Q: My wife, who’s 27, has recently started bodybuilding. I’d like her to look like a Ms. Olympia competitor. How should I get her to train?
A: It’s highly unlikely that your wife has the freaky genetics for muscle building that all the Olympia competitors have. Chances are she has average potential for muscle building or perhaps somewhat better than average if she has a background in athletic activities and was very good at sports in school.
I don’t know how much you know about the lifestyle of a pro-level bodybuilder. You might be shocked at the extraordinarily obsessive and at times high-risk measures involved. Although the result may appeal to you, the process of getting there probably won’t. Even if your wife has freaky genetics for bodybuilding, you’re married to a lot more than a body. If your wife’s body rules everything in your lives, you may discover that it isn’t as important as you may think it is now.
Besides, if you overly push your wife, it may put your relationship at risk. Encourage her, of course, but don’t try to force her to train at a level that she doesn’t really want, or follow a lifestyle that she doesn’t really want. Much better for her to train over the long term at a level she enjoys rather than apply herself at a much more demanding level for a short time purely because you force her to and then sooner or later give up training altogether.
Train your wife the same way that I recommend typical male bodybuilders train, albeit with poundages appropriate to her. That means abbreviated workouts that focus on basic exercises, no more than three workouts a week, hard work and progressive poundages but no playing around with dinky weights, bands or gimmicks.
Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new 638-page opus on bodybuilding Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great, available from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008, or www.Home-Gym.com.