Training is different from working out. Working out is merely showing up at the gym and going through the motions for an hour or so. If you want to achieve your goals, working out is not enough. You need to commit yourself to training.
Most people approach lifting like homework; a piece of paper to be followed that says 3×10 bench press. But it’s more than that; you need to feel your muscles working, feel the rep speed, and above all push yourself.
Some days you add sets, some days you drop sets. It’s not about going through the motions; it’s about improving on a constant basis.
A Real World Muscle Building Example
Let’s look at a real world example. The gentleman in the picture by the lovely French beach had been working out for five years. He had a decent strength foundation (275×10 squat, 225×10 bench press, 315+ deadlift), but wasn’t quite ready to win the Mr. Olympia.
So we sat down and came up with a plan by looking at his strengths and weaknesses. He obviously does not have any issues packing on mass and has great arms (lucky bastard), but his chest and shoulders were lagging. Furthermore, he was quad dominant in his legs.
What we needed to do:
- Broaden his shoulders since his arms are overpowering.
- Thicken his chest.
- Bring balance into the legs.
- Add some lean mass and reduce the waist line.
From there on, we started training shoulders and chest twice a week. Once on their own day, and once in combination with a strong body part, either legs or arms.
I made this point before but I am not a huge fan of the flat bench for chest development so we stuck with floor flyes and incline presses. As for the shoulders, the main focus was the medial head so we would often superset squats with side raises, just to get some extra volume in there. Also, we would add standing military presses, Arnolds and partial side raises, often done as giant sets such as:
- 8 reps – Arnold Press
- 8 reps – Military Press
- 8 Reps – Rack Pulls
- 8 Reps – Partial Side Raises
In terms of legs, we added hamstring work on a 2-1 ratio. That meant more good mornings, stiff legged deadlifts and single leg presses. As we got closer to show and shoot date, he started doing cardio 3-4 times a week and posing 1-2 times a week in order to burn off some more bodyfat.
Diet wise, we started out with a a rather low-carb approach (3 days low/1 day high). We soon realized that it didn’t work for him and shifted to a moderate carb intake, where he would eat most of his carbs around the workout. Furthermore, we kept the last meal of the day strictly protein and veggies.
When it came down to the last 3 weeks before the photo shoot, we took out all the red meat and reduced the fats to two tablespoons of coconut oil a day. The results can be seen in the attached after photo.