Building Muscle

Another great article that hits one of my passions (next to gardening) on the head….pumping iron. You Need More Weight by Ron White


Although it has been 20+ years since oiling up for competition, lifting weights and competitive bodybuilding is where I learned my most valuable lessons. When you talk intention and intentional actions, your body is the canvas and your chisel is the weight and movement in the dumb and barbells.

With the body and mind being one, the most interesting thing is “muscle memory”. Muscle memory is eternal……….How do you build muscle?

If you answered “exercise,” then you are partially right. For the most part, exercise is not what builds muscle. Exercise maintains the muscle you have already built, yet it only actually builds muscle when that exercise goes into uncharted territory.

“You need more weight.”

That is one of my best friend’s favorite things to say when we work out. If I am throwing up 225 pounds on the bench press and there is no struggle, he is the first to either add more weight or demand reps. I used to say, “No man, I want to control this weight first. I want to do eight solid reps of 225 before I move on to something else.” His reply would be, “Are you here to build muscle or maintain what you have?”

My particular goal at the time was to build muscle, so I would (knowing he was right) reluctantly say, “Build muscle.” His matter of fact retort was, “Okay, then you need more weight or more reps – maybe both.”

You see, when lifting weights your muscle is built when it goes beyond its comfort zone or literally stretches beyond what you have done before. If I had lifted six reps and I was spent – I also knew that there was no way my set was over. Just as I am about to give up, I hear the voice spotting me blurt out, “One more… come on… it is all you… one more… you got it… push it up.” My friend, Brian, will consistently push me to do one more than I would if he wasn’t there, and that is why when I work out with Brian my muscles are consistently in the growth zone.

If you are doing a set of 10 reps and are spent – you will get 90% of your growth if you do an 11th or 12th rep. The first 10 are maintaining what you have. The final two are the growth reps – these are the reps where you stretch yourself.

I have found that success in life is very similar to building muscle in the gym. If you are doing what you are comfortable with or can do easily, you never will grow. You will never expand to reach your full potential. Growth only occurs in life when you are pushing yourself to something new. This could mean learning a foreign language, learning to play an instrument, conquering your fears or pursuing your life-long dream of building a business, writing a play, authoring a book or talking to people that you normally would shy away from.

Growth in life is going to come when you are pushing yourself to lift the weights of life that you can only lift with a spotter. This means that you should not be afraid to team up with others and rely on them in your effort to grow. If you are going to build muscle in the gym you are going to need to do two things: #1 Lift more weight; #2 Have a spotter. The answers for success in life are very similar. Sometimes a spotter in life could be a personal life coach. There is absolutely no doubt that they will push you to lift more weight and be there to spot you when you feel that you can’t get the weight off your chest.

Go for more weight this week and get yourself a spotter!


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