This is a topic that many fail to talk about and isn't part of normal cliche information involving performance enhancement.
What I talk about in this article all revolves around general health and when overall health declines so does your body's ability to benefit from performance enhancement.
I was talking with a friend of mine today on the topics of gym training and supplementation.
We both talked about things in life that have tried derailing us from the gym and how it's so difficult to continue forward with the same mentality we once had.
You see, much of the beginning of your bodybuilding experience is all about one thing; FORWARD MOVEMENT!
We used to jump on the scale in front of each other at every workout…
“Check that out brotha', 254 lbs today! Where you at?”
We would work out together and then hit up an all-you-can-eat steak buffet and hang out and eat for about an hour straight, talking about where we wanted to be with our builds.
We would talk about cycles, which chicks we were going to try to bang, and anything else that pertained to the barbaric mentality we had adopted.
When that guy and I trained and hung out together we had lost all sense of reality. We lived like we were going to die AND WE CRAVED MORE OF IT!
It wasn't uncommon to be driving 140 mph down the highway in the A8, pulling out handguns on random assholes, or going to the strip clubs on a regular basis.
Let me tell you guys, we didn't care how we dressed or what it looked like and we never second guessed ourselves.
I remember this guy wearing combat boots and a Dukes of Hazard T-shirt with cut off sleeves pulling more pussy than someone could shake a stick at!
Clothes didn't matter, chicks could smell the confidence and bad-assery a mile away.
THEN 2 THINGS HAD HAPPENED:
MY BUDDY MOVED AWAY AND WE GREW UP
I haven't had a training partner since, hadn't gone 140 mph in a car, and hadn't been to the steak buffet or strip clubs.
It's probably a good thing honestly, because we both probably would have went to prison eventually.
The point to what I'm talking about here (other than a time in my life when I had a blast with the gym and life!) is that EVERYTHING BACK THEN WAS ABOUT FORWARD MOVEMENT!
Nothing in our training or our lives was about damage control or trying to pick up the pieces where we left off.
We were both moving forward all of the time. Standing still just wasn't an option.
We were hitting the gear hard, living fast, and each training session was like a 2 man army getting ready to take on the world!
But I guess you cannot live like that forever and eventually you need to dwell in some things outside of just the gym (although at that time money and income wasn't a problem for us).
We had both began businesses, started families, and had gotten wrapped up back in the real world.
In our former world there were no limitations, the sky was the limit, and if you wanted something you did whatever it took to get it!
BUT TRAINING AND FOOD WAS ALWAYS #1!
FORWARD MOVEMENT…IT WAS ALWAYS FORWARD MOVEMENT!
THE POINT WHEN MY TRAINING APPROACH NEEDED TO CHANGE
So we are chatting on the phone and he's telling me that he has only been to the gym one time in the past 2 weeks.
But he's closing on a house and extremely busy with work so right now the gym isn't at the top of the priority list.
Somehow I got into talking about how I had to learn to develop a different approach to continue to be 100% with everything.
We both agreed that back in the day it was all about constantly moving forward.
He then said to me, “Yea, but now if I don't feel like I'm moving forward it's too easy not to want to do any of it; I don't want to do the diet, don't want to go to the gym, and I just don't have that same drive like we used to have!”
I explained to him that he's approaching it all wrong now.
“Dude, constant forward movement was realistic back then because we hadn't been at it as long as we have now, hadn't been through injuries, and hadn't had family life. But you can still move forward, you just have to change your mindset!”
You see, his mind is still all about growing insanely large.
We used to live by the phrase “GET BIG OR DIE TRYING” and if he cannot live like that in the gym then it's too easy not to do any part of the gym or nutrition.
Basically it's this 100% or 0% mentality.
But I explained to him that if he came up with a new 100% he would see that getting involved with the gym and nutrition would be realistic for him again.
I talked about how my approach became more like an object in motion approach rather than a “Get this big in X number of weeks, or this cut in X number of weeks.”
Cardio became a lifestyle approach that simply kept me moving and helped me wake up.
The fat-loss benefits of cardio became secondary benefits to cardio, but the health and mental benefits of it were the main priority for me at this point.
Then we began talking about the topics of health and performance enhancement.
TAKING A MORE FORWARD APPROACH TO HEALTH & PERFORMANCE
So I'm sure some of you have been there before yourselves….
You plan out this awesome gear cycle with everything stacked just the way you want it, and you begin eating big and training harder than hell!
The first 4 or 5 weeks everything seems to be going great. You are gaining size and strength and you feel like the incredible hulk!
But then something strange happens during your cycle. You cannot seem to figure out what the issue is, but something just doesn't make sense.
It almost feels like instead of moving ahead you actually begin regressing!
Has this ever happened to you?
Do you want to know why this happens?
Your body begins to focus more on repairing itself than it does to fully utilize the hormones you're putting into it.
Your organs begin to become taxed and your liver doesn't metabolize things the way that it should.
This creates a perfect storm where you continuously dump chemicals into a system that cannot efficiently use them. This becomes counterproductive for results.
You might have gotten away with this a long time ago, but it's not as easy to get away with it anymore.
You would have actually gotten more out of lower dosages and perhaps using less harsh compounds in your cycle.
So in actuality the better results start coming from paying closer attention to your overall health and then using just enough gear to do the trick!
I'm going to talk about some staple products that can make you feel better and perform better not only in the gym, but in an overall sense of daily living.
It's not always just about the gear.
I'm sure several people reading this have been where I've been before; you can run gear and perform in the gym but it's easy to feel like shit in every other aspect of life.
Beat juice works to lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation in your body. Not only is it full of antioxidants but beet juice contains a lot of nitrates which can improve the nitric oxide in your body which can improve gym performance, endurance, and the muscle pump which we constantly seek out!
Beetroot juice can also support liver function which is important since the liver is what filters the blood coming from the digestive tract. A healthy liver can better metabolize drugs.
Beetroot juice is also known to improve cholesterol in people. All of these things are especially important for the lifelong bodybuilder and performance enhancement user. Some of the areas of particular importance for people on cycle or testosterone replacement are liver values, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
While there are so many benefits to supplementing your diet with magnesium that I'm just scratching the tip of the iceberg here, I'll explain the few critical roles that magnesium plays in our body function.
Magnesium is used to reduce inflammation in the body, something that intense physical exercise can cause. Higher levels of inflammation are associated with more body-fat storage and slower recovery times.
Another key role of magnesium is involved in the ability of the muscles to contract. Intense weight training can lower magnesium levels in the body and it's thought that magnesium levels become up to 20% lower during exercise.
Magnesium also helps insulin resistance by shuttling blood sugar into the muscles and also helping to dispose of the lactic acid that is created from weight training. To put it simple, it helps move the glycogen to the muscles and it helps get rid of the muscle toxins after a workout session.
It's estimated that over 50% of the population doesn't get enough magnesium through diet alone and this is becoming even more difficult as new-era foods are providing less magnesium.
It's critical to ensure that you're getting proper levels of magnesium as someone who trains with weights. Magnesium is also good to take in the evening to help relax and get more restful sleep.
Vitamin C is used to help improve white blood cell count in the body to strengthen our immune system.
Vitamin C can also help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol levels), which makes it especially suitable for those on performance enhancement and/or TRT, as good cholesterol goes down and bad cholesterol goes up and this is almost automatic for anyone using performance enhancing drugs!
It's also involved in collagen formation and the condition of bones and cartilage. Many people with chronic illnesses and poor recovery times are found to have deficient levels of vitamin C in their bodies.
One thing that is important to understand for someone who eats very clean, is although you're eating healthy there may be times when you're not eating well rounded enough to get all essential vitamins and minerals. Supplementing the diet with vitamin C is never a bad idea, especially as someone who weight trains and puts a lot of stress on their immune system.
Probiotics are important for digestive health. As a bodybuilder who eats a lot of food and a lot of protein rich foods, good gut health and digestion are extremely important.
This proves to be even more critical as we age because our bodies often do not have the ability to break down foods as efficiently as we once did.
Taking probiotics can help avoid health issues such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
Not all bacteria in the body is bad, and good bacteria is necessary for gastrointestinal and digestive health. Foods rich in good bacteria include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi.
If your diet doesn't contain many of these foods (which most diets do not) it's a wise idea to supplement your diet with a good probiotic.
Melatonin & L-theanine
Melatonin is a natural hormone in the body which is released highest at night and is most known as the “sleep hormone” in the body.
Melatonin levels are naturally higher when it's dark outside and they work with the circadian rhythm of the body, otherwise known as the internal body clock.
When your body is exposed to too much light (and yes, this includes blue lights emitted from electronic devices such as cell phones) less melatonin is produced, making it much harder to relax and fall asleep. This can lead to insomnia and irregular sleep wave cycles.
Supplementing your diet with melatonin can help get a normal sleep cycle restored. It can relax you in the evening and make getting to sleep much easier.
For those using performance enhancing drugs, this is especially important since hormones can stimulate the nervous system to a much higher degree, making sleep seem almost impossible at times!
L- theanine is an amino acid that can promote relaxation by having an impact on lowering dopamine and serotonin levels in our brains at night, a time when high dopamine and serotonin levels make falling asleep more difficult.
By helping to control the release of neurons in the brain at specific times, this in turn proves to be highly efficient at providing better mental alertness and cognitive function during daily activity.
Over 60% of skeletal muscle is comprised of glutamine and glutamine is the primary transporter of nitrogen in our muscles.
Supplementing your diet with glutamine can increase muscle cell volume and replenish depleted levels of glutamine from intense exercise. Often times these levels take several days to return to normal, so by adding glutamine to your diet you can recover even faster from your workouts.
By providing your body with sufficient levels of glutamine you can avoid further muscle breakdown during the recovery process.
Glutamine also plays a key role in protein metabolism.
Having adequate levels of glutamine makes for a more efficient muscle building system and also a system that retains more muscle after the stimulus to grow is sent to the body from intense weight training.
PUTTING IT ALL UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Basically, what I'm trying to share with you guys is that performance enhancing drugs and supplements only go so far unless other health measures are taken.
As I said before, this may be more beneficial to a larger and more seasoned bodybuilder, but I truly believe that there comes a point where it's no longer about dumping as many steroids into the body as possible to see results.
Think of your body as a race car…
You don't build a race car on a cheap frame with stock axles and tires. You don't use a cheap clutch for a Dodge Neon car in a vehicle putting out 1,000 hp and hitting speeds of 190 mph.
If you used cheap parts on your race car it would fall apart.
This is the way your body can act when you take a whole bunch of fucking gear and don't have upgraded measures that begin with the promotion of overall health and well-being!
The take-away from this article is simple; without health there is no bodybuilding!
I see far too many guys who want to put the cart before the horse when it comes to taking things to enhance performance and appearance!
Hell, this can be said for things as simple as groceries. We all know that dude who buys the gear and supplements but doesn't buy the right foods!
Remember to keep everything in order for the best performance possible, and this all starts with your health.
Without health there is no bodybuilding!
TRAIN HARD! – JD