My invasion of bodybuilding took place in May 1983. The place where I lived was quite intense in the sense of a scuffle, and therefore I was seriously involved in contact karate. To get stronger, I read bodybuilding magazines, and one day it occurred to me to try this sport too. Of course, I didn’t think about any titles then. I just wanted to become more massive in order to put pressure on my street opponents also mentally – “the mass”.
I was very lucky: there was not a single bodybuilder among my friends. There was no one around who would start fooling me with their homegrown advice. And I took up bodybuilding the right way – from the very beginning. I went to the bookstore, bought some textbooks and sat down to read them. From there I learned the most important thing – the basics. And, most importantly, I recognized them first-hand, and not in a distorted form. By the way, since then I have adhered to the following life principle: if you want to achieve something, use the best. I buy all the methodological literature written by Joe – my correspondence teacher, and those who have managed to achieve the highest success in bodybuilding: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lee Hannay, Bob Paris and others. This policy does not suit my wife very well. She says that I have littered the whole apartment. I never throw away the books I have read, and therefore I have nowhere to put them. The books are on my windowsill, collecting dust under the bed and even stacked as a slide on the toilet cistern …
In short, I read everything that I could buy for my money. It formed me great. I knew dozens of different techniques by heart, and when, after a year and a half of training, I began to FEEL the exercises, it was easy for me to find those complexes that were especially effective. By the way, from the very first day, for some reason, I did not like the techniques where it was a question of a large number of repetitions with medium and low weights. It seemed to me some kind of nonsense, but the method of Mike Mentzer , where he professes the principle of maximum loads, I immediately liked it.
For the initial month and a half, I trained effortlessly, giving myself ample rest between sets. I was not chasing any special results. It was clear to me that I was a beginner and that I just needed to “enter” this new business for me. I emphasize, I was in no hurry. I read that the main thing for a bodybuilder is to master the correct form of exercise. Therefore, I did the exercises slowly, so to speak, “with feeling.”
Actually, I planned to do this for about 2-2.5 months, since this was the period indicated in Weider’s textbook. However, after a month and a half, I arrogantly decided that it was enough for me, and immediately proceeded to the split system. After all, I considered myself a pretty cool guy in terms of sports.
The split system is, as you know, the division of the muscles of the body into two groups. You “swing” one group at the first workout, and the other at the next. In this situation, the muscles have not a day to recover, as with 3-time workouts, but 2 days. While you are operating with small weights as a beginner, a day of rest is enough, but when the turn of heavy weights comes in a couple of months, you need more rest.
So, I trained on a Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday split system. After a week and a half, I felt that I had gone too far and that I had to finish this business. Apparently, I was in a hurry with the split. There were typical signs of overwork: my left eye even began to twitch.
It became clear that I needed to go back to 3-time workouts. But this does not mean that I left the split. No, I still trained both halves of the muscles separately. But not one after another, as is customary in the traditional split scheme, but every other day. When training went one after another. the body as a whole did not have time to recover, but the days between workouts were quite enough. I ended up training each muscle and muscle group about 3 times in a 14-day cycle.
You see, I gave up the usual division of training into weeks. The fact is that in those days one curious little book came into my hands, in which it was told that there is no 7-day cycle in the human body. Physiological processes proceed rhythmically with a period of 3, 12, 14 days, but none of them has a 7-day period. This led me to the idea that the days of the week should not be guided in the training schedule. for example, train on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. I came up with my own system that I felt most suited to my individual muscle recovery schedule.
As part of the split program, I did 3 exercises for large muscle groups and 2 exercises for small muscles. The only exception was the quadriceps. I trained them with only two exercises: squats with a barbell and in a simulator, where you push the platform with a load with your feet at an angle of 45 degrees. I felt that the extra exercise would cause an overkill: after all, I was squatting with a very heavy barbell.
Between sets, I rested as much as I needed. I read that this is how you should rest in the intervals between basic – “mass” – exercises. By the way, I never chatted with anyone while relaxing. I remained fully focused. I transferred this rule to bodybuilding from karate.
Unlike other aspiring bodybuilders, I did not put the main emphasis on training . I already knew that the muscle increases during the hours of recovery, not training, and therefore tried to train as quickly as possible and leave the gym. At the very beginning of training, I already imagined how I would find myself at home and start GROWING.
The diary helped me a lot to systematize my hobby. When you put your thoughts on paper, you become more aware of the state of affairs. It becomes easier to live Underfoot as if there is a support for order and organization.
In my diary, I promised myself not to rush things. During the year I did not use any of Wider’s principles, rightly believing that it is still too early for me to master such a high-tech. It wasn’t until the end of 12 months that I incorporated forced repetitions into my practice. At the end of the last set of one basic exercise, I did one or two reps with the help of a partner.
When I started my split, my weight was about 83 kg, and two years later, on the eve of the first competition in my life, I already weighed 100 kg! Think for yourself, it is worthwhile for you to study according to my system.
By the way, this is how I continued to train until 1986, when I won the British national championship and received a pass to the world of professionals.
For the first four years of training, I worked in shifts at a factory. There was no question of devoting himself entirely to sports. It was necessary to earn money, and a lot. A year later, my wife and I had a baby. It was necessary to provide for the family, and in addition, decent “money” was spent on food and all kinds of special supplements. But with the growth of experience and qualifications, the salary grew, so in the end I managed to fulfill my dream: to switch to 5 meals a day.
The only supplements I could afford were a multivitamin with minerals and cheap milk protein. I ate vitamins at breakfast: they are better absorbed with food, and I drank a protein drink around the middle of the day right at the workplace.
So by 1985 I was able to raise the value of my diet to 4000 kcal, while in 1983 it was equal to 3,200 kcal.
My diet consisted of 30% protein, 55% carbohydrates, 15% fat.
If we discuss the key points of nutrition for a bodybuilder, then, of course, proteins should take the main place in it. You should consume at least 1.25 grams of protein per kg of your body weight per day. With carbohydrates, everything is also clear – this is the energy supply of the muscles. As for fat, here you cannot go to extremes and reduce its intake below 15-20 grams, otherwise you will have problems with your skin and hair. Acne will appear on the skin and hair will become dry and brittle. In addition, fats are involved in nervous activity. If there are few of them, nervousness sets in and sleep worsens.
If you think that high calorie intake is the key to muscle “mass”, then you are mistaken. A beginner’s muscles need 3,500 calories a day. The beginner is not able to develop the true intensity of training, and the extra calories are easily converted into subcutaneous fat. Even when you feel that you are overly tired and lacking in strength, do not rush to increase the total calorie intake. Try to increase the amount of carbohydrates in the diet first. And only if that doesn’t work, raise your protein and fat levels.
I believe in one life principle that I was taught by working in a factory: the key to reliability is simplicity.… Train easier, do basic movements and success will definitely come to you. Don’t litter your head with newfangled systems. Remember, most of these systems are designed for dusty bodybuilders and do not yet match the adaptive capabilities of your body. Sooner or later, a bodybuilder with experience comprehends something like impotence, and then the turn of such potent means comes. Well, your muscles are young and vigorous. All you need to do is not make a common newbie mistake. A beginner is always in a hurry somewhere. Not having time to really understand anything, he uselessly jumps from one complex to another, changes methods and techniques. I urge you: get off! Listen to yourself and your muscles! The main thing for you is to get a really right start, as it was with me.