Intensity is the Key to Success…

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Question: I have been working out for the last year or so and have made a significant change in the way I look. I use mostly machines and was thinking about bodybuilding competition. Can I build a winning physique using machines or do I need free weights?
Answer: The “Old School” method of training is intensity using free weights but the better school method is a combination of free weights and machines to maximize your potential. The intensity is still needed to make changes but that comes with time and a learned ability to deal with the pain of hard core exercise. That is not just for bodybuilding but for building an athlete for any sport. Arnold said in the movie Pumping Iron, “You cannot be a champion if you cannot take the pain.”
The athletic performances you see on the courts or fields do not happen by chance. They are the product of hours of training, building muscle memory and learning to distinguish between training discomfort and the pain associated with damage. The level of pain registering mentally in champion bodybuilder who is in the last reps of a set is the same as someone who is a beginner or novice. The difference is how the champion associates the discomfort with positive growth, accepts it and continues while the beginner or novice fights it and ends the set.
Use a combination of both machines and free weights in your workouts. Cycle your training to include the machines that are effective for you and rotate those with the free weight equivalent of those machines every other week or so. Some machines are more effective than others and some machines don’t fit some people’s biomechanics and range of motion. I have seen people who just did not “feel right” with the movement a machine forced them into and were injured in the process. Poor form with free weights will do cause injury as well. If I were forced to choose one over the other, it’s free weights.
Whether you use free weights, machines or a combination, becoming a champion is a mental process before it becomes a physical manifestation. Don’t hold back in your training. Give 100% in both your workouts and competitions or as close as your mind and body will accept. Michael Jordan was not 100% in every game but he played consistently closer to 100% more frequently than his peers. If you have squeezed out every bit of effort every time, you can walk away after every workout and game, win or lose, knowing you had nothing left to give to change the outcome.
You may have to work on some aspect of your physique or game skills but that will come with more preparation on those areas. Remember this, your body will do whatever your mind directs it to do. Be mentally prepared and the physique or game skill will follow. Become a better athlete and by learning how to eliminate mentally preconceived limits.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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