T Nation

Your Biggest Bodybuilding Wins!


The Bodybuilding Fail-thread is pumping up with people's fails, or learning experiences as some call it.I've certainly had a few aha-moments as I read the stupid shit we've all done in the hopes of getting more muscle and less fat, simultaneously. ( See what I did there? )

Now, what has gotten you on the right track? Your bodybuilding WINS!

1: Morning walks. Some people call it cardio, but it's just a walk. Get up, drink 1 l of green tea, burn some fat, and I'm ravenous and ready to hit the weights and plates when I get home. Before I'd be nauseous from a few eggs in the morning, now it's pounds of beef and eggs before noon.

2:Short hill sprints. Anywhere from 40-100 m. Walk down, run up again. Has helped tremendously getting my posterior chain to fire together and helped me with my puny calves.

3: Ramping sets.

4: Water, and lots of it. Usually around 5 l para-workout.

5: Split routines. Currently liking

6: Eggs. Raw, fried, boiled, as long as it's eggs. 8 raw eggs = win protein shake.

7: Front-loading calories.A fancy way of saying breakfast like a king, supper like a pauper. A pauper than eats beef and meat anyway.

8: Supplements fail compared to eggs any day.

9: Creatine, fish oil/cla/gla/flax seeds and protein powder is food, not supplements.


This thread will be full of lots of bullshit self-opinions about what worked for people.

biggest win: consistant diet/training hard/not listening to peoples bullshit self-opinions of what works and what doesn't.


I hope so :wink:

Still, I think it's interesting so see what specific things people think work for them.
Consistency( food, sleep, regular gym time) and hard work( food, intensity in the gym) should be #1 for everyone though obviously. Anything after that is just gravy.


-Finding the proper frequency to actually produce gains without being too much to recover from cannot be underestimated (and can vary from person to person).

-Understanding nutrient timing and how important eating around your actual training sessions can be is ha huge factor in making progress.

-Accept that not everyone will get results from the 'Big 3' (especially if aesthetics are your goal)

-There is no such thing as a 'hard gainer', merely people who haven't figured out how to balance their training needs with proper diet considerations.

-Any 'decent' training routine will produce gains if all other factors are in place. Actual training splits are nowhere as important as some people seem to think.

-Interval work is vastly superior to low intensity cardio for actual body compositional changes. It's also hard work, and most people will not be able to dig down deep enough and put forth the proper intensity to produce results in such a short duration.

-Carrying a food journal around with you will not only better allow you to see what you're eating (and produce better gains as a result), but will guilt you into sticking to your plan, no matter how 'helpful' your friends and co-workers are.

-Just because you read something online, or hear a 'coach' say it, doesn't mean it's correct, or that it works 100% of the time, or that it should be repeated by you endlessly on any forum you're a member of while ignoring all other suggestions offered.

(just a few off the top of my head)



-Not listening to people who told me that I couldn't do it.

I swear there have been tons of people throughout my life who seemed hell bent on making sure I believed I couldn't do this or that. While proving them wrong has been a source of inspiration, it bugs me that there are apparently so many human beings who spend so much of their time trying to keep other people from doing better than they are.

-Following and training with guys who were stronger than me

There is no way in hell I would have ever bench pressed 405 without having done that. The mental hurdle yo have to cross to even believe that your body can hold that much weight over you without dying can be insurmountable if you don't surround yourself with people who have been there and done that. This is the PRIMARY reason there are so few really big guys on this forum lately...everyone else is mentally trapped.

-Not believing that scientific studies hold the truth to all things bodybuilding related.

Science has largely ignored people who build themselves to being stronger and bigger than 85% of the population...therefore, any newb thinking that a scientific study has been done on all areas concerning what we are involved in will be shit out of luck if they don't wise up real quick.

This is the very reason that most of the people who do act like that AREN'T BIG OR VERY STRONG.

Mind you, there will be some clueless individuals who will mistake these words for saying that you should avoid learning...which is dumb. This is why I keep saying most here should spend more time worrying about buying a college level Biology or A&P book than the latest novella from a personal training "guru".

The whole idea is to keep learning...but at the base of it all is the FACT that science does NOT have it all figured out yet...so personal trial and error is still a necessity and no one can predict what you can do before you ever fucking do it.


Learning that you don't need to do lots of warm up.

I mean, a set of 8, a heavier one of 5 and another one of 3 before I do a bunch of sets consisting of 5 reps will do just fine.


Learning from my failures, trial and error, in my case, lots of error, but still learning and keeping an open mind.


More whole foods, being consistent with every aspect of weightlifting (eating, hitting PR's). Oh and less alcohol is a good one.


You should only be allowed to post in this thread if you have substantial development of put on alot of muscle.


realizing that trying to increase my max lifts (by actually attempting them) at every opportunity didn't work, and instead working in reasonable rep ranges. to interpret that more clearly - stimulate a muscle to grow then let it do so, DO NOT crush it with more weight than it can handle and completely eliminate any opportunity for it to actually perform a proper amount of work and then successfully recover.

imagine that, by not lifting like a moron, one gets bigger and stronger...who knew?!


oh, and learning to front squat.


Good idea.

I am now enforcing this.

Please nobody enforce me.


-Abandoning barbell bench as a chest exercise.
I made this switch a long time and have never regretted it. I realize it works for some people, but my shoulders and tris tended to dominate. DB work is much more effective for me, and my shoulder health isn't an issue anymore either.


10: Reading Stu and Professor x'es replies. Just the reason I started this thread.

'-Finding the proper frequency to actually produce gains without being too much to recover from cannot be underestimated (and can vary from person to person).

-Understanding nutrient timing and how important eating around your actual training sessions can be is ha huge factor in making progress.

-Accept that not everyone will get results from the 'Big 3' (especially if aesthetics are your goal)

-There is no such thing as a 'hard gainer', merely people who haven't figured out how to balance their training needs with proper diet considerations.'

Stu, there are hundreds of aspiring bodybuilders who could use your guidance..For the love of iron become a coach/personal trainer!

'-Not listening to people who told me that I couldn't do it.' hits home, hard. Who is more important, you and what you can do or someone's opinion of it?

  • Focusing on shoulder health: Taking the time to stretch, train, and take care of the smaller muscles/tendons/ligaments that are vital to shoulder health and mobility has been a huge help to my training, and has also assisted in producing a more balance physique. Your shoulders are with you for life, do not underestimate the importance of taking care of 'em, you may feel invincible now (as do I at 23) but neglect now will come back to haunt you down the road.

  • Learning to cook: Being able to prepare my own healthy meals is a win on many fronts, saves money, ensures that I know exactly what is going into my food, ensures portion control, and impresses the women among other things. Take the time to learn, because even if your only capable of making a chicken breast and steamed broccoli, you will be helped both your physique and your overall health by doing so.

  • Ditching shakes and eating whole foods: This plays off of the previous paragraph, but relying on food, not shakes and supplements, for my nutrition ensures that I am getting good calories along with my protein. I see to many people pound a shake after a workout and then not eat for 3 hours because they think they are covered. EAT FOOD.

-Change every 8-12 weeks: Whether it's rep ranges, grips, exercises, or training styles, it is important to mix things up and keep your body guessing. It is to easy to get stuck doing the same routine for a year or more, sack up, and make some changes.


Not easy to eat 6-8 solid meals a day and getting in enough food/staying hungry enough when you're trying to go from 260 to 300... I get your general sentiment, of course, but I also think that people focus too much on extremes... I.e. all/mostly solid food, no matter what, or way too many shakes and too little solid food... I'm not able to eat 8 steaks a day, personally, so getting half my protein from shakes works perfectly fine for me. I didn't need to do that as a 120-220 lb guy, but after some time I've found that it helps greatly and makes the entire journey a lot more pleasant for all involved (i.e. my better half, haha).

You could also work the "change" into your current routine.. Instead of changing in any major way every x weeks, have a double or triple rotation for your exercises (at least as an advanced guy) or something like that, as an example.
That way you get both change AND you get continuous progression on the same movements.


For me it's been backing off with the weight and focusing on form, even recording my sets to see what I'm doing. The big weights will come with time but most beginners will try to force it a bit too fast and compramise their form. If I were training with some vets it would never have happened but unfortunately most people don't have those sort of resources.

Also tucking my scaps on presses stretching my shoulders and doing prehab work has made everything alot smoother.

  • Sticking to what's tried and true. I've been pretty much been doing the same thing since day one. I've eleminated certain exercises which I feel are not as effective. My staple exercises have not changed one bit with the exception of maybe a slight change in technique and execution.

  • Keepin' it simple. I've never done strips sets drops sets or anything of that nature. I never ever change exercise selection. The only thing that does change from time to time is the order in which I perform certain lifts.

  • Learning that you need more than just protein to truly gain size.

  • The one saying I keep in my mind constantly is..."there is no substitute for hard work" Which is so true, what you put in is what you get out. Considering your diet is adequate and you're in relatively good health , I see no reason why anyone would'nt progress.


I think my biggest win is that I started squatting... At the start. Took a couple weeks to get in to deadlifts. And as a result my back and legs are definitely my strong points.


Not worrying about abs and focusing on getting bigger and stronger.