A lot of young guys I talk to these days want to get huge, which I can relate to. So did I at their age. The difference is, they want to be huge yesterday. When I try and explain that building a truly exceptional physique is going to take anywhere from 5-10 years in most cases, they either laugh or become outraged. They aren't willing to wait more than a year to go from looking very, very average to looking like a pro bodybuilder. And thanks to some misinformation they are being spoon-fed, they honestly believe it can be done - as long as they take high enough doses of GH, insulin, and a few other magical potions. Many of them don't even want to START training until they can be on a 'pro bodybuilder' stack.
Why is it that the guys of my era, whether we knew about drugs or not, weren't in such a hurry to get big? My theory is that we lived in a much 'slower' time in general. Before the Internet, there was no email. We had to write letters, put stamps on them, drop them in a mailbox, and wait a week or weeks to get a reply back. When I was very young, there wasn't even a way to watch movies aside from seeing them in the theater, or waiting a year or more for them to come on TV (edited down and with commercials). Reaching people on the phone wasn't even easy. There were no cell phones, so you had to call people at home or at their workplace, leaving messages and hoping for a call back. To do any type of research, we had to go to libraries and hunt down the relevant books or magazines. It was a lot of work, but we didn't think twice because that's just the way things were. Photos were taken with cameras that used film, and you had to take them somewhere to get developed.
Now it's 2014. You can reach anyone at anytime via phone, email, text message, instant message, Facetime, or Skype. Movies? They come out on On Demand within a couple months after they've left the theater, and shortly after that you can get them in the mail on Netflix or out of a Redbox kiosk in your neighborhood. 'Phones' these days are really personal computers. You can contact people in any number of ways, take photos and videos and send or upload them in a second, and go online to look up anything you want to. We have 4G and iPhone 5's, and it's all about faster, faster, faster!
So I don't blame the younger generation for wanting and expecting the physique they want right away. What does bother me is that few of them seem to even talk about training or nutrition, as they feel those are almost insignificant compared to drugs. The belief is that the 'secret' that we of the older generations and especially those of us in the bodybuilding industry have been keeping from them is that drugs are all that matter however they are just a part.
Training and nutrition are more important and always will be. Here I go again, trying to keep the young guys from getting huge, right? Nope. Not at all. Oftentimes when I read comments on Facebook from young guys who spout the mantra that drugs are all that matter and proudly boast about their big drug cycles, I click on their profiles to see what they look like. Most of them don't even look as good as kids their age that compete in natural contests, and a lot of them just look like typical 18-23-year-olds with a little bit of muscle - someone who just messes around enough with weights to look buff on Spring Break compared to guys who don't train at all. None of them look remotely like pro bodybuilders, even though they are using the same drugs and in the same amounts. Why? Because you can't rush a great physique.
Can a guy pack on a lot of size in a year or two of massive drug abuse? Sure, I suppose so. But most of them don't look very good, and they certainly don't look very healthy.
I started training over 30 years ago in the early 1980's. My goal was to be much, much bigger, and I never thought for a minute it would happen fast. I knew it was going to take years. I didn't even break 200 pounds until I had been training for 6-7 years. Did I feel cheated that the process took so long and my gains were so slow? Not at all! I loved training, as I still do, and I saw it all as a challenge. How hard could I train? How heavy could I lift? How sore could I make myself after workouts? How much good food could I eat? It became my lifestyle, and it made me a stronger person in many ways that had nothing to do with the gym or muscles. Once I had that passion in my soul, I knew it would never leave. And it hasn't. Whether or not I ever compete again, I will always train. I love it. Why would I ever stop? How could I?
So I suspect many of these kids today won't last. A lot of them will develop health problems because they aren't doing things naturally. At the very least, they won't be able to afford to spend many thousands of dollars a year on gear for very long. Some will quit once they don't see what they want in the mirror, and most won't because they lack the rare genetics that elite bodybuilders are born with. Those are the lucky ones. Still others will just keep raising their doses, believing that this is the only solution to reaching their goals. If 3 grams a week isn't doing the trick, bump it to 5. Then 7, 10, and so on. I hope this isn't an accurate prediction, but I fear it is.
If I could sit down one on one with each of them, I would do my best to make them understand that bodybuilding is not a sprint. It's a lifelong pursuit in which you can and should continue to improve for many, many years. There should not be such a frenzied rush to fulfill your ultimate potential as fast as possible. If you were building a house, would it be wise to try and go from a vacant lot to a finished home in 4-5 days? Probably not! That house would almost certainly have issues later on down the line due to the rushed construction. And so it would be with a physique in which someone tried to make 10 years' worth of progress in one year. There will be problems eventually. I was young once too, so I do know what it's like to want things now and not have to wait. Patience is a tough quality at that age. But I urge all of you who are young and those of you who are close to young people that are starting out in their bodybuilding journeys to try and understand that Rome wasn't built in a day - and neither is a great physique.