Dave’s 10 RULES: Wisdom from Our Great Friend – David Ames
This is a reprint of a post our good friend David Ames made on FaceBook today and I was so impressed with it that I asked him if I could turn it into a blog. David is so knowledgable and wise about the topic of working out that these 10 Rules are full of terrific information that we should all pay attention to and that we can benefit from.
All I can say is…look at his example and Listen and Learn.
DAVE’S 10 RULES!
“Folks, I wrote this some time ago, but I’ve never posted here. For what it’s worth – these are Dave’s 10 Rules…
A Few Rules Along The Way
We wouldn’t be on this board if we didn’t want to look and feel better. Unfortunately, the commercial media have worked hard to create physical expectations that are extraordinarily difficult to achieve. The advertisements in today’s muscle magazines are no more accurate than the Charles Atlas advertisements in the back of comic books decades ago, and our desires for that perfect body have moved just as much along the way if not gotten even worse.
Although a few are favored with great genetics, the vast majority of us still can achieve what we want – but not without significant sacrifice, discipline, and above all hard work. This post is aimed at people who are new to bodybuilding and fitness. I’m certainly no expert, and I have a long way to go, but I have moved a long way toward achieving some of my goals, and I’ve learned some things along the way. This post is a set of rules that I’ve developed from my own experience in the gym, in the kitchen, and on these boards. It is certainly not complete, but when I get stuck, I revert to these rules to refocus my efforts.
1) It’s about keeping it simple. Various program abound, and it appears every slick magazine has the latest and greatest program to hawk. This is all very confusing to people learning the ropes. Some programs are very helpful in getting individuals over a particular sticking point, and I don’t disregard the assistance they can provide. Nonetheless, no program will ever lift the weights for you. You have to suck it up, and lift. When in doubt stick with the basic compound moves – Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Squats – at the very least.
2) It’s about showing up. Most of us have work and family commitments; we travel, or a family member becomes ill. The people who get results are those who are consistent in this endeavor. Lack of consistency is a sign of lack of passion. It’s the desire for the end result without enjoying the journey. To reach your goals, you must enjoy some aspect of the journey.
3) It’s about intensity. How many times have we heard (or said ourselves), “I’ve tried this program, I’ve tried that program, and I just can’t seem to gain muscle/lose weight.” Many years ago, when I first started going to the gym, I made moderate gains, and then hit a plateau that I never recovered from. It wasn’t until I started taking on workouts that left me completely wiped out that I started really making gains. Not every workout has to be one that puts you into a walking coma – but you have to be prepared to go there regularly if you want to make substantial gains.
4) It’s about diet. A championship bodybuilder told me repeatedly “25% workout, 75% diet.” If we’re not willing to take our discipline into the kitchen, we’re not going to get that body we want.
5) It’s about rest. You’ve heard it before, muscles aren’t built in the gym. Your body needs rest to recuperate.
6) It’s about setting expectations. If you want to look like a bodybuilder or fitness model that you see in the magazines or some of our colleagues on this board, your journey will demand that you commit yourself with monk-like discipline. If you’re not willing to do that, then set your expectations accordingly. Read some of the past journals of those people who compete – look at their workouts, but more importantly look at the mental anguish that they put themselves through. It’s there if you want it bad enough, but it’s a very, very hard road. You also have to set appropriate expectations if your goal is to lose weight/gain muscle by a certain date. I use a nice safe rule of thumb – for most of us weight loss shouldn’t exceed 2 lbs/week, and lean muscle mass won’t normally increase more than 1 lb per month. There are clearly exceptions to this, but when someone with 18% bodyfat tells me they want to lose 20 lbs in 6 weeks I just tell them they’re setting themselves up to fail.
7) It’s about making your own decisions. I don’t have access to the operating expenses of any supplement companies. But I can guess that their advertising and packaging expenses represent an inordinate amount of expense versus other consumer products. If you want to try a supplement, go ahead, but do your research. Look for independent studies on the supplements you wish to try. And, keep in mind that anecdotal evidence does not constitute effectiveness. Just because your lifting buddy swears by Mauve Madness or some similarly color-named tub of powder, does not make it worth anything. There’s simply no magic pill.
8) It’s about keeping things in perspective. Unless you plan to compete, a week off or a missed day will not kill you. You’re not going to shrivel away to nothingness if you take a little time off. You have to balance this with the need to just show up. Give yourself scheduled breaks. By making this a lifelong endeavor rather than getting ready for next spring, the bumps in the road become much smaller.
9) It’s about having fun. I said earlier that if you can’t find enjoyment in the journey, then it will be very difficult to reach your goals. You’ll see that many people in the journal section share a journal. This “virtual lifting partner” is a great way to keep the motivation up, and to try new things when the old workouts get stale.
10) It’s about how we feel and how we think of ourselves. Sure it’s nice to hear from someone else that we look great, but unless we’re competing what really matters is our own opinion. As a corollary to this, rely upon the mirror to evaluate yourself. We live in a digital age, and we all love to throw around numbers – particularly regarding bodyfat, maximum lifts, and the like. However, we’re not digital creatures. Our bodies are all slightly different, and bodyfat measurements in particular have substantial errors in measurement. They are a GUIDE, not an end upon themselves.”
Thank you David Ames!
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