Bodybuilding isn’t a sport. It isn’t a hobby. It isn’t a business. It’s a lifestyle. There are few things you will attempt that will invade and take over your life the way bodybuilding will. It will dictate every area of your life to you if you let it. That is what is necessary to succeed in bodybuilding. Is it worth it? Fucking right it is. It gives you the body of a god that money can’t buy, iron discipline and unshakeable confidence. It will awaken a beast inside every man that he didn’t know was there. Many men want what bodybuilding can give them and wherever there is desire, there is someone trying to sell you a shortcut. Open any men’s magazine now and you’re assaulted with:
“Get huge in 30 days with this supplement”
“Get six pack abs in 5 minutes a day”
“Use Mr. X’s training routine to get ripped this summer”
What the magazine won’t give you is Mr X’s gear plan or diet, or the 16 hours a day he has available to train as a professional bodybuilder. It won’t give you his sponsors or coach or nutritionist. It will sell you a tiny part of the puzzle with his name on it and say now you can be just like him.
There’s very few guys out there now who will be honest with you when it comes to bodybuilding. When I first found John Doe Bodybuilding’s blog, it really stood out as being written by a guy who understood what it was like for his readers. These guys aren’t professional bodybuilders, they’re ordinary guys trying to get ahead in the world, with jobs, wives, kids and a hundred other responsibilities.
He writes about bodybuilding from the point of view of someone trying to fit it into their life, not as someone with unlimited time and money like most magazines and writers do. He is upfront about his steroid use and what his diet is really like. It struck a chord with me and I decided to give his training book, Becoming the Bull, a shot. I’d been following strength training programs like Starting Strength but I’d hit a plateau. I needed something different. I’d tried a few bodybuilding programs but they were all bullshit to be frank. They all involved hours in the gym and a ton of supplements.
The first thing you need to know about Becoming the Bull is that it isn’t just a training book. Of course it covers the usual routines and diets, but it is also an autobiography. It’s John Doe’s story of his journey from a clueless teenager struggling to negotiate work, women and bodybuilding through the hell of alcohol and drugs, to the man he is today. The personal chapters in the book are moving at times, switching between dark and funny, told in John’s unique style of storytelling. The book is worth buying for these alone.
John’s story will resonate with most Sigma males. He overcame a lot to get where he is, demons like drugs and drink, but also loneliness, being an outsider and struggling with confidence with the opposite sex. He did what Sigma type personalities do, he sucked it up, took a risk and went for it. His story is inspiring for all the younger guys out there struggling and it’s a perfect example of why you never give up.
John takes a refreshing approach to training in Becoming the Bull. Rather than pushing chicken, rice and broccoli as gospel when it comes to diet, he knows no diet for an amateur bodybuilder is perfect. By going through his diet from when he was training as a high school student, he shows how you can make it work with little money and ordinary foods. When you see Domino’s pizza, high sugar cereal and light beer in diet plans, you know this guy thinks differently.
The training plans are equally innovative. Becoming the Bull features plans ranging from complete beginners to seasoned bodybuilders looking for a new approach. The beginner’s bodyweight routines are excellent for building real strength before tackling free weights. John doesn’t try to impress you by promising huge gains in strength in little time. He takes a realistic, walk before you can run approach that lays the foundations for building serious, sustainable muscle mass.
For guys who have been training a while, I can’t recommend the John Doe Power routine enough. It’s a 5 day split that begins with powerlifting style sets, before moving onto more classic bodybuilding type sets. Each session also includes 5 sets of ab work and 20 minutes of cardio. John promises you in the book that you will hardly put on any fat with this routine. He is absolutely right in that. The two pictures of me above are from a bulk I did last year. I have massive problems with putting on fat usually. I followed the diet and John Doe Power routine and stayed lean throughout the full four months. The John Doe Power routine is now my go to, default routine. I do change it up from time to time depending on my goals, but I always go back to this as my standard training.
John’s advanced training is a style called Conjugate training that he developed himself. This is perfect for the seasoned guys. It’s tough and includes a lot of high intensity work that will leave your muscles feeling like jelly. But it is worth it.
A huge element of bodybuilding that no one wants to be honest about is steroid use. John has always been very open about his use of steroids on his blog and he devotes an entire chapter of Becoming the Bull to them. As well as a lot of clear, no nonsense information on all the main compounds, John details a number of steroid cycles for different level users. These are plain, simple cycles from a veteran user, exactly the kind of information that it is impossible to get online these days. If you’re considering using steroids, then you need the unbiased knowledge of guys like John. He has authored another book entirely devoted to steroids called Straight from the Underground. Do yourself a favour and invest in a little knowledge before you start messing with very powerful hormones.
The stuff in Becoming the Bull works. I’ve experienced it myself. I’ve a very busy lifestyle and I was able to make it work around everything else. There’s no shortcuts in this book, you will work hard and it’ll take a few months to get the real gains, but it works. There’s no bullshit promises or magic beans here. It is one of the two books I recommend to anyone who asks me for advice on lifting. The other is Victor Pride’s Body of a Spartan. Body of a Spartan is an excellent resource for the guy who wants to train and look good, but has a limited amount of time/energy available. Becoming the Bull is for the guy who wants to go that bit further and get into real bodybuilding training. Becoming the Bull is a total package and has everything the amateur bodybuilder needs to achieve his goals.
Take a look at John Doe Bodybuilding’s blog. John is in fantastic shape himself. He also offers training packages and from time to time runs projects where you can compete against his other trainees. He has run two so far and the results are impressive. Check out Project Shredded and Operation Mass Monster on his blog. The blog itself is a gold mine of information and John is great for answering questions on every aspect of bodybuilding.