Muscle Sport Magazine

Get a New Mindset on Training – Gregg Valentino

By Gregg Valentino You have to know your own body – you have to listen to what your own body is telling you. Forget what Arnold did, it’s not right for you. It doesn’t matter if your best friend Joe says, “Oh, bro, this is what works.” Ignore him. That works for Joe, it may not work for you. You’ve got to make your muscles do the work the best way your muscles work. If you’re not getting results with what you’re doing now, stop doing it and quit wasting time.

I used to write down my exercises–every routine–and then I’d evaluate each workout and find what worked for me, what I liked, what felt the best. I’d find some stuff that was in there that I didn’t really feel in my muscles, but that I was doing because I was “supposed to,” and finally after I cut those things out, I made progress. Try it. Remember that there is no law that says you have to squat to get big thighs. No law says you need to bench to get a big chest. It’s trial and error for you.

Every exercise you should do, you should feel. Rate the exercises you do in your mind. “I feel this one,” or “I don’t feel this one.” A big difference between the professionals and the amateurs are the professionals know how to listen to their bodies. You cannot train how anyone else trains. You have to train the way your particular body is built to train. Nobody has the answer for the right amount of sets, the right reps, the right weight; anything specific, nobody can tell you what’s right for you. Only you can find that out through instinctive training. This book is intended to give you a starting point and ideas on how to find what’s best for your body so that you can get the best growth possible.

Instinctive Training

To say one is training “instinctive” is really just another way of saying that you’re approaching training with a high use of your mind. I’ll break it down for you in a variety of ways and you’ll see how your instincts can guide your training on everything from how much to do to the type of training you do.


First and foremost: Listen to your body. Listen like it’s talking to you. Open your mind and take in what it’s telling you and, when you do that, you’ll understand what it means to train with your instincts. You need direction on how to eat and train properly, but not what to do. Your body is the only thing that can give you precise instructions on that aspect.Along with developing your instincts, make sure you’re developing your entire body. Your body will tell you this because it wants to be balanced; if you’re feeling certain muscles take over in exercises they weren’t designed to, this may be because you haven’t trained its counterpart well enough. For example, too many people give priority to biceps because they’re cool, but they ignore the rear delts. That’s how tens of thousands of incomplete physiques have been developed. People listen to their biceps, not their rear delts, and their entire body has been thrown off because of it.

Listen to your individual muscles the same way you listen to your body. When you’re hungry, you eat. When you’re tired, you sleep. With training, when your body tells you it’s enough, it’s enough. That’s instinct.


Remember too that your instincts are different than your pals. You may have a group of friends making great gains with Heavy Duty training, growing like weeds, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Your muscle insertions are different, the composition of your muscle fibers are different. On the flip side, you might find Heavy Duty training worked great for you, but don’t go and try and get your friends training like you if they don’t respond to it. They aren’t you, what works for you may not work for them.

And further, remember that heavy is all relative. Let’s say you have two friends that you train with. One can bench press 600-pounds for a one-rep max. Then, your other friend, can bench press 265-pounds for 40 reps. Who is stronger? Use what’s heavy for you not what’s heavy for Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler.

Excerpt from “Essentials of Bodybuilding” by Gregg Valentino with Nathan Jendrick.

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