The bodybuilding illusion and how to get strong and conditioned - Gymtalk

The bodybuilding illusion and how to get strong and conditioned

Fitness is now playing out like a scene from Fantasy Island.

The images that pummel your eyeballs on social media, while intoxicating, are about as authentic as a Lance Armstrong interview on sportsmanship.

Young men, juiced up like genetically modified watermelons, ‘flexing’ with all the grace of a catamite that has endured Caesar’s civil war, anavar and Trenbolone seeping through their pores like sweat from Bill Clinton’s palms at a teen beauty pageant.

Women, who have earned their fifth dan in the dark martial art of Airbursh-Fu, ‘sculpting’ their physiques with the aid of some Silicon Valley app yet claiming it was all thanks to some ‘booty band’ they wrapped around their legs while doing repeated sets of ‘butt clenchers’.

What an absolute clusterfuck of astronomical proportions.

Yet people are buying into this on a day by day, minute by minute basis.

That includes you.

How on god’s green earth do we escape this mess?

First we need to clear something up.

An Instagram physique consumes your life.

A full time job, 3 kids on the go and a beautiful wife you have to keep entertained?

Yet some 22 year old who still rides the wanking chariot at mummy’s house is preaching that you need a ‘side hustle’ and have to ‘hit the gym’ 6 times a week for a ‘push, pull, legs’ and if you don’t you’re a fucking loser who will burn in narcissist fuelled flames while humanity chuckles at your pathetic existence.

As if.

The harsh reality of ‘god tier Instagram genetics’ consists of…

  • copious amounts of SARMS/steroids
  • a perpetual calorie deficit
  • 8 hours unbroken sleep
  • stress management akin to that of a Shaolin monk
  • even more copious amounts of SARMS/steroids

All this before you even consider what workout program you need to bounce on.

Face facts kid.

Unless you’re an unemployed singleton financed by The Bank of Mummy & Daddy then this is about as realistic as Rolf’s Cartoon Club getting a second commission at CBeebies

However feel free to sip the cask of delusion and watch your life crumble.

So where does that leave us?

OK time to pull up the big boy pants and talk turkey.

Lets’s break this down int the 3 golden rules…

Rule 1 – Change your mindset

Ok I get it, everyone wants to look good in the buff.

Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

However to truly prosper and fill your flagon with gains then you need to eradicate the idea of a perfect physique from your social media frazzled mind.


It’s not in the human condition to feel satisfied. It’s the reason why we have large Hadron colliders and can fire Land Rovers onto Mars.

The minute your chest finally get’s that ‘pop’ then your calves will start to bother you.

As soon as the bicep peak reveals thyself then you realise that your tricep looks like David Attenborough’s flaccid penis.

It ain’t happening bro.

Time to ditch the mirror fixation

No more running into the disabled toilets in PureGym after a ‘push day’ and flexing hard for selfies while someone in a wheelchair is outside pissing their pants.

You’re never going to look like ‘lordofaesthetics’ on Instagram so just get it out your head.

You need to change your focus and channel that rage into something that you can control, measure and BENEFIT from.

Your actual fitness levels and your ability to kick arse.

Instead of thinking ‘how do i look’, think ‘how do I get strong and conditioned’.

Remember that mantra.


Rule 2 – Get strong

These 2 hour long, 6 day a week sessions that ‘striatedbuttocks’ on Tik Tok claims you need to do, if you want to conquer Mount Gainius are actually holding you back.

Especially if you sip from the ‘natty’ cup

How are supposed to apply the degree of intensity to lay down new tissue, over that whole session?

A natural trainer, especially one under time constraints, needs to strip back the fluff and focus on the big lifts.

No more than 3 per session.

A session that takes 60 minutes to complete.

3 lifts allows you to apply laser focus and unleash absolute fury on those exercises.

None of this dilly dallying bullshit where you’re spending your hard earned energy scrolling on some dumb fuck news feed, populated with plumdicks, fantasising about their bullshit lifestyles.

Figure out an exercise cluster.

For example:

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Barbell Row


  • Squat
  • Clean and Press
  • Weighted Chins

Figure out your one rep max, pick a rep scheme that changes over 3 weeks then get to work

  • 4/5 sets of 10 in week 1 (70% of 1RM)
  • 4/5 sets of 8 in week 2 (75% of 1RM)
  • 4/5 sets of 6 in week 3 (80% of 1RM)
  • Add 2.5/5kg to lifts then rinse and repeat

An abbreviated routine will do wonders for the burnt out trainer who has been meandering their way through some marathon, junk filled workouts.

Set 12 weeks by, block out the white noise and get to work.

Keep yourself away from the shiny shit designed to keep you stagnating.

The Road to Gainhalla is filled with distractions however the true iron warrior gets their head down and doesn’t look up until they reach their final destination.

Rule 3 – Get conditioned

The problem with the chiseled insta-physique is that it conveys the image of fitness however the reality is far different.

Ask these chumps to bust out 100 burpees in a row and within minutes they are blowing out of every hole in their body while shaking like Ozzy Osbourne trying to carry a tray of drinks.

Not to mention the massive damage that taking steroids, particularly ones brewed up in a bathtub in downtown Slovakia, are doing to their vital organs and hormone systems.

Is it any wonder that the life expectancy of a IFBB Pro bodybuilder or WWE wrestler is 14?

Getting conditioned will supercharge your gain potential to a mind blowing level.

I like to break my conditioning up into two components.

Iron Conditioning and Cardio Conditioning.

Iron Conditioning

In order to gain, one must wield the iron.

Kettlebells, dumbbells or Barbells. It doesn’t matter however I personally prefer kettlebells as they’re fun and can be used at home during some down time.

A 10-20 minute mini workout will work wonders on your conditioning levels.

It’s as simple as picking a number and trying to get those reps in as quickly as possible.

Throwing in burpees will increase the temperature.

Here are 2 workouts I use when short on time…

The Wolf

  • 50 Double KB Clean & Presses
  • 50 Burpees
  • For Time

The Iron Ladder

  • 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 Rep Scheme
  • Double KB Clean & Presses
  • Double KB Swings
  • Burpees
  • For Time

The beauty with these mini workouts is that they can be performed quickly and won’t have a major impact on recovery, even more so if you focus on bodyweight exercises.

5-6 of these a week on top of your strength workouts will raise your game and conditioning to Instagram server melting levels.

Over time you will begin to create your own workouts and challenges using the tools at your disposal.

Cardio Conditioning

Funny how the most important muscle in your body is one you never see on Instagram.

Yet this muscle fuels your gains.

Consider it the engine of our bodies.

The ol’ ticker.

If we want to stimulate heart gains then we need to complement Iron Conditioning with Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio in order to increase our engine size.

Bigger engine, bigger gains.

In order to elicit this response we need to keep our heart rate with a certain range when performing cardio.

110-150 beat per minute is a great starting point.

This can be determined by a heart rate monitor.

If you don’t have one then the talk test is your next port of call.

If you can just hold a conversation then you’re likely in the right zone.

If not then slow down.

The actual cardio activity isn’t important.

As long as we can get out heart rate up there then the magic will happen.

Cardio Conditioning can be achieved by incline walks, running, rowing and cycling.

Try and aim for 2-3 sessions every week in order to add ingredients to the sweet mead from which we extract those gains.

Signing off

So are you tired of the social media bullshit?

Do you have the mental and physical fortitude to actually take charge of your fitness and show those Instagram clowndicks up for the smoke and mirror fantasies that they promote?

Set 12 weeks by on the calendar and focus on getting strong and conditioned

Let’s take fitness back.

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  1. Great post, thanks.

  2. Thanks for this.

    Been looking for some detailed guide on bulking aside from protein intake.