Do you feel as if you are working hard toward your bodybuilding goals-but are not achieving the results you feel you deserve?
How do you know for sure that you are truly working hard? Do you compare your efforts to those of your peers? Is what you are currently asking of yourself really going to take you where you want to go? Are you actually living up to your own requirements for success on a consistent basis?
The word "standard" is defined as a level of quality or attainment. Your standard is the very least you'll usually expect out of yourself. You know that level of effort that you require yourself to give in the gym and you will never settle for anything less under any circumstances? Well, that's the training performance standard that you've established for yourself in the gym. And that certain level of extra body fat that drives you to kick your eating habits and cardiovascular training into gear? That's a standard that you've created for the way you absolutely must look and feel.
The standards we set for ourselves will determine the level of success we will enjoy. Many people may feel they are dedicated and hardworking, but everyone has different standards of what "dedicated" and "hardworking" means to them. Just how high are your current standards?
Many people who train feel they really want to take their bodies to a higher level of development. They believe they are committed, disciplined, and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve those improvements. Usually, their lack of desire, in their opinion, is never their problem.
What many of these ambitious people don't realize, however, is that desire alone may not get the job done. And, simply doing what you've already been doing for a few more weeks; a few more months; or another year won't necessarily help you achieve those "next level' improvements either.
The bottom line is this: If you want to make significant improvements to your physique sooner rather than later, you'll probably need to raise the standards of what you expect from yourself-both inside and outside of the gym.
What you've done to get yourself to this level of physical development and performance in the gym has probably worked well for you. But if you are truly committed to taking the way your physique looks and your effectiveness in the gym to a higher level, you must build upon what you already do well and expect even a little bit more out of yourself.
What exactly do I mean by "raise your standards"? Well, for example, let's talk about building more muscle mass. We all know how important eating our meals on a consistent basis is as we strive to pack-on more muscle, right? If you're eating four meals a day right now, you may need to budget into your schedule another one or two well-timed eating sessions. If you want to improve, you must do so despite any challenges you may face because of an overloaded work or school schedule. Eating four solid meals a day might be better than most of your friends, but if you want to make improvements, another one or two meals every single day might be the strategy that finally helps you achieve greater gains.
If you want to carry less body fat, and your current standard is to adhere to a structured, disciplined bodybuilding diet five days during the week, you may need to become a little stricter. You must raise your standard if the one you now have is not getting you where you want to be. Instead of allowing yourself to relax a little from your plan to enjoy some not-so-healthy, delicious foods on the weekends, you may have to eliminate one of your "cheat days." You may need to allow yourself only one cheat day out of every seven days each week to lose that extra body fat.
Nothing in life that's really worth achieving comes easily. It doesn't matter what you think other people can get away with and still reach their goals. I'm talking about what it takes for you to make the improvements you want.
The difference between a person who has earned an outstanding physique and the person with an average one almost always comes down to the standards they've set for themselves. They follow through with those higher standards and follow through with them on a day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month basis. The people with the best physiques simply expect more out of themselves. There's a saying that says, the tougher you are on yourself, the easier life becomes.
It's their higher standards that have led to their success-not because they are "lucky" or have been blessed with amazing genetics. Whatever you do, please don't listen to those negative, disgruntled, mediocre people in your gym who want you to believe that nonsense. You'll be destined for stagnation-just like they are.
It's my belief the biggest reason why we become frustrated with our lack of progress is that, whether we want to admit it or not, we are not living up to our own standards. Deep inside, we know when we are making the most of the gifts we have been blessed with. We know when we are making excuses for ourselves. We really know that blaming factors outside our control is simply a diversion to take the pressure off ourselves. If we can convince ourselves, we think we are not entirely responsible for our less-than-satisfactory results. Unfortunately, we can't fool ourselves for very long. We will eventually realize we have let our own selves down. The only problem with learning lessons this way is we waste valuable time. That's time we will never get back.
So why waste time? Let's muster up the courage right here and now. Let's look ourselves in the eye and step up to the challenge. Although it may be painful to admit when we are not working as hard as we once thought we were, we will be the true winners in the end. The pressure we put on ourselves will force us to follow through with the things we say we are willing to do to build great physiques. Now, all we need to do is execute.
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