Everyone remembers the first time they touched weight, whether it was at a basement home-gym or the high school weight room. Everyone can recall those initial gains, when every workout seemed to spurn a new round of growth. Those “newbie gains” were sensational, and never were we able to grow again at such a rate.
As bodybuilders move from “beginner” to “intermediate” trainer status, diet and training suddenly become fairly important. Eating 4 to 6 high quality meals everyday, training intelligently 4 times a week, sleeping seven hours per night, and consistent use of simple supplements is enough to keep the gains coming and the physique improving.
As bodybuilders move from “intermediate” to “advanced” status, the devil soon lies in the details. Bodybuilders at the advanced levels are very close to achieving their personal potential. As one moves closer to the physical limits, gains come slower than ever before. As a result, bodybuilders must take a very structured approach to their gains, avoiding huge “shocks” to their steady growth, while at the same time adding in new elements to stimulate growth.
Remember that it is physically impossible to reach 100% of one’s potential. New trainers might reach 40% of their potential in two years. Another ten years of training might have them at 80% of their physical potential, and flirting with advanced status. That top ten percent, once an athlete has reached a 90% clip of his own potential, is going to be the toughest to achieve, by far.
It’s very important for advanced athletes to maintain a consistent base of nutritional, training, and supplementation staples, as they attempt to tweak those small factors required to reach the very upper echelons of personal potential. Changes at this level should be made in very small increments, maintaining the basics, which helped to build this advanced physique. At 5’10” and 260 pounds, you know you’re going to need a fixed amount of protein per day, and a fixed amount of heavy sets per week, in order to maintain such a level of muscle mass.
The best motivation is success, and success comes in smaller doses as one nears the peaks of genetic potential. Athletes at this level are often very successful for two main reasons. First, they already possess the discipline, drive, and consistency to train and eat correctly to reach such a level. Second, they live the daily success that most bodybuilders only dream of. At that level, every day feels like a win.