All right, I'll admit it! I am horrible at following driving directions! I don't care how many times you tell me or how clear and detailed the instructions are to get from point A to point B, I will get lost. You know what is even more frustrating than being lost? After spending so much time driving down street after street, hoping the next street will be the right one, only to discover later (usually much later) that I took a wrong turn on the highway 20 miles earlier! It wouldn't matter how many streets I looked down at this point-that wrong turn long ago made my goal of finding the right street in that area impossible.

Unfortunately, many people training in the gym put themselves into similar scenarios when it comes to their bodybuilding efforts. Specifically, in the areas of training and nutrition-although they do so in totally opposite ways.

Bodybuilding, when done in an ideal manner, is a lifestyle. The ingredients that will make you an excellent bodybuilder-like training, eating correctly, supplementing what you eat, getting enough rest, and staying motivated to put forth your best effort-sprawl throughout your entire day. Only when you live this type of lifestyle day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, can you expect to earn the impressive distinction of becoming outstanding.

Whew! When you look at bodybuilding from that perspective, it seems like an overwhelming endeavor, doesn't it? Maybe that's why many of us who start ambitious attempts to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger come and go so quickly.

The trick to handling the challenges of this sport is devising a sensible plan to break them down into smaller, bite-size pieces. Maybe just putting one foot in front of the other is a more intelligent approach for keeping the situation manageable.

Two aspects of bodybuilding in which a sensible plan becomes especially important are the areas of training and nutrition. Organizing your thoughts and belief structures in these two areas of bodybuilding in ways that empower you- or in other words, bring strength and confidence to your efforts-is critical to your success-maybe even to your survival.

Oftentimes, many drug-free bodybuilders do just the opposite. They tend to make things more complicated than they have to be. These misguided lifters align their thoughts and belief structures in ways that totally disempower, confuse, and frustrate them. I believe we, as human beings, do this most of the time without being aware of what we are actually doing-even when we sincerely want to succeed.

In my opinion, we do this for basically two reasons: First of all, we simply lack the knowledge needed to make things more simple and effective. That's just the way things go sometimes. We often must do things the wrong way before we can figure out how to do them correctly. This is simply a part of the learning process in bodybuilding-and in most endeavors in life. If we are persistent enough, however, we can usually discover ways to accomplish these endeavors more easily and efficiently.

The other reason why we make things more difficult than they have to be is that we adopt the wrong strategy, mindset, or belief structure to figure out the right answers. That's not where the problem lies. As I stated earlier, doing things wrong before we do them correctly is normal.

The problem arises when we become inflexible in our approach-despite the fact that the same approach fails us time and time again. Especially when our approach was selected with a limited amount of experience or knowledge.

Through my appearances, articles, books, seminars, and website, I have had the unique privilege of fielding literally thousands of questions from bodybuilders from around the globe. I have discovered two common belief structures that threaten to destroy the foundation of many of these lifters' bodybuilding success. The two common mistakes in the way these bodybuilders view their efforts are

1. Most bodybuilders overestimate their level of competence and knowledge in the area of training.

2. Most bodybuilders underestimate their level of competence and knowledge in the area of nutrition.

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