Breaking the 4 Bodybuilding Rules, Making Gains
Editor’s Note: This article by Joe String originally appeared on Machine Muscle.
Fitness is much more than a hobby. We all know it is a full-out lifestyle. Tracking macros is fun, training is the highlight of the day and results are the ultimate reward.
In other words, the art of this lifestyle is the enjoyable process of reaching your goals. At times it may seem a little too daunting and difficult, but somehow you find yourself in the same spot everyday fulfilling a deeper desire. That is the purpose, right? Why perform hours of exercise, pay close attention to nutrition and make healthy decisions only to fall short your vision?
Achieving optimum health is a physically and mentally demanding lifestyle requiring some serious change for most of us. In fact, many people who make these adjustments lose sight of everything else. There comes a time when one must weigh fitness goals with a reasonable social life. This article explains how to integrate the two into a healthy balanced life.
Balancing the “Rules” of Muscle Gains With a Balanced Lifestyle
No rules NEED to be followed.
The first misconception about transitioning to the fitness life is that there are set rules that must be followed in order to attain goals. These so-called bodybuilding bible laws range from nutrition myths to acceptable weekend activities.
Instead of propelling people forward toward their goals, these poorly determined guidelines for proper fitness tend to diminish progress. Let’s see how flexible dieting says a lot more than its name indicates by addressing food consumption, social life, training schedules, and more.
RULE #1: Pay Close Attention to What You Eat and Do Not Stray From the Norm
The foods you choose mean absolutely nothing in regards to your body composition. Yet, we still see people caught between desirable foods and foods they think are required.
What happens when an invitation to lunch is to a place that only serves junk? Should you make up a story as to why you could not go? People need to realize that dieting with flexibility allows them to fit whatever food comes into their macros.
This brings back the scale reference made above. The norm should include an equal feeling of happiness regardless of food choice (as long as taste buds are satisfied, of course.) There is no need to overly consider the need to consume micronutrient dense foods to balance the strict and the fun.
RULE #2: Do Not Change Your Routine of Eating and Training
I will admit, although somewhat guilty of this, it does not interfere with my life. The concern is that people will unnecessarily avoid valuable social interaction in favor of adhering to a strict training and eating schedule.
Dedication is clearly very important to this lifestyle but even with that said, if training and eating eliminate fun, what good is it? Isn’t the purpose of all the hard work to look and feel good, and then to show and enjoy those results?
Sure, one can structure their routine and eating schedule around their nights and weekends but if something comes up, he or she needs to have the flexibility to train later in the day or eat at a restaurant. Life is much better lived without worrying about getting to the gym at the same time everyday or changing the frequency and content of your meals.
Dedication is clearly very important to this lifestyle but even with that said, if training and eating eliminate fun, what good is it?
RULE #3: You Must Get a Good Night’s Rest to Let Your Body Recover
Let me begin this part of the article by emphasizing the truth of Rule #3. Optimally, a good eight hours of sleep will maximize one’s ability to recover and will lead to better gains. With that said, who honestly believes it is possible to obtain eight hours of sleep every single night while living this lifestyle?
Many readers are young, working students enjoying their lives. Whichever life you live outside of fitness, it is very difficult to avoid late night homework and/or the need to wake up early to catch the bus or head to work.
Additionally, there is the issue of nightlife. Is somebody involved in fitness supposed to turn off the lights at 11 P.M. every night and completely neglect going out from time to time? Sure, sleep is important but again, if fitness and bettering the appearance of one’s physique is the only thing that matters, when does the opportunity arise to show the hard work?
RULE #4: No Alcohol
Everybody knows alcohol, when abused, can wreak havoc on progress in the gym. It sets you back for the next day’s workout, racks up unwanted calories and has negative effects on the body, particularly when consumed in large amounts. However, going out for a drink here and there is certainly not going to destroy your fitness life.
As a matter of fact, it has been shown that the occasional drinker is healthier than someone who completely neglects alcohol. I attribute this to a more enjoyable and loose lifestyle that results in less stress and more fun. If one enjoys life, he or she is much more likely to continue pursuing their fitness goals.
Breaking the Bodybuilding Rules
It certainly is not difficult to live a well-balanced life while pursuing fitness goals. Working hard in the gym may be the highlight of the day, but living a life that is fun, balanced, loose and enjoyable should come easier with less stress than the final rep.