Having a Healthier Mindset in Bodybuilding
Fighting the mental strain
When it comes to weight training, while there is the risk of hitting a physical burnout, there is also the risk of a mental burnout. It is a long process to reach your genetic potential, so yes, even if you switch up your training and throw in progressive overload, or a deload week, or switch programs, you still run the risk of hitting a mental blockade where you can no longer allow yourself to get in the gym with a positive attitude, and that is okay. However, when it comes to bodybuilding, you do not want to allow yourself too much time off of the gym, as you risk losing size and strength. So, what do you do?
Boostcamp’s very own Michael Liu had the chance to sit down with Geoffrey Verity Schofield and discuss how to really enjoy the journey.
What is a Burnout?
Being burnt out refers to when you physically or mentally do not have it in you to continue training. It is a negative mindset that really bogs people down and keeps them out of the gym, sacrificing tons of gains that could be being made. Getting burnt out can happen to anyone, especially people who have been bodybuilding for a long time.
The training can get grueling, the diet can be too repetitive, the nights out that you have sacrificed to lift or stay on diet can take a toll on you, but you have to keep a healthy mindset. So how do you do it?
Bodybuilding is a Puzzle
Image courtesy of Instagram (@fello_cambronero)
Think about it, when you are building up the body, you are putting piece by piece together, this is the analogy that Geoffrey uses to describe the process. Each part of the body is a different piece of the puzzle. He goes on to say that you would not just buy the puzzle already completed, nor would you want to fast forward and have the puzzle completed for you, it is the process of constructing it that you fall in love with. The same goes with bodybuilding, you do not get your body to be right where you want it to be as soon as you start lifting. Instead, it is the process of building everything up that you fall in love with; the diet, the training, the rest and recovery, the supplementation, it is all part of the puzzle.
Geoffrey also uses the analogy of a video game, you do not instantly want to be at the maximum level, nor do you pay for the game to be finished. You play the game to enjoy the game. If you do not fall in love with the process, you have this hollowness. He also relates steroids to the topic, stating that it is almost like a “pay to win” type of thing, where people use these substances to get to where they could naturally after a few years of training.
Geoffrey states that having goals makes sense and is important, but the goal really should not be the end focus. Sounds backwards, right? Well, Geoffrey states that the people who are process focused, rather than goal focused, typically get to their goals faster, or at least get further along the road than those who focus solely on the end game.
He brings up the people that focus on getting beach ready, a lot of them tend to fall off and let themselves go after the summer is over. Geoffrey states that it would be easier to just enjoy the process year round rather than really put yourself through it for 3 months out of the year.
Ditch Unrealistic Expectations
Many people will look at influencers on social media and expect to look like them in no time. That becomes the main focus, looking like a Greek God or a superhero. Unfortunately, these are pretty unrealistic expectations to have. Then when they do not achieve that look, they get frustrated and give up, this is because they are goal oriented, and only see the end result that they desire, rather than falling in love with the process, and Geoffrey addresses that.
He states that someone who is process focused is a green flag that he looks for in new clients. A lot of people that come to him for training have these incredible goals, which is great, but many times expect results too soon, or their goals are very far out of reach. He states that sometimes you have to reel back the expectations, and that sometimes the expectations are sold to them.
He says a lot of these unrealistic expectations are fed by coaches that may not have a lot of clients, and will agree to anything as long as it brings in business. Geoffrey uses the example of being in a room full of 10 coaches, and if someone has a certain goal that 9 out of 10 coaches say is unreal, but the 10th coach says he has the secret to hitting those goals, then the person will believe that one coach. Then they are left with these unrealistic expectations that carry over to when they go to a quality coach, and they are left frustrated after being told that those goals are unrealistic. Thankfully, Geoffrey is at the point in his career where if someone asks him to put on 20 lbs of muscle mass naturally in 3 months (not realistic progression), he is able to turn them away.
Healthy Mindset Wrap Up
Overall, the key to having a healthier mindset in bodybuilding is to not focus too much on your end goal. Sure, having an idea of what you want in mind is great, but you do not want that to be your only focus. The process is where you really need to lock in and concentrate on, because that is where you grow. Bodybuilding is a marathon not a sprint. A great analogy is the one that Geoffrey said in the interview, it is like a puzzle, you do not buy a puzzle to just get the end result, you start a puzzle to do the process.