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Is there a magic formula?

This is a question I get sometimes asked by young folk just starting in the gym. Surrounded by all these fit looking people working out on these fancy machines and lifting heavy-looking weights. It would be so cool like in the “Matrix” movie to be given the choice of either a blue or a red pill by your personal trainer, knowing one is the shortcut to the body you have always desired.

Having trained in many gyms around the world, there may be many occasions when a buff looking gym member approaches you and offers you the chance to purchase a magic formula he has exclusive access to.

“Beware of strangers bearing gifts!” Yes, there are shortcuts, but most shortcuts have a price to pay somewhere down the line. In the world of bodybuilding it is a sport of extremes, to compete at a high level you have to be blessed with amazing genetics, possess single-minded determination and self-motivation that borders on obsession. You have to eat every few hours, and then endure the pain and discomfort of stripping every last ounce of fat and water from your body before a competition.

Bodybuilder You will look amazing, a living statue as you stand on stage, but a group of judges will mark you down for the slightest flaw, the smallest of chinks in your muscular armour. As you pose, your head is spinning and crying out for food and water, the sweat drips from your body under the blazing hot lights. Every movement you make is a huge effort, but the crowd cheers and calls for more, those shortcuts seem so worthwhile, right this second.

That we could say is the pinnacle of the sport, and it’s reached by very few individuals. The majority of us mere mortals slave away in the gym pushing our bodies to our limits, our own goals. We then and gaze up at posters of Mr and Ms Olympia adorning the walls and whisper to ourselves, “Just one more set.”

So to answer the original question, what is the magic formula when you start training with weights, for me is consistency and self-motivation. Can you keep going, can you put in the work needed to make your body adapt to the stresses and strains you are putting it under week after week?

If the answer is yes! Then you may well be on your way to achieving your goals. If the answer is no. Then enjoy every visit you make to the gym, improve your fitness, your coordination, increase your strength and lose or gain weight as you desire, be happy with what you achieve.