YOUR BEST PHYSIQUE EVER: A guide to awakening the Iron warrior within.
You’ve been hitting the iron for sometime now and things just aren’t the same as they used to be. You’ve done volume training, strength, hypertrophy and 1RM’s, clean eating, calories and bulking. Don’t get me wrong you still “love” training, in fact life wouldn’t be the same without the iron, but the ferocious drive you had to get bigger, leaner and stronger isn’t what it used to be. The good news is that the iron warrior that was once inside you is still there. It’s just been in hiding. Below is four steps which will help you unleash this beast within, re-ignite the passion you once had for training and build your best physique ever.
STEP 1: Tell yourself a better story.
The story you tell yourself determines your results in the gym and in life. I vividly remember a stage in my life where I had been training for a few years and I kind of hit a major plateau. Or at least that’s what I was telling myself. I told myself a story that I was too skinny and that I was reaching my genetic potential. Ridiculous right? I talked myself into a plateau. However instead of just accepting this I made a decision to change my story. That’s when everything changed. One late night I was up watching a Greg Plitt video and it was when I first heard him say “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to past, life is about learning to dance in the rain. So dance, dance, dance ’ and everything shifted for me. I told myself a new story of what was possible and started looking at all the reasons why I could get bigger, leaner and stronger. I told myself that if I didn’t live up to my potential now then I never would. So I started to believe in myself more. I literally felt the weight that had been holding me back lift off my shoulders and overnight everything was different. In the 6 months following, I competed in my first fitness model competition. I put on more muscle than I had my entire lifting career and got leaner than I ever had. Tell yourself a better story filled with the reasons why you can do it and low and behold you will do it!
STEP 2. Know where you’re going and why.
Where your focus goes energy flows. And if your focus is not on where you want to go it will automatically be on all the wrong things. It’s on the lagging body parts and stubborn belly fat that won’t move. And that’s a crappy thing to focus on. Just look at Arnold classic champion and soon to be Olympia champion (yep! I called it, one of these years now) Kai Greene who is known spending hours and hours visualising the body he wants to create. He looks a year, 5, 10 years ahead and pictures what he wants. If you look back at where he was just 5 years ago the guy has made amazing progress un-likened to anyone. Without this intense visualisation he would not have created the success he has today. So what do you need to improve on? Imagine yourself with your ultimate physique? You know the warrior physique? That one you would see yourself to have if you were a dragon ball z character? The super-hero version of you! What does it look like?
I remember coaching one of our guys at Discovery Health & Fitness for his first competition. Half way into his transformation he started to hit a few challenges. He was exhausted from the dieting and working long hours so he started to doubt himself. In fact he was practically done. We had a chat about why he wanted to compete in the first place. He told me that for him he felt he had something to prove. He had been told his whole life that he wasn’t capable of anything special. He was bullied and made to feel like nothing at school. He wanted to show to himself that he was worth it. He went on to finish his prep and looked phenomenal on stage. If you know what drives you and why then you’re more likely to show up when things get rough.
Step 3: World Class strategy.
A few years of solid lifting and you think you know it all don’t you? You’re an expert so why would you need a strategy? You rely on the fact that if you change a few things up here and there in your workouts your body should still get the “shock” it needs to grow. This works to an extent but there is just one flaw; habits. The problem lies in that we as bodybuilders develop habits and patterns. In fact our whole lives are based on habits. Just like our morning rituals of showering, brushing our teeth and having a coffee, we develop unconscious habits in the gym. These “blind” habits determine everything you do in the gym; the tempos, sets, reps and exercises. This doesn’t mean good things for your training. It means that without realising it most of the time you are just recycling the same movements and motor patterns over and over a 3 to 4 week period. You’ve heard it many times before if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get the same result. So what do you need to do re-ignite the passion? Get some serious results again. How do you do that? Actually get a strategy! Do it on your own or preferably speak to an expert and get the shortcuts. If you’re going to learn something, you may as well track down someone who has done it before; learn from the best in the world. Then you have a strategy that you know works. With the right strategy you will light the fire within even more.
Step 4: Control your state.
Think of a time now when were PB’ing your bench-press. Now try to feel what you felt right before you lifted the weight. What sort of energy and emotional state did you have? You were focused. You were certain. Now just imagine if you summoned that sort of energy into every workout you did. Can you see how you could build your best physique ever? Working with thousands of guys at Discovery Health & Fitness we know what holds you back from further progress and in most cases it’s the energy state you bring to the gym. Most people are just chronically distracted. What once used to be a sanctuary to workout the gym now seems to be a social hub for talking, texting, and “facebooking”. Others let life’s challenges and problems get their energy down in their workouts, which won’t get you far. Just look at big bad Ronnie. Most people think back in the day he was just yelling and screaming but Ronnie was actually getting himself into a peak state by repeating his emotional and physical anchor “yep yep lightweight baby” “yeh buddy” “nothing but a peanut”. This is what elicited energy, focus and aggression for him. He was able to turn it on and off like a tap. If he was ever in the wrong state with the calibre of weights he used they would have crushed him to death. Control your state to unleash the warrior within.
As bodybuilders we’re always striving for perfection. Yet the idea of perfection is completely false because no one ever achieves it. We can be tough on ourselves and beat ourselves up about how we are not where we want to be yet. Awakening the iron warrior within is all about appreciating the progress you have made up until today. From there you must change the story you tell yourself, choose precise goals and know why you want to achieve them, track down the right strategy for you and bring a “Ronnie-like” peak state to your training. In the end you’ve only got one shot to achieve your ultimate physique. You didn’t start your bodybuilding journey just to be average and you sure as hell don’t want to end it that way. Rolling forward a few years from that day I watched those inspirational words roll of his tongue to just a few months ago, Greg Plitt died in a horrific accident as a hero to millions. He died not just as Greg, but as an iron warrior who always gave it everything. Now if you want to be your best , just realise that you have everything you need inside you right now, it’s just a matter of unleashing the iron warrior within.