|Cheating to Win
From the time we are young, we are told that if we are to succeed in
life that we must adopt and follow a code of right-doing. We are taught
the value of discipline and reminded that those who are strict with
themselves and avoid deviation will ultimately succeed. Perhaps nowhere
have these concepts established such a stronghold as in bodybuilding.
It is ingrained in us to never miss a day of training or a meal, to be
strict with our training form, to never cheat on our diet, never skip a
cardio session and the list goes on. And, generally speaking, the most
common trait amongst any successful bodybuilder is discipline.
When I first began bodybuilding I was of the mentality that in order to
be the best bodybuilder, I had to never miss a workout and never cheat
on my diet. If I was sick, sore, exhausted, injured or otherwise fucked
up I went to the gym. If I was sick, nauseous, disgusted with what I
was eating or I ate anyways. If I was precontest, starving myself,
doing a shitload of cardio and not getting in better shape, I did more
cardio and ate less food. When my body said “Fuck you.” I simply
replied “No. Fuck you”. After all, that’s what it takes to win,
Sometimes that’s true. Nothing is accomplished without the pain. To get
bigger, stronger and harder you need to push and push damn fucking
hard. It is a fight and you have to be on the winning end. But in order
to win you have to know who you’re fighting. The pain, the nausea, the
tiredness; they are the enemy. If you stopped each set every time it
started to hurt you would accomplish shit. If you never pushed to the
point where you’re previous meal threatened to come back up, you’re not
going hard enough. If you never choked down what was best for you and
just ate what you wanted to you would never know what it is like to be
in contest shape. So fuck the pain, fuck the nausea, fuck being tired
and fuck the easy way out. Save that shit for the guy who’s gonna get
his ass handed to him onstage.
But when your body pushes back and tells you something is up, you
better pull your head out of your ass and listen. Looking back on some
of the shit I did when I was younger I realize that I wasn’t being
dedicated, I was being a dumb fuck. What could I or anyone else hope to
accomplish by going to gym when sick? Who are you gonna impress by
being able to say that you never missed a day of training even if you
were sick, overtrained or injured? Maybe your fellow gym rats but as
far as I’m concerned physiques speak for themselves and they don’t need
bullshit bragging rights. Do you think I would be impressed if you told
me that you went 16 weeks getting ready for a show and never once
deviated from your diet? If you looked like shit I would not be
impressed. What matters is how you look. It’s not about some macho
bullshit. Save that shit for your buddies in the gym because it means
jack shit to me.
In fact, some of the best results are elicited from cheating. If I went
a full pre-contest course and never once cheated or deviated from my
diet I would come in looking small and soft. I find it necessary to
throw in some garbage food here there when dieting. Cheeseburgers and
fries and steak and eggs with pancakes are typically my go to meals.
When I’m dieting I use the scale, the mirror and how I feel to gauge
things. If I hit a point where my weights drops too quick and strength
and fullness goes with it, having another chicken breast or sweet
potato isn’t gonna do shit for me. My body needs to be brought back and
calorie dense food is the way I do it.
Same goes for the guys who love to talk about how perfect their form
and how they never cheat on any of their movements. Then I take one
look at the guy telling me this and ask myself why he isn’t more
impressive looking. Again, if you train with perfection and it’s
getting you where you want to go, then that’s great. But most
experienced lifters will agree that there is value in cheating. I’m all
for strict form but when you’ve done 10 reps with strict form and the
difference between ending the set or squeezing out a few more reps is a
matter of cheating a little bit, you’d better believe it’s in your best
interest to cheat.
Last on my list and perhaps the most important bone I have to pick is
with the guys who brag about never missing a day of training. Really?
Not one day? I’d put money on it that if you’re busting your ass in the
gym and training like you’ve actually got two giant balls between your
legs that you can only go so long before your never say die training
attitude has your body begging for an extra day of rest. Go ahead and
take the day. You’ll only be better for it. But that’s only if you need
it. I’m not talking about being tired, not feeling like going or having
something better to do. That shit doesn’t count. I’m talking you’re on
the verge of overtraining and going to the gym and cranking out a real
man’s workout is gonna put you over the edge. Take the fucking day off,
When I was young and naïve I believed that doing everything according
to the plan would lead me to success. Now that I’ve got a little more
experience under my belt I know that blindly sticking to any plan is a
recipe for failure. Decisions are made minute to minute, day to day,
set to set, rep to rep and are based on what is necessary here and now.
I scream a big “Fuck you.” in the face of pain, tiredness and anything
that can stop me short of pushing myself toward achieving success. But
when my body tells me it’s in my best interest to deviate, I listen.