Bodybuilding Adaptation

By Lenda Murray, 8 x MS Olympia

As I enter the gym to workout I am dialed into a very clear, intense and focused mindset. I always start with a good warm up session. I believe in creating a mind muscle connection before I start training. I am visualizing my workout as I head towards the Squat Rack. I have done this thousands of times before and it never gets old. I always adjust as I listen to my body talk to me before I hit the weights. 

I am often asked about training techniques and routines and how I trained during my 8 MS Olympia victories! During my amateur and professional Bodybuilding Career I had to learn how my body responded to the stress of training. With each passing year came a higher level of competition that I had to adapt accordingly. 

One of the most important things that I have learned in my years of training and competing is that you must be able to adapt physically, mentally and emotionally to the imposed demands of diet and training to achieve a high level of success in Bodybuilding. 

•SAID Principal = Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. When the body is subjected to stresses and overloads of varying intensities, it will gradually adapt over time to overcome whatever demands are placed on it. 

 If the Stress is not enough to challenge the body, then no adaptation occurs 
 If the stress is so great that it cannot be tolerated, injury or overtraining may be the result 

•ADAPTATION = A change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes and better suited to its environment. 

• DARWINISM = A theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of the small inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. 

You may be wondering what does the SAID Principal,Darwinism or Adaptation have to do with an article about bodybuilding? Well when you think about it, bodybuilding represents one of the clearest modern examples of the adaptation process in sports today. 

There are many different training theories. There could be a never-ending debate on what the best type of training for bodybuilding success is. It is my opinion based on my own personal experience that each person must become an artist and learn to trust their own instincts, intuition, and evidence based results from the work they are putting in at the gym and decide what works best for themselves. 

Having great genetics is a blessing but not a guarantee that you will reach the top level of competition without the right mindset and work ethic to match it. Each of us carries within our DNA certain genetic traits that play a major role in the type of physique we can develop. As a child I was very athletic. I adapted and thrived in track and field events due to certain genetic traits (fast twitch muscle fibers) I inherited from my parents. This allowed me to excel in high intensity short duration anaerobic events such as sprinting. Having explosive strength and flexibility carried over into all my athletic endeavors such as professional cheerleading as well as launching a successful career in Professional Women’s Bodybuilding. 

Most of the top ranked Bodybuilding and Physique competitors including myself represent a very small percentage of the population. We are also genetically endowed Mesomorphs as well. We have the ability to put on muscle mass easier than the rest of the population (Ectomorphs, lean long) and (Endomorphs, high body fat, round). We can retain a symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing physique year-roundeven in the off season. 

HIT vs HIGH VOLUME TRAINING! I have had the privilege of competing against and meeting some of the best body builders and athletes in the world. Some love the high-volumeapproach to training (very frequent training 5 days per week, many sets per body part) and they have created phenomenal physiques using that approach. Others prefer the high intensity (HIT) style of training. These are intense, brief, low volume and less frequent workouts as advocated by Arthur Jones the Pioneer of high intensity training, Mike Mentzer and even 6 x Mr.Olympia Dorian Yates!

I have always been of the opinion and still am, that as an athlete your quest should be to find a training style that suits your genetics, personality, psychological make up and personal preferences.

Recovery from your workouts and remaining injury free are key to your ultimate adaptation and long-term success in Bodybuilding. Excessive training can lead to elevated cortisol levels overtraining, burnout, injury and even depression. Take frequent breaks from the rigors of training and allow your body to rest, recover, heal and grow. Listening to your body and learning what it is saying to you takes patience and time. Practice being in the receptive mode and align yourself with your inner voice and you will gain mastery over your body and your life. It is better to undertrain than over train for longevity and success in Bodybuilding. Train hard but train smart! 

Adaptation is a process of continuous change and evolution as a species. As Bodybuilders we are constantly striving to adapt,evolve and create our true and highest human potential!

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