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Thinking to Win

Thinking to Win, written by INBA World Vice President Wayne McDonald BSc. and Mr Australia, Richard Hargreaves, provides some of the secrets to winning for bodybuilders. Other articles include Training to Win and Eating to Win.

Is there a secret to bodybuilding success? Is there something that all champion bodybuilders do or know? Apart from genetics, is there something that separates winners from also-rans? Well, there is, and that secret is known. Those with the best information and who get into action and use the knowledge have a distinct advantage over those who do not.

What are the qualities that make a bodybuilding Champion? Although we are all unique as humans, champions share some common traits (qualities of personality) that are not seen in others. By learning these traits and applying them, you too, can increase your success and put you on track to become a champion.

Bodybuilding champions love bodybuilding

Bodybuilding champions eat, sleep and talk bodybuilding. There is not anything they would much rather be doing. For them, the training and dieting are a passion - not hard work and drudgery as it appears to others. They cannot wait to get down to the gym for their next workout. They have to bridle their enthusiasm so as not to over-train.

Bodybuilding champions set goals and have a burning desire to succeed

Bodybuilding champions have a burning desire to get where they are going, and they know where they are going. They have a plan. They plan their workouts. They plan what shows they will enter. They have short, medium and long-term goals that are specific, written down and with deadlines. For example - I will weigh 80kg on the 1st of January. No airy-fairy dreams, but specific, measurable goals, outcomes and objectives.

Bodybuilding champions visualise and feel success long before it happens

Champions build vivid mental images of how they want to look and the way they want things to be before it becomes a physical reality.

The picture in their mind's eye, over and over hundreds of times, how they will look on stage. They do not picture their fears (like forgetting their posing routine), only their goals. They "see and feel" themselves receiving the winning trophy, getting congratulated and hearing the applause.

They picture themselves at the gym having a great workout or eating the right foods, over and over in their mind. They do this so often that the mental picture becomes so clear it becomes a physical reality.

Their subconscious mind accepts them as real and directs the athlete to do all the right things at the right time without conscious effort, and the mental picture becomes a physical reality.

Bodybuilding champions have a positive mental outlook and an unwavering faith in themselves

Every bodybuilding champion will encounter obstacles on their way to greatness. Injuries, mistakes and other setbacks are par for the course. They are part of the journey. Champions understand this and do not allow minor 'hiccups' to distract them. They maintain unwavering faith in their ability to succeed and overcome all the challenges they come across. They take everything in their stride. A champion's mindset always looks for and finds the silver lining in every cloud (obstacle) and uses setbacks to propel themselves to higher successes.

Bodybuilding champions learn from their failures

Bodybuilding champions know that for every method, technique, diet, and system they try that does not work, they are one step closer to discovering what works. Thus, every experience is a positive one - they either learn how to do something or find out how not to do it. They do not beat themselves up over mistakes but view it as a necessary part of their education.

Bodybuilding champions avoid negativity

The most famous of all bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has this to say about negativity. "I have nothing to do with negative relationships. I stay away from negative influences. I have no time for negative thinkers and pessimists. Such people will suck you dry until you have become as pessimistic as they are. Then you will have not one but two losers." In contrast, positive people fuel their desires to achieve. Their beliefs and actions inspire you.

Bodybuilding champions are disciplined, consistent and persistent

Bodybuilding champions never skip a meal, never skip a workout and never opt for the easy way out. They do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, no excuses. Bodybuilding champions have faith in their ability to succeed. They might try a different approach - but they never give up. They know a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.

Bodybuilding champions know how to concentrate

Bodybuilding champions focus on their goals and the job at hand. If they are in the gym training, their eyes are not flitting around seeing what others are doing. Their attention is focused on unwavering precision on the present moment, and everything else is shut out from their consciousness. They allow nothing to distract them.

Bodybuilding champions continuously strive for improvement

Bodybuilding champions look for better training methods, diets and other ideas to further improve and accelerate their results. They are never satisfied unless they are making incremental improvements to their physique, training methods and systems.

Bodybuilding champions go the extra mile

Bodybuilding champions are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. Perspiration and hard work go hand in hand with goal setting, visualisation and a positive mental outlook. Bodybuilding champions continually and habitually go the extra mile, do another 10 minutes on the treadmill, train when they do not feel like it and stick to their diet when everyone around them enjoys ice-cream.

IAPC Bodybuilding Certificate Course

This article is an excerpt from a new 21 lesson, 330-page Bodybuilding Contest Preparation Course published in Australian MuscleMag International. The new IAPC Bodybuilding Certificate Course covers everything you need to know and, more importantly, win at bodybuilding. The course is recognised by the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) and offers a certificate at completion. Learn more insider secrets to bodybuilding with the official guide to bodybuilding and contest preparation. Three hundred thirty pages, 21 lessons, printed home study course with an academic certificate.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2008) Thinking to Win [WWW] Available from: [Accessed