In his article The Mindset of a Successful Bodybuilder, national bodybuilding champion Hugo Rivera wrote, “[a]s bodybuilders we must keep our eyes on the ultimate goal, which is always more muscle mass with less fat.” The qualities inherent in the most successful bodybuilders, therefore, are those that aid them in attaining this ultimate goal. These qualities, moreover, can be encapsulated into two primary areas-mindset and training.
The Correct Bodybuilding Mindset
The one quality that sets successful bodybuilders apart from unsuccessful ones is consistency of training, and this consistency depends upon the correct mindset. There should be no room, says Rivera, for thoughts of “giving” up on the achievement of the ultimate vision for one’s body – or even deviating from one’s training schedule. Paradoxically, consistency requires flexibility and preparedness.
Many bodybuilders fail by allowing their much-loved sport consume them. Although dedication is admirable, it should never come at the expense of one’s personal life. Since few people can commit their time to bodybuilding-and few would, or should, want to-there must be a healthy balance between training and personal commitments. This is obtained with a flexible mindset that:
– Creates a bodybuilding routine around one’s personal schedule and commitments. Once personal time commitments are analyzed and a bodybuilding routine devised, however, one should endeavor to attain 100% adherence to his or her bodybuilding routine.
– But if a session is missed, one should not become unduly discouraged. Instead, one should be sufficiently flexible to reschedule such session as quickly as possible. Similarly, if a meal is missed, it should be consumed at the earliest possible opportunity. Likewise, if a scheduled training session is missed, it should be rescheduled one’s for the following day. This way, one acknowledges life’s unexpected changes, while maintaining the routine designed to achieve the ideal goal.
Ensure that you take the time to prepare meals and snacks in advance to avoid missing meals; try to schedule your routines for the early hours before life’s emands and unforeseen circumstances arise; determine your routine for the week at the beginning of the week so that you can minimize time spent each day endeavoring to create a plan and rather simply execute on a predetermined plan.
The Bodybuilder in Training
There are many precise training recommendations for bodybuilders, but few methods applicable to everyone. Although these varied effects were puzzling, it was not until the science of “body types” emerged that bodybuilders began to understand these discrepancies. Moreover, they began to understand how to use their individual body types to maximize their bodybuilding success.
The Science of Body Types
In the 1940’s, psychologist Dr. William Sheldon became interested in the possible connection between one’s body type and one’s personality or temperament. In order to test his theory, he studied the photographs-front view, side view, and back view-of approximately four thousand men.
From this study and his observations, Sheldon concluded that there were three elements that determined one’s physique and temperaments. Because these elements, he theorized, were related to the three layers of the human embryo-which are the endoderm, the mesoderm, and the ectoderm-he aptly named these body types: Endomorphy, Mesomorphy, and Ectomorphy.
Moreover, these body types had vastly different physiological focuses.
– Endomorphy: Digestive system and stomach
– Mesomorphy: Musculature and circulatory system
– Ectomorphy: Nervous system and brain
Although most individuals are a mixture of these three body types, one will predominate. Furthermore, whichever one predominates will vastly influence one’s physical functioning (metabolism, musculature, even predisposition to certain diseases) as well as one’s temperament.
Body Types and Bodybuilders
Sheldon’s study of body types helps explain why certain fitness routines and diets work for certain individuals but not for others. A bodybuilder can now use this knowledge to custom design a workout routine to maximize the musculature of his or her unique body type.
Traits of an Endomorph
The typical traits of an endomorph body type include:
– A short physique with thick arms and legs
– A soft (but solid) rounded body
– Easily gains both muscle and adipose tissue
– Sluggish metabolism
– Difficulty losing weight
The endomorphic body type is well suited to strength training, and thus it is recommended that this individual commence weight training at higher intensities. (An overabundance of aerobic activities is not recommended for an endomorph because of the absence of the requisite endurance.)
The best way to train an endomorphic body type is to use “high intensity interval training.” Because such sessions are only 15-20 minutes in length, the burning of muscle is minimized. For optimal results, high intensity interval training should be performed 3-4 times per week, interspersed with strength training sessions.
Traits of a Mesomorph
The typical traits of a mesomorph include:
– Large bones
– Athletic build
– Easily gains and loses weight
– Rectangular body
The mesomorphic body type is ideally suited to bodybuilding, adapting well to most training routines. This type can easily handle high intensity and low intensity, high endurance and low endurance training programs.
Traits of an Ectomorph
They typical traits of an ectomorph include:
– Small boned frame
– Fast metabolism
– Lean muscle mass
– Small shoulders
– Flat chest
– Difficulty gaining weight
The ectomorphic body type has difficulty gaining both weight and muscle. Consequently, their bodies cannot tolerate intense exercise (either cardio or weight training). For this reason, ectomorphs should slowly build the intensity and the frequency of their training routines, changing their exercise routines frequently to prevent training plateaus that may occur as the body becomes accustomed to a particular exercise routine.
The science of body types provides a map for customizing a training routine to optimize bodybuilding sessions. This, combined with the appropriate mindset, as noted above, will help anyone who desires to become a successful bodybuilder.