Letters To My High School Self

March 7, 2014


I see you’ve been messing around with some weights, and I like it. Most of it anyway. You’re getting obsessed with the right things, and all this energy you’re putting into the gym is the beginning of a love affair that’ll serve you well for the rest of your life. You’ll understand this one day.

Here’s the thing, though. Since you’ve started lifting, you’ve had a lot of people give you a lot of advice. They’ve had something to say about everything you do in the gym. This is good because people are noticing what you’re doing, but it’s also bad because they’re introducing you to the awfulness of “bro-science.”

Now, you haven’t been at this for very long, but you’ve already heard a ton of this crap:

“Bro, you can’t train a bodypart more than once a week. You’ll overtrain, and you won’t get any bigger!”

“Protein is great, bro, but if it’s not the can with the skulls and the lightning bolts on it and you don’t drink it at exactly 3 p.m., you won’t grow!”

When you get older and you’re more experienced in the gym, you’ll come to realize that bro-science comes from two types of people, both of which you’ll learn to avoid:

  • Guys your own age and experience level who, while they love the sound of their own voices, actually know less about training and nutrition than you do.

  • Guys who don’t have a clue as to how they actually built their own muscle, like the rare guy who hit the genetic lottery or the increasingly not-so-rare guy who had a little (ahem) help.

The first thing you need to know about getting big and strong is that millions of guys have already done it, and they’ve left clues. Flip through the pages of this magazine and you’ll see plenty of guys who can tell you what to do without wasting your time with bro-science. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to building muscle. Just ask someone who knows. They’re everywhere.

Who are they? Well, the guys who won’t lead you down the wrong path aren’t likely to come up to you in the middle of the gym and start telling you what to do. They’re back in the far corners of the room with heavy weights on their backs or in their hands, focused on what they need to do for themselves. They won’t pay attention to you unless you ask, so you’ve got to go back there and talk to them.

Do that and you’ll be surprised at what happens. That monster who just benched 405 for a set of 10? He’s able to do that because he’s obsessed with training — and people love to talk about the things they’re obsessed with. Ask him how he did it, and he’ll be happy to tell you — and it won’t be bro-science because you’ve already seen what he can do.

And when your bro-scientist friends disagree with the facts, you won’t need to worry, because you’ve already got it covered.

“What would you tell your high school self about training? Let us know at My High School Self