When I started training, I was not the strongest person. Infact I was in for a rather large shock when I first stepped into a proper gym.
The first gym I went to for the first month into my experience, they only had machines and dumbbells upto 10kg and as any of you guys and girls will know, when you are using machines instead of free weights, it is a totally different experiance. It is as if comparing swimming shorts to running shorts. Though the 2 items are still shorts, the way they look, perform and function are totally differant. On a free weight you may be only able to do a fifth or less of the weight that you could do on the machines.
When I first stepped into the first true bodybuilding gym I have ever trained in, at the beginning of the second month of training, I was looked at a little strange when the gym owner asked me what i was going to be training that day and i reeled off almost every bodypart apart from legs.
Following this short conversation, in my brand new gym shorts and gym vest I felt ready to make a great impression and put a biscuit (a 20kg plate/weight) onto each side of the smith machine and placed the weight bench to an upright position ready to military press this 60kg without a warmup as I had previously been able to do over 100kg on the machine shoulder press at the community centre gym without any issues.
I barley managed to unpack it before it came down faster and harder than a freight train, only by some sort of miracle was I able to twist the bar and secure the weight back onto the hooks before it came crashing down onto me and made me look even worse than i already felt on the inside as busy gym looked on at me without comment but all thinking inside i bet ‘what is he doing’.
I quickly removed these biscuits and proceeded to replace these for 10kg plates instead but even with this i still could not lift this. I ended up having to do 3 sets of 6 reps at a struggle with 5kg on each side and though i felt like i had been hit by a train the next day, i felt like the gym session was useless due to the weight (or rather lack of it) that i managed to lift that day.
For the months that followed this, I continued with the same mindset, even though my body was changing for the better, the weight still did not really go up and i also noticed that i was constantly sore allover, on Tuesdays my delts, chest, triceps and lats were hurting, following a heavy chest session which i did not understand. I put it down to been that i was just sore from days before and needed to increase my protein but then i began to read more and more into what produces results in bodybuilding.
For so long when I picked up magazines on fitness and bodybuilding such as Muscular Development, I was constantly seeing IFBB pros deadlifting, benching and squatting bars that were filled with 20kg plates. It was not until I learned more about bodybuilding and the industry as a whole that I understood why this was.
It was shortly after this time that I started to learn about muscle contractions and focusing on the muscle group been trained, making that mind-muscle connection. Yes - I had to lower the weight even more but no longer was I hurting everywhere when DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) kicked in a day or two after, now only the muscle group(s) which were worked were hurting.
As the form got better, so did the amount of weight I could lift, but even to this day I do not lift for the weight, I lift the heaviest I can with a strict form where I fail after X amount of reps (reps depend on the muscle group been trained and what sort of training i am doing at the time) the thing is, even with most of the pro bodybuilders, they do not lift very heavy when they are training behind closed doors, most only go really heavy for photoshoots and videos which I understand helps the brand image and idealisms that they are trying to create. I mean.. be honest, if you were on a facebook page on a bodybuilding clothing/gym clothing company and their sponsored athlete was screaming doing front squats with 40kg on the bar, it would not make you aspire to be part of that image, part of that brand and buy the same gyms vests and gym shorts that that athlete was wearing. Whereas if he was lifting 800b like Ronnie coleman does on that famous video seen here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVVdlwf1iyM I know personally, a lot of people who would be going online and ordering the same set of gym clothes before the next video automatically starts playing on youtube. YEAH BUDDY!
The more I learned, the more I enjoyed the sport of bodybuilding, I have massive respect for the big lifts, but that is more for powerlifting and I prefer the physique side of things more which is why i chose bodybuilding instead.
I will admit though, powerlifting videos are much more entertaining and captivating to watch than bodybuilding videos, I suppose their are only so many times you can see the same exercises been done and the same foods been prepped whereas powerlifting videos showcase people constantly pushing the limits and lifting weights that you did not know were possible. Some videos I have seen would not even be possible at some of the gyms I have held memberships at as they simply do not have enough weight in the entire gym to accommodate this one exercise.
Diet for both sports are equally as important, another learning curve and something that took me a long time to get my head around was that diet is around 60-70% of the results and training is only 30-40% of the results.
This is one of the only things I think the sport of bodybuilding has made me dislike which I get comments about all the time from friends and colleagues at work, I do not really eat for taste, i eat for the function/purpose which food provides. When I go out for food with a group of friends, I am always the first to finish, then as people are just tucking into their food, I am already interrigating my friends about what the plans for the rest of the evening are so I can plan out where I can get my next meal from.
The function of food also transpired to clothing, now clothes I also wear for leasure are mainly my gym clothes and not my smart clothes as i dress for comfort, not for impressions. I would much prefer (girlfriend permitting) to go out for something to eat and to the cinema in a pair of gym shorts and a gym t-shirt or gym hoodie instead of a shift and trousers/jeans. Luckily, gym bottoms/tracksuit bottoms have come full circle and are now back in fashion so as long as they are not a beaten pair i can get away with compromising with a pair of those and a good gym t-shirt or polo shirt.