Megadeth tune, “Train of Consequences”, was blasting in my ears. Maybe it was its hard-hitting intensity, or perhaps its guttural lyrical display that caught my attention, or maybe the ricochet sound of drums pulsating through my brain, that helped me drive up each rep. Nope. It was, I had deduced, its title that blazed through my body like the rendition of, "Judgement Day" as portrayed in 1991’s T2.
Consequences, as it were, are usually thought of as some final destination following a negative act. And then I thought if its dual meaning. After all, I was in the gym and training and surely the outcome of a successful workout always produces consequences; good ones, in the form of an ever-improving body, if and only if, the bearer deems it to be.
I have always viewed the journey as it pertains in the realm of fitness as a tangible, doable and above all, attainable goal. Having been exposed to the best in the world in regards to bodybuilding at a very young age, and then later on as an athlete expeditor in the professional division, the very same division I might add that produced Arnold’s then record of 7 Mr. Olympia titles, the theorem was delivered that no matter the limitations, be they genetic or what have you, a single, pure and focused drive that would nary negate itself, could and would produce the goods, time and time again.
Far too often we grow impatient and complacent in life. Results are not happening quick enough and we want it yesterday. Didn’t widescreen TV’s just come out and already they’re pushing the 3-D model? Thoughts of adding a magical elixir, or different protocol altogether, are introduced and rarely are the results favorable. At best, one is settling for a piece rather than arrive at a whole.
Take the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket whereby the senior drill instructor asks his recruit his belief in the Virgin Mary. When the recruit denies believing, he is stricken and then asked again. Another beating follows another denial and the drill instructor is left befuddled but is quickly placated when the recruit explains were he to reverse himself, the drill instructor would beat him even harder. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for this D.I. to not be impressed by his new recruit and his staying the course.
Fact is what helps to create results. A detailed plan between two distinct points along with a reasonable amount of time and the correct variables in place will in fact produce outstanding results in the gym if the train is not reversed or switches its tracks in the midst of said program completion. The main thing that prevents gym goers from reaching the finish line is time itself; not investing in enough to achieve the desired results.
Aside from the individuality of sport I found in competitive bodybuilding, what most appealed to me was in fact time. I thought it to be the fairest thing and often to this day wish it applied to most aspects of life. I knew that win or lose, on a given day there would be an outcome. Were I to plan my contest approaches around a tangible time frame in order to properly bring me into contest condition, the outcome could very well be in my favor and often was.
What follows are my Top 10 Consequence Commandments, if you will, designed to keep you on track, wherever your journey may take you.
1. Thou shalt not reverse thyself - Gut instinct drove me to a National trophy, not gym gossip and popular opinion. Have a plan and follow through to the end.
2. Thou shalt do what they always done to get what they always got - If following the same steps, (adding a new brick each day to one day build a house), brought you success, continue the formula. If the desired results were not yet achieved, tweak the equation until X is equal to victory.
3. Thou shalt stay motivated - By any means necessary, remember exactly what it is you are trying to achieve in the gym. What is the threadline that wills you each day? Identify and pursue.
4. Thou shalt abide by thy seasons - There is a time to build and a time to refine. Do not stay on a permanent road to nowhere. Every highway leads to an exit. Set clear time allotments to define your goals. Remember, there is a time for building and a time for sculpting.
5. Thou shalt stick to fact not myth - You heard from someone who heard that your abs will show if you work them for hours on end? The fact is, you may have a sore tummy from such rigorous output, but nary a defined ab to display without first melting the fat through a proper combination of nutrition, cardio AND training.
6. Thou shalt perform as if someone is watching - Half-assing a given set and not giving your all, is as common in the gym as breathing. And yet when we have an interested audience, anything is possible. Give more to the iron and receive more in the mirror.
7. Thou shalt be open to new experiences - It’s true a good student is always learning. Although I’ve always been open to learning more efficient ways to build lean muscle and burn bodyfat, I saved all experimenting, (especially concerning my nutrition), for the offseason when I had ample time to correct theories that quite simply, weren’t worth their weight.
8. Thou shalt call in reinforcements - We all get stuck, but if there’s one thing I learned from the Batman show starring Adam West, it was there’s always a way out, even it old Bats was stuck in a giant cake and doomed to meet his maker! We all need some help sometimes. A course, a nutritionist and especially your friendly neighborhood trainer will get you back on track.
9. Thou shalt prioritize - We all share the same 24 hour time- frame pie. Whether you’re the guy on the street or Donald trump, we can all schedule priorities accordingly. Make your physique endeavors a tangible slice of your daily pie.
10. Thou shalt use weapons of muscle-mass construction - Be informed as to what constitutes change. Cardiovascular activity alone will lean you out but will not harden the muscles. Add resistance training and proper nutrition to the mix for complete results.
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