T Nation

Habits and Mindsets

A question that may be helpful to everyone, especially the beginner’s on the site: What beliefs, habits and mindsets did you have to break or do a complete 360 on before you really began to progress in your fitness goals? These were some of mine:


1)Realizing that muscle growth occurs OUTSIDE the gym while resting.


2)Getting away from “showy-musclemag” type movements and appreciating the value of the basic movements in order to pack on the muscle.


3)Fat in and of itself does not make one fat. (A LOT of people are still working on that one!)


Well…you get the idea. I don’t want to list them all! So…what were some of yours?

Do it for yourself, not for the chicks (or dudes, depending on your orientation)…

These might seem obvious but…I had to come to the realization that in order to get where I want to be, I may have to lose a bit of muscle when dieting and gain some fat when bulking. I hate to do either, but you just have to accept it and not be afraid of it or you’ll never get anywhere. I also had to realize that there aren’t any shortcuts to success…a dream physique just doesn’t happen overnight.

1)Learning to accept that when I’m on a bulking phase I will get a little fatter.
2)Gaining the discipline to eat 5500-6000 cal of clean food per day to be able to gain mass.(It really is difficult sometimes)
3)Learning that when I am at the gym I am there to build a stronger, bigger, healthier body and NOT to impress the other people that are there.

You mean 180 don’t you? :wink: I had to forget about silly isolation lifts & work my whole boddy as one big thing raather than a bunch of little stuff pasted together.

Cutting out all alcohol.

This is gonna sound like ass kissing but I am gonna say it anyway. When I started reading this magazine it showed me how little I knew and how lacking I was in some areas, particularly varety in my routine and nutrition. The first Atomic Dog I saw was “The Bodybuilders Prayer”. The first paragraph of that thing really struck a cord with me. I also started to appreciate how cool the science and self-tinkering that goes into physique manipulation is.

To put it in terms of the original question I don't think it was a matter of breaking through a mindset. It was more a matter of having a stimulus that moved my mindset up to a new level. I decided it was time to stop being half assed and really do this shit right. Since then I have gained a new appreciation of what exactly lifting does for me on a psychological level in addition to the physical one.

  1. Stretch, it’s great for recovery and will help prevent injuries. I did it literally daily for about ten years when I powerlifted.
  2. squat, and make it heavy. I don’t see why anyone with some time under their belt and injury free can’t do at least a doulbe bodyweight single or 225 for 20.
  3. Squat
  4. Squat
  5. Deadlift also.
  6. Heavy side bends will help your core
    strength and prevent injuries.
  7. Eat anything that was a dead animal in your parents house.
  8. squat again.

Hey, Bro! LOL!!! You had me laughing AT MYSELF!!!


I guess a “360” would get me back in the same place, huh?


I agree with what you’ve guys have listed so far. Mindsets, attitudes and stong beliefs can REALLY impede our progress. Keep your thoughts coming!

Realizing that I had to make some sacrifices to reach my goals, especially when I go out with friends. Food makes the muscle grow not spending excess amount of time in the gym. Being very patient and consistent.

I thought I’d share perhaps my most recent change.


I was all over the Soy bandwagon. The Soy industry has done an AMAZING job of selling the product as a “miracle food”. I had books and tapes…you name it…UNTIL the “warning was sounded” by “Testosterone”.


Now…for the one or two posters on this site (whom, by the way, seem to only come out of their holes periodically just to rant), I am not a “Testosterone Puppet” who takes everything they say as Gospel. Far from it. But what they DO cause me to do is research. And what I found independently was that Soy was in fact going to be counterproductive to MY goals. (Hey…if it works for you…and you’ve been using it for years…by all means, continue…)


So…Soy, and my feelings on it’s use, was a BIG (and recent) change in mindset.


Mufasa

Consistantly changing your routine whether it be rep speed, eccentric movements, hand positioning, rest between sets, super sets, statics, added reps or less with more weight etc. etc. Small changes from wkout to wkout can add to better results,plus it keeps your training fresh and mind in gear.

Hey Naked Man, put some clothes on! I don’t care how proud you are of that thing, no one wants to see that! Kidding, great handle.

As usual, another thought provoking question from the big cat.
I would agree heavily with all three of your observations. Learning about recuperation and muscle adaptation finally got me to realize that growth occurs outside the weight room. In addition to this I would add in the importance of quality over quantity. I used to try and workout 6 day a week very intensily. Althouth the percieved effort was there the volume and frequency were too high. I guess my point is that I really did’nt learn what intensity of effort was until I backed off to 3-4 workouts of 45 min. each, per week. IMHO, if your not lifting intensily with maximal poundage, your wasting your time. Of course there are acceptions to this, like when you’re injured or in a lower intensity phase of a periodized program. I also agree that, accepting the fact that increased nutritional fat does not automatically equal increased body fat, was difficult to get for a long time. I dropped 40lbs on a high carb, low fat diet about 10 yrs ago. My progress then stalled for years even though I maintained the diet. It was’nt until I learned more about nutrition, dropped starches and sugars and upped quality fat intake that I got the last 15 lbs off. Good post Mufasa.

I have trained on and off since I was 16. I am 20 now, and I can honestly say that I was stronger at 16. Why? I got into the dream of owning a 6-pac and 20-something inch arms and trained only for hypertrophy. What is the problem with that? Training for hypertrophy isn’t real effective when your big lifts are around 150 lbs. I ended up getting my wisdom teeth out and having to eat a whole bunch of crap like ice cream and jello. Needless to say, I lost what little I gained. I just realized this not too long ago and started strength training this week. My DB bench and DB rows went from 35 lbs to 50 in just 3 workouts. Whatever happens in the upcomming weeks, I know that I am that much smarter and that much better than I was in the past. And although I sometimes post stupid questions here, I can honestly say that you have all been valuable to my progress as a bodybuilder and a man.

Great post, Al! You said what was on my mind…and I didn’t even know it! (I’m going to print out the bodybuilder’s prayer and tape it up someplace…)

That food (and lots of it) is good (and beer is STILL good). That working out and following proper nutrition is only one ittee bittee part of my ENTIRE life and that if I desire quality in that part of life, it should continue with ALL parts of my life.

T-Mag has opend up the doors to looking for the necessary components of a good, solid, BASE; i.e. proper form/technique in lifting/weight training. However I realized long ago that the basics (squats, deads, etc.) are necessary - and should never be forgotten. It's taken me 19-years to get what I know now, I just can't wait to find out what I'll learn in the next 19-years.

I’ve learned that just “going through the motions” or moving a weight from point A to point B isn’t going to cut it. Focus and intensity are essential. Before I hit the gym each day, I’ve started to visualize my entire session, every set, every rep (this also relates to setting goals). Then before I pick up a weight, I call up the mental image of my “ideal” set and try to perform as closely as possible to what I had visualized. Really helps me out.

Boy…was that EVER a problem with me in the beginning…“going through the motions”…with NO progression! And diet? I won’t even say more about that!


Knowledge is a big key, isn’t it?

Thinking in a “lift” mode instead of a “muscle” mode. Making a balanced program is key. Order of lifts will determine, to some extent, the growth you see of certain muscle groups.