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But it is to these unhealthy extremes that one sometimes experiences in order to make a dramatic difference in a contest that allows only 12 weeks. After all, 12 weeks is not a long time, particularly for advanced trainees more so than novices. For advanced, there is not much muscle to gain and to produce good before and after photos requires extreme loss of fat - besides slouching, frowning, and no pump or tan in before photos.
Unfortunately, many people (particularly novices) who are unaware of benefits and application of long-term planning will burn out on such an endeavor, perhaps quitting exercise all together. After a 12-week stint of near overtraining (if they haven’t done so by contest’s end and if not understanding how to train), they conclude they cannot tolerate another 12-weeks of further self-inflicted torture, let alone another three years.
Not everyone entering these contests understand that it is a short-term solution... to see how far body can be pushed as quickly as possible. After that point, training must take on a more cyclic structure. This means maintaining most of what was accomplished during physique transformation followed by ‘easier’ off-season training and peaking infrequently thereafter. Fat loss may continue after contest, or prior to another peak, but 100% mental effort and extreme demands may only account for 8-12 weeks total throughout year once reaching an advanced stage. Training throughout remainder of year can still be tough, yet tolerable and never as demanding.
I don’t believe most beginner trainees realize importance of cycling or what needs to be done after a physique transformation challenge. Most magazines don’t talk about it, nor do bodybuilding books. They present general ideas and expect you to lift happily ever after. It is for this reason that physique transformation contests and magazines as a whole produce greater failure than success in. The thoughts of maintaining or bettering one’s physique after 12-weeks of grueling effort is enough to shatter anyone’s motivation. Believing that you must continue training in a similar manner (something to which we have all fallen victim) is best guarantee to exercise termination.
Interestingly, can you imagine loss in profits that supplement manufacturers (magazine owners) are encountering due to frustration of their readers and thousands dropping out of exercise - or perhaps no longer purchasing that magazine and supplements it endorses. If sound training information were provided, particularly long-term application, there would be more successes and supplement purchases from advanced trainees. Rather, supplement companies are hoping and expecting a new generation of customers to make up for those recently lost – short-term solutions for a quick buck.
Brian D. Johnston is the Director of Education and President of the I.A.R.T. fitness certification and education institute. He has written over 12 books and is a contributor author to the Merck Medical Manual. An international lecturer, Mr. Johnston wears many hats in the fitness and health industries, and can be reached at info@ExerciseCertification.com. Visit his site at www.ExerciseCertification.com for more free articles.