Why is it so important to get bigger and stronger?
Well, let’s start with the ultimate truth – Confidence is everything. We all feel like awkward amateurs when we first start training for max strength, that’s normal. Nobody wants to get buried under a 95-pound bench press, especially with cute girls watching.
Forget about PR’s in the gym. You should take the time right now to get bigger and stronger because NOTHING is more effective at boosting your confidence and success in life. As the psychologist Joyce Brothers wrote, “A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success.”
That’s true, both inside the gym and out.
Confidence is critical, but performance still matters.
No one enjoys being at the bottom of the gym whiteboard. And as you might have already noticed, simply performing more and more WODs isn’t enough. Sure, you will improve a bit. Hard work always counts. But you have to understand that more and more of the very same thing will not get you to where you want to go.
For real progress and success in the gym, you must take time and focus on the barbell. Until you can casually pull 455-pounds from the floor and clean 225 for rep after rep, you have no business doing MORE conditioning work.
Instead, your primary training focus must shift towards strength. No, that doesn’t mean you will get fat. You won’t get terribly out of shape and lose your hard earned WOD-skills. The opposite is true. If you’ve been struggling to climb to the top of your whiteboard then dedicated strength training is what you’ve been missing.
So, where do you start?
There are many variables to consider, and countless strength programs that you could choose. But none of that comes before some basic core truths. No matter your specific goal, here are three essential elements for gaining size and strength:
1. You must commit.
You can have the greatest strength program ever devised, right in the palm of your hand, but guess what? …If you fail to commit fully, you might as well be using no program at all.
Choose a program that makes sense to you. Trust it. Commit to pushing yourself and staying on plan for at least 6-months to a year. I know that seems like a very long time, especially when there’s so much other stuff you could also be working on in the gym. But that’s just a mindset limitation.
It’s possible that you’ve been relatively weak your entire life, for years and years. With better habits and training, you could easily add 4-5 pounds of solid mass month to month. So, you do the math.
Adding 30 pounds of muscle to your frame in half a year will change your life forever. There’s no better personal investment you could make than that.
2. Community is critical.
You can’t do this on your own. What you need more than anything is an objective set of eyes that can hold you accountable.
A coach is the best place to start. They will see things – both good and bad – that you simply cannot notice for yourself. That alone will save you YEARS of wasted effort and progress, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s also incredibly important to surround yourself with like-minded athletes that share your goals, commitments, habits and new lifestyle.
3. You need to eat a LOT MORE FOOD!
We’ve talked a lot about confidence, training and making commitments. But we cannot do a post about strength without pointing out one of the BIGGEST mistakes athletes make.
Listen, if you’re struggling to recover and get stronger we can almost guarantee one of two things. First, you probably don’t sleep nearly enough (Yes, you do need at least 8 hours of sleep EVERY SINGLE NIGHT). All the training in the world will do you no good if you cannot sleep, recover, and rebuild tissue.
Likewise, training can only be a constructive process when there’s plenty of resource and raw materials for building muscle, right?
You could get very fancy with your nutritional strategy, but only a few simple rules are essential. First, you cannot fear getting fat. Trying to stick to your typical strict paleo approach to eating is just not good enough. You need to start eating more calories. It’s that simple.
Just try eating more. Rice, potatoes and high-quality carbohydrates of all varieties are awesome! Also, feel free to consume dairy and milk if your digestive system can tolerate it. Tell me, what could be better for an aspiring strength athletes than a natural food specifically designed to make mammals bigger and stronger?
You won’t find a protein powder or supplement in the world that works better than a gallon of whole milk, trust us.
If you have any questions about what it takes to build strength, just leave them in the comments below. We’d love to help you out.
Commit and train hard. We promise, the results will change your life forever! See for yourself.
The Barbell Shrugged Team