“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
When you put on a lot of muscle in a short amount of time, people just want to assume that you’re on steroids so that they can feel better about their personal lack of gains. After years of wasting time, I’m finally ready to write a colossal piece on this topic.
Let’s build some serious muscle, naturally! Let’s look like we’re on steroids without being on them!
How do you have that steroids look?
People typically assume that when you’re really lean and muscular looking that you’re on steroids. You can get this look through dieting and tanning. Believe it or not, but sometimes when you can’t tone something, you can tan it.
A quick story…
I was at the gym the other day, doing that one workout that I hate, but I love, squats. Ahh!
“You’re doing legs, eh? I got arms day today.” — Friend at the gym.
This was a skinny friend who has seen no gains ever since high school. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be a little bitch that does the same thing over and over again. Don’t loiter on this planet.
I couldn’t even respond because I was breathing heavily after squats. My brother and I were killing the heavy squats. Somehow, this young punk can lift WAY more than me. It must be his genetics!
As for the friend…
I didn’t know what to say to him. He looks exactly the same as he did ten years ago. Where are the results brother?
I know that you don’t want to be that chick or dude with no results after a freaking decade. You’re here because you want explosive growth.
A skinny dude with an arms day is like a virgin with a make out day. You’re not going to get anywhere. Biceps are nice to have, but there’s no point in spending a WHOLE day dedicated to bicep curls and tricep extensions. It just makes no sense.
Sadly, I can’t make fun of this friend too much. Why?
The truth is that I wasted lots of time myself in the gym.
The following contains my story when it comes to working out, tips that you can apply today, and even pictures.
The world is your gym. The park is free.
How did I waste time in the gym?
Hmm let’s see. Where do I begin?
I started training in grade 10. Instead of playing soccer, my parents pitched in for a gym membership at some fancy gym. I would show up, do a bunch of things and then go home. I swam sometimes. Yup, that’s all I did. I just performed random exercises.
That continued for a while. I found some training partners, Sadly, they were at the same level as me. That didn’t help much. Then I stopped going in grade 12. I stopped wrestling. I stopped training. I was lost.
I rejoined a new gym in 2005. Wasn’t sure of what to do. I just kept on doing random workouts. Luckily, I did some bench press, so I did see some results.
Then I just went a lot and found random workouts off the net. I saw some results in 2006. My friends noticed that I had put on some size. I didn’t really have a plan. I just showed up and did whatever I felt like doing. The gym was open 24 hours so I would randomly go at 2 in the morning. Not sure why.
Then I ate like a pig. I got way too big. I was like 200lbs at one point. Not sure why or how. I guess I thought that being bulky was cool?
In 2009, I joined an MMA gym where I continued to do random training. I took kickboxing classes. I did random workouts at the gym. I went to the gym for the sake of going to the gym.
Things didn’t become clear until 2011 or so. It wasn’t until 2014 that I settled in with my eating/training habits once I started getting serious about pro wrestling.
What went wrong until then?
I jumped from workout to workout, getting nothing done.
I just researched random workouts. You know, “the skull crushing physique changing ones” you find in fitness magazines. I never really got anything done. I jumped around programs. I never stuck to one. I never focused on anything. I just went to the gym and left an hour later.
You need to focus on something. The following questions are important:
- What do you want to do?
- Do you want to get stronger?
- Do you want to feel healthy?
- Do you want to become faster?
I didn’t think about what I ate.
Now I’m more conscious of what I eat. Back then, I just ate. I didn’t know what was good or bad. I thought that Subway was the way to go. I would eat a sub every single day. I literally had no clue how horrible these things are.
[If you’re clueless on eating, you need to check out my huge write up on what we should be eating.]
Oh and if you’re wondering, there is no perfect diet!
I barely slept!
Okay, so this one I don’t regret so much. I hustled so that I would graduate college debt free. The problem was that I worked full-time while I studied full-time. On top of a girlfriend and training, I never got enough sleep.
Thankfully for my youth and coffee, I made it through. Get your sleep kids. Get off Facebook and stop shooting hookers with rocket launchers on GTA V.
I suck(ed) at following routines.
I really do suck at follow programs. I’m not the guy that can walk around the gym with a pen and paper. It’s not me. So I always sucked at following plans. I just did whatever.
Please don’t waste time if you’re new to this.
If you have been wasting time, here’s the great news: you can stop right now!
If you want to see my progress over the years, you can see pics in my post on crushing body flab.
What changed for me? How do you build muscle fast?
The following piece of advice took me close to a decade to understand, accept, and acknowledge. Please take it seriously or we will have problems. Serious problems.
It really is three key components when it comes down to building muscle and looking like a monster:
- Perform the main lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench, pullups, and maybe a few others).
- Eat like a pig (real food and good food).
That’s all there is to it.
Don’t worry about the angle you position the weight. Don’t worry about what time you workout or what sort of shoes you wear.
We all want step-by-step tips for building muscle. We need to stop looking for new workouts and just focus on getting stronger with the main lifts.
Do you want more sweet tips on getting jacked? I do.
So I looked around to find the best information. This article is so freaking amazing that I’m going to bookmark it and read it once a week.
From this great article over at Strong Lifts I found the following tips on getting bigger:
“If You Are Not Lifting More Weight Today Than You Did One Year Ago, Or Even One Month Ago… Then You Are NOT Building Muscle!”
Then I found an article on gaining muscle that simplified the whole process.
“Here’s how StrongLifts 5×5 will work for you: three times per week, you will go to the gym and do 3 full body exercises for sets of 5 reps.”
What are the two workouts? (stolen directly from the site)
- Squat 5 x 5
- Barbell row 5 x 5
- Bench press 5 x 5
- Squat 5 x 5
- Overhead press 5 x 5
- Deadlift 1 x 5
What else do I do? NOTHING! Lift heavy ass weights.
Don’t waste your time on bicep curls and all of that crap.
Below is a picture of my brother Adrian killing the squats. Things get nasty when he hits the rack. Five solid sets and you don’t want to do anything else!
What else do the experts have to say?
I searched the web to see what I could find about getting JACKED!
Steve at Nerd Fitness writes:
“If you are interested in getting big like the Hulk, you’re going to need to eat like the Hulk. When it comes to getting bigger, the eating big part is responsible for at LEAST 80% of one’s success or failure.”
What’s his workout? (stolen directly from the site again)
SUPERHERO A WORKOUT
- Squats: 4 sets of 5 repetitions
- Overhead press: 4 sets of 5 repetitions
- Pull ups: 3 sets of max repetitions
SUPERHERO B WORKOUT
- Deadlifts: 3 sets of 5 repetitions
- Bench press: 4 sets of 5 repetitions
- Bent over rows: 3 sets of 8 repetitions
Andy Morgan of Ripped Body is up next. Andy writes about a few key programs. The big three routine and the three-day split reverse pyramid training. I won’t even attempt to summarize his great writing. Check out his article on the three day split RPT.
Andy really opened my eyes once again with this reminder:
“Allow me to be clear: I train 3 days a week, for under one hour. Period. The training was the same when I was cutting too. Unless you’re an athlete, excluding stretching time, you do not need to do more lifting than this either.”
Oh and another reminder:
“Body-recomposition is 70% diet, 30% training.”
For even more great tips, you need to check out JCD Fitness. He has covered everything from eating enough calories to training smart. Don’t waste time!
What do I focus on now? What’s the best workout?
So what do I do now? I’m actually all over the place with my exercise. I believe that the world is your gym and everything can be turned into a workout.
Ever since 2005 I have been looking around for the best workout.
So what’s the best workout? You’re not going to like this answer…
The one that you’re not doing right now!
- Impromptu pushup challenge before the bar? Yes.
- Some kettlebell action in the morning? For sure.
- A BJJ class? Hell yeah.
- Kickboxing? Oh yeah.
I stick to the main lifts. I switch it up often. At the moment, I do a three day RPT split on the main lifts. I do a kick boxing class twice a week, I do BJJ three times per week, I swing kettlebells when I can, and I occasionally hit the park.
I hit the park, I attend random MMA classes, I swing bells in my basement, and anything else for a solid pump. It depends how I feel. I stick a program through until the end and then I try something else. All that matters is that I’m getting stronger.
The picture below shows how wild I like to get with friends.
I love to treat the world like my gym. This leads to our final point…
Are you going to stop wasting time? Are you going to look like you’re on steroids when your friends see you? I hope so.
We covered intermittent fasting in the past if you want to look at that for getting lean.
Are you ready to build muscle? Good luck to you! I wish I had this post available to me when I was starting out.
“The hardest thing to do is work hard when no one is watching.” –- Ray Lewis