Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy New Year! - By Jim Duggan

Traditionally, this is the time of year when we reflect upon the past twelve months and look forward to the year ahead. The holidays provide us with an inner joy while the arrival of New Year's allows us a fresh start, a "starting point" from which to improve ourselves. A chance to replace bad habits with good ones so that we can enjoy a life devoted to STRENGTH and HEALTH. Yes, many people will make resolutions. But the question is, how many actually keep them? Did you?

Most people who make resolutions begin the year with the best of intentions. The holidays- with their overindulgences and excesses- provide us with "good tidings," cheer, and happiness. Once the holidays are over, most people will make a determination that they will eliminate certain bad habits, and embark upon an exercise program. Sadly, most New Year's resolutions begin to fall by the wayside after about a month. Sometimes even sooner. It's easy- and common- to fall into a rut. Then all the good intentions and resolutions go for nought.

Whenever we make resolutions, we must also develop a comprehensive plan to adopt an exercise regime. It's not enough to simply have a goal. You need to have a plan of action. A goal without a plan is merely a dream. Whether you goal is to lose weight, or to add weight in the form of increased muscular size, you must have a detailed plan. More importantly, you must be willing to do the required work in order for the plan to be successful. You will never reach your goals without hard work, and discipline.

If you wish to lose weight, you have to combine diet and exercise to achieve the desired results. If you have been sedentary, or if you haven't trained in a while, then you should begin slowly. Do not try to become Jack LaLanne overnight. In other words, you cannot overcome weeks or months of inactivity in a short period of time. Slow but steady is the order of the day. Once you have fallen into a routine of regular exercise, then you may begin to gradually increase the amount and the intensity. Many people get discouraged when, after weeks of what they consider to be "a lot of work" show no apparent improvement, they want to quit. It is at this point that you must do your best to fight the temptation to give up your goals. At this crucial point, your body has undergone various changes, and even if little or no outward improvement is noticeable, there have been definite changed taking place within your body. You may be just on the threshold and ready to start showing visible improvement. And once your body begins to improve, it will only get easier to stick to your exercise program.

If your goal is to gain weight and muscle, then you must also have a well-designed plan. Your training must be done in such a way that will effectively break down tissue without depleting your energy reserves. Do not overtrain. Especially if you are a "hard gainer." You must allow yourself enough time to recuperate from your workouts. Your routine must target the major muscle groups of the body. The exercise movements you perform should consist of the basics: Squats, Bench Presses, Overhead Presses, Deadlifts, Rows. No isolation movements. Hardman heavy work on the basics will build size and strength. Also, you should not try to follow the so-called training programs taste are found in the various "muscle comics." The popular muscle magazines featuring some steroid bloated "champion" are of absolutely no use to anyone who is serious about building a strong, enduring body the natural way.

It is important for any person who lifts to develop a routine based on his/her knowledge and experience. Become a student of Physical Culture. Do not simply follow someone else's exercise routine. You must find out what works for you, work out your plan, and then execute it. Blindly following somebody else's program is a sure way to become disinterested and frustrated. This is especially true when it comes to the subject of frequency of training. Many people will tell you that you must lift 5 or 6 days per week. This is simply not true, especially if you are trying to gain weight. No more than three full-body workouts per week are necessary to build muscular size. Notice that I said "full body" workouts. It should go without saying that training individual bodyparts on separate days is a colossal waste of time for a Drug-Free trainee in search of increased muscle mass.

In addition to the actual workouts, sleep, rest, and proper nutrition are crucial to anybody wishing to gain weight. It is very important not to overtrain. To ensure against overtraining, adequate rest, and plentiful sleep are vital. And, of course, an adequate diet, rich in quality foods must be adopted. This goes for everybody who trains, regardless of your goals. The importance of a good diet cannot be overlooked.

There is one more thing that needs to be made about trying during this time of year. For those if you who train in commercial gyms, you may have noticed that there are considerably fewer parking spaces in the gym's parking lot. That's understandable, and should be expected. The "Resolutioners," that particular breed of trainee that shows its face this time each year, have created a logjam in the parking lot, the locker room, and near the EZ Curl Bars. Do not allow them to discourage you, for they won't be around for long. They are usually gone by the middle of February. Then you won't see them until next January. For those readers who are fortunate enough to train at home, consider yourselves lucky. You avoid having to witness a lot of nonsense, especially at this time of the year.

To everyone who is serious about building their body, increasing their strength, and maintaining their health, I hope 2017 will be a triumphant year for all of us!
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