A: Trying to stay motivated is one of the hardest parts of the muscle-building game. For us it’s most difficult in the winter, when sugary foods are everywhere and our physiques are covered from head to toe because it’s cold out. We do have a few tricks. For example, during part of the winter we often go on a basic program similar to the Basic Ultimate Mass Workouts in The Ultimate Mass Workout e-book, training only three or four days a week. (We’re more excited than ever about training this winter because we get to experiment with some new X-Rep incarnations, like X Overload. By the way, that’s another thing that motivates us: finding and experimenting with new training techniques so we can help others make better gains.)
When we’re in that back-to-basics winter phase, we try to increase our strength as we gradually increase our calories. We make an effort to stick with quality foods and avoid junk, but we do allow ourselves to indulge every so often. We try to convince ourselves that winter is the time when we can build lots of muscle due to a calorie surplus—your body is more apt to pack on mass when there are extra calories available—so we stay focused on how that extra muscle will look when we lean out for summer.
As spring approaches, say, around the end of March, we start training for some detail and ramp up the intensity. We also begin to gradually drop our calories. It’s still cold out, so our motivation is only about 80 percent; however, it’s much easier to see summer on the horizon, and our big goal is to try to improve on the way we looked the year before. (As you know, this year was very successful, as we made some of the best gains of our lives with X Reps. Fast progress like that is a big motivator in and of itself!)
And, of course, once we start leaning out, the looks and comments we get really get us jazzed. For example, Steve was running in his neighborhood with his shirt off one afternoon, and a guy driving his kids home from school pulled up next to him and said, “Hey, you look awesome!” His kids waved, and Steve thanked him, waved back to the kids and kept running. Then, on down the bike path, a woman pushing a baby carriage with her husband walking beside her saw Steve coming toward them. As he passed, the woman said, “Now that’s a body!” More motivating acknowledgement (although she probably said it to annoy her husband).
Jonathan has had similar experiences. While at the beach with his shirt off, Jonathan saw an older gentleman and his wife walking toward him. The man glanced at Jonathan and said sarcastically, “Gee, you need to work out.” Then, when he and his wife got a little closer and took a good look, they were stopped in their tracks by Jonathan’s condition. They just kept looking at him, jaws dropped, uttering a “wow” every few seconds.
We’re not relaying those incidents to brag. We just want to remind you that those types of pats on the back help fuel motivation as you get in muscular shape—a snowball effect. Once you start making X-ceptional progress, you’ll no doubt get lots of those types of comments, not to mention approving glances, with a raised eyebrow or two, from both sexes.