Let me tell you a story about an old friend of mine.
He hasn’t trained for a couple of years.
But back when he did, boy did he go all out.
Actually, that’s an understatement.
He went Rocky in a Russian barn all out.
He wouldn’t just train a muscle group, he’d obliterate it with a 2 hour plus gauntlet of iron destruction, slaying every set and rep as if his post-workout protein shake wasn’t simply sitting in his gym bag, no, it was earned for proving his alpha-male-ness on the gym floor.
Every time he discovered a new exercise, he’d add it to his routine.
And before long, every workout had become a marathon of different grips and handles.
He did three sets on the leg press with his feet in every position. He did leg extensions and single-leg extensions as two separate exercises. And if he didn’t do one of his library of exercises he’d feel like he’d wasted his session.
The ironic thing being, of course, that if he simply decreased his volume he’d be able to move significantly more weight on compound lifts – such as barbell squats – and experience shorter, more rewarding workouts.
But there was no telling him.
More is better. Because beast mode, bro.
I remember training triceps with my pal and watching him hit four sets of almost every triceps exercise I could think of.
He didn’t just do pushdowns, he did rope pushdowns, v-bar pushdowns and single-arm rope pushdowns.
He didn’t just to skullcrushers, he did ez-bar skullcrushers, dumbbell skullcrushers and incline ez-bar skullcrushers.
Then injury struck and he had to take some time away from training.
Hey ho, these things happen.
But the real problem began when his injury subsided.
You see, his fitness routine had become such a vast, mammoth undertaking that he found it incredibly hard to get back on the horse – and to this day, he still hasn’t. He had convinced himself that he “needed” all of these additional exercises which had been added to his routine over the months and years, and that there was no point in training unless he could do everything, all the time.
He’d gone down the same road with his supplements.
What began as simply using a whey protein and creatine had turned into a situation where his kitchen resembled a science lab. He’d pick up testosterone boosters, fat burners, pre-workout drinks, mass gainers, to name but a few. And he couldn’t restart his fitness routine without getting back on all of them.
Heck, the pre-workout situation in particular had gotten out of hand.
If you follow my blog you’ll probably already know that I make my own because it’s simple and cost effective, but my friend was a sucker for a manly poster.
Before long he was hooked on energy drinks.
Every time I trained with him, his eyes were more open than a Russell Brand relationship.
Then there’s the question of adaptability.
You see, for all his training volume, his results weren’t all that great.
The body is a wonderful, powerful machine and it will adapt to anything. Even a super high volume training routine like his. And once that adaptation had taken place, any time he did less he felt like he wasn’t doing enough and inevitably sacked it off.
After six months away from the gym, I said he should put together a simple, no-nonsense routine consisting of compound lifts to get him back into the habit of regular weight training.
His ego couldn’t handle it.
It didn’t feel like enough.
It’s now almost two years later.
I spoke to my friend yesterday, and he advised me that he has still not returned to the gym.
But he will soon.
Just as soon as he’s got the time, and the money for his supplements.
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