Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Diane's Diary by Diane Mueller
“So I ask a guy for a spot at the gym. After my set he says, "Nice! What do you use?" Exhausted, I say, "Willpower." Guy says, "Hmm... Never heard of that one. Can I find it on bodybuilding.com?" And I said, "Nah, you can't buy it, it's something you have deep down inside you." Seriously... Did this conversation just happen...?? Wow!!” ~ My facebook status from February 29, 2012; not exactly grammatically correct, but it told the story I wanted to tell.
Why did I tell you this story? I shared this story with you because it’s a common thought among many gym members; when someone is noticeably strong, they must take something or be on something in order to achieve those results. I also receive a great deal of emails via facebook asking questions about supplements, due to my affiliations and sponsorships with a supplement company, and an online supplement store; Big Rig Supplements and 911Strong.com, respectively. The general idea being, someone who has achieved a desirable physique must have used some magic product to have attained that result. So many people are looking for the easy way to get what they desire, whether that is: getting stronger, getting lean or adding muscle, that they forget “patience” is one of the core values in weight training. The old adage, “All good things to those who wait” is a tried and true peril of wisdom. Weight training is called “progressive” weight training for a reason; over time and with continual increases in poundage lifted; you will become stronger and grow bigger. With continued exercise and following a balanced diet, you will lose the weight you desire, and become lean and toned. “Over time,” being the key word here. The changes won’t happen over night, but making a continuous habit of doing all the right things will help ensure that these changes WILL happen. Always keep in mind that you didn’t gain all the excess weight in one day, so you can’t expect to lose the weight all in one day either.
While supplementation certainly can play a large part in building a stage-worthy physique, they’re not the only tools necessary to accomplish that goal. In today’s fast paced, results-in-an- instant world, people are quick to head to the nearest supplement store to find their own “lightning in a bottle” to achieve success. Surely, the perfect preworkout formula is bound to produce the results they desire. As long as they get a great pump and become completely wired from the product, then they feel confident they will have a successful workout. As soon as that product fails to produce that “climbing out of your skin” feeling, then it’s time to move on to a different and more potent product. Does that sound like anyone you know, or have encountered in the gym? You know, the guy who walks into the gym looking like a caged animal and is barely able to blink. Yeah, that guy. While their passion for building a championship physique is admirable, their thought processes are a bit skewed.
What is it that’s missing from the formula above? We have someone with the desire to build a muscular body, and we have a person willing to spend money on supplements; that should be everything necessary to sculpt a desirable physique, shouldn’t it? No, not quite. A vitally important component that tends to get overlooked and undervalued is: Willpower. Every successful bodybuilder knows they possess something more important than any supplement could ever provide. When you’re grinding out those last few reps of a difficult set, what is causing you to block out the lactic acid burn and push to failure? Is it your supplement, or is it your own determination? And when someone at the gym compliments you on your physique or on your strength, are you going to say, “Thank you. I excel in supplementation.” Or are you going to say, “Thank you. It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but the results are certainly worth the effort.” In both of these scenarios, you are going to say that you are the person responsible for making the progress that you’ve made, not some miracle potion. Never discount the will of the human spirit. You are stronger than you think, tougher than you believe, and more capable than you give yourself credit for. It’s perfectly fine to walk into the gym with just your own natural ability. Just because you aren’t hopped up on caffeine and other stimulants, doesn’t mean your session will be any less valuable or difficult. In many cases, your workout will be more productive when you train au natural. Your mind/muscle connection is so much greater when your mind is clear and focused, and your nerves are not jittery. Rather than mindlessly throwing the weights around, you are able to carefully move the weights through a full range of motion in a complete and controlled manner. You become one with the weights as you feel every muscle contract and release, and your target muscles pump up, naturally.
The goal of a preworkout supplement is to provide your body the vital nutrients necessary for maximum results in your weight training. A preworkout floods your system with nutrients, such as: creatine, glutamine, branched chain amino acids, arginine, beta-alanine, taurine, niacin, and any other nutrient the manufacturer feels is necessary for a great workout. The majority of them also contain large doses of caffeine and other stimulants to help provide excess energy for the training session. Caffeine is the effect most people are after, whether knowingly or not. As their tolerance to caffeine increases, the user needs to take additional scoops of the formula to attain the same effect. Soon enough, the weight trainer gets frustrated and moves on to a different product, one that is even stronger, in hopes of getting the same wired feeling by using less product. While the weight trainer continues their search for the perfect product, by their standards, they’re forgetting the premise that preworkout formulas were created on. A preworkout is simply a means to get your creatine and other nutrients in one convenient drink. Any other effects are just an added bonus, but not a necessity.
Although I appear to have come down hard on supplements, I was simply trying to illustrate a point about some people’s overdependence on supplements, or a desire for a magic pill. As I stated earlier, I am sponsored by Big Rig Supplements and 911Strong.com. I do believe that supplements are very important for success in bodybuilding, but they should never overshadow your own desire, passion, and willpower. I am a Natural bodybuilder. Iit is imperative that the companies I represent share the same morals and values that I do. Before I agreed to represent Big Rig Supplements, I emailed their product labels to the organization I was competing with to ensure that there weren’t any banned substances inside their products. My integrity is important to me, and I didn’t want any advertising that I do to cast a shadow of doubt over my contention that I am 100% natural. Thankfully Big Rig’s labels passed the banned substance test and I am free to promote their products. 911Strong is also a company that I hold in very high regard. Aram Choe, the owner and CEO of the company, shares the same morals and values that I do. I was searching for a sponsor, but what I found is someone who cares about my soul, as well as my development as an athlete. I found a kindred spirit in faith, and in indomitable will. We both strive to be the best in all that we do, but not at the expense of our integrity. As my favorite verse says, “And what does a man benefit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul.” Matthew 16:26
Supplement wisely, my friends. Don’t become obsessed with them and allow them to overshadow all of your hard work. Never lose sight of who is really responsible for your results. Possess an iron will and the heart of a champion. As the late, great Vince Lombardi once said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Your inner beast is created by your desire for perfection, not from some supplement or chemical enhancement. Drugs and formulas wear off, but your passion will always remain. Until next time, Train Heavy, Train Hard, and Train NATURAL.
As always, thank you to my sponsors: 911Strong.com and Big Rig Supplements for you continued support in my life and of my bodybuilding goals. You have opened doors for me that I never dreamed possible. And thank you to my mentor and coach, Jennifer Abrams (www.jenniferabrams.net) for your guidance and support, and for making me believe that even the sky is not the limit.