What person just starts down the right path to anything? Hardly any of us. The first time we are introduced to structured learning is in kindergarten. That type of learning follows us into grade school, middle school, high school and maybe college. So why is it that so many beginners just “do stuff?” It’s not like we are born with the instincts to even tie shoes without somebody showing us the way.
At 16, I didn’t know what to do. I started reading this book by Bob Paris, and some Muscle and Fitness issues. But I knew even then it wasn’t natural and that I would never take any drugs to propel myself to what I wanted. Those books had some good stuff in them but it wasn’t exactly written for me as a beginner. I almost felt like in order to be in shape and to be big, you just had to be that way naturally. I’ll be you can guess what happened next…
I did some more stuff. No structure. In fact, up until I was 27 years old, I basically did what all beginners do. Just stuff. Maybe a heavy bench session here and there, just shooting for whatever reps I could get. No idea what I had to previously. No structured training program and no idea of nutrition other then it’s common sense not to eat candy all day and I needed to eat or eat less if I wanted to make changes. Needless to say…
Nothing changed. That’s right. Imagine, yourself doing something since you were 16 years old and at age 27 you were “fit” but not really at your goal, not really that big and not anywhere close to what you wanted to accomplish. And yet guys, who worked out maybe 2 years, were exactly where you wanted to be. Moreover… you saw plenty of people cheating their way to the top. I couldn’t even figure out a good diet let along contemplate anything more complex.
Make no mistake… I was frustrated. And the reason I was frustrated for all those years was that I never started out in kindergarten and worked my way up. My point is…
If people take classes to learn another language, and go to school to learn a trade, and pay an instructor to help them drive, what makes working out and obtaining a goal any different? Let me break some news to you.
Eating healthy is NOT common sense. Working out is NOT common sense.
That’s right. I said it. The reason I was frustrated was mainly that I thought you just hit the weights and got bigger. Trust me, I had some really intense weight sessions. And yet I might have worked at 110% and blew it the minute I left the gym.
Okay, so there’s the beginner who has never worked out but learns about it, gets the nutrition down, understands that, finds a training program and starts out. In 2 years, this person is advanced.
On the other hand, there’s me, who after 16 years was physically not a beginner but mentally still was a beginner.
Can you see my frustration?
But my problem is your opportunity.
You see, if you knew what I know now, and trust me when I say there’s no big secrets, you’d be a beginner for a lot less time. You’d have to work hard but not quite as hard and you’d know why you made some changes and why you didn’t.
My mom used to cook dinners every night. I wanted to get bigger. I just ate enough so I wasn’t hungry and that was it. Now that’s fine if I wanted to maintain, but here I had an idea and image in my head and couldn’t get to it. I had no idea what nutrition really was all about. I didn’t know how much I should even eat to get bigger?
That’s like getting a destination, no GPS, no map and no directions. How long would it take you to find that town if you just got in the car and started driving? After 16 years you might get lucky and find it or you might just be chasing the Road to El Dorado.
It’s simple really. Everybody wants to sell you a secret. But here’s the real secret and here’s how I stumbled on it.
I found a workout program called Max-OT. Finally, a very structured workout program. What to do, when to do it and how. And it told me to lift heavy. It also gave me a tiny insight into eating right. But not enough. Somehow I got lucky and found a Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle book. I printed it out. And that was it.
That was my ah-ha moment.
The secret was KNOWLEDGE.
Let me repeat that.
Nothing I’ve run across today is a big secret. It’s not like nobody is telling anybody about this. What the problem seems to be is that beginners don’t know where to start and they don’t think they need any help. So at some point they get very frustrated and end up quitting or losing sight. Not to mention the sheer wealth of information on the Internet in an unstructured manner is mind boggling. So what if all this information is on a bodybuilding forum. In 34,567 posts, with 9,567 members. Let me take the hex number and make it readable to the human eye.
If I took 12 million pages of information, some horrible, some bad, some good and some true gold and threw it all over the house, took a blower to it and scattered every paper all over, that is what you have right now.
It would take you 2 years or more to go thru each page to find out what information was good, how many others confirmed that to be true and then you’d have to make your own table of contents and put it all together.
Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean much if it’s not good, it’s not structured and it’s not written for you.
Here’s what I’ve learned in just 2 years:
• What I need to eat in order to reach my goals and how to figure that out easily and quickly with just basic high school math.
• How I need to train and how less is actually more.
• Why being controlled and having excellent form gives me 50% more gains then the guy/gal next to me who drops the weight on the bottom half of the movement.
• How I can measure my progress easily and quickly and best of all… privately. So that I know where I’ve been and how close I am to getting there.
• That not all carbs are the same
• There’s such a thing as good fats and by taking a fat pill I can lose weight
The truth is…
I tried tons of workout programs. But my main failure wasn’t necessarily the routines I was doing but the lack of knowledge I had. Can you imagine what it would be like to take 16 years to learn how to tie your shoe? Well that’s what I felt. I wanted something so bad that I tried it all.
Heck, I even skipped dinners (skipping meals is a no-no) on weekends because I was too busy and tried protein shakes that didn’t mix well with water to put on weight.
So it all adds up to this…
I was a beginner for roughly 16 years. And while not physically a beginner I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Reading magazines by companies with an agenda is a horrible way to figure it out. And reading books by professionals who took paths and risk I would never take is also a waste of time.
Which is why I’m writing.
I’ve finally figured it out. And I know I’m not alone because I run a bodybuilding forum, and a fitness site and I get 5-10 e-mails or posts a day with people just like me. Who want something and have no idea how to get there. I know they will try everything and many of them will quit. And a few will go on to struggle for years until they finally realize the secret to getting this dream is understanding the nutrition, the training and the supplements.
Trust me, nobody wants to be a beginner for 16 years.
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Marc David is a bodybuilder, writer, and author of the the e-book “The Beginner’s Guide to Fitness and Bodybuilding” (BGFB): What Every Beginner Should Know but Probably Doesn’t. Marc has written over 20 articles and has been featured in several health and fitness websites. Marc’s opinionated and informative articles on bodybuilding, weight loss and training are featured regularly on: www.freedomfly.net