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Part 2: Twenty Ways to Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder

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By Brandon Cook

All fixed, set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”– Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee In Part 1, we learned that a “contrarian” is a person with a preference for taking a position in opposition to the majority. We also discussed why this may be an intelligent thing to do, despite the fact you may be considered a freak, a lunatic and/or put on house arrest for the remainder of your life.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about… you probably didn’t read Part 1 and should go do so immediately! Part 2 will still be here when you finish. lol

In this post we are going to cover the first Ten Ways You Can Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder. I’ll start off each point with what the majority of the people do when they first begin training and then explain how you should approach your training from the Contrarian perspective. Capiche’?!?!

Let’s do this!  8)

1. Most people… Join “Globo Gym” and hit the treadmills and the resistance machines hard!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: First learns to master his own bodyweight before later integrating barbells, dumbbells and other tools into his training. He rarely, if ever, uses resistance machines. He understands that progressive bodyweight exercises are how the ancient warriors, gladiators, and old time strongmen built their impressive physiques.

Handstand Push-ups Mastering his own body weight through the movement of space lays the foundation for his impressive strength development by stimulating higher levels of neuromuscular activity. As he progresses from easier exercises (such as wall push-ups or kneeling push-ups) to the harder variations (like ring push-ups and one-arm push-ups) he is also building up his joints, tendons, ligaments and  musculature to handle even heavier loads and move with raw unbridled power.  

As he develops mastery and control over his bodyweight he may decide to incorporate other exercises into his routine such as barbell squats and deadlifts and add new training implements like dumbbells or kettlebells for more variety.

2. Most people… Train the front of their bodies, focusing on the muscles they can see in the mirror!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Trains his whole body in a balanced way to maintain excellent posture and joint integrity. He may even put extra emphasis on training the musculature on the backside of the body, most commonly referred to as the “posterior chain.”

Posterior ChainHe understands that the muscles of the upper, middle and lower back, as well as, the glutes and hamstrings are the biggest and most powerful muscles in the human body. He recognizes the importance of these muscles in the maintenance of great posture and knows that his quest to become bigger, faster and stronger will require a well developed posterior chain.

3. Most people… Underestimate the importance of good nutrition and pay little attention to food quality!

 The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Studies and learns all that he can about optimal health and dietary practices. He realizes that nutrition is a vital determinant of his ultimate success in training and in life. There is no greater wealth, than a healthy body that continues to function well into old age.

He eats mainly organic whole foods that can be found in nature and rarely eats processed junk and fast foods that weaken and destroy his bodily systems. He knows these junk foods may taste good, but they have no nutritional value or substance to them. He sticks to wild caught fish, free-range and grass-fed bison, lean beef, chicken and game meats like venison.

Fruits and VeggiesHe eats whole eggs from free-roaming chickens. With most of his meals he includes copious amounts of vegetables like spinach and other leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, peas, green beans, onions, garlic and peppers. He eats at least two to three pieces of fruit each day, with some raw nuts and seeds as snacks. After his hard training sessions he also includes grains like oatmeal, or starchy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, rice or pasta to refuel his muscles and glycogen stores and shuttle amino acids to repair his muscle cells.

4. Most people… Try to force their bodies to grow by training for hours upon hours at the gym!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Works with his body by asking it politely to do just a little more than what it is capable of. He grasps the fact that progressive overload is the key to making size and strength gains, NOT endless, marathon training sessions that do little but make you tired and set you up for injury.

Deadlift He knows to warm up the body thoroughly, lift intensely doing just a little more weight or reps than he did in his previous workout. He then gets out of the gym in under an hour or less, once he has fully stimulated his muscles for growth. He realizes that training too much, too hard, and for too long are counterproductive to his goals of size and strength. The human body was designed for short bursts of intensity (fight or flight) or longer periods of low level activity (such as walking.)

By working with his body and slightly stretching himself beyond his comfort zone he allows the body to evolve and adapt naturally to the increased demands he is placing on it. In this way, he can assure continued progress without fear of needless injuries and burnout.

5. Most people… Think they know it all and refuse to “waste money” on an expertly designed training program!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Recognizes the advantages of learning from a qualified teacher who has helped others achieve the same goals he now aspires to. He knows from past experiences that wasting years of his life through ‘trial and error’ can be more costly in the end.

Muscle Gaining Secrets Therefore, he chooses to “invest” in himself by purchasing a strategically designed training program from a strength coach he trusts, admires and respects. He understands that such an expert can help him make progress at a rapid pace by leading him down the surest and quickest path to success while avoiding the common pitfalls and training mistakes made by the average trainee.

Most importantly, by leveraging other people’s knowledge in this way, he knows that someday soon he will become the expert to which other people refer.

6. Most people… Expect immediate results and need instant gratification to stay motivated!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Understands that lasting results come through consistent and dedicated training over time. He realizes that being strong, healthy and muscular is a way of life, not something you do for a couple months before summer arrives or as a new year’s resolution. True strength and power takes time to build and in order to maintain them, one must be able to continue to train.

Tough Ol' ManFor that reason, he lifts with the long-term in mind and spends the necessary time to build a solid foundation upon which he can build in the years to come. He is not in a hurry to achieve and is able to delay gratification by remaining true to his purpose.

He may not always feel motivated, but he has the discipline and will power to train in spite of how he feels at the moment.

7. Most people… Look for magic pills and potions to help them transform quick and effortlessly!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Knows deep down that there are no secrets and no shortcuts to an amazing body. And even if there were, such as anabolic drugs, he doesn’t want them because he understands that they often come with a hidden price tag… one that he isn’t willing to pay. Secretly, he may be tempted like everybody else, yet he realizes that if he were to achieve his ideal body without putting forth the hard work and effort, than his success would mean little or nothing to him in the end.

The truth is that when he achieves his goal he will have earned it through months and years of focused labor and commitment. He will have paid his dues and time in the trenches… leaving a trail of blood, sweat and tears in his wake. When he looks in the mirror he can rest assured, facing himself with pride and confidence and the knowing that he has walked a path that few men dare to undertake.

VitaminsThat being said, he is smart enough to realize that certain supplements can provide nutrients where his diet may be lacking. So, as a precautionary measure he takes a high quality multivitamin, extra antioxidants such as vitamins C & E, and takes a premium fish oil product to provide his body with the healthy omega 3’s (DHA & EPA) that fight off inflammation, soothe the joints and keep his brain healthy.

A high quality protein product may also be used as a meal replacement and for his post workout shakes. In addition, he may integrate other such supplements (such as Vitamin D or Creatine) into his diet as well, after studying them thoroughly. Yet stays far away from the latest marketing gimmicks produced by unscrupulous companies.

8. Most people… Underestimate the importance of rest and sleep in the muscle building process!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Fully understands that muscles do not grow in the gym, they grow during sleep and rest. He recognizes that training his muscles is actually a process of tearing them down and then allowing them to rebuild during his time away from the gym. He knows that they will only grow back stronger if he gives them the essential recovery time they need to adapt and overcompensate.

Alarm ClockSleep is vital in this growth and repair process by also flooding the body with testosterone and growth hormone (two highly anabolic hormones.) He may decide to supplement with zinc and magnesium (ZMA) shortly before bed to help him relax and to provide two vital minerals for peak testosterone production. He accepts that he needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night and does whatever it takes to ensure his sleep is of the highest quality and sufficient duration.

This may include making sure the room is cool, comfortable and dark with minimal electronic equipment present. If possible, he works to get in sync with his own natural circadian rhythm, rising with the sun and retiring shortly after it sets.

9. Most people… Train by using the latest split program they copied out of a muscle mag!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Carefully selects or designs his program based on his goals, body type and ability. He knows that copying an advanced bodybuilder’s routine is the surest and quickest path to failure and frustration.

Marine doing pull upsTo make progress as a natural trainee he must train as frequently as he can within his body’s ability to recover from his workouts. Therefore, he typically will train 2-4 days a week employing the use of full body workouts or upper/lower body splits.

As a natural bodybuilder, he understands that this is the optimal frequency for size and strength gains. By making use of full body workouts he can hit all of his major muscle groups 3 times a week therefore providing a sufficient training stimulus to induce hypertrophy and strength gains.

He is also training his body and muscles to function as an integrated unit, which is exactly the way nature intended. In this way, his training leads to better performance and functional strength in the real world.

10. Most people… Give up at the first sign of failure, injury or defeat!

The Contrarian Bodybuilder: Is wise enough to know that one rarely succeeds at their first attempt at anything. If he is knocked down, he will always get back up because he realizes that any adversity or failure he meets is only a temporary setback.

Failure is simply the process by which one learns and evolves in this world and so if he falls short, the contrarian will analyze his approach to see what was working and what was not. Once he determines what he could have done better he will recreate his plan and make a second attempt. If that attempt also fails, he will seek out new information, hire a coach or in some other way work to embetter himself for his next effort.

KnockoutHe intuitively knows that there’s always a solution to any problem he faces and eventually that solution will make itself known. If it takes him 10,000 attempts to reach his goal, he will not fret, for he knows that with each shot he takes he is learning valuable lessons which help him to improve his aim along the way. If this is truly his heart’s desire, he will NEVER give up until his desire has been fulfilled.

I’m Just Gettin’ Started…

Well there you have the first ten principles! In Part 3, I will cover the remaining 10 Ways to Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder and achieve your ideal physique by doing the OPPOSITE of what most trainees do!

Until then, please tell me what you think about the Contrarian perspective on Bodybuilding so far? Has this opened your eyes to new ways of approaching your training or not? Leave your answers (or questions) in the comment section.

Thanks again for reading, YOU ROCK!



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4 Responses to “Part 2: Twenty Ways to Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder”

  1. Jesse Says:

    For real, all good advice.

  2. David Says:

    Really a reminder and motivation to me. I would say I’ve done these 10 :D

  3. Brandon Says:

    That’s awesome David! Keep at it.

  4. Paul Says:

    I completely agree with this post. I believe someone has no business on a bench if they can’t do pushups. I say at least twenty decline pushups on a stability ball before you even attempt a bench press. What you talk about with the full body exercises and the nutrition is what I am all about. In fact I quit my gym. I now do body weight exercises, and sandbag training. I tell everyone I know that you don’t need a gym to get in great shape. I also tell them you don’t need to be in the gym for hours. Most of the time though they don’t believe it and want to do their 2 hour session. You are right on in this post. Nice Job!

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