The first time I heard that phrase was in 1998, when I attended a weekend seminar with motivational guru Tony Robbins that concluded with walking across hot coals at 2:00 a.m. – really. It’s a powerful statement with more truth behind it than nearly all of us would care to admit. We all have things in our lives we wanted to pursue, whether it was a career, a relationship, a college degree, our own business, and so on. Yet we never did, or we may have started to chase those dreams and goals but gave up along the way. Why? There were always excuses to offer, often a whole litany of them. On the surface, these justifications for not achieving or even pursuing our goals seemed valid. On further inspection, and particularly when we are able to take a step back and view the situation from a more objective point of view, most if not all of our excuses are exposed as pure bullshit. When we give power and validation to our alleged reasons for remaining mediocre and unsatisfied, our goals for improvement crumble like a house of cards. We bodybuilders are no different. We all have a vision in our heads of our own ideal physique.
We also have plenty of excuses for why we don’t look the way we wish we did. What do you say we run through the top six most common excuses and tear them apart so you can get on track toward making progress?
Excuse #1 I have skinny genes.
Before I begin, let me state for the record that genetics are a very real and legitimate factor when it comes to physiques. The champions you see in these pages are all among the rare, gifted, genetic elite. They have advantages in bone structure, muscle belly length and shape, muscle fiber makeup, metabolism, and even androgen receptors that the rest of us were simply not blessed with. Now let’s put all that aside, because comparing yourself to them is like a guy shooting hoops at his local YMCA comparing himself to the late Kobe Bryant. We all start from somewhere, and we all must do the best with what we were given. Like a lot of you, I was the skinny kid, whom my asshole peers taunted with the nickname “Scrawny,” as it rhymed with Ronnie (so clever!). When I entered ninth grade in September of 1983, just about to turn 14, I was 4-foot-11 and 90 pounds – not even heavy enough to be a 98-pound weakling. Every ounce of muscle I gained was earned the hard way, so I know the struggles those with ectomorphic tendencies deal with.
Your metabolism is like a nuclear reactor, incinerating everything you eat and making any type of weight gain a monumental challenge. You might have lighter bones and narrow hips, which means you’re not built for super strength. All this means is that you will need to work harder and be more diligent about taking in an abundance of quality food on a consistent basis. Crying about it is like a person born into poverty complaining about how much tougher it is for them to eventually become wealthy. But aren’t those the most inspirational stories? And those of us who started offskinny typically have an easier time staying lean than others do. We can often get away with eating things like pizza and fries that would rapidly turn those with a slower metabolism into a fat-ass. Every bit of muscle you gain will be more impressive because it will be lean and defined, not soft and doughy. So maybe you’re what we call a “hard-gainer.” Hard is very different from impossible! Train hard and eat right long enough, and I promise you there will come a day when no one will believe you were ever skinny in the first place.
Excuse #2 I have fat genes.
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