March 3, 2018 Damon Hayhow

My Experience with Hardcore Bodybuilder Training

For several months I was struggling to focus on my training for a variety of reasons. I still trained every week and I trained hard and heavy when I did. But when you measure your performances like I do it makes it very hard to lie to yourself that you aren’t going backwards when the numbers prove that you are, in fact, going backwards. So I decided to do something new just to do something new. Ideally I needed to change my training so that I COULD lie to myself that I wasnt going backwards, and not know otherwise. So I decided to do bodybuilder training.

Bodybuilder training means I train more often and do more ‘stuff’ but never worry about how much weight I lift because apparently weight doesnt matter. Apparently worrying about the weight on weight-based exercises in the activity known as ‘lifting weights’, well, that is ‘powerlifting’. And Bodybuilding is not powerlifting… and that is all… You don’t need to know why weight doesnt matter other than to know that weight=powerlifting and bodybuilding is NOT powerlifting!!!

So I strut around commenting on my “insane pump” and “feeling the burn” and how its all about the “quality contractions”. I keep reminding everybody that “this is bodybuilding, not powerlifting” as I put really light weights on exercises they all know I can lift more on. Then I explain how I’m “carving in the separations” by “squeezing the muscle” and that I’m “using my mind to make 20lb feel like 200lb” because the “muscle can’t see the weight”. And though I’m quoting verbatim all the stuff thats written in bodybuilding magazines, people still look at me with a knowing smirk that I am being a dickhead and everything I am saying is idiotic rubbish.

But I can’t help that a tinge of sarcasm comes through in my voice when I announce during 15kg dumbell curls that I am “visualising my biceps being like the craggy mountain peaks of the Alps”. I’m trying – Im trying hard – to do the bodybuilder thing and say the bodybuilder things but it really is the most ridiculous crap. So its hard to keep a straight face.

though I’m quoting verbatim all the stuff thats written in bodybuilding magazines, people still look at me with a knowing smirk that I am being a dickhead and everything I am saying is idiotic rubbish

I do like that when I just cannot be bothered working hard that I can blurt out some random, stupid, closed-statement like “2 plates per side is enough for growth”. Because with bodybuilding your statements dont even need to make sense. Like I can say “Im using a close grip to make my pecs go more forwards and not so much wide” and in bodybuilding gyms people seem to nod like its the spoken word of Confucius. So long as its always “about the quality contractions and not the weight”, its all good. But when I say it, people laugh at me and the stupidity of the statements. I agree its stupid. But why does everybody else seem to believe it until I say it, then they know I am being stupid?

I also like the ridiculous excuses I can make for pathetic performances. Like the other day after I’d “smashed my pecs til they were totally on swole, man” and I then “destroyed my delts”. I started with rear laterals to bring out the rear head of the shoulder and get that “real cannonball” look to the delts. Yeah, those rear laterals really round out my delts. Then I “worked on my width” with a few sets of laterals to “bring out the side head” and build the “cap” on the delts to emphasise my V-taper. Of course I made sure to twist my little fingers to “work the trap-delt tie-ins” (to be honest, I still dont actually know what it means to ‘work the tie-ins’ assuming the ‘tie-in’ is the gap between 2 muscles. But hey, who am I to use common sense)? I pyramided up each set, of course, and kept my reps in the “8-12 range for hypertrophy” (cos 7 reps is powerlifting – and bodybuilding is NOT powerlifting!!! – and 13reps would be… I dunno… triathlon or something).

After I “pre-exhausted” the delts I went to the Military Press for “my main mass builder”. I was “smashed” so I barely got 9 reps. Phew. I just made it into the growth range. Nevermind that I’d normally do the same weight for 30. Weight doesnt matter and 30reps is aerobics. Military Pressing 110% of bodyweight for 30reps aint impressive; its just… confusing. 9 reps with a weight I can normally do 30 reps with is making my muscles increase in size – but not strength – cos I stopped at 9 and thats between 8 and 12 which is hypertrophy. And hypertrophy is good; like brocolli. Its just good. See, its all about doing the right number of reps and stopping. You don’t want to go over or…um… honestly, I have no idea; but you just don’t!

Next set I only managed 6. Damn. No growth. 6 isnt enough for growth. But I did get some strength. 6-8 for strength see. Or was that 3-5 for strength? Dammit! I got it wrong and now I won’t know what I got til… again, I’m not really sure when I am supposed to actually ‘get’ something out of this? Oh yeah, “the mirror never lies”… I don’t know how that relates either but bodybuilders seem to just throw in those closed statements all the time as though the relevance was self-evident; though it never is.

So try as I might, I can’t pretend NOT to know that everything I just said there was just plain stupid. Its ridiculous stupidity. I’m honestly TRYING to say it the same way that the bodybuilders do but I just cannot help notice that it still sounds idiotic.

And yet apparently I am the crazy, radical one? I have crazy ideas about training because I believe that training hard and eating perfectly is the most effective way for looking your best? I am crazy because I think that practicing the activity of lifting weights should result in getting better at lifting weight? Apparently THAT’S all crazy? Apparently what I suggest is really confusing. But all the bodybuilding stuff I wrote above, that makes sense? I just don’t know what I am missing?

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Damon Hayhow

Damon Hayhow has been in the body recomposition (Recomp) and bodybuilding industry for 30 years as a coach, competitor, gym owner, teacher, sponsor, show promoter, judge and MC. He has won National competitions in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, set world records, and coached others to the same success in strength sport and physique competition.

Body recomposition diet and training concepts based on logic and reason; not scientism