Veterans of the sport will tell you that daily training is simply a part of their DNA. Everything done over the course of the day revolves around prepping for and recovering from training. The thought of not hitting the gym has never even entered into their thought process and according to many, time off is time wasted. However, after tens of thousands of grueling repetitions (probably more) have been completed, after every exercise has been utilized and drained of its effectiveness and once the aches and pains start replacing the adulation of the pump, an overwhelming sadness settles in with these iron veterans. The zest for training slowly fades away. Going through the motions at the gym becomes all too familiar, and progress becomes a thing of the past.
If you have found yourself in this place of dark dismay, fear not because there is a way out. The following strategies will light your way back to the enjoyment you experienced the first time you got under that bar.
Go Against the Grain
Bodybuilders are infinite creatures of habit and are bad for performing ritual-like workouts over and over again. Sure there is always the goal of lifting heavier and heavier weights within these same workouts, but nonetheless, change is a rare occurrence. This resistance against change has led many to that dark dismay which is why you need to invite change into your life. You might have to go against everything you’ve known, everything you thought you stood for on training and even against conventional weight room wisdom.
Start looking for exercises that you have never done before or would have never been caught dead performing in the past and give them a try. Ask to join in with someone who’s doing something so unfamiliar to you that you’re not even sure what you’re doing or what will happen as a result.
Let go of the need to be in total control and open up your mind to the endless possibilities that exist in regards to resistance training. Be creative, be imaginative and above all else just have some fun with your training.
Set a Date
I can remember a time when I had a conversation with a very prominent and well-known amateur bodybuilder who had lost his way in the world of training, became busy building a family and a business and just left the lifestyle altogether. His physique had taken on an appearance unlike what I had become accustomed to seeing and while things in his life were going extremely well, I could tell something was missing. Training was his first love and being away from it was tearing him up. After a few more conversations, some soul-searching on his behalf and a carefully mapped out plan of action, a date was set, a goal created, and a timeline put in place.
Having something to train towards sparked new motivation and love for training again and he went full tilt with his efforts for a full year. This revitalized effort resulted in tremendous success and a new career as a professional bodybuilder and a rejuvenation for the love of training.
The moral of this story is sometimes all it takes is for you to be exact with your goals, create specific timelines that will test your capabilities and dedication and then prove it to yourself that you still have what it takes to be your best for at least one day.
I know some of you out there are scratching their heads right now wondering what I’m getting at here, but in all seriousness, sometimes new stuff can bring about new motivation. Go and buy yourself some new training gear such as a belt, wrist wraps, a pair of new shoes, or even a few pieces of gym equipment accessories like handles, straps or barbells. Or go and buy yourself some new workout clothes like a new hoodie, tank top, ball cap, basketball jersey or even a pair of tights to wear on leg day. You know the old saying, when you look good you feel good.
Personally, my favorite thing to go shopping for is my supplements. Just knowing that the purchases I make are going to go a long way in supporting my goals is all I need to keep my drive alive. And what have I been purchasing a lot of as of late, the new Zilla high protein bar. The taste is unbelievable (easily the best bar I’ve ever had) and with 20 grams of high-quality protein per bar, you can’t go wrong in fitting this awesome little treat into your overall macros for the day. I’ve been eating Zilla bars pre and post workout for a couple of weeks now, and I’ll tell you it’s a nice change from the pre and post workout meals I had been eating for quite some time now.
From time to time we all get stuck in a rut. The key is finding your way out of it as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Your love of training will always be there even if it’s not presenting itself on the surface. It’s up to you to revisit what brought you to the iron in the first place and or find new and exciting reasons to continue on your bodybuilding path. However you go about it, all that matters is that you stick with this lifestyle you’ve chosen, whatever that ends up looking like, and you keep your passion for training alive and well.