5 Cop-outs For Poor Results
This article addresses common things that beginners say when initiating their training regimes. These ideas are like the opposite of motivational quotes because they hold people back from their full potential. At first they seem like rational things to say but really they’re cop-outs. They’re just excuses to not train as hard or not do things that take them out of their comfort zone.
I’m sure many trainers will find these amusing due to how often they hear it. Other people will get defensive and feel offended. Oh well.
1) “I don’t want to get too big”
What’s too big? Looking like a professional bodybuilder? Sure. Or even a heavy weight powerlifter or a rugby player? Maybe. But firstly, assuming you’re not touching any PEDs (performance enhancing drugs), you can only ever get so big. Next, it’s very hard to build appreciable amounts of muscle naturally. It takes years of hard work and eating the right thing every day for competitive natural bodybuilders to look semi decent on stage. It takes something special (extreme hard work and favourable genetics) to be a champion. Even then, once the bronzer comes off one of these champions and you throw them in a t-shirt and shorts, they still look like a normal person (albeit in great shape).
The problem with saying you don’t want to get too big is that you risk holding back on your nutrition and/or training intensity. Put everything you can into it and I guarantee you will never be too big. The worst that will happen is you will get healthier, stronger and look better. I think to get too big would be a pretty good problem to have. If this was a thing, you would just stop training and eating so much and let you muscles atrophy.
Women are especially scared of getting too big. It’s a shame since women could really benefit the most from weight training and some extra protein these days. It would help to improve their bone health and achieve the “toned” physiques they desire. Women have significantly less testosterone than men and it’s laughable to think they could get too big and muscular. There are female bodybuilders who aspire to get as big as they can and they never come close to the level of muscularity of a man.
Then there are the guys who are drug free, strong and muscular and 115kgs at 6′ tall. There are people who argue they know someone like this and say this is too big. Most of the time these guys actually have a high body fat percentage but hold it well. Bring them down to 10% body fat and not only will they not be “too big” but they will actually look better for it. So really, they weren’t too big but rather too fat. Of course there are the 1 percent exceptions, but the point is don’t let a fear of waking up too big one day hold you back from great results.
2) “I just want to be toned”
“Toned” isn’t a thing. What’s actually meant by “toning” is the effect of firmer muscles and some muscle definition. In terms of your body composition you’re simply increasing muscle and reducing body fat to expose the muscle. To increase muscle you need to lift weights with sufficient intensity. Then your nutrition needs to include more protein for muscle growth/preservation. To drop body fat you need to create a slight caloric deficit in your diet which will achieve muscle definition. That’s it. The special “toning” routines are just round about ways of trying to do the same thing but in a less efficient manner.
This is the problem with saying you just want to be toned. Much like “I don’t want to get too big” there is a fear that going too hard with your lifting and nutrition will result in overshooting. The reality is that it takes bloody hard work for even good results.
3) “I just want to get fit”
Here, I’m just going to say it. Everyone training just wants to look good naked. Unless you’re a super competitive athlete, you’re not actually overly worried about your cardiovascular performance. You’re busting your ass off on that treadmill hoping that stomach fat is going to melt away to some abs. Everyone wants some muscle and to be lean and not be embarrassed when taking off their top. Cardio equipment isn’t the key to success but rather the key to skinny fatness. Lifting weights a few times a week and tidying up your nutrition is what you’re after (i.e. bodybuilding). I know many natural bodybuilders who get shredded just with diet and without any cardio.
If you’re lifting with enough intensity, fitness will come. Do 20 rep squats and tell me your heart isn’t working. On top of that you should be leading an active physical lifestyle anyway which keeps you moving. Nutrition has a lot to do with your heart health too. So lets be honest, do you really just wanna get fit, or are you just afraid to lift some heavy ass weight?
4) “I love my food too much”
This is the cop-out for the “foodies” who think happiness in their life just comes from food. And for that reason it’s not worth learning and applying better nutritional practices. This reeks of laziness and ignorance when I hear it. Remember we’re bodybuilding here not competitive bodybuilding. We need to understand what’s being put into our bodies but not necessarily to the degree or precision required to get down to 5% bodyfat.
It’s totally possible for No Frills Bodybuilders to go out to restaurants regularly and enjoy gastronomically amazing meals. If you’re lifting hard you will find that your body will be craving more calories and nutritious meals for recovery. You just need to make sure the meals are based around lots of protein (think steaks, salmon, etc). Salt and spices contain no calories and are actually beneficial. A naughty dessert when out isn’t the end of the world. Just don’t sit in front of the TV with a bucket of ice cream every night.
“I love my food too much” sounds like an excuse for gluttony and unhealthiness. It’s totally possible to enjoy nutritious and delicious food. In the age of excess and obesity, people should know better. Your health is paramount and without it you have nothing.
Bodybuilding isn’t about 8 small meals a day. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat 2 meals a day. Checkout these intermittent fasting posts on feasting yet maintaining super lean physiques. Whether you want to intermittently fast or not there are also sites like the Epicurean Bodybuilder. Her website is devoted to amazing high protein recipes and she is passionate about the pleasures of good food. Some extra thought is required but it’s totally possible to enjoy your food and get in better shape.
5) “I find weight-training boring”
If weight-training is boring then you’re probably not doing it right. Training should be short, intense and you should be logging your training and progressing. You should not want to, or be able to talk to someone while lifting. Rest should be just that, resting for your next set. This level of intensity is required and will not leave you any time to be bored. The next complaint after this will be that it’s too unpleasant. The level of intensity should be tolerable but still hard. This is called eustress which is a beneficial stress. After the workout you will feel better for it and it makes you a better person for it.
Once one gets over the fact that training is hard work, it can be made even more interesting. Get a training partner. Preferably someone who is good company but will push you. Sign up to Fitocracy.com. This website can give training routines and you can log your workouts there. The really fun thing is that it makes your training like a game with quests, achievements and levelling up. The difficulty/level of your workout gives points that you earn to level up and compete with other members. In general, logging your workouts is motivating because it gives you a goal and a sense of achievement as you progress each workout.
There are clubs you can join too if you want more of a social aspect. For example there are clubs for powerlifting, olympic weight lifting, kettle-bells and dare I say it, Crossfit. Joining a club could just be the kick up the butt one needs to get hooked on lifting weights. So don’t let boredom be an excuse for not becoming a stronger, healthier and leaner you.
I hope this article doesn’t seem too harsh. It presents a bit of tough love for people that any of these cop-outs strike a chord with. I do hope it helps people to stop making excuses and start training better.
Let me know in the comments of any cop-outs you hear or even use. Any good ones I might even append to this article to share.