In this blog I will explain the difference between a beginner approach to bodybuilding and an advanced approach.
I’m going to try and get you in the right frame of mind to be your absolute best, and through my years of trial and error, I want to show you the key to building your best physique in the shortest amount of time possible. I’m going to use a shotgun vs. sniper rifle analogy here.
I want you to think of being boarded up in your house, and all of these intruders are trying to come through your yard and break into your home. Are you going to use a shotgun to kill them off or a rifle? I’m hoping you opted for the shotgun. You need to do a lot of damage in a short amount of time, similar to bodybuilding.
We want to build that frame up and make some leaps and bounds in our physiques. This is a shotgun approach, or beginner so to say. A shotgunner doesn’t worry about calorie count, he just eats. Pizza, subs, rice, steaks, whatever. Don't buy into that magazine bullshit for second if you want real muscle! All of those guys in the magazines ate this way at one point or another, especially in the beginning.
Nobody ever got 200+ lean lbs of JUST chicken and rice, no sir! This is going to be roundabout the first 5 years of your training. Think of this as building the foundation. You don't go to a construction site and see the landscaping and driveway done before the foundation do you?
So why in the hell would you focus on toning muscle you don't have yet? Why would you focus on eating so strictly when you're already a hard gainer and thin as a rail? You need the shotgun blast approach buddy. Anyone who is under 25 years old, a hard gainer or thin stature, needs to take this approach his first 5 years in the gym. The first 5 years will pave the way the rest of your bodybuilding endeavor, you will get 90% of everything you're going to get out of the weight room in your first 5 years.
When I was a 16 year old kid in high school and 140 lbs, this was a typical days diet for me:
Meal 1 – 4 scrambled eggs, large bowl of oatmeal, large glass of milk
Meal 2 – (study hall) I’d sneak in a piece of fruit and eat it
Meal 3 – My bagged lunch of 1 sandwich, another piece of fruit, and a can of tuna fish (I would bring a can opener with me and drain it in the cafeteria trash. I didn’t give a fuck how this looked to anyone!). After my bagged lunch and can of tuna, I would purchase additional food from the cafeteria which was usually 2 large deli sandwiches, 4-5 small cartons of chocolate milk and 1 large chocolate chip cookie.
Meal 4 – (when I got home from school) Large hamburger, glass of milk, 1 or 2 whole boxes of macaroni and cheese
Meal 5 – whatever my mom cooked
Before bed – 2 large glasses of milk, another hamburger
Not so clean is it? In the beginning you need to put calories first! I never counted grams of fats, carbs, or really even protein. I just knew I had to eat, and eat a lot. For the record here, I was probably consuming more at 16 years old and 140 lbs than I do now at 33 and 215 lbs. But this was the shotgun days, the foundation, the real meat and potatoes of training!
When you're young you need to take advantage of that fast metabolism and having time on your side. Your body reacts totally different in the beginning. Think about a car, that nice new sports car off the show room floor. It performs, its faster, it can go awhile before it needs an oil change or a new radiator. I want you to drive the fucking hell out of that car as fast as you can until it breaks down. When the car is older and needs to be well maintained, you have graduated to the sniper rifle stage of your game.
The sniper rifle is for the well trained soldier. He needs a shot that will get the distance and pack a lot of power. His shot needs to be precise, his scope needs to be sighted in just right, breath in, half a breath out, squeeze the fucking trigger and kill! This is going to be your bodybuilder after his first 5 years in the gym. The sniper may only pack on 3 lbs of muscle a year, maybe none, but he keeps coming back harder, grainier, tighter, more conditioned than ever.
The sniper has gained most of what he is going to get with his first 5 years in the gym. He is at his maximum genetic potential or has far surpassed it. At this point his goal should be 100% quality. This is where volumization of the muscle comes in. I may not be able to build it more, but I can make it look bigger with proper training and getting more volumization.
The sniper goes through a re-compositioning process, he may still be the 195 lbs he was during his shotgun blast days, but it's a whole different 195 lbs! Totally different body, the beginner or trainee with less than 5 years under his belt will not need to worry about re-compositioning, priority part training, or dieting for fat loss. The shotgun blaster will lose fat accordingly to the muscle he gains, since muscle metabolizes fat.
Nothing specific is needed other than hard training and eating enough to grow and he can build a hella big physique, even naturally. The sniper needs to keep more of a watch on his diet, he often never eats until he is full or satisfied, and the days of stuffing himself with food are over. This is also for health reasons too, and you as a new bodybuilder may find like I did, that the way your body functions and utilizes its own chemicals changes vastly about every 4-5 years.
Here is a typical days diet for myself nowadays:
Meal 1 – 4 whole eggs scrambled, 1 cup oats, apple
Meal 2 – 6 oz fish or chicken, avocado
Meal 3 – 6-8 oz chicken or fish, 1 cup brown rice
Meal 4 – protein shake, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup oats
Meal 5 – 6-8 oz fish or chicken, 2-3 tablespoon natural peanut butter
Now compare this to the calorie count from when I was a beginner at 140 lbs. I was eating more as a beginner and 75 lbs less! This is plain as day that #1– my body has changed physiologically over the years of training and holds muscle easier #2– my metabolism has slowed down #3– my chemical makeup is not the same as it once was.
The guy who does not realize he needs to change how he eats (and possibly trains) as he ages will get injured, sick, or fall off the map. He will not look like he bodybuilds, he will look fat or average at best. The sniper knows better, he adjusts his scope as he needs to, one shot one kill motherfuckers!
So you need to be honest here and ask yourself if you're ready for the rifle, or are you still blasting away with the shotgun? If you can choose the right weapon it will only help you. Bodybuilding is a long term endeavor. Anyone who tells you its fast is full of shit. This takes years and years, and the reality of it is the more honest you are with yourself, the better results you will get. I will get into the training styles and tactics of the shotgunner vs rifleman in the next post.
Until then, train hard…
21 thoughts on “Bodybuilding, From the Shotgun Blast to the Sniper Rifle!”
John, good way to put it, shotgun versus sniper rifle, I completely understand the difference now in eating and training at both stages in life.
What would be the stage for me, 37 year old male? I´ve been training since I am 20 years old, but I didn´t know about this stuff, I didn´t know how to eat (I was always skinny) and didn´t know how to train, so I would be wasting my time with curls instead of building my foundation and not eating enough.
I´ve just learned all this stuff now.
Long story short, I gained maybe something in the range of 10 kilos (I am 84 kg now, with about 12% bodyfat). At 182 cm tall, I would like to hit my genetic potential, but I don´t know if it is too late for me now.
How should I eat and train? Shotgun or sniper?
shotgun it for 6 months and assess progress. If you never had all the building blocks in place to begin with, you’ve yet to reach your potential
Excellent! Thank you very much for your reply sir!
Thanks for the honest advice. Not many sites recommend to not eat clean.
I’ve been lifting for 2 years now and I’ve been eating clean for the most part. I’ve gone from 130 to 160, but my goal is 175 at 5’9″. So I’ll definitely to put this into practice to get to 175.
Calories are king!! Most sites and magazines only want to show the hype and glamor, not the real deal behind the scenes stuff!!!
Hello Mr. Doe. I just have a few questions about bodybuilding. I got into bodybuilding at 14 to get into shape for school sports. I became quite lean and put 17″ on my vertical over a period of 8 months as a result of an extremely clean diet, insanely hard work, and the right mindset. Fast forward to January 2015. I was just cleared to play sports after being out of commission from a connective tissue disease called UCTD. This disesoase is autoimmune and requires lifelong treatment with prednisone, which is a major catabolic agent. I don’t really care about being on meds because my joints so great right now. The problem is I have lost a lot of my vertical over the course of these months, but I am concerned about getting back there due to the muscle wasting effects of prednisone ( prednisone also causes people to gain insane amounts of Body fat, but this has not happened to me because I am not a pathetic piece of shit, in other words I have will power.)
My questions are:
What is a good diet I can follow to take advantage of my age(15), as well as counter the muscle wasting effects of immunosuppressive drugs?( Keep in mind I am very involved in sports and I have to eat gluten free on account of celiac disease).
What is the best training for upper body? My upper body is sorely disappointing(I am lean but have no significant mass), whereas my legs are extremely powerful due to the 4-5 leg days-a-week for my vertical training.
Thank you so much in advance for reading and replying to my inquiries. This is a great blog you have here( I see you a lot at Boldanddetermined.com, and I must say, you and Vic are very much likeminded.) Thanks and have a good day.
Please email me directly and I will get back to you. This is a little more involved than most questions I get and I will dig deeper into a good answer for you if you email direct, Thanks
I emailed you through the “contact” link, if you by chance did not get it my email: [email protected]
Kory, I got your email, please give me a couple more days to respond
I know this web page provides quality dependent articles or reviews and additional
data, is there any other website which gives
such data in quality?
not sure, I don’t follow anyone
Great article JD. For somebody who has trained on/off for around 3 years and consistently for the last 1 year of that period, I have seen a decent affect but nothing significant.
What is the best approach for maximising what I have left of the initial ‘5 year’ stage? I’m struggling to gain any significant muscle growth compared to my peers, even though I have a good consistent diet and train consistently and hard.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
#1- Don’t compare yourself to your peers, just focus on you. #2- Simplify your approach- if you’re not gaining then eat more calories. STep on the scale every week or so and see if it moves upwards, if that scale ain’t moving then you’re not eating enough. You also stated that you’ve trained “on/off” for 3 years. This off time hasn’t helped any. My advice is to shotgun the hell out of it for the next couple of years until your jacked. THEN….THEN worry about cutting. Once your body has walked around at a certain size long enough it develops a new base where that size becomes normal, you don’t just shrink back to nothing because you start dieting to get lean. But grab all the size you can first, this way you can still be big even when you’re leaner, my .02
Thanks for this.
I am aware that the ‘off’ periods has hindered my growth, and that is the reason I’n been fully ‘on’ this past year.
I’ll take the shotgun approach going forward.
My metabolism is quite high so eating more and more food is a challenge but not impossible. I take c.3,250 calories per day from mainly real whole food and am seeing minimal weight increases.I presume a weight gainer supplement and some protein&dextrose shakes would be a benefit. Any suggestions here?
Any detrimental side affects from consuming any type of calorie just to hit the target? I prefer clean eating but am open to eating all types of foods just to hit the calorific goals as long as there are no major consequences. Any insight here would be great?
I found more than just an answer to the above queries in another article of your, therefore, no need to respond.
GREAT insight on this website.
Nice article John, loved the comparison you gave. With 27 years I find myself getting fatter much faster than when I was 18.
I gotta watch what I eat now.