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The Bad Workout: Some Advice for Female Bodybuilders

Bad workouts. We have all had them at some time or other. When you need to train so intensely to break the muscle down it is hardly surprising that the odd bad session occurs. After all, we are only human and we cannot be 100% consistent all the time. (I would question that when it comes to Ronnie Coleman but I am sure even he has had his bad days).

But there are bad workouts and bad workouts. I am not talking here about the ones we know are going to be bad. You know the ones I mean... you arrive at the gym knowing you are going to perform badly. You have had a stressful day at work, failed to eat properly, you feel tired... all these things sap you physically and mentally. You walk into the gym knowing that day's workout is not going to be one you want to remember.

And I am not talking about those days when your training suffers because you get distracted. Successful bodybuilders need very strong mental focus. You have to have the right mind set to lift with proper form and push your muscles beyond that failure point... and that is not helped by hearing that twit on the other side of the gym clanging the dumbbells together like they are a couple of cymbals at the top of every shoulder press rep. Or by watching the grunting idiot swinging far too much weight around; more to massage his poor ego than to build some mass. Face it: any serious lifter has to witness so much stupidity in the gym that it is a wonder that you can get a half decent workout in without peeing your pants laughing at what other gym members think lifting weights is.

So, picture it. You have eaten well. Just come off a rest day. You're working your favorite body part. You are psyched, in the zone. Nothing or no-one in the gym can stop you putting in a killer session today. You stride purposefully up to the hack squat. Do some stretching. And start some warm-up sets. Hmmm... feels a bit heavy but I'll keep going. You put some plates on, getting ready to go all-out... you can hit 20 reps today. You can feel it. But your quads think differently. You max out at ten and you're a quivering wreck... what the hell happened?

Bad workouts with no excuses are a bodybuilder's nightmare. After all, we plan our training and nutrition so that bad workouts do not happen. Doubt starts to creep in about the plan you have. Am I eating right? Am I resting enough? Am I lifting right? It can sap your motivation when a setback like that occurs. And the stress about how the next session will be can be intolerable.

The key is not to panic. As with any sport you are training a human body. We may know a vast amount about how the body functions but there is no doubt that there is even more that we still need to learn. So, go into your next workout thinking that the bad one you just had was a blip and nothing more. You are still on the right road to the physique you want. Never feel it is worth changing your diet or training routine just because of one bad day.

But do not forget about it. Use it as a learning experience. I have found that my quads have their weak days every now and then. It is just how my body works. I know that if I have a bad quad day I need to rest them just a little bit more. Bodybuilding success comes from knowing your body and how it reacts. Everyone is an individual. No amount of personal training or advice can replace hard earned experience from the gym. And a bad workout is still good experience. Learn from that bad session and move on a wiser bodybuilder.

The most often cited reason for a bad workout is over-training. There is no doubt that over-training is a major issue for bodybuilders. Many of us are over-training and are not even aware of it. A bad session like this can be a symptom that reveals a need to take the foot off the gas just a little bit. To be honest, if you have periodic rest phases over-training should not be an issue for you. Let the body recover completely or your gains will be minimized. If your bad workouts become more consistent it is your body's way of asking for a break. Listen to your body. It is the reason you are training in the first place. Treat it with respect and you will achieve your goals. Treat it like crap and you will look like crap.

Most importantly, remember that attaining a great physique is a long term goal. You are not going to morph into a muscle babe overnight. It takes time and patience to add pounds of muscle. Years of dedication and consistency are necessary. Focus on the long term. One bad session every three months is only four bad sessions a year. That means you must have had at least 200 great workouts in that same year. And it is those great ones you should focus on. Add all of those up and you get what you are working for: an incredible physique that you can be proud of.

About the author:

Jason Goy runs a website that presents the female bodybuilder as she wants to be. It features articles, in-depth profiles and photographs of top female bodybuilders who showcase their physiques and share their knowledge to inspire and help you be the success you want to be as a female bodybuilder. If you're into female bodybuilding check out


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