When we arrived at The Watermark we were first reunited with ANB National President Robert Powell who always gives us a warm welcoming reception. Robert has done so well with the ANB Federation in creating such a great organization for natural athletes both in terms of a level playing field and looking after the competitor's interests. His shows are always so well received and the atmosphere is one of excitement, energy and entertainment every single time. Robert and I were chatting for some time about how things were progressing and in particular about the great news of the ANB kicking off in WA later this year with a show scheduled for September 29th. We also were very mindful of the commitment and effort that both Maria McCarter and David Salamon have put into this event so as to get it up and running.
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As I have discussed before the journey to the bodybuilding stage is really the greatest part of your preparation. It is a true test of your internal fortitude, character, dedication and will-power that can be a source of tremendous satisfaction once you reach your goal of achieving your lifetime best condition. The stage time should be awesome and incredible giving you memories you'll take with you for the rest of your life. Some people say they can't wait for it to be all over, this is the wrong attitude as you should soak up and cherish every minute. If you enjoy your time onstage then the audience will pick up on that and be drawn to looking at you. So will the judges and that can't be a bad thing now can it!? And let's not forget the post contest reflections, including analyzing your great achievements with photos and contest DVD's, feedback from family and friends as well as setting new goals to be better next time. The post contest rebound is also a great way to make some terrific muscular gains as you launch into the off season.
Successful bodybuilders you will find are successful in many other parts of their life due to their passionate, focused, regimented and organized approach. They also possess a positive winning mindset, open willingness to learn and have a constant desire for self-improvement.
Exercise of the Month
Another friend of mine, Kurt, asked me for a good exercise that could add some mass to his legs whilst preserving his lower back. He was finding that the regular barbell back squat was hurting his lower lumbar spine which in turn was hindering his progress.
I actually experienced something similar with the barbell squat in that my very strong lower back takes over along with hips flexors and glutes with my quads not doing enough of the work.
My way of overcoming this was by squatting in the Smith Machine with your feet about shoulder width apart and placed directly under your hips as well as toes turned out at about 45 degrees. When performing the movement try to stay as vertical as possible by keeping your chest up whilst focusing on your form and looking straight ahead in the mirror.
Bodybuilding for me is not just a sport, it is a way of life that some people just don't understand. It has always been an avenue for me try and improve the way I look and feel but more importantly, in recent years, I have simply just enjoyed the physical act of training in the gym. No different to the way a jogger likes to run 10km or a golfer likes to hit balls on a driving range or a footballer attends a training session in the evening. All of these activities can result in some form of self-improvement if we persist. This gives us that passion and purpose we all need to keep evolving and developing personally. And of course those wonderful brain chemicals that are released during vigorous exercise induce a very pleasant euphoric feeling that is again necessary sometimes to help us deal with stress and clear our heads. I find that when I am in the gym and getting stuck into a workout I am able to live in the moment and push any worries of past, present or future to one side. Try to think of your training session as an appointment and time out for you. Even if you are time poor you can make great gains from only 3 or 4 sessions in the gym per week. And these need not be longer than 45-60 minutes each. Most of you would know by now, as I have outlined in previous blogs, that my low volume High Intensity Training certainly lends itself well to a busy lifestyle and allows you fit it all in.
Exercise of the month:
I have always been a great fan of the walking dumbbell lunge as a terrific unilateral movement that works almost every muscle in your your lower body. It is a very grueling exercise that is also very taxing on the heart and lungs. I usually perform lunges on the week that I do leg presses as my heavy compound exercise.
Just recently I added one legged leg presses to my Quad workout and did these after full squats instead of dumbbell lunges. This is a fabulous exercise where you can really focus on that all important mind to muscle connection. You need to leave your ego out of the equation here so as to maximize the muscle contraction whilst minimizing injury. I got a great pump in my quadriceps and was certainly hobbling around for a few days after that leg session!! It is a great way to finish your quad workout after pre-exhausting with Leg Extensions and Full Squats beforehand. Give it a try, especially if you want to isolate the quads whilst placing a bit less emphasis on the glutes.
Always great to reflect on the year that was and we all say how fast it goes but do we really sit down and look back on all the things that were positive that also felt like great achievements?? Sometimes we dwell way too much on the negatives whilst at the same time stress out about the future. Living in the moment and trying to incorporate more optimism with positive affirmations is yet another way we can improve our mindset and happiness levels. I have discussed at length how passion, purpose and love are essential ingredients to sustain a happy and fulfilling life but a close second to that is living in the now whilst "looking at the glass half empty as actually half full!"
Re: Craig's Blog #19!...
Hey Leonard, so glad you liked my Blog #19 buddy :-)) Always glad to be of service ;-) Hope you're t...
Thanks so much for creating a Blog. A great read with heaps of info that I can commence myself. Look...
--Leonard Alfred Birch
Re: Craig's Blog #13!...
Thanks Gemma for the kind words and glad you enjoyed Blog #13! Look out for Craig's Blog #14 in the ...
So great to read your achievements! Love how you have involved your family and they support you. The...
Re: Craig's Blog #7!...
As usual very informative and motivating. Thanks Craig for yet another awesome blog! Maria
Re: Craig's Blog #4!...
Thanks for that Lauryn I'm glad you enjoyed my Blog #4 :-))Kind regards, Craig W.
Cool blog Craig.. A really interesting read. :)Lauryn
--Lauryn Dina Meredith
Re: Craig's Blog #1...
Hi Craig, Great Blog. We look forward to having you be a contributor to the ANB site!