Before I became a pro-bodybuilder and powerlifter, I sought out the advice of others, experimented with different training and nutrition strategies, and eventually figured out what works best for me. Now, people look to me for advice.
I'm glad to give it, but don't forget this: you're gong to have to try different things and find out what works best for you. That said, here are five "rules" that I follow that will work for pretty much anyone.
1. Be consistent.
No matter what happens in my life, I always show up. Sick, injured, happy, depressed... if I'm scheduled to train, I'm in the gym. I won't always be at my all-time best, but I'll always do the best I can THAT DAY. Just by showing up you're going to get better, learn more, and become more efficient and knowledgeable in everything you do.
2. Eat three liquid meals per day.
I'm actually not a big eater, but I eat 6-7 meals per day. How? By drinking three of them. I've also found that this helps digestion, which is great for with both dieting and gaining.
For example, I'll have a shake made with egg whites, oats, almond butter, and Metabolic Drive® Protein. My post-workout meal is Mag-10® or Surge® Workout Fuel. Before bed, it's another serving of Mag-10®.
3. Lift heavy shit (with good form).
Today, most people train like pussies. Too many machines, too many special techniques, too many fads. They're forgetting the most basic concepts: progressive overload with compound movements.
Since I was very young, I've always tried to lift a little heavier every workout, even if that just meant two pounds heavier. There's nothing that can replace heavy lifting for muscle fullness and density. Squat, deadlift, press, pull-ups, dips.... go heavy and do several variations of those basic lifts. If you get really strong in all of those, you're 75% there.
4. Find your mentors.
Work with stronger, smarter people. My first mentor was T Nation's own Christian Thibaudeau. I still remember bombarding him with questions on the T Nation Forum. I remember asking how to eat chocolate while dieting... he was no help there. He gave me my first bodybuilding program.
During my career I've had three or four other people I looked up to who taught and enriched me both practically and theoretically. Always look for someone stronger or smarter to be around when you train. It's the best way to learn and to keep your ego in check.
5. Use Plazma™.
Call it a plug. I don't care. Plazma™ literally changed my training. It allows me to train way harder and longer. I can train three hours where I used to train an hour and a half. It helps me recover much faster. If you can only use one supplement, this is it. I've been using it consistently for four years now, and the few workouts I had to do without it reminded me how valuable Plazma™ is to me.