Has anyone done anything great without working hard and being dedicated?
Whether it is for powerlifting, weightlifting, losing weight, gaining muscle, or greatness in any endeavor, dedication and sacrifice have to rein supreme if you want to be great.
Even if you are a genetic freak and naturally talented in your chosen endeavor, when you are competing against someone just as genetically blessed and talented as you, if that person has better work ethic and is more dedicated than you are, you will lose.
For instance, if you are not making the strength gains that you desire, break down everything that you are doing, and more importantly, everything that you are not doing that may be hindering your gains.
When one begins training, usually everything that they do in the gym works. And then, you start to have a bad day in the gym once in a while. The big deadlift day felt awful , every rep was a struggle, and you just don't feel sharp, you just don't feel recovered. That's when the folks who want to get big and strong break it all down and get right; nutrition and rest and massage, and alleviating many stressors, no random training, and a positive outlook.
Because if you are working hard, the work ethic is strong, but you are not focusing on what you do the other 23 hours a day, your progress will never be optimal. And more important to me, you are wasting the workout that you put so much time into. I have done it many times, eating Mcdonald’s or having some beers or staying up too late. Your body is like, Here we go again! Let me deal with all this other stuff that he is doing to me before I even start to repair muscle. At least that's the way I think about it. I hate that feeling when you wake up the next morning and nothing feels complete. Like your training was fine, but all the other pieces of the puzzle that help the recovery /growth process were not fine, and you know it, hell, you can feel it.
It is simple, really. Work your butt off on a well planned program. Eat your protein and healthy fats and good carbs. Rest and relax and get good sleep (a consistent bedtime and wake up is the best). Visualize the way that you want to look and visualize the great workout out that you are going to do. And use all the modalities at your disposal to hasten the recovery process, whether it's massage, or meditation or ice baths, or a sauna. All of that stuff, done regularly, is really what separates the sorta big and strong from the WOW that dude is big and strong.
It's like my friend Marty Gallagher always asks, “Do you want to surf New Jersey waves or Hawaii waves?” You can probably get by with plenty of mistakes when surfing the small waves, but in order to surf the giant waves of Hawaii , everything must be perfect and right on.
So what kind of waves do you want to surf?