Welcome to Gains City
by Mitch Heaslip
(Dallas, Texas, USA)
Welcome to Gains City, where gains are made everyday.
What exactly are gains? You may have seen the word "gains' referenced on Instagram meme's or Facebook status's. Gains refer to progress in the gym, whether they be strength gains, muscle gains, or even fat loss gains (as oxymoronic as that sounds).
In this case, however, we're going to talk about muscle gains. Here in Gains City there are certain laws you need to abide by in order to make it. Some of these laws you have probably heard before, some of them you probably haven't. That's because very few survive in Gains City, even fewer thrive. To live these laws will require heart, frequent gut checks, and laser focus. Are you ready to cross that bridge into Gains City? Here we go.
Law #1: Strength
If you ever want a place of your own in Gains City, you need to get strong. Brutally, bone crushing strong. I would love to be the bearer of good news and be able to tell you this isn't true, but it is. You won't have the muscle you want without the strength to match.
Right about now you may be referencing a bodybuilder who is much bigger than a powerlifter, but is not as strong. This is true, but that bodybuilder is still very STRONG. He or she did not get that way without fighting and scrapping everyday to put more weight on the bar, and this is the mentality you need to adopt.
Why do so many people not make it in Gains City? Probably because they are too focused on what fancy new exercise they can try from a fitness rag instead of focusing on slapping more weight on the barbell or moving down the dumbbell rack to the weights that have dust on them.
Focus on getting stronger as your primary lifting goal, and you will finally start to see the Gains City skyline on the horizon.
Law #2: Be Badass at the Basics
If your focus is on "switching it up" and "confusing your muscles" with a large variety of exercises to "hit it from every angle", then your city is Hollywood because all you're doing is entertaining yourself. If you're a fitness coach, you're entertaining your clients.
Gains City is built on the basics, and you need to be built the same way. Don't pay any attention to the reverse grip cable curls. Instead, become an absolute badass at barbell pressing (both bench press and overhead), rowing heavy dumbbells and barbells, squatting, deadlifting, chin-ups, and dips. Once you're officially a badass at those basics, add in barbell and dumbbell curls, along with some barbell and dumbbell triceps extensions.
Exercise variety is a myth, mostly perpetuated by fitness magazines who are under pressure to produce new and exciting content regularly. It is also perpetuated by the fact that when you do a new exercise you're going to be relatively bad at it, and the skill you develop will look a lot like muscular strength gains. This is a false representation of gains, and your time and energy are much better spent crushing the basics.
Gains City was built on the basics, and so will you.
Law #3: Stay in the Gains Range
Also known as hypertrophy range.
That's anywhere between 6-12 reps, depending on the exercise and stage of the workout. That is on EVERYTHING. Yes, I know you can deadlift 100lbs more if you just do sets of two, but you're trying to gain entry to Gains City, and the hypertrophy range was given the key to the city years ago.
Laws #1 and #2 can be applied to #3 for maximum results, which means using the basics to get stronger in the hypertrophy range. This also means you will be grinding out barbell squats for sets of 10, which takes all kinds of heart.
Take a look around the gym, how many guys are squatting? One? Maybe two? How many guys are squatting hard for sets of 8-12? Nobody. That is why Gains City manages to keep its population down. Not many have what it takes to live in Gains City, hell, not many have what it takes to drive through its downtown core.
Lifting heavy in the hypertrophy range means sucking wind, seeing stars, checking your gut when it gets tough, but it also means Gains City is a stone throw away.
Law #4: Keep Going
Law #4 is simple, but is the most difficult to abide by. The process of building muscle is slow, its painful, its difficult, and its not glamorous. It is also one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have, and will empower you on a daily basis to conquer any and every obstacle you face.
If you can make it in Gains City, then you can dominate anywhere.
Mitch Heaslip Fitness