T Nation

Sacrifice Versus Reward


I thought this would be a good post. It has to do with nutrition AND lifting. I decided to post it in here and not the bodybuilding section because I am now an "in shape" guy, lift only three times per week with TBT or upper-lower splits, and follow a rather ordinary, softcore diet (3 square meals and 2 snacks).

I've spoken on return versus investment before and would like to know where others stand on the matter. Like I said, I gave up hardcore for "in shape" living because the return on investment was interfering in other areas of life, especially time in the gym and NEVER or SELDOMLY wavering from the schedule. Well, eating and preparation also interfered, but not as much.

For an example, now if I miss meals or workouts (which really doesn't happen as much as I might portray here), I DON'T get pissed off. If I have to see my friend who I haven't seen in months after work, I go see him. If I have a date during the week, I miss the gym. I even hit some of my macronutrient needs with less-than-stellar sources now. I might have some baked potato chips or whole wheat pretzels instead of brown rice or potatoes. I might wind up having more cheat meals than I planned to because I was out having fun with people.

I would say right now my level of commitment and sacrifice is 7 on a 10 scale. Therefore, I get a 7 in results [return on investment (ROI)]. However, I'm now experiencing greater satisfaction in other areas of life. Example: I am willing to give a 10 in investment to work, social life, a woman, and recreation, but not in the gym, track, on the road, or with my diet.

My current practices are (repeat: NOT!!!) recommended for people want EXCELLENT results in the quickest time possible! I am simply starting an adult conversation with the more friendly and reasonable topic that I've pondered over for the past year because in this past year I've done a great deal of changing and maturing. NO, working out less is NOT maturing, but it was maturing that made me change priorities in life.

(I must emphasize words such as NOT and NO because some people on here are very sensitive and/or don't interpret writing sometimes)

I also think this is important to discuss because I've seen quite a few people come up with intriguing posts in which they discuss being dead broke or extremely tight with money, yet still ask us our opinions of whether to get cheaper alternatives or NOT buy supplements at all. Every time I see one of those posts that go something like this, "I have 2 bucks in the bank, just graduated school, got no job, but am wondering if Gatorade or juice is as good as Surge; I'm getting paid tomorrow, but I might blow a good amount on Alpha Male and Surge," I can't help but think to myself, "Buddy, when you're broke-ass broke, you don't think of fucking supplements - and maybe not even muscles!!"


You are certainly going to get yelled at by someone for posting this.

That being said, I do find the idea of a less "Spartan" lifestyle attractive; however, as you wrote, such a thing is by no means the ideal method for those of us who want the best possible results in the shortest time frame. I have a picture in my head of what I want to look like, and I'd rather sprint after it with everything I have for a shorter period of time than stagger along towards that finish line with the distinct possibility of never reaching that end weighing me down.

20"+ arms, while cool, isn't a goal for me. I'm striving to be "built", but the amount of sacrifice it would take to become "hyoooge" is a turnoff as it ultimately turns all of "this" into a stressful chore more than it does an enjoyable, sustainable lifestyle (for me, at least).

I love watching bodybuilding documentaries and think what the Olympia competitors do is pretty fucking admirable (they get the least respect out of any professional athlete despite working much harder than most)... but it's the type of lifestyle I'd rather watch and read about than attempt to live 24/7. I have nothing but the best thoughts about the big members on this board (as far as their lifting-related accomplishments, at least) and respect the theme of the bodybuilding forum enough that I would never think of bringing this type of mentality in there, but it is what it is.

While I won't ever be 100% satisfied with my overall progress, I am hopeful that in the near future I can at least reach a level of development that I find decent enough to where I can scale back a bit without feeling like I'm letting myself down. I don't think TBT 3x a week is my future (because I DO enjoy lifting weights), but sometimes I wish I could just spend the few spare hours of my weekdays fishing, hiking or reading GUILT-FREE than prepping meals and getting ready to go trash my legs. I take one day off from the gym per week, and let's just say that I find it thoroughly relaxing to spend a night just chilling.

Plus, not having to shit 5x a day would be a bonus.

edit: I shouldn't say pro BBers work "harder" than other professional athletes. I really have no idea. But they certainly do put themselves through a hell of a lot of shit and - to my mind - have an extremely rigorous and demanding lifestyle (particularly when they are gearing up for contests) that ultimately gives much less back to them than other sports would for the same work.


WOW bro, really good write up and i must say i agree 100%... i workout/eat right simply to stay healthy and look good naked (no homo) for the ladies, thus i dont let my eatting habits or workout schedule interfere with my social life because to me thats what is most important. Sure i try to order my wings grilled at the ale house instead of breaded or naked (fried) and with plain "hot" sauce instead of mild which is just hot with added butter. Bascially what im saying is that i try to keep a balance in life tho i do occasionally go thru a 30-60 day no drinking regimen to whip my ass back into shape if im slacking, but that being because im single, enjoy alcohol and the ladies nights at local bars... do i keep it in moderation? you cant bet your left nut that the answer is NOPE, i live in Miami for crying out loud.

So basically im just trying to say that i too agree with your choice of giving the "hardcore" lifestyle the back burner and deciding to actually have a life beyond it, i eat right WHEN I CAN, workout WHEN I CAN but its no longer an "obcession" as like you said, "theres little return on investment".

With that said, Cheers and stick to LiGHT beer whenever possible.. hahaha


There is a conditioning section.


Where in my post do I mention conditioning specifically?

And how is conditioning directly related to taking a more moderate approach conditioning, lifting, and nutrition, considering that elite athletes (more hardcore than ANYONE on here) do conditioning drills on a near daily basis.

I love it--just when I engage in a adult talk, some jerkoff has to come along with what he thinks is some slick, brief, wiseass comment.


You and I have talked about this before and it's something worth putting out there but the reading comprehension on a topic like this is going to go out the window fast. I tried typing up my thoughts but I can't bring myself to get into it.


I'm the same damn way; well, maybe a little different. I enjoy lifting 5 days a week and doing circuits the other two days. Sometimes I miss a day but no biggie.

My diet is pretty crappy though, and I drink a good 2 - 3 nights a week, sometimes more. I know it messes with my recovery, but I'm newly single and having fun. When I had a GF all I did was go to the gym, and eat a lot of food.

It sucks, because my lifts aren't what they used to be, mainly due to an injury but I should be back to where I was by now but am not because of booze and not enough sleep.

When I look at the bigger picture though, so what if I can't hit my old PRs in bench and DL. I might be 20 lbs off but the sacrifice (more sleep, less partying) it would take to get back and exceed where I was at isn't worth it to me at this point.

I'm pretty satisfied with how I look, but it is tough getting used to not seeing progress.


I was just busting your balls man, sarcasm doesn't go through too good on these threads.

IMO it comes down to what you are getting out of it, i remember you saying you had to sacrifice a lot to get results.

Maybe you weren't suited for bodybuilding, not everybody is. Some people don't have to sacrifice a lot to get great results, some people do. They can look great by lifting 4 times a week and eating whatever, and if they put a lot of work into it (lifting everyday and eating clean) then they look amazing.

Kind of makes you wish you had different parents when you see that but it is what it is.

It's a hobby, if you are excelling at it then i would put in the effort and sacrifice. If not, then i would keep everything in your comfort zone.


Yeah! (lol)



this is a good post/topic/thread.

I'm not gonna get hyoooooge. I dont really want to get hyooooooge. I'm 5'11" and 210 right now and I dont really care to be much bigger than that to be honest. I enjoy playing a lot of rec Basketball and Football in my spare time which definitely isnt optimal for pure mass gaining. My goals are to look good/better than 95% of the people out there (which I think I already do)

I work out hard so that I can have desert when I want it. Or so I can go out and have beers, pizza and wings with the guys whenever I feel like it. I'm never going to make a living off of my physique and I know that. I just wanna look good, feel good and be athletic while also having fun and doing what I want.

no one likes that guy who eats a piece of cake and then has to go run 5 miles the next day... thats stuff that insecure highschool cheerleader girls do


Nearly all people have to put in an enormous effort to get huge. Even at the top--you don't become Olympia by going less than full throttle!

I have pretty good genetics (probably 7 on a 10 scale) and got very good results with what I did - better than MOST people.

You're right. I don't wish to excel so much anymore in my fitness hobby because excelling requires me to give up other things that I simply don't want to give up, or if they were given up, I'd become miserable.


Your whole point is that it is a hobby for you (as it is for me and probably 99% of the rest of us on this site). Past that point it either becomes a career for the elite few, or an obsession that can take over all of the other aspects of your life. This happenned to me in another sport earlier in my life. Taught me a hard lesson that there are more important things in life. I better stop posting so much...


Hey man, if you go over 210 i will gladly take the extra pounds from you :wink: lol.

Anyways, it does feel good to be able to go out and party when an occasion comes up and not have to worry about it. Also, restaurant food taste really damn good when your used to eating potatoes/eggs/hamburger/oatmeal and drinking water all the time.

It's like a double win, other people like it but your really getting enjoyment out of the taste.


hahahah exactly! I like going out for food/drinks too much. Id rather have a couple beers tonight and then maybe just double up on the rowing machine or jump ropes the next day at the gym. Or if I really do it up big I'll hit the pool and swim half a mile. Definitely burning off a 12 pack by swimming that much lol


It is a hobby for us, but THERE ARE people on this board who are very, VERY dedicated, and they do put in the sacrifice, and do some of the GRUELING things I can't deal with anymore--5,000+ kcal diet, 5 days a week in the gym with no missing, food prep, etc. And they have my respect.


I wanna get as big as I can...but if your choice is to dial it back at this point in your life, then that's fine.

I mean, who the fuck should dictate to you what your goals should be, right?



However, I do think this is important to discuss regarding training and diet. I rather have myself and other people be consistent with A training routine--any DECENT routine that's conducive to their LIFE routine--than be inconsistent with an OPTIMAL routine.

For example, after a hardcore effort spanning many years that took away from other parts of life, I finally broke down last last summer (2009) and didn't lift much at all. I was simply BURNT THE FUCK OUT--to the point where slavery to the kitchen, a sleeping schedule, and the gym left me with NO desire to lift or eat so healthy.

Now I'm almost as consistent as when I was hardcore, but with an "OK" fitness routine comprising 5+ hrs of activity per week, enough to be in very good shape and health.


And I do admit I might not be the best "compartmentalizer" or "multi-tasker". With that level of involvement, it felt like I had little emotional and mental energy for much else either.


I'm also addressing this because I believe there should be a General Fitness forum for people who love fitness as much as anyone else but are not interested in hardcore bodybuilding or powerlifting. The conditioning thread is not a general fitness forum. It's specific--about CONDITIONING, and conditioning can be as hardcore as anything else, considering Ty Gay and Michael Phelps engage in what everyone on here considers "conditioning" (what a vague term) for 4-6 hr/d.


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