12 Steps to Peak Your Physique in 2022!
Muscular Development|January 2022
Why do we make such a big deal out of a new year? These are after all abstract constructs that we humans came up with to delineate our lives into blocks of time: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. It’s what a new year represents that’s so important. It’s a chance at a fresh start, a chance to make changes for the better. As bodybuilders, time is always of the essence. It takes time to build muscle and to lose fat, and that’s assuming all methods and conditions are optimal. If they aren’t, you’re usually wasting time when you could be improving. I don’t want you to waste 2022, which is why I’ve come up with 12 steps you can start taking today so that the physique you have at the end of 2022 is superior to the one you started it with. Read on!
By Ron Harris

1. HONESTLY ASSESS YOUR PHYSIQUE

This may sound laughably easy, and it might be were it not for that key word “honestly.” I find that many if not most bodybuilders are either outright delusional and see something in the mirror far more impressive than what the rest of the world beholds or have become experts at being quite content to focus on their strong points while conveniently ignoring their weak points. I vividly recall a personal trainer at the World Gym in Pasadena, California in the ‘90s who had an excellent upper body, gifted with round, full muscle bellies. His physique actually reminded me a bit of ‘80s star Mike Christian, at least from the waist up. I never once saw him do anything for legs aside from a couple lackluster sets of leg extensions, and he always wore the baggy pants that were in fashion back then, even when it was 90-100 degrees out. It was evident in the way the pants billowed around his thighs that they probably didn’t measure much more than his arms. As it killed me to see someone with such elite genetics squander them by failing to develop a full half of his body, I called him out on it one time, telling him he really should build his wheels up to match. “But my legs is cut,” he responded, and that was that. As bodybuilders, we should all strive for balanced, proportionate physiques from top to bottom, front to back, and even from left to right (which is the actual definition of symmetry). With that in mind, strip down to your underwear and stand before a full-length mirror. Do your best to appraise your physique coldly and objectively the way a judge at a contest would. Are all the muscle groups evenly developed, or are there one or more that clearly lag far behind the rest of you? The chest, shoulders and arms tend to get the most time and attention among men in gyms, while legs and back are often relegated to second-class citizen status – and it shows. If you find you are unable to discern what’s good on your physique and what needs work, take some photos and submit them to someone on IG whose opinion you respect. I can tell you that I’ve been sent quite a few of those over the years. Some took my constructive criticism to heart and vastly improved their physiques over time. Others got defensive and butthurt, and never got any better.

2. FORMULATE A PLAN TO IMPROVE YOUR WEAKER AREAS

Now that you know what needs work, it’s time to strategize. Let’s say you finally realized or admitted that your back is a glaring weak point. Accept that whatever you have been doing for it up to now has been woefully insufficient and ineffective. Now you must come up with a new plan of attack. Maybe you will start incorporating tough but effective exercises you’ve been avoiding, such as pull-ups, deadlifts or barbell rows. You may decide to start working back twice a week with two different workouts, the way Ronnie Coleman did. The change could be something as simple as doing more than two or three exercises and calling it a back day. Whatever you do, you must formulate a specific plan and execute it. In many cases when someone blames poor genetics for a weak body part, the real culprit is lack of time and focus on it.

3. STOP BUYING THINGS YOU KNOW YOU SHOULDN’T EAT

I can tell by looking at most people if they eat clean or not. Often I find myself shaking my head because a person has a decent physique buried under a smooth layer of body fat, and that’s 100% due to their nutrition habits. People buy crap like chips, doughnuts, deli meat, and will eat their chicken and fish fried and breaded rather than grilled or baked. You may have seen any number of TV weightloss shows where one of the very first things the trainer/coach/expert does is visit the home of the overweight individual and throws out everything in their refrigerator and kitchen cupboards that they should not be eating. Though it appalls me to see food being wasted in this manner, it stands as testimony to an irrefutable truth: if you don’t have the wrong foods around, you won’t eat them. It takes discipline and dedication to eat clean. It’s so much easier to give in to cravings and convenience, which is a big part of why so many Americans are overweight these days. You know what you are supposed to be eating to look your best, lean and mean, and what you should stay away from. Stop buying the crap! Sure, you may still be tempted when you’re outside your home, but at least at home the only food options available will be clean and healthy.

4. START MEAL PREPPING AND SET A DEDICATED DAY AND TIME

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