By Ron Harris
There aren’t many sports where you can continue improving well into middle age. Many, like swimming, gymnastics, basketball, boxing, and football see athletes achieving their pinnacle anywhere from age 16 to 25 and beginning a slow decline in performance from that point on. Bodybuilding is rather unique in that a man or women might begin in their teenage years and not hit their prime until their 30’s, even 40’s. That’s because our sport isn’t based on qualities like speed and agility that often naturally deteriorate as we age. We are crafting the best possible version of our physique that we can. The most obvious factor in this is adding additional muscle mass, but it’s far more complex. We strive for perfect balance and proportion, so we might specialize on some areas while maintaining others. We might even be focusing on just one specific area of a muscle group, such as upper chest or outer sweep. It can take anywhere from 10-25 years of serious training before we reach our full potential. Many fall by the wayside long before they reach that point of course, for various reasons. If you want to make sure you’re able to do this bodybuilding thing as long as you want to and long enough to realize your true potential, here are a few tips.
TRAIN HARD, BUT TRAIN SMART
Some people insist on training super-heavy all the time. While that may be ‘hardcore,’ I guarantee you won’t last very long that way. You may feel like Superman in the gym, but you’re still a human being from Earth. Your joints and connective tissues must be respected and treated with care. Unless you’re a powerlifter, there is no need for you to do one-rep maxes, though plenty of would-be bodybuilders these days seem to think otherwise. Never use dubious form like rounding your back on squats or deadlifts to get more weight up. Don’t throw weights around sloppily, even if you saw your favorite pro doing it. Issues like muscle tears, tendon ruptures, arthritis, and bursitis will knock you out of the gym. Over time, if you accumulate enough of these due to your own recklessness with the weights, you will be unable to train like a bodybuilder ever again.
There are many steps you can take to avoid injury beyond being more careful with your training. First, always warm up as much as you need to before tackling any heavy weight. Pro’s like Kai Greene would sometimes spend as long as 40 minutes on a step mill and do as many as 8-10 warm-up sets of squats before commencing his work sets. Take time to stretch between sets, and after the workout is done. Get adjustments from a chiropractor at least once a month to keep your spine in proper alignment. See a good deep tissue massage therapist twice a month if you can afford it to break up adhesions inside and between your muscles. Use a foam roller daily.
EAT AND SLEEP WELL
Treat your body like a temple. Instead of polluting it with junk food, fast food, and alcohol, eat plenty of fresh, natural foods and drink a gallon or two of filtered water every day to flush out your system. Take quality health-promoting supplements like Parrillo’s Bio-C™, Evening Primrose Oil 1000™, Fish Oil DHA 800 EPA 200™, Natural-E Plus™, and Joint Formula™
Finally, everybody wants to look like a champion overnight, but it doesn’t work that way. Building a quality physique takes time. When you try to rush anything, you make stupid mistakes that only serve to derail progress toward your goals. Take your time, do it right, and play the long game in bodybuilding so you last long enough to see how good you really can be.
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