There’s an old Chinese adage that reads “The star that burns the brightest is always the first to burn out”. Perhaps it was meant to detail the need for moderation in all we do in life. Perhaps it was designed to warn new loves to avoid spending every available minute together, for fear of burnout. Whatever the intent, its use is quite applicable for bodybuilding training and nutrition. Extreme behaviors cannot last. Instead, a steady, consistent, rational approach to bodybuilding training and nutrition should be employed to ensure long-term success without burning out.
Many beginner bodybuilders will enter a gym and train that first day as if their name was Ronnie Coleman. They’ll hit every machine in the places, spending 45, or 60, or 90, or even 120 minutes bouncing around the gym training every muscle they can imagine. The result, of course, is that the new trainer is unable to move the next morning, and returns to the gym again in 1 week, 2 weeks, or sometimes never again. It’s that kind of burnout which pre-emptively short-circuits bodybuilding success. Had the new trainer employed a reasonable beginner routine, perhaps training on a push/pull split system, and only trained 45 minutes per day, he would have been able to return to the gym the next day, and after a few weeks of consistent training, the beginner gains would have been impressive!
When it comes to bodybuilding nutrition, the same “all-or-nothing” approach occurs far too often. Young trainers will vow to adhere to some super-strict diet requiring them to boil chicken breasts, choke down dozens of egg whites, and drink a pound of whey powder per day. These diets will banish all foods the athlete enjoys, and replace them with hard-to-prepare entrees that the dieter doesn’t enjoy. Food is one of the great joys in life, and they will plan on removing that permanently. Of course, in the vast majority of cases, the bodybuilder falls off that diet quickly and returns to his low-protein, fast-food lifestyle. Had he chosen a middle-of-the-road diet, consisting of foods he enjoys eating, minus some fats and with a few added protein sources, the diet could have worked. Instead, he soon returned to his junk food diet.
Successful bodybuilding training and nutrition, as with many things in life, requires a consistent, rational, reasonable approach. Extreme behavior cannot last forever, and the yo-yo effect is something that is definitely not desired in bodybuilding, a sport built on consistency. It is the small, repeated successes in bodybuilding that lead to major successes. Every ten pounds of muscle gain begins as one ounce of muscle gain. Remember to work for small successes using moderate means. Over time, they will translate into major successes which are sustainable due to the moderate nature of the bodybuilding nutrition and training techniques employed.