by Pam Kalstad, MS
How often do I eat? How many calories do I eat? How do I break those calories up? Do I need to eat an 80-10-10 diet? Or should it be 60-30-10? What about 50-20-30? Do I need to do cardio every day? How many minutes? What is the best type of cardio? How often should I lift? Do I lift low weight high rep? Or do I lift heavy weight and low rep? Or do I just need to go moderate with the weight and reps? When do I take supplements? What supplements should I take? How much water should I drink? Should it be warm or should it be cold?
These are just a sample of the many questions I have been asked by people wanting to know the secret to succeeding in the world of bodybuilding. All of these questions are great questions. Unfortunately, each question may have a different answer based upon the individual’s needs. However, one approach applies to ALL competitors and non-competitors alike.
You must become consistent in your training. Period. It’s your daily dedication that will be rewarded on the stage.
There is a saying I really like. OK there are a lot of sayings I really like; I am l greatly influenced by bumper stickers. But the saying that applies to the point I’m trying to make is ….. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. For example, I took French in high school and for a couple of terms in college. I was able to understand and to have a very basic conversation with other French students. I was very motivated to speak French at that time. However, a few decades have past and I’m left with Je m’appelle Pam and como talle vous. And I really don’t think that French people would be too impress with my ability to count to ten. Could this be because the French really are snobs as the stereotypes implies? Well, the only French person I’ve ever known was an older lady who always greeted me with a kiss on both cheeks and a pat on my tush so I’m going to say non!
So what happened? I was so motivated at the time but I never created a habit of speaking French. I lacked consistency. Had I consistently spoken French throughout the years I would be quite fluent in that oh so seductive sounding language. The same concept applies to creating a physique.
The secret to building a stage ready body is consistency. You need to put in the work even when your motivation is gone. Bodybuilding isn’t done by accident or by the weekend warrior. It is done by the dedicated who do the workouts who eat the foods and here’s a biggy- practice their posing (but that’s another topic in of itself.)
I know the next question. If all I need is to be consistent why do I need a coach or nutritionist? First, not all of us have the knowledge to advance ourselves. It’s ok to get help with dialing in your diet and exercise regime. A qualified coach and nutritionist should be able to address all of your questions with answers specifically related to your needs. Secondly, a coach has an objective eye. They see your progression, your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s hard to be objective of ourselves at times.
Some people are like me. I see every flaw and weakness. So much so that I was told by my posing coaches that I was no longer allowed to listen to myself but to listen to them. I was way too critical which showed in my posing. Now I just play their words in my head when practicing posing and walking on stage. Other people are on the over confident spectrum. You know who you are and please stop posting ass selfies. You get so fixated on a body part that you’ve been developing you forget that your physique is more than your rump! Everyone loves a great glute but a great coach will make sure that you are more than your backside. So you should be consistent with checking in with your coach. They will reward you for your hard work but will keep that much desired symmetry needed in a great physique.
Simply Put: Consistency