Cosmetic Training vs. Performance Training

I like to look good, who doesn't?

Most of the time I'm training for ripped up abs, striated delts and pecs, and those nice teardrops you can see in someone with well developed quads.

I'm usually never eating until I'm full, I'm consistently hitting abs and cardio, and there isn't a day that goes by where I don't jump on the scale or look at myself in the mirror to see what the body is looking like that day.

Yes, I'll admit it, I like to wear tanktops to the gym, and I like when bitches stare over at me. I love hearing the comments, I love being big and tanned, and everything else that comes with a low body fat.

But my best friend once told me something that stuck with me throughout the years in the gym. He said to me “Sometimes to get pretty, you gotta get ugly.”

As much as I like staying defined most of the time, there comes a point where you get stagnant always worrying about your look and level of definition. Your performance suffers, you get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and motivation levels just drop.

Food plays a major role in how we feel. I've gone through severe bouts of depression from dieting, and I can only drag ass and feel run down for so long. Not to mention, eat diet food all of the time and your body gets used to diet food all of the time. It stops responding the way you want it to.

Have you ever noticed your sex drive going up like crazy when you eat a little more freely or add back in the fats? Yeah, there is a reason why that happens. The body can only stand being catabolic for so long.

I also like being anabolic. I like slapping some chalk on the bar and breaking through those plateaus while I rip that shit off the ground. I like feeling those muscles fill up and get swole as I'm pressing 140 lb dumbbells on incline bench. Or that feeling when I'm squatting with 5 plates per side and I just feel in tact with the weight like I'm one with that barbell on my back.

The feeling of some fucking power also feels good. So here is what I would recommend to you once in awhile. I SAID ONCE IN AWHILE. I'm not doing this long enough to get “fat” by society's standards. Yeah, maybe a little fat for my standards, but my rule is simple; if the belt notch isn't moving I'm going to keep going for the time being.

Now the thing is, you will think you're getting fatter than you really are. Throw a shirt on and nobody would know the fucking difference, all they'd see is you growing very rapidly again.

You may think I'm crazy here after reading all of my other posts, but I'm going to be honest with you. Every once in a while I base my diet strictly on performance in the gym. I will drop the headache of thinking of food subconsciously 24/7, and eat when I'm hungry.

It may be 4 meals a day, it may be 7 meals a day. Hell, it may only be 3 meals a day!! But the rule is simple; if my performance continues to get better, I keep going until the belt wants to move, then I think of dieting again.

It's not just performance with weights, often times my cardio gets better as well due to increased caloric surplus. Instead of jogging for 20 minutes and having to stop, I may hit 30 minutes while continuing to be able to hit sprint laps intermittently around the track.

The weights don't feel as heavy either, it's not just the fact that I'm pushing more weight in the gym, they actually feel lighter in my hands. That is power, recovery, and anabolism!!!

Sometimes what we think is going to make us fat doesn't make us THAT MUCH FATTER. It ends up making us big as fuck (with a little more bloat) but nothing that cannot be taken off with a good diet for 6-8 weeks thereafter.

So what do I eat during this time? Shit I couldn't tell you. Maybe a bowl of spaghetti post workout, 2-3 bowls of cereal pre-workout, a double cheeseburger and a Diet Coke for lunch?

Fuck it, whatever. I just eat, and I don't dwell on the foods. Yes, I'm sure I'm getting enough protein but some of these foods are definitely not “diet foods.” However, they still have nutritional value to them.

What you don't see me eating is a bunch of pizza, ice cream, candy, cake, and shit like that. No, not all of my food choices are the cleanest, but they aren't the worst either. I'm not chilling at the Chinese/American buffet eating General Tsos chicken and egg rolls, and I'm not rolling through Dunkin' Doughnuts.

And yes, since I'm diabetic I take more insulin during this time frame, which also pumps me up more. With that being said, I do not like the idea of needing more insulin long term so these periods aren't very long. But yeah, fuck it, I'll hit a month like that every once in a while.

But when it's time to cut up, it's time to cut up. I don't bullshit around, and I eat super strict!!

I know guys who use every excuse in the world to eat junk, that isn't what I go for when I do this. I do it because it enhances my performance in the gym by giving myself calories again. Just know the difference and know when it's time to flip that light switch and go the other route and CUT, CUT, CUT!!!!

You've seen my photos by now, and I'm no Arnold Schwarzenegger. But I'm a fairly lean 220+ and I didn't get there by eating like a bird all year long, that's honesty in bodybuilding.

I speak the truth, I've never had 1 SINGLE PERSON who took my advice and came back and said “That didn't work for me”. It all works, trust me.

-Train hard!!

-John

PS – Don’t forget to check out Straight From the Underground, the new underground bodybuilding bible!!

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8 thoughts on “Cosmetic Training vs. Performance Training”

  1. I love anabolism. It rhymes with animal ism. Im 40 and was a marine in my younger days. I was the typical stud that never had to workout because I always looked good and stayed strong. My first year of taking the iron as my religion is coming to a close plus or minus a few months. I’m gonna give it another full year then see where I’m at. Your lucky if you walk around shredded all the time dude. I think of myself as a grizzly. I’m 5’10 and 215 right now. Still a 34 waist but not cut. I lack the wasp waist that we all want. I’m just fucking wide! I’ve come to the conclusion that…. Work with what I got and I’ll be happier for it! I try to stay on the anabolic side of the arena ALL the time. But I liked that shit on Anavar. Maybe next spring I’ll shred down some just for fun. I’m a true believer in STRENTGH though. Yeah…. Being one with that bar on my back and my quads screaming in pain is a unique feeling. It’s my pain bro. No one else’s! I love it! I’m learning a lot about how to add some extra STRENTGH from you. There’s a sea of shit n lies out there. Thanks for writing down your experiences. It makes my search easier. Bulk for life man. Later.

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  2. I can confirm that your advice works John! I think the diet you describe here is basically the same as the shotgun approach.

    I gave the shotgun approach a go this spring and I was amazed by the results. I gained 26 pounds in 12 weeks, I destroyed all of my PRs by a huge margin and I just felt like the king of the world. I couldn’t believe how many compliments I’ve been getting from people about me getting bigger … that shit is fucking nice :)

    The only bad thing I guess is that I also gained some fat, but most of that 26 pounds was muscle, that’s for sure :)

    Reply
    • Dejan, the funny part is that sometimes you can actually look better by doing this. Often times we just aren’t eating enough or our bodies can get stagnant. It’s like you’re trying to lean out for awhile, and then when you stop giving a damn and just eat instinctively you start seeing yourself volumize out more and may even look harder, but it’s short lived. After a few weeks then yes, there is a slight increase in bodyfat which is near impossible to avoid, since you have to be in caloric surplus.

      Reply
  3. i want to ask a confusing question which is boggling up in my mind from last month.people say lifting to failure cause hypertropy and build muscle.but at same time they say if failure becomes more than 12reps it will not build muscle.but i experienced that high reps to failure also build muscle.now i can do 100 pushups to failure.means last rep is very hard.i cant do 101 rep.will it cause any muscle growth.

    Reply
    • That is utter bullshit and YES, you can grow off high reps. I’m a higher rep guy myself. And I know how those pushups, doing a set of all those pushups just to see if you can get to 1 more rep, I’ve been there!! But there are two different types of muscle fibers in our bodies, slow twitch and fast twitch. I have found that you need to work both types of fibers in order to have a better combination of size/power/definition. Let’s face it, stronger muscles lift heavier weights, and a stronger muscle is usually a bigger one. At some point you have to throw some resistance in there and challenge yourself with a lower rep range. I still do that, but it’s more uncommon as I’ve aged and need to focus on training smarter/recovery purposes. Usually once/month or so I will take my reps down to 6-8 reps for upper body, and 8-10 for lower body. But usually whatever I’m working is 12 reps +. But I work with a very slow rep speed as well

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  4. Great article. So true, some people forget what got them big in the first place. You got to eat, and eat big. Being in my early 40’s now, my recovery isnt near as good as it use to be. Dieting for a show is alot harder, and tougher. Recovering from a hard leg workout takes alot more time. Eating so strict hinders my ablity to recovery. So every once awhile eating higher calories/carbs helps with recovery and gives my body a mental break.

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  5. There are times when I feel exactly the same.I believe that once or twice a week anyone can sin a little.I myself try to adhere to a strict diet,but life does not always work out the way we want it to. It often happens that I skip a meal for some reason,but I always try to make up for it in another time during the day.Anyway,it was a great article.

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