The Mentality of a Bodybuilder

(Last Updated On: October 22, 2019)

Mentality: The Difference Between Average and Amazing

When it comes to bodybuilding, and even fitness in general, there are countless stereotypes that come to mind right away. Whether it’s the Crossfitter who never stops talking about how insane that WOD was or the bodybuilder who spends more time in front of the mirror than actually lifting weights or the powerlifter who seems to have it out for the floor whenever they deadlift, we could all go on forever.

Many times these stereotypes, while some may be relatively accurate, take away from the perception of how much actual work it really takes to excel in any of the areas. Let’s focus specifically on bodybuilding for the sake of this article. This is for the aspiring bodybuilder who will do anything it takes to get there.

Jason Borrego

Over the years I’ve gained quite a bit of experience in the gym. Four, five, six day splits and double sessions have made me quite familiar with what it takes within the gym to become part of the elite. Even for the average lifter, after observing other hardcore lifters in the gym it becomes quite evident how much it takes to be one of the best.

But there’s something missing. It’s the part of bodybuilding that has the potential to hold someone at average instead of amazing even if their training is on-point.

Now there are countless articles with tips on how to increase your bench or on how to squat like a pro, but articles like the one you’re reading right now isn’t going to talk about either of those things. Don’t roll your eyes yet, this is not where I proceed to lecture you about counting macros. While I do agree that counting macros and being on top of your nutrition is absolutely critical, I’m talking about something else. I’m talking about your mindset.

By the end of this article I challenge you to make a decision and hold yourself to it. If you truly want to become a professional bodybuilder, you have to dedicate yourself to the lifestyle. You have to hit every training session with an unreasonable amount of effort every single time. You have to get enough sleep every single night. You have to meet your macros every single day. I could go on and on.

What I’m getting at is that being a bodybuilder is so much more than “yeah I lift” or even “yeah I lift and eat well.” Training consistently and eating correctly will get you far, don’t get me wrong, but to push yourself over the edge to become one of the best, you have to already know that you are the best.

Deep, right?

Yes, you have to know, in your head and in your gut, that you have the potential to become the best at whatever it is you do-in this case, bodybuilding.

Until you make that decision and convince yourself that there is no other option, you won’t fulfill your potential. Until you make that decision, your training won’t be as intense, that bag of chips won’t be as big of a deal, those couple drinks won’t matter because “I was good all week so I deserve it”.

Ashley Horner Back

The problem with that thought process is that too often we think in terms of short periods of time, like weeks for example. We don’t keep the big picture in mind and our vision of what we ultimately want in life becomes clouded by daily distractions.

If you are happy with average then that’s awesome, in fact, you’ve already won. I’m talking to the guys (and girls) who want to excel and become one of the best. In order for that to happen you have to have an unreasonable amount of focus, dedication, and energy to achieve your goals. Yes, an unreasonable amount.

For instance, just because you “hit the gym” six days a week doesn’t mean anything if you are not giving it your 100% every single time. We all fall into the trap here and there, where we’re not feeling great or we’re tired or we have a million things we’re thinking about and don’t really give it our full 150%. But it’s at those moments when our true ability to push through is tested. Think of it as the natural filtering process that everyone passes through, separating average lifters from the best.

It’s been my experience that mindset is not given the attention it deserves-and not just in bodybuilding. It’s the same thing in business or whatever your career is. If you are not obsessed with it, you will not be the best. Nowadays, “obsessed” is often used with a negative connotation.


Why is being obsessed a bad thing? It’s not.

Take a look at any super successful person-whether in business or bodybuilding. Look into what their life was like before they reached their highest level of success. The trend you’ll start to see is that these people ate, slept, and breathed their goals every single day. Bodybuilders build their life around it. Successful businessmen and women worked 15-18 hour days more often than not to get where they are, and usually continue even after they’ve reached their goals. Imagine that!

Rick Howell

Now you may be saying, “that’s not sustainable.” See the thing is, if it’s truly what you want, it actually is sustainable. Look at any pro bodybuilder’s life and see what it was like when they were up and coming. They were hyper-focused, obsessed even, with the one goal of becoming the best.

Sure, you get tired, sure, you get sore, sure, you get worn down sometimes, but as Arnold said, so what?

So what that you’re tired?

So what that you’re burnt out?

So what that you’re sore?

The mindset that you have when it comes to bodybuilding is what will catapult you to amazing or hold you down at average. Which direction you go is up to you and no one else.


Shift Your Mindset

If you are serious about excelling at bodybuilding (or anything really), here are some quick tips to get you on the right path.


1 Write Out Your Goals

Every. Single. Morning.These can be your long-term goals and your short-term goals. It doesn’t matter if you know them by heart, which you should; write them down anyway. This will reinforce it and align your body and mind to get you focused on what needs to be done each day to achieve success.


2 Have A Plan

Whether it’s the night before or each morning after you write your goals, have a plan for the day and know what you’re going to spend time doing. Far too much time is wasted when we don’t know exactly what we should be doing.

  • In terms of bodybuilding, have a plan on what you’re going to do in the gym. Know what exercises, how heavy, rep ranges, etc… all ahead of time. This will ensure you make the most of your workouts, because after all, if you want to be the best, no workout can be wasted.
  • You should also do this on a macro level. That means you should have a long-term plan mapping out progressions, phases, and recovery periods to ensure you maximize your growth potential over the long-term as well as day to day.


3 Count Your Macros

There are many articles written on how to do this, some of which I have written myself, and I won’t go into detail here, but make sure you are counting your macros. If you don’t, you have virtually no chance of being the best.


4 Get Jacked Up!

If you’re yawning as you walk into the gym you have a problem. Make sure you get into the correct mindset before hitting the weights. Whether it’s a pre-workout, coffee, cardio warm-up, motivational video or something else, make sure you get yourself in the right frame of mind mentally before beginning your workout. Why? Being in the correct mindset will make sure you give the necessary effort throughout your workout and not just go through the motions.


5 Sleep!

Working hard is one thing, and in general people can often get away with minimal sleep and more caffeine, but it’s imperative with bodybuilding that you get enough sleep. Everyone is a little different, but I recommend no less than six hours per night. Most of your growth actually happens out of the gym and while you’re asleep. Less sleep means less muscle growth!


6 Be Consistent

This is one of the most important things you can do. Being consistent is absolutely critical if you want to be the best or even one of the best. Those treats here and there because you ate well for a few days won’t cut it. Going out and partying every weekend won’t get you where you want to be. Hitting the gym hard for two weeks then dropping off because it’s hard to find time won’t either.


While becoming the best and living your dream (whatever it may be) is sexy, the process to get there is certainly not. Nine times out of ten it’s not glamorous and it’s actually really difficult. It’s supposed to be. That’s why mindset and passion are so incredibly important. You must love the journey just as much as you love the thought of achieving your goals, because the journey to get there is, for most, ridiculously long. If you are obsessed with it you’ll make it. If you’re not, if you don’t want it quite that bad, you’re more likely to throw in the towel and never get there.

It’s decision time! What’s it going to be? Are you willing to create the lifestyle necessary to make your dream physique a reality?


About the Author

Sam Boghigian is a freak when it comes to fitness, especially bodybuilding. His passion is surpassed only by his work ethic and dedication to getting his clients real results–both physically and mentally. Growing up Sam experienced what life was like as someone who was pretty unhealthy and overweight. He made the decision to turn things around over 5 years ago and has never looked back. It’s his mission in life to help others achieve the same level of success, happiness, and health that he has experienced. Be sure to check out his website and follow him on Facebook.