Every lifter should have a bodybuilding bucket list. Of course not everyone has the same goals, but there are some things that almost anyone that spends a lot of time in the gym should try to do just once. In case you’ve never thought about your own bodybuilding bucket list, here are a few suggestions.
If bodybuilding has a true home, it’s Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. This is where so many greats have trained all the way from the “golden era” of bodybuilding back in the ’60s-’70s to today. While you might not be able to train in the exact same spot that “Pumping Iron” was filmed (the gym has moved since then), you can still visit what the bodybuilding world considers “The Mecca” of this grand pursuit.
While pretty much every lift should want to train at Gold’s in Venice, chances are you have your own personal version of “Mecca” that should be on your bodybuilding bucket list. Maybe you’re a powerlifter and would love to be able to find a way to visit Westisde Barbell or Mark Bell’s SuperTraining gym. Or maybe you’d like to visit CT Fletcher’s facility. Or maybe you want to experience the Texas location of Metroflex where Josh Bryant and Branch Warren train.
Getting to see, work out in, and experience your own personal training heaven can radically impact your life. It can give you an “inside look” at how those you look up to train, and let you feel the intensity in the air. While Gold’s in Venice is great for history, your version of “Mecca” is what could transform your lifting career.
Every lifter should enter some sort of lifting competition at least once. Be it a powerlifting contest, a local amateur strongman show, or even a bet with your buddies at the gym to see who can do the most pullups, having a dedicated goal like this can reinvigorate your training.
While it might seem counter-intuitive to have a race on a bodybuilding bucket list, it’s something you should do at least once, as it’ll force you to change up your training for a while, which is always a good way to minimize the risk of overtraining. It’s also a perfect way to show your friends and family who think you’re just a gym rat that you’re athletic, too. Feel free to pick an obstacle course race, mud run, or even just a 5k.
Being as ripped as the guys on the magazine covers is probably already on your bodybuilding bucket list, so you should go ahead and do it. Spend 12-16 weeks dieting down super hard and getting into almost contest-ready shape, if for no other reason than to show yourself what you can look like in peak condition.
Increase your chance of success by coinciding your end date with some sort of event. You don’t have to actually enter a bodybuilding show or schedule a photo shoot, but they’re both great ideas. You could also pick a family reunion, summer beach vacation, or pool party.
If your bodybuilding bucket list is going to include getting as lean as you can, then you will probably at one point want to go the other direction, too. It can take considerably longer depending on your training history and muscle maturity, but seeing just how big you can get is another way of pushing your personal limits.
This might be a touchy subject for some people, but using some sort of PED (performance enhancing drug) at least once could be a good experience. This can, of course, have legal ramifications, so be sure to keep that in mind. However, one cycle can give you a true idea of what it’s like to actually “use” rather than potentially perpetuate rumors and ill-informed opinion. You may also get an idea of just what your body is capable of should you decide to continue using.
It’s likely that you already take some supplements every month, even if just a basic protein powder. But for your bodybuilding bucket list, take one month and treat yourself to every single powder, pill, stack, and more that you’ve ever wanted to try. This will not only satisfy your curiosity to see what works and what doesn’t, but is a great alternative if the PED suggestion above isn’t something you’re comfortable with.
If Gold’s in Venice is bodybuilding’s “Mecca”, then “Pumping Iron” is its manifesto. You’ve probably already seen the movie (and if not, what’s wrong with you?), but you should read the book at least once too, as it’ll give you even deeper insight into the time period that launched bodybuilding into the public eye.
If you wanted to continue down this path, you could also watch and read “Pumping Iron II: The Women” about female bodybuilding. A good next choice might be “Stand Tall”, which chronicled Lou Ferrigno’s return to bodybuilding and his preparation for the inaugural Masters Mr. Olympia. Some have (probably rightly) called it Louie’s “Pumping Iron”.
Of course, you don’t have to do everything on this bodybuilding bucket list. But there are probably at least a few things you’d like to. Go ahead and do it for yourself. Not only will you enjoy it, but it could even end up changing how you approach bodybuilding.