Being the best and performing at the ultimate level requires a unique threshold for focus and determination in order to succeed. Very few actually possess this trait which is why there are so few ‘greats’ of all time. That said, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to be the best in the world at your sport or if you’re just trying to be the best your capabilities will allow, you still need something to focus and zone in on so that you have a clear path to follow. When you eliminate what you deem unnecessary from your life to attain such focus, some will call it being obsessed while others will chalk it up to tunnel vision. What they don’t see however is that your tunnel vision has multiple targets all relating to your training and progress. As a bodybuilder you have to have clearly defined targets and a scope through which you can see these targets in order to ensure success and this is where you start.
Target #1: Strength Gains
Your primary goal in the gym once you’ve established all of your lifting patterns is to increase your strength. It will be the initial gauge of your progress as you continue to work through your programs. Progressive overload, with each week that passes, is a true indication that gains are occurring, the muscles are engaged and adaptation to the stress you are applying to your body is taking place. So in the early stages of your bodybuilding career and all throughout, make sure you put an emphasis on getting stronger in one or all areas of your training regardless of where you’re at within your experience.
Target #2: Change in Body Composition
The second target you should set your sights on is how your body is responding and changing to the stimulus of training and nutrition. You are looking for positive changes and a transformation from where you began to where you hope to end. This means that lower body fat levels are a priority coupled with a significant increase in lean muscle mass. Remember, you are a bodybuilder so your goal should be to always look like one. This may prove to be the hardest of all targets to hit simply because of how important diet is with respect to body composition. The old saying, “you are what you eat” really does hold true when it comes to balancing muscle and fat gains so be sure to pay particular attention to this area.
Target #3: Lifestyle and Sustainability
Your final target is going to be the real test for you. How long can you actually sustain this type of lifestyle where meal preps, training times, cardio work, therapy sessions and paying close attention to what you see in the mirror coupled with the number on the scale along with the possibility or reality of competing is so important? It really is a lot when you think about all of the other non-related bodybuilding tasks you are responsible for day to day as well. Balance is a word of hot topic lately in the bodybuilding world and when it comes right down to it, you have to be comfortable with the decisions you make for yourself in this regard. Remember, you love this sport and got into it because of what it did for you in hopefully many aspects of your life so finding a place that provides space and room for all of your happiness is how you sustain this lifestyle.
Tunnel Vision and the End Result
While there is a tremendous amount of truth behind the whole finding balance bit, you still have to realize that if you’re trying to reach the pinnacle of anything in life, there are going to be times when nothing else can matter. Real tunnel vision, where you can only see the target right in front of you and nothing else, is something that’s just going to happen whether you can control it or not. The key is to not let it lock you in for too long but just long enough to achieve your milestones along the way while providing a little break in between. As much as think you’re going to enjoy the end result, it’s just as important to enjoy the journey along the way so make sure you poke a few holes in that tunnel to allow some light in as you travel to your final bodybuilding destination.
There is no doubt in my mind that the gym will always be a part of who you are and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. What you do need to keep in mind is that life and training will throw moving targets your way and it’s your ability to hit those targets on the run that will be the deciding factor in your overall happiness. Always train with your sights set on new goals, be flexible in your approach, turn up the focus and intensity when need be and enjoy yourself. If you can do that, much like your muscles, the bullseye on your targets will just get bigger and bigger.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member