In the inaugural issue of Applied Metabolics, I discussed the best evidence-based nutrition techniques for natural bodybuilders. To reiterate the meaning of the term "natural," that refers to a bodybuilder who doesn't resort to using any type of pharmaceutical assistance in his or her quest for adding muscular size and strength, as well as fat-loss. This means no anabolic steroids, growth hormone, or any other type of anabolic drug. Also no other hormonal or chemical assistance, including thyroid hormones, clenbuterol, DNP, and so on. A misconception fostered by many is that you cannot build a significant amount of muscle mass without using anabolic drugs. This is simply not true. While there is no doubt that using the drugs will produce a level of development that often exceeds naturally-set genetic limits, you can still reach your pre-defined genetic limit through purely natural pathways that involve no drugs. In that first issue of Applied Metabolics, I noted that attention to nutrition is even more vital for the natural competitor than it is for those on drugs. When you use drugs, you can get away with a lot of mistakes that would otherwise hamper the efforts of those not on drugs. One example of this is when using the drugs your level of training recovery and recuperation is vastly improved. This would allow both a greater level of training intensity, as well as a greater volume of training before overtraining takes a toll. Natural bodybuilders need to be more circumspect in this regard since they don't have the crutch of anabolics to aid their training efforts.
In that first issue of Applied Metabolics, I also wrote about case studies of two elite natural competitors, and what they did to prepare for competition. I discussed an overview of their nutrition and training plans in their final countdown to a contest appearance. The purpose of that article was to graphically illustrate a real-world scenario of how successful natural bodybuilders get in top condition. But while the nutrition article that appeared in that first issue was extensive, the training ideas were more of an overview. More importantly, the methods used by the two men that I wrote about were specific to their needs, and may not work for anyone else. What is needed is a general pattern of training that will allow the majority of natural bodybuilders to meet their goals, whether that is competition or merely building muscle and losing excess body fat. So with that in mind, what follows is a concise guide to building muscle for a natural bodybuilder that is based on current science and takes into account the lack of pharmaceutical assistance that is inherent in a natural training system.
The first thing to understand when discussing optimal natural training techniques is that there is little actual published science to make any definitive statements . . .