind has to be ready and strong enough to handle any obstacle that comes your way because they will, believe me! Just be ready for them and find ways to overcome them. If your mindset and will to succeed is strong, you can overcome any obstacle.
Having a plan that is as accurate as possible with the information that you have at the time is imperative. You need to know where you want to be someday and work backwards as best you can to figure out the best possible path. You also have to know that the plan will change and you shouldn’t obsess over it once you have a good foundation. The obsession should come with execution of your plan which will get you closer to your goal.
Take action even if you’re not 100% sure. You have a much better chance of getting that dream body by going in and trying different training strategies and trying different macro combinations than you do “thinking” about what might work best. Make sure you are always taking real action to move forward, even if it’s just a little bit. Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts and coaches as well. These people can dramatically cut your learning curve and speed up the time it takes to achieve your goals.
About The Author
Sam Boghigian is a freak when it comes to fitness, especially bodybuilding. His passion is surpassed only by his work ethic and dedication to getting his clients real results–both physically and mentally. Growing up Sam experienced what life was like as someone who was pretty unhealthy and overweight. He made the decision to turn things around over 5 years ago and has never looked back. It’s his mission in life to help others achieve the same level of success, happiness, and health that he has experienced.