The ability to think on your own and derive valid knowledge through self-study and personal observation is the master-key to success in any chosen endeavor, including bodybuilding. This is a fundamental principle of personal achievement that applies to all human beings, without exception. A failure to understand or live by this principle will inevitably limit your ability to grow intellectually, broaden yourself economically, develop yourself spiritually, and build bigger and stronger muscles. Yes, the power of your mind is the controlling factor here. Only once you develop intellectual independence can you determine which training methods work best for you. Only then can your acquire the needed knowledge to build your muscles to their full genetic potential.
It is a mistake to conclude that anybody other than yourself can determine what kind of training method or routine is best suited for your individual needs and requirements. You are the only person in the world who can do this. The late Mike Mentzer, a former Mr. Universe and the man behind “Heavy-Duty” training, emphasized this point years ago. He used to tell his students that their top training priority should be to establish themselves as their own coach—their own trainer—through logical and independent thinking. In line with this thought, Mentzer warned us to never accept anybody's training advice, including his own, “blindly.”
In the world of strength, there is no shortage of “experts” who claim to know best how you should exercise. Through various advertisements and promotions they portray themselves as all-knowing giants of intellect willing to tell us mere mortals the “secrets” of building strength and might—if we will just purchase their various books and courses. And, if we are too lazy to think for ourselves, they will gladly help us out again and again by rolling more and more muscle products off of their assembly line—provided, of course, that we keep padding their bank accounts.
Now, please let me clarify a few things. I am not suggesting that we should not learn from bona-fide strength experts. Nor am I suggesting that a capitalistic adventure is necessarily a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with making a living by offering useful goods at a fair price, and I support many businesses that supply and promote quality muscle-building products. However, to realize your full potential as a strength athlete, you must first determine what type of training works best for you through your own studies, hypotheses, experiments, and conclusions. Learn to think for yourself and before long you will know more about what works best in your world of strength than any other human being possibly can.
Ascertaining how you should train for optimal results requires a great deal of study, logical thinking, and trial-and-error. Various sources of information—books, courses, articles, etc.—should be carefully evaluated, both theoretically and practically, for validity. The goal is to identify, through your own thinking and experiments, what works for you and what doesn't. Different training perspectives and approaches should be compared with an open mind, yet filtered by sound reason and experience. Seek advice from those who have succeeded in muscle building, but be careful not to accept something as true until verified by your own critical evaluation. Remember, just because somebody has large and powerful muscles does not necessarily mean that their training recommendations will work for you. Regarding your own training, you must be the judge and have the final say.
In summary, blindly following some guru's advice on building muscle will get you nowhere. To reach the zenith of your physical potential, you must take charge of your own thinking and gain knowledge of productive bodybuilding in an active, deep, and personal way. This approach requires much discipline and a lot of mental effort. But, it also produces tremendous muscle-building results, boosts self-confidence, and can turn you into a powerful problem solver. Thus, the choice is yours: either let some self-proclaimed “expert” tell you what is right, or become your own training coach. I have no doubt which path Paul Anderson, Doug Hepburn, John Davis, and other champions from the Golden Age of Strength took.
Yours in strength and health,