I just read a small article written by amateur strongman Ryan Burgess recently on LIFT.net. He was giving beginners advice on what not to do when getting into the sport of Strongman.
He counted five things he himself was guilty of doing at the beginning, and told people that’s not the way to go. One thing in particular stood out for me.
Many lifters are guilty of this, novice and seasoned. The “go heavy or go home” mentality seems to be the only way a lot of lifters think you should train. To me it’s certainly one way, but definitely not the best way. You’re not training to test your strength, you’re training to build your strength, and the best way to do that is not always trying to lift as much weight as you possibly can. For me, the saying should go more like “get smart or GTFO” because training smart can get you to the top of Goal Mountain a lot faster, and safer .
When I say train smart I mean: plan what you are training for, have some sort of time frame for your goals, eat good food and make sure nothing is missing in nutrition, give yourself enough time to recover between training days and use your time in the gym to the fullest.
1. Plan What You Are Training For
Don’t train powerlifting for two weeks, and then decide you want to be a bodybuilder start doing cardio, and then figure “crossfit sounds like fun”. This is all a waste of time and energy. Say to yourself “what do I want to accomplish next”. Then put the time, blood, sweat, and thought into it, and you will achieve your goal! Then move on to the next.
2. Setting a Time Frame For Your Goals
Setting a time frame is not planning to add 20 Lb to your deadlift in five days, it’s improving as much as you possibly can over the next 16 weeks for instance.
3. Eat Good Food and Make Sure Nothing is Missing in Nutrition
Think about what you eat. Know the fuel you’re putting in your body. Don’t be the guy who only eats pizza and ice cream, and says he’s bulking. Everybody knows that guy is a moron. The rule of thumb says to calculate the amount of protein you need; 1 Gram of protein per 1 Lb of bodyweight. Try to be somewhere in the proximity of that. Oh, and if you are bulking, eat more of good food, don’t switch to fat-ass food and call it bulking.
4. Give Yourself Enough Time to Recover Between Training Days
If you train for powerlifting, then I usually recommend the 2-3 times a week training routine. Just make sure you don’t train too often. Kill yourself on each training day, but give your body enough time to rebuild the muscle you break down. You can’t train bench press every day and expect good results. Don’t be afraid of resting, you need it.
5. Use Your Time in the Gym to the Fullest
Using your time in the gym can be tricky because often you know everyone around you, and call most of them friends. Be aware of the time you need in between sets so you’re not wasting it. Go ahead, chat with your friends, but keep your mind on the matter, and don’t lose focus.
I hope this helps someone gain strength through knowledge. Keep getting stronger, and keep getting smarter. And all you beginners … ASK! There are thousands of guys more than happy to answer all of your stupid questions because we remember when we didn’t know and had to ask the older, more experienced guys.