Continual improvement, or taking our physiques to “the next level,” is the primary goal of everyone training in the gym. Whether we’ve been training for three months or three years; are genetically gifted or consider ourselves a “hard gainer”; weigh 150 pounds or 250 pounds; are young or old; an ectomorph, endomorph, or a mesomorph; male or female; train naturally or with drugs; a competitive bodybuilder or a guy who enjoys the challenge of looking his best only for himself, we all strive for constant improvement.

That also seems too simple, doesn’t it? But, as you already know, building an outstanding physique is not simple. Why?

I believe there are certain steps we all take toward building our bodies:

1. Gather information.

2. Choose one specific strategy or adopt a particular way of thinking.

3. Develop a certain level of understanding and feelings of confidence and certainty.

4. Give the chosen strategy your best effort for a long enough period of time.

5. Honestly evaluate the strategy or adopt a particular way of thinking.

6. Decide to try a new strategy or a modified version of your current one.

7. Repeat Steps 1 through 6.

Most of the time, we are not consciously aware of these steps, but we all take them. The procedure or steps that we use is an involved process. If we hope to be successful, each one of these steps must be taken in an orderly fashion and each one with the proper mindset. These steps are also filled with many pitfalls, traps, and distractions that, if not followed correctly, will cause us to stagnate, throw us backward, or even cause us to quit in frustration.

Another reason why bodybuilding is so difficult is that these steps never end. Your journey toward developing your physique is endless. Believe me, you will never have this sport mastered—and that’s a good thing! There is always a higher level of knowledge, efficiency, and development to achieve. Once you’re lucky enough to reach a certain level, you can always look forward to taking it to a higher one.

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The battle doesn’t stop there. When you think about it, the different aspects of bodybuilding are interwoven and interdependent of each other. Training, nutrition, supplementation, and motivation all work together in a synergistic manner. All of these different aspects of bodybuilding may develop at different rates and at different times.

For example, you may consider yourself as an intermediate when it comes to training but only a beginner when it comes to nutrition. Great training with only mediocre eating habits to support it will not produce anything remotely close to great results. You may know a lot about training, nutrition, and even supplementation but you can’t get yourself to actually apply everything you know. Your bodybuilding mental and motivational strategies must be taken to the next level for the rest of your knowledge to be used effectively.

I understand this “always a higher level” manner of thinking can be mentally draining at times, especially if you are at the beginning of your journey. But, it’s a mindset you must embrace to achieve your goals. Instead of looking at the struggles as frustrating you must teach yourself to see the same set of circumstances as fascinating. If you want to survive long enough to reach your full genetic potential, you must make a shift in the way you think.

I look at the challenge this way: You can pay now, or you can pay later. You can put some pressure on yourself now and enjoy the benefits of a better physique later. Or, you can be a little easier on yourself now and make the journey a lot less stressful. The problem with the latter approach, however, is that mentality will never allow you to get the most out of yourself.

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7 Steps to Non-Stop Physical and Mental Improvement

by AST Sports Science time to read: 3 min