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Muscles - So Simple it Hurts


In this bodybuilding overview im going to cover these 3 main topics:

  1. Fool Proof Training
  2. Eating simplified
  3. Genetics and Illusion

Fool Proof Training
There are so many different training styles, research papers, and old guys in tiny towels in the locker room that will tell you how to do it. No one way is perfect, but let me spell out a fool proof method.

Your muscles grow when they are forced to adapt to stress. Your body is constantly trying to protect itself. When you push your muscles to or beyond their current capacity, they will signal the body to try and grow. This is no different than why you tan after being in the sun. Your body is adapting to the stress of the sun by releasing melanin to protect itself. 

I mentioned muscles adapt to stress beyond their current capacity. So let's force ourselves to go beyond our current capacity, often called ‘training to failure’.

Training to failure is about pushing your body as far as it will go. It’s hard physically, but also mentally. Sore is not failure, tired is not failure, and discomfort is not failure. Go as far as you can, as if your life were on the line. When you literally can not do one more rep, that is failure. 

This method was popularized by many top bodybuilders, and I will list a favourite workout split of mine below.


Eating Simplified
Going to the gym, perhaps 3 or 5 times a week, is about 5 hours of your time. 
Eating however, is a full time job that never stops. 

I’m not a nutritionist, and there are way better articles online with more qualified authors, but I will spell out the basics. 

TDEE: Total Daily Energy Expenditure. There is some number of calories that your body burns on a daily basis. If you eat more than this, you gain weight. If you eat less, you lose weight. This is individual, and will change over time. Use a calculator to get a ballpark number. 

To gain: take your TDEE, and add 300-500 calories a day.
To lose: take your TDEE, and subtract 300-500 calories a day.

300-500 is a reasonable change. It’s noticeable, but it’s also sustainable. There is no reason to be 1000 calories in a deficit and hate your life. 

Finally I’ll say eat generally healthy. Consistency is key. Have chocolate sometimes, drink at a social event.. Variety is the spice of life, reward yourself. But try to generally eat healthy food. A BigMac a week won’t ruin your gains, but one every day will.

Macros (protein, carbs, fat) are another hot topic. Don't overly stress. Aim for about 1 gram of protein per bodyweight (lbs) as a ballpark. Protein is necessary for muscle building.

Genetics and Illusion

Bodybuilding itself has a lot to do with genetics, and the illusion you create with your body. 
By genetics I mean things you can’t change. Height, shoulder width, muscle insertions. But also metabolism, such as the propensity to gain or lose weight. 

Some struggle to lose weight. Others feel like they eat non stop and don't gain a pound. Both are genetics. But you will have to resort to the basics of TDEE and calorie surplus/deficit to force your weight in the desired direction. 

Finally I’ll mention illusion. I’m going to discuss how making one muscle bigger will actually make another look smaller. 

Consider the general goal of having a small waist. How do you achieve this? 
Well obviously you can train your core and try to lose weight. But you can also grow your shoulders and your legs. 

Our eyes use the other body parts as reference. As your shoulders get wider, in comparison your waist looks smaller. 

A Chihuahua next to a mouse looks pretty big, but next to a Golden Retriever it looks tiny. 

Focus on what you can change. You can’t change your hips (genetics), but you can add muscle to your shoulders and legs to create the look you want!

In Summary:

  1. Push your limits in the gym
  2. Eat calories based on your goals
  3. Maximize your genetics and benefit from illusion

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