By RON HARRIS Iron Man MagazinePeople often ask me about the “secret” of building a great physique. There is no secret.
King Kamali didn’t exactly light the world of pro bodybuilding on fire the way some thought he would, but he did come up with a few clever observations about what it is we do. The one that stands out to me is when he declared that “the life of a bodybuilder is a lot like the movie “Groundhog Day.”
Over the course of the film, Bill Murray wakes up day after day only to relive February 2 over and over again until he gets it right, changing his selfish ways and becoming a kinder, more considerate person.
How is the life of a bodybuilder like that? Obviously, we don’t live in a time loop, but due to the rigorous schedule of eating, training and sleeping most of us maintain, it sure can seem that every day is the same. We tend to eat at the same times (often the same foods), train at the same times and go to sleep at the same times virtually every day. On the surface, that probably sounds boring and repetitive to the casual observer, but I call it being consistent. People often ask me about the “secret” of building a great physique. There is no secret. It takes hard work and dedication. More specifically, it takes stringing together many, many days of hard training, good eating and proper rest. Most people fail to reach their physique goals because they are not consistent in one or more of those areas.
People, and especially my fellow Americans, are fixated on getting fast results. They want and expect to get what they want in a very specific time frame. That’s the reason magazine headlines as well as infomercial titles usually sound something like these:
• 30 days to a six-pack!
• A beach body in 4 weeks!
• Add one inch to your biceps in just 3 weeks!
And so on. Mainstream people are especially geared toward wanting fast weight-loss results, which is why they “diet” instead of simply adopting a more healthful way of eating for life. They don’t want to hear that regular exercise and good nutrition are habits they should maintain. They just want to look good for a vacation, a class reunion or to start dating again after a divorce—and I am not judging them for wanting that quick fix. The reality, however, is that most people who start a diet-and-exercise program with that attitude see some results only to regain all the fat they lost because they stopped working out and went right back to eating junk.
On the surface, the lifestyle of a bodybuilder does seem tedious and repetitive, but it’s that endless repetition that makes us able to craft physiques that others can only dream of. You don’t get a great body in four weeks—or even 40 weeks. It takes years of consistent, hard training and good eating. It’s a whole lot of work, as you may know. Even for the most genetically gifted human beings, like Phil Heath or Kai Greene, it still takes several years and significant effort to achieve their full potential. In fact, Kai didn’t hit his prime until he had been training hard for 20 years!
I for one am grateful that it’s not easy and can’t be done quickly. If that were the case, there would be nothing special about having a great physique, because everybody would have one.
Not everyone can get up every morning and eat a quality breakfast high in protein and complex carbs—and continue to eat clean meals every two or three hours until bedtime. Others will get sick of eating so often—or sick of preparing all those meals when fast food and snacks require far less effort. Not everyone has what it takes to go to the gym a few times a week and train hard. It’s easy to make excuses—work is crazy, you’re tired, it’s boring. Not everyone will even get enough rest. Many would rather watch TV late into the night, go out to bars or clubs, or otherwise use the time they should be spending in bed— resting, recovering and regenerating.
Yes, the bodybuilding lifestyle is a lot like “Groundhog Day,” and that’s perfect. By doing your best to get it right day after day after day, you can only make your physique better and better. And there’s absolutely nothing boring about seeing great results in the mirror!