The MM Guide to Surviving University & Staying Swole
"You know that when you go to uni, you're going to have to drop the gym thing, right?"
Words that I will never forget. Not because I heard it in perpetuity and back then, nineteen year old, impressionable me shat ever so slightly every time I did hear it but rather because it was the biggest load of shit I had ever heard.
Keep in mind that at that age I had already been training for five years. Training and bodybuilding was my safe haven. It had already taken me from a chubby, man titty having, muffin top sporting, insecure prick, to a more polite and accepting version of the prick you know and tolerate today, with a better hairline. It was my billion dollar empire to my Batman. My nine inches to my Ron Jeremy, if you will. Without it, I was nothing.
So why in the nine circles of hell would I give that up for a degree that ultimately, I didn't want to do?
I had to come up with a plan, pronto.
Alas, this is the part where I come off as a privileged ass but that's fine. You see, I never wanted to be an engineer in the first place. I wanted money. So I chose my best odds at making it, which was mechanical engineering. The end. That's it.
In hindsight, I have now met and made lifelong friends with people that breathe engineering and believe me, we couldn't be more worlds apart in that regard. Love you James.
Long story short. I now have the degree and I'm writing this, which inherently means that the bodybuilding thing must have stuck and the plan, while bumpy at times, worked.
This is your go to guide to surviving university and staying swole.
I'm going to skip over the basics entirely. Keep a schedule, stick to it, blah blah blah... If you're reading this, you've already looked at the topic at hand and I'm not trying to get you to fall asleep just yet.
Rather, I want to delve into the stuff that Bodybuilding.com won't tell you.
The very first point that I need to stress is that no matter how you look at it, this is an expensive lifestyle. I don't care how many influencers have told you that you can do it "on a budget", it's horse shit and that's final.
See, a budget is entirely relative. The amount of money that you can spend on bodybuilding on the other hand, is borderline infinite. Considering that the sport in itself is played twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, every aspect of your life can be regarded as a bodybuilding expense and all of these can vary in price. There's always something better and more expensive.
The important thing here is to prioritise.
Do you need free range anything on a student budget? Hell no. Don't even look in that direction, carry on to the abused animal section of the store immediately without passing go.
Same goes with organic. Don't touch it.
Do you need the latest in training gear? Probably not.
You get the idea. Cheap, in bulk and on special is your game. Play it. Unless of course, mommy and daddy are dropping serious stacks your way on a regular basis because they don't want their baby to feel unnapreciated and home sick but then again, you wouldn't be reading this.
Second point of order. Your food bill grows with you.
It's simple thermodynamics. A bigger body will require more calories to function and keep growing than a smaller one would.
Which is a great excuse if you suck at slabbing on oodles of muscle.
One that I have used many, many times.
So before you try and get bigger, ask yourself if you can afford to.
Often, in terms of competition, the men's physique or bikini lineups are good options while on a budget. They will force you to keep to a certain size and as such your bills will stay lower than otherwise. Which is also entirely the antithesis to bodybuilding but if we went by those terms, my entire post would have been, "don't do it until you have money to burn".
Time management. I said that I was going to skip over the basics but I'll make an exception for this one. I can only talk for the degree that I underwent but my reality was that there was no such thing as a schedule.
We were there to work and believe me they made sure that we did.
The secret here is to be flexible with your timing. Forget your schedule for a second and work on a, "get shit done" basis.
Think about it, how many times has a "one hour assignment" had you up till 3am, considering faking the death of a relative or your own in order to be able to sit this one out? This shit is pretty on paper but it won't work here.
Instead, make a mental list of things to get done for the day and tick them off the second you have any form of gap. This is one of those times where you just need to take a heaped spoon of cement and harden the fuck up.
You're tired? Sorry princess, nobody said it was easy.
You want this? Prioritise and do it.
Supplements. I'm not going to sit here and tell you not to take them, because I know that you will and honestly, some of them are golden; the rest are by far and wide as effective at building muscle as drinking a litre of dehydrated cat piss and at best are "nice to haves".
Stick to the very basics. Creatine monohydrate, a good Omega 3 supplement if you're too much of a fanny to eat pilchards, which I will outline in a later paragraph and a good whey protein supplement. That's it.
I'm not denying the fact that I may have popped one... Two... Ok more often than not, three regmakers before a workout in my past but this like many, many other things will fit right into the, "do as I say, not as I've done" pile.
Coaching. This is actually a simple one. IF you can afford a good coach, it will propel you lightyears into what you would otherwise achieve by trial and error and will prevent a plethora of misshaps and wasted time. Starting off with over a decade of experience in your arsenal is never a bad idea. Emphasis on the word, "good".
However, in a perfect world, I'd have a hot secretary typing this out for me and I wouldn't have to type it in the first place. So, if you cannot afford one, I suggest that you pay your due diligence ten times over and research every single thing you put into your body, eat or do, thoroughly.
After all, it's your body and you only get one.
Don't be a statistic.
Finally, here are a few things that I wish I had known back then:
Pilchards taste like a homeless man's nut sack but you get used to it and are by a mile one of the best bang for your buck protein and essential fatty acid sources out there. Plus you get used to the muskiness eventually...
Protein doesn't only come in the form of canned tuna and chicken breasts. Diversify.
Basmati and jasmine rice are not for broke people. Offbrand, parboiled rice is and works just as well.
You don't need Pre workout. You want preworkout. Suck it up and spend your amo elsewhere.
Water is the best "supplement" there is and is virtually free. Load up, reasonably.
Also, if random, rich men aren't emailing you regularly with "business proposals", go back to step one, you fucked up. Just don't reply (see pilchards comment).
On that note, it comes down to one simple factor. There's always someone much less capable than you that's done it before. Why can't you?
Jezz the mech. Out.