Bodybuilding is a great sport. It teaches you some great lessons you’ll need throughout your life. For one thing, you’ll learn how to stick with a long-term project, despite all of the inevitable setbacks. For another thing, you’ll develop a great tolerance for physical discomfort, since successful body builders have to routinely push through what Arnold Schwarzennegger once called the pain threshold.
As if those two things were not enough put together, you will develop the kind of body that will lead to the respect of men and the admiration of women (and possibly other men…not that there’s anything wrong with that). Here are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind if you want to be successful at this body building thing as a teen.
It’s going to hurt
Now, this is not the 80s. The old notion of “no pain, no gain” is old hat, and has been proven to be ridiculous. As a yoga instructor once said, it is important to know the difference between discomfort and pain. Discomfort makes your body question whether to continue doing something. Pain makes your body want to stop, because the damage you’re doing is becoming too much. As a hard-charging youth, it’s all too easy to just push through everything on a steady diet of grit and obsession. But this is how people develop lifelong injuries. So learn the difference, and then stay on the discomfort side of it.
You should also bear in mind that for the first month or so, you’ll be feeling a great deal of discomfort. This is when your muscles transit through what is known as the alarm phase of muscle building.
Simply put, this is when your muscles don’t have any idea what’s going on, and so they assume you’re being damaged. It manifests itself as a warmth, and most any movement produces a mildly stabbing pain. You will experience an intense stabbing pain if you push too far during a set – this is its little brother, and you’ll get to know him well.
Stay off the stuff
If you’re going to be a body builder, you’re going to have to stay cleaner than most young people. Everybody knows that most teenagers are often drunk, high or both. But if you want to grow your muscles properly, you’ll have to abstain from that. You also need to stay away from things like steroids.
At your age, you have more than enough testosterone to experience unbelievable growth, just powered by eating protein, working out hard and being what you are – a growing machine. If you’re ever tempted to use roids, just remember hypogonaditis – it’s a medical condition in which your testicles shrink, because your hormones are all screwed up. It never goes away, either. That stops the smart people who care about their masculinity.