Question

I’m disciplined at dieting and I have good genetics, but my motivation is spotty. Is there a training technique for this?

Answer

The greatest talents for dieting and training are for nothing if you don’t know how to sustain your motivation. Fortunately, you can build “endurance” into your mind, just as you can for your body, but you have to train for it, just as you have to train for building muscle.

Goal Setting

First, you need a foundation on which to build: namely, clear goals that provide a road map that you can fix in your mind so indelibly that you stay on track with every rep you perform in the gym.

Make sure that your goals pull you, rather than push you, into the future. Too many people base their goals in the past, dwelling on why they lost their last contest, or on how their nemesis managed to have bigger arms than they did; and from that, they formulate a strategy of staying ahead or getting ahead of their competitor. That’s being pushed, and it only limits their improvement to whatever thin margin is required over what was, not over what can be. Being pushed also forces you to do more steering to stay between the guardrails; the slightest deflection one way or the other by the guy who’s doing the pushing can make you lose control and launch you off the road — maybe even over a cliff.

With pulling, you hardly have to steer at all. You’re free from worrying about the guy behind you, so you can optimistically enjoy your journey into the future of your dreams.

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Mental Priority

Just as you use muscle priority training to bring up lagging areas of your body, so can you train your concentration to will, or command, a muscle to grow.

Practice the technique of excluding extraneous thoughts and sensory data until all of your concentration is laser-focused into the muscle you want to contract for that specific rep. With practice, you will find that it actually works, similar to autohypnosis. As your willpower gains more control over your body, you’ll even be able to lower your blood pressure and pulse rate.

Visualization

This combines goal setting and mental priority to help you focus more realistically on the ideal shape, or individual features that your imagination pro- vides. You’ll need 15-20 minutes of quiet time at night, preferably in bed with the lights off; then, imagine that a movie projector is displaying on your eyelids the image you will have onstage in your next contest. “See” yourself in detail: every cut, every muscle, every striation, as well as your symmetrical whole. Again, with practice, your body will follow, but give it time. It took me 18 months to perfect this.

Affirmations

Don’t give up. Constantly remind yourself what you intend to accomplish, such as, “I will win my next show,” or, “I will be huge.” Repeat it to yourself throughout the day, until it is imprinted in your subconscious, convincing you of its inevitability. It worked for me.

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