Bodybuilding Mindset – Common Pitfalls
In this post I will be discussing the bodybuilding mindset and specifically, common mistakes that bodybuilders make that are linked to their mindset which shortchanges them from the progress that they deserve. Mindset is a key ingredient to success in all endeavours. There is a great book called “The Midas Method” which touches on the importance of both a “positive self image” and a “can do belief” as being crucial to any successes in life. A deficiency in one or both of those will lead to complete failure or not achieving the level of success that you want.
Maintaining A Positive Self Image
A positive self image is crucial to success and it is not different in bodybuilding. With the rise of social media people are constantly comparing themselves to others. There are lots of social media fitness influencers who are displaying their bodies for the world to see, it is easy to look at some of them and feel discouraged. What you don’t see is the time it took them to get to that stage and other extenuating factors such as steroids or PED use.
Comparison can cause you to feel worse about yourself which in turn only harms your self image. A negative self image will then sabotage your efforts towards progressing towards reaching your goals. Instead it is far better to just run your own race and compare yourself to the person that you used to be. In this way you can feel better about yourself from your own progress over time. A consequence of running your own race is that eventually you will surpass lots of other people in that area without ever comparing yourself to them.
All Or Nothing Mentality
The all or nothing mentality is also something which is prevalent in society amongst many people. In bodybuilding as well it permeates deeply. A good example of this was a friend of mine at the gym that I train at, when gyms re-opened after lockdown I saw him again and asked him some questions. This is how the conversation unfolded:
Me: Hi, How are you? It’s been a long time!
Him: Yes, I’ve been OK.
Me: Have you kept up with any training at home during lockdown?
Me: How come?!
Him: I don’t have much equipment at home so I decided to stop training altogether until the gyms opened again and I can start again with all the equipment that I normally use. I have been eating very badly as well as there is no point eating good until I am able to get back to my regular routine with everything perfect.
Me: (Shake my head in disbelief).
Believe it or not, this is a common theme having spoken to many different people and not just isolated to my friend. Many people are only able to execute things properly when all the conditions are perfect. When conditions change and things are no longer perfect they decide to stop everything they were doing and go backwards massively. In my friend’s case, he had lost tons of progress and gone backwards with his health and fitness as a result of this choice.
In my case, I just made the best out of the situation and trained at home with the equipment that I had. I also bought various new equipment such as new dumbbells and resistance bands for home use during lockdown. As a result I was able to maintain pretty much all my muscle gains though I did lose strength slightly. This slight strength loss was quickly regained in a month or two once gyms re-opened.
The same thing is true with dieting. People will say to themselves, I am going to start my diet next Monday. So they use the week leading up to that day to eat crazy amounts of unhealthy food and binge. In that week they have caused so much more damage and it will take an even bigger effort to undo all the damage they have done.
It is the same reason that people put off starting their own businesses. It may have been their dream but the conditions are never perfect for them. As a result they never take action and shortchange themselves. The bottom line is the conditions in life will never be perfect, things are always in a state of flux. All you can do is make the best that you can out of every situation and use the tools at your disposal to do this.
Overcoming obstacles and being mentally strong to tackle them is key to success. In bodybuilding there will always be many obstacles that you have to face in your journey to a better and stronger body. The biggest ones are injuries, anyone who has ever lifted weights for many years will have experienced at least one or two injuries. In my case my bigger injuries have been my back injury many years ago and recently I injured my left knee tripping when walking up the stairs. It is important when faced with any obstacles to be strong enough to tackle them and get through to the other side. Don’t let yourself accept permanent defeat from a temporary problem.
After my recent knee injury I was in some pain and had to adjust my training program by eliminating squatting exercises and leg pressing. Instead I programmed in dumbbell goblet squats twice a week starting very light and doing high reps. Over a couple months I ramped up the volume on that exercise. I also invested in a pair of good knee sleeves which I now wear to every gym session. Now my knees feel good and am able to go back to my old routine with squatting variations like hack squats brought back in and leg pressing as well. I didn’t give up and decide to just sit my ass at home for three months with no exercise. Instead I worked around the injury as best I could, found a solution to overcome it and came out the other side successfully. Never let obstacles get you down – everyone will face their fair share but it is those who overcome them that get stronger. Like they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
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In this post I have talked exclusively about mindset and the common pitfalls bodybuilders experience in this regard. However these same mindset related pitfalls pertain to life in general. The right mindset will see you succeed in any endeavour that you undertake. Whilst it is true that sometimes things out of our control can set us back and even lead to failures. From every failure comes the seed of an equivalent advantage. Therefore any time you experience a bad setback in life you should look at it objectively and try to see if there is anything postiive that you can take from it. Then just move forward with your life with the extra knowledge that you have gained from your previous experiences.
If there is anything in this article that you want to discuss please leave me a comment below. I love reading your comments and interacting with you. As always, all the best with your training!