T Nation

Chronic Beginners

 I know they are out there...the chronic beginners.  You know enough to design a good workout.  You've been reading Testosterone for awhile so you can plan meals, cycle supplements and plan effective micro, meso and macrocycles.  You've learned the hard way whose advice to trust and who doesn't know what the hell they are talking about.  Through all of this be it 3, 5 or even 15 years you never get very far with your own training.  Small personal gains are wasted because of whatever reason you failed to build on it and so begin again.  
 To all of those who have persevered on behalf of those who struggle I humbly ask, where do you get your motivation, determination and self diiscipline?  What pushes you when you are stuck?  We are not looking for magic beans here just advice and anecdotes for those willing to share.  

thank you.

ask yourself this: do you want to be weak? do you want others to push you around? do you have that mental confidence in your abilities, but don’t have the strengh of body to back it up? do you want to be an old man in an wheel chair? do you want to watch TV, about the obesity in America and realize that the same gut appears on your gut or could one day? do you want to die? don’t you want your mate to consider your body sexy and capable of defending her?

those are the things that motivate me.

Awesome Question!, and I dont think there is one perfect answer, This is going to sound corny, but I am motivated because I want to be the healthiest, strongest, best looking guy that I can be, and I dont care how other people view my obsession with bodybuilding, because it’s my way of life.

I just love lifting weights. Even though it’s not very often that I get bigger or stronger, I still really enjoy working out. It’s who I am now. Secondary would be the fact that I believe I will probably shrink back to my original size and lose all my strength if I quit. There are just so many other reasons, there’s no reason not to lift. But even if that were not the case, I’d still do it because I love it.

ask yourself why you are training in the first place? that should motivate you to train.

i never miss a training session or meal because i can bet my competitor wont miss them and then he will be one more step ahead of me. i should be the one getting one step ahead of him. that is the reason i train and that is what motivates me.

but there is certainly no need for this competitiveness to motivate you, it could be anything. you have to ask yourself specifically why you are training and what you hope to achieve. do you want to impress chicks? be the best at a sport? beat someone at something? what ever it is, it is a legitimate reason to motivate you.

it also helps to keep you on track if you have specific goals eg

  1. how much you want to weigh?
  2. what fat perentage you want?
    3.what tape measurtment you want for each body part
  3. how much u want to be able to lift for each excercise
    5.what foods u want to eat
    6.how many meals per day u want to eat

the way i would tackle this would be to draw up three columns. one for how you are now, one for a very small and easily obtainable short term goal and one for long term goals. see below for eg

        now       short          long

weight 70kg 71 80
body fat% 15% 14.5 8
bench press 50kg 53kg 100kg
meals/day 3 3.5 7

contine like this for every goal. be specific. once you have reached a short term goal put a big red tick next to it. when you see all the red ticks it will motivate you more.

keep a log of every workount, excercise, reps, sets, weights used, and the rest periods(try to improve one every workout, it could be half a rep or reducing your rest period between sets by 10 seconds).

also cut out pictures of body builders you want to be like and hang them on the wall. regularly check your progress, when u see what you have accomplished, it will motivate you further. success begets success. be ambitious.

This is an interesting question. You are asking how to maintain enthusiasm for training while making consistant gains that allow you to reach your short-term and long-term goals. The first step would probably be to understand why you want to train in the first place. If you simply get so upset with your physical appearance following long layoffs that you hit the gym hard to trim down and “tone up”, it’s easy to lose motivation once you’ve slimmed down. Then, if you skip a few workouts, you realize how much free time training actually take up. I’ve seen this happen many times to many people. If this is the case, you may want to set up a realistic training plan of a few days a week that will allow you to maintain reasonable conditioning, with some improvement. After all, balls to the wall training and 100% dedication aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay.

If, however, you want the benefits of hard training, a lot of people do well to set up short-term and long-term goals. I’ve found that maintaining a training log helps a lot. Record at a minimum your morning body weight, workout (to the rep) and total training time. Skipped or poor workouts are difficult to ignore when you have to write them down. Idle chit-chat also is – like if you have to record two+ hours for three sets of curls and three sets of dips. Also, you will be able to use your log to ensure that you IMPROVE on each exercise week after week (nothing is more motivating than that). Even if it’s just one extra rep on the second set of curls or five extra pounds on the bench press for the same number of reps, it’s improvement in the right direction. Then, when improvement begins to stagnate, switch exercises. Think about it – how many people in the gym look the same year in and year out? Hell, that’s the topic of the thread! If you can curl 20 more pounds in four months, and can bench press 30 lbs more, and can squat and deadlift heavier and heavier weights, barring injury, you’ll never want to quit, because your co-workers will compliment your physique, the ladies in and out of the office will be friendlier, and your self-confidence will improve dramatically as a result. And this added self-confidence will help you with all aspects of your life.

Good luck with your training. I wish you the best…Mark

P.S. .

You may also want to keep a nutrition log. A lot of people fail to get bigger because they undereat or eat improperly.

I agree that you should keep a nutrition log, a training log, and a list of short term and long term goals. If you write everything down, you will notice immediately whether or not you are making progress, and it will be easier to assess what you are doing well and what you need to work on. Personally, I keep track of calories and protein, amount of water I drink, hours of sleep, training info, and more. Each day (I know, I’m compulsive) I give myself a 1 to 10 score based on how well I did overall, and that forces me to look closely at all the factors. It may sound like a bit much, but it has really helped me.

I was a classic “beginner” for about 10 years. I read all the mags, worked at GNC for a few years. I worked out religiously and used supplements frequently. I never saw any great progress. I built some muscle but still covered it with fat. Honestly, the thing that finally got me to change was BFL. After trying to start it for two or three years( I lost track,) it finally stuck. I decided tht if I was going to spend all that time and money in the gym and on supps, I was going to get some results. For about 10 months now, I’ve seen better results than the past 10 years. You need to look at that cookie or beer and instead of saying “one won’t hurt” you need to say “ONE WON’T HELP” Instead of hitting snooze four times, GET UP, WORK OUT, and get on with life. I have never heard of anyone who, on their deathbed, said they wished they hadn’t taken worked out and dieted so much. Oh and most importantly, I love when my wife says “Wow, you look great!”

Too look good naked!