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The MATRIX we call bodybuilding



Sep 8, 2010
Written by AJ

As if life is not allready confusing enough, we find ourselves venturing into the information quagmire of bodybuilding and somehow we add another degree of convolution to our allready confusing daily lives.
One thing you learn with bodybuilding or just getting in shape in general is there is a lot of misleading misinformation out there.
People will tell you all sorts of shit they heard from "THEY", well THEY say....and THEY say this nauseam. Its no small wonder many people up and quit their new found endeavor right off the bat, overwhelmed with information leading them in 360 degrees simultaneously is just a bit much for the human brain to rationalize, let alone apply and follow.
On the forums you see this come to the surface with many of the younger and fresher trainees, looking for advice with their cycle, diet and training.
The best advice I can personally give anyone who is just starting down the path of bodybuilding is this simple cliche "It all works, just not for long".
May sound confusing, but in the end, personal experience through trial and error will be your greatest learning tool for gaining experience and know how with your training.
Balancing 100's if not 1000's of variables on a daily basis is no easy task and Im sure all the more daunting for some one who has just taken their first steps towards improving their physique.
The three big concerns are obviously, diet, training, and rest...supplements, illegal or legal, add another whole different level to the maze of creating success as a new bodybuilder.
I want to outline a few things that can simplify those early stages and keep things simplified in order to keep one's training on track and making gains.


I'm gonna start here. Most trainees will go to the gym for sure, its the logical starting point for any weight training program...if you are gonna lift, its going to be where the weights and apparatus are kept.
Training programs are some of the most confusing bullshit I have ever seen. If you venture out onto the forums in our community you will here the fad names left and right.
FST-7, DC training, German Volume Training, 5x5, 10x10, etc...etc...
Once again here is the starting point, which program best suits me?
Well, really its an oxymoron, they all do and none of them before you think WTF AJ has lost it, read on and understand.
Much like the Matrix, I nor anyone else can TELL you which is best, you simply have to pick some sort of program at random, but that fits your lifestyle and see how it works for you. Much like a roulette wheel the ball may fall on just the right number the first spin, but most likely you will find that you need to try 2 or 3 before you come across the bowl of porridge thats 'just right'.
Thats OK, you have now learned something, what does and what does not work best for you.
Integrating a workout routine into your life's schedule is another added consideration. Many people have a finite amount of time to dedicate to the gym and eating.
Having a program that institutes large amounts of volume and training time may not be the best suited. Find the program that allows you the best amount of training results while allowing you time enough to do all your daily chores, and job.
Once you have begun the tailoring of training programs into your life, you will need to consider the fact that eventually the program will yield less, and less, results. A plateau is an inevitability for almost all trainees, be prepared to have to change onto another program.
I use a semi periodization program, where periods of heavy weights are alternated with lighter weights and more feel repetitions, also where volume is higher than lower for a period. Keeping homeostasis at bay and allowing equal recovery is very important.
Some people can handle more stress, for longer periods. Others need to have short bursts of stress periods and more downtime with easier recovery oriented training.
Once again- TRIAL and ERROR is the only way to figure this out, no one can tell you whats best for you, they can merely make suggestions based of what they learned...THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR.
You must be responsible for making these learning mistakes, and successes in your own training and coming up with your own highly personlized training program that bests suits YOU, not Ronnie or Jay.

This has to be THE most confusing of the facets...DIETS are all over the place, ratios of macros, keto, Palumbo, modified carb cycling, bulking, cutting, etc...
Genetics play a tremendous role here. One guy has the glocose tolerance of a humpback whale and another the glucose tolerance of a small rodent.
Obviously they cannot succeed on the same diet, no matter how well it may have worked for others, specialization is a key element here.
Calculation of caloric intake is the first step in setting up a diet. There are several equations out there for calculating total caloric intake at the basal level...I suggest using at least 3 of them taking the 3 caloric totals adding them and dividing by 3. This should give you about as an acurate number of kcals for a day as you can get.
You will need to factor in your lifestyle active, semi active, or sedentary, and come up with a working number.

Harris Benedict

Calculation of TDE and daily factors
But once you have this number you are still not done. This number is based off an average, well obviously you are a single individual and we will be dealing with your quirks in your metabolism. They will be distinctly different from the next persons.
Metabolic rate, body mass index, and tolerances to certain macronutrient intakes will need to be assessed more or less on the fly.
For me creating a baseline diet is a matter of 1.5 grams per lb, of lean mass, and 2-3 grams of carbs per lb of lean mass, depending on weather weight loss or weight gain is the goal, I usually get my fat from EFA's and naturally occurring sources with in the food, some will need additional dietary fat, I do not require it so much. Once again, THATS ME, not everyone else, I learned that through personal trial and error.
Once you establish YOUR baseline diet, it is a matter of following it for 2-3 weeks then making tweaking adjustments as you go, if more cals need be added, they can come from carbs, protein, fat or all 3 depending on what you have experienced with the baseline up to that point.
Its about experimentation here, so dont be afraid to manipulate macros in a logical manner until you get your desired results, once again, when you do; you have made one more personal discovery.
Its all about experimentation, and observation, making changes off what you see in the mirror. Dont be swayed by others who say that will never work! I have seen individuals at contests who all looked great, and all used methodologies that they learned through trial and error and were completely different from one anothers. YET they all looked amazing! Were they all WRONG?? NO!
Just all different, there is no davinci code here folks, just an ordering of disorder, even then there is some margin for error, most diets on their best day are somewhat of a best guess, dont let anyone tell you they have it down to the single kcal or macro- just laugh and move on.
With diets as well with training, they can stagnate, so be ready to make changes on the fly and dont be afraid to experiment.

WOW! Lifestyle is a killer here. Some of us work 2 jobs, some of us have it easy others have to bust out the grind of daily life 7 days a week.
You must get rest to achieve success with your physique goals. 6-8 hours is a good number for most.
I personally get 7 and Im fine, others require 8-9.
I will say this: When you are growing and pounding down the food, your body will require MORE rest, when you diet you will find you require less.
The energy required to build extra muscle is a good bit of strain on the bodies physical ability to recover, if the needs are not met, despite the caloric intake the likelyhood of overtraining goes up!
I know this seems counter to conventional wisdom, but it can happen.
Once again we are dealing with individual tolerances, one person can recover faster and on less than another.
Guaging how your body feels, and how rested you are for each and every workout is paramount, overtraining and possible injury are real sidetrackers for keeping gains rolling,
Be very aware of how your body feels, and dont be afraid to take extra time off if needed. I found out the hard way last year and I ended up sick, and not able to train hard enough to make the gains I needed, because my bodies demand for sleep and recovery went WAY up.
Be vigilant over your bodies signals, the gym isn't going anywhere and some time away can be as much mentally refreshing as physically.

Supplements/Anabolics/Chemical enhancement:
Well I could write a book on this part of it all. Bottom line is people will tell you this works great for them and they tried this and that and it sucked.
Talk about confusing, geez!
Bottom line with legal supplements are these:

* Whey Protein
* Creatine
* BCAA's
* Glutamine
* Multi Vitamin
* Fish Oils

I could name a lot more and some people wouldnt use some of those, but they are some of the most basic and helpful of the supplement world.
Again, personal experimentation is needed, read on the boards and see which sups people use the most and will go out and say are beneficial, the ones that get high marks again and again will work for the majority of us, but not all...some of us will be non responders, one way or another by trying the sups you will learn which are helpful and which are a waste of money.
Beware the marketing that says it will enhance recovery by %1100, this is usually not being up front, lets say your recovery is gaining 1/100 a lb of muscle every 12 hours, so whats %1100 look like then? Doesnt seem like such a big number in that context, thats just a hypothetical range of numbers but I think you get the point.
AAS, well this is the part of the game I dislike, because the mis info on AAS is just rampant, seen as a shortcut more than a tool AAS are the most highly overrated part of the supplement game.
They are very effective but by no means will erase the mistakes made with diet, training and rest.
They only ENHANCE what ever your doing at present, and quite simply AAS 'turn on' protein synthesis, they dont turn you into a pro bber overnight.
The permutations of cycles I have seen from people are infinite and all in hopes of finding the perfect protocol to get some hidden treasure trove of growth that hasnt been tapped into allready.
Throw in some insulin and peptides and you have a really confusing mess of chemical stew that the trainee now has no idea whats doing what?
My advice here is to use long acting test esters (cypionate, enanthate) and only those in the beggining of use of AAS.
The KISS principle applies here, then run the cycle and log it...determine HOW it affected your training, diet and sleep patterns, use this knowledge for each subsequent cycle, build a wealth of personal experience by being observant of the simple things.
Trying to run a cycle with 3 substrates and insulin, GH, IGF, MGF and some t3 maybe, will only confuse matters. Save those cycles for further down the road once you have gained the experience of what one single ester can do by itself.
Becoming sucked in by the fascination of AAS is something we all go through, but they can be the most useless of supplements if not used properly, they are not a catch all for the things you are not doing right with diet, excercise and rest.

Its quite allright to ask for 'advice' from more seasoned vets in the fact I would encourage it. But dont think that I or anyone else can simply tell you how to do it.
No, we can tell you only what we have read, and personally experienced for ourselves or with other far as YOUR program its a blank sheet of paper, and you have the pencil in hand...No one can tell you what you will need to do, and what the outcomes of various experimentations you attempt in your journey to gaining the physique you want will be.
YOU mus take those steps ALONE...advice is just that, advice, its not the gospel on what will work for you, use the advice you receive as feeback, guidelines, suggestive use plans, but not as etched in stone, that part is up to you.
Every man must make his own path in this world and in the microcosm of bodybuilding its no different, personal experience will be your best guide through the matrix.
Remember what Morpheus told Neo...."No one can tell you what the matrix have to experience it for yourself"
So I present you the red and blue pill, the choice is yours but ultimately the outcome of your training program will be determined through YOUR own experiences.
Good luck.
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