#1 Secret To Bodybuilding Success

#1 Secret To Bodybuilding Success

I do a fair amount of international backcountry cycling trips and on this trip it has occurred to me that as a bodybuilder and a traveller the secret to success is the same, to be well prepared and roll with the punches. If you are to be successful, you cant let obstacles dampen your resolve or lessen your enthusiasm.

The first time an American leaves the country, you don’t want to be the first fellow American they latch on to, especially if they have been on their own in a non-english speaking country for a day or more. Its easy for frequent travelers to become jaded in this respect and forget what it was like the first time we left our comfortable, orderly homes for the turmoil of the rest of the planet. Frequent travelers pick up survival skills to get along easily even without knowing a word of the language. You learn to smile and laugh at yourself, and your situation a lot. So you missed your plane and your bag is gone, its just part of the adventure, not the end of the world.

Frequent travelers learn to look for those picture signs or to do “pattern recognition” when its in Kanji, Chinese, or another non-roman alphabet. Need a train to a city whose name looks like a crayon drawing from a 2 year old? You dont have to read it, just look for that same scribble on the departures board at the train station.

Frequent travelers learn not to carry cash and not to depend on ATM cards working out of the country. Frequent travellers pack their suitcase assuming the airline will lose it so they make sure the essentials are in their carry-on baggage. They also carry a few days food with them and learn not to depend on grocery stores being open 24hrs or on Sunday for that matter. Frequent travelers learn that a passport and a stash of cash strapped to their chest is all that is required, all else can be replaced.

I still remember when I was a wide eyed newbie traveller, I made all the mistakes. Things I would just laugh at now seemed to be “world-ending” drama at the time. I remember being in Germany on a self-guided bike tour in the ’80s back when everything was closed on weekends. I went hungry all Sunday till I found a restaurant open in the evening. I remember showing up at a ferry only to find that it ran in the summer. Newbie travellers have not yet learned how to be prepared so they can minimize drama nor have they learned to appreciate it when it happens as the stuff that great memories are made of.

Be well prepared and roll with the punches.

When these newbie travelers latch onto their first english speaking homie, the floodgates are opened and the dramatic stories POUR out, seemingly without end. On and on, story after story, then after about 20 minutes they realize they have been talking non-stop and ask “what was your name again?” You smile and nod supportively remembering the first time you left the country as they continue the story of their trials and tribulations for another 10 minutes before taking their first breath.

What does this have to do with fitness?

How many times have you let any of the following get in the way of your training:

  • the gym is closed
  • the gym is busy and the machines you want to use are in use
  • your _____ is broken
  • your _____ hurts
  • you have to do a 2 week business trip to a 3rd world country a month before a big contest/race?

If you are going to succeed at bodybuilding and in fitness you need to learn how to mentally be prepared so you can “roll with these punches” to eliminate any negative impact on your training. So your gym is really busy? So what, deal with it! Be flexible! If the gym is busy, always have in mind at least five different exercises you could do next and be scanning the gym to see which of these pieces of equipment are open. Rather than being pissed that your workout is “ruined” consider it a great way to switch up your routine and help take you to the next level. If your gym is insanely busy, make a game of it. Your next exercise is the closest equipment that works any of the bodyparts you are targeting that day – even if you hate it! Too many people waste their energy and time waiting and waiting for specific equipment to open up in the precise order they want it so they can do their rigid workout – be flexible! If your good workout depends on every machine being open when you want it then you are always going to be frustrated and limited in your progress..

Similarly, if you only workout when you are feeling really good, motivated, and completely injury free then you wont be working out that much, and you certainly wont be working out enough to be successful at any but the most modest fitness goals. So what if your arm is broken, you are not crippled so do what you can! You can do legs, core, pec deck for chest, adaptive pullups for lats, and virtually any form of cardio except rowing and swimming. Unless the doctor has put you in a full body cast there is *something* you can workout. If you are in a full body cast and cant workout at all, consider it a great opportunity to read the latest research on nutrition and bodybuilding and design a new workouta and nutritional plan for when you are better.

You go to the gym on the 1st of January psyched for your first workout of the year to put you on track for your ambitious new years resolution goals only to find your gym closed. Rather than getting in a pissy mood, slamming your car door shut and peeling rubber out of the parking lot, adapt and roll with the punches. OK, new workout plan. HIIT cardio workout punctuated by pullups and pushups in the parking lot of the gym.

The secret to bodybuilding success:

Be well prepared and roll with the punches.

Note: Picture related. My lost bag right after it was delivered to me by LAN Airlines about 2 days after my arrival in Chile.

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17 thoughts on “#1 Secret To Bodybuilding Success”

  1. My work schedule is always changing, I have a family, and I go to school both on campus and online. I still find time to work out 5 times a week. Time management is important. Every minute that passes is another minute you will never get back. If your not earning money, bettering your future, or spending time with your family: WORK OUT. Most of the time my work out isn’t until 11 pm or 12 am when I am tired. I get some coffee and push myself to work out to my max. I always have DOMS in one muscle set or another.

    As for injury and sickness, I never work out with either. Usually if some one has an injury or sickness, they are on medicine/painkillers. Drugs and weights don’t mix.

  2. Yeah Scooby this is the way to go!!
    The world is dynamic, and things aren’t going as planned all the time.
    If you wanna success in something, or just laugh of the situation, you have to “roll” with it.
    Just look at yourself and laugh as it happens to someone else and think that there can always be worse than that. Oh and… be wary of the rain to come :D

  3. Scooby,, i disagree with you on these points:

    your _____ is broken

    your _____ hurts

    I think one should be very cautious about a possible injury… i learnt my lesson by running some extra 3 miles when my knee started hurting… That ruined my running schedule by 1 month…
    Anyways, have a great trip !

    1. It says on his pages “joint pain is always bad and you should never push through it”
      But people will use any excuse to not workout even if its not joint pain. I know I’ve been guilty of this.

      I doubt it’s possible to run 3 miles with a broken leg without being in excruciating pain. Slight nagging pains are much less severe

      1. You are right Ross. I just expected scooby to mention the exceptions of bad pain in this article.

        Offcourse I did not had a broken leg. I started having knee pain for the first time half way through my run and decided to continue so that I can get back to the car soon. it made things from bad to worse.

        For me, more than the pain, it was scary to imagine what if the pain doesnt go away.. Nowadays, If I feel pain in the knee while running, I stop for a couple of min, do a light massage, run slowly and check for the proper form… I may not be able to get away with it the next time… I learned to respect the pain. i mean the bad ones ;)

        1. I think what Scooby means is just because your ___ is broken (let’s say your arm) you can be prepared and work around it. Your arm is broken? Cool, workout legs, abs. You have knee issues and need to do cardio? Cool, go swimming.

  4. Scooby, I appreciate your site so much and especially these last two blog posts. This one reminds me of what happened when, due to Hurricane Sandy, the New York City Marathon ended up being canceled. I knew people who were there for the marathon and what struck me was two different reactions on their part. Some runners (probably everyone at first) were disappointed, angry and frustrated that they had trained so long and now their big race was ruined. However, there were others who picked themselves up and made alternative goals for themselves. They ran around Central Park, donating to hurricane relief; they ran around Staten Island delivering supplies. It is the difference in being flexible and “rolling with the punches.” There is always something we can do!

  5. I’ve had some kind of nagging pain in my left hip for awhile, and gotten it checked out twice and told it was nothing. Resting for weeks didnt make it go away, so I decided to get back to hard exercise unless it becomes physically impossible to do so. The pain seems to go away during cardio or after stretching and it’s become less bothersome in the last few weeks

  6. Great post Scooby. As a traveller myself I have had quite a lot of ‘bad’ things happening to me. One of those are my mate and I driving through the Outback in Australia in the middle of nowhere while backpacking and our car breaking down. Or being shot at in South Africa. With a little bit of imagination you can fill in the details. It makes for a good story now though!

    Something about working out. I always change in trainingpants (or whatever you guys call it) or shorts before I plan on working out even if I don’t feel motivated or I feel tired or something. The handling of me changing into that makes me switch a lever in my head and then I am all good and ready to go.
    I do my fitness at home so that probably helps as well but having a rythm that can be started by a very simple motion is worth having.

      1. I’m just saying, where I lived there were three gyms, I went to all of them and I was alone in the gym 99% of the time… + of all my friends there were maybe 5-10 who were in good shape, the rest just ate, slept, went to school and drank. I’m not saying all Chileans are lazy, just that most are, and with that I mean lazy when it comes to health and sports.

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