Many moons ago I worked for a bodybuilding/muscle magazine.

One of my jobs was to spot content that would resonate with their “base,” which was largely 18-35 year-old men.

I quickly learned that the overwhelming majority of readers felt they were “advanced” lifters, or at least high-level intermediates. Very few would self-select the “beginner” box.

As such, basic training or nutrition programs would die on the vine while articles about cracking the 600-pound deadlift barrier did very well.

Thing was (and likely still is) that most of the readers were in fact beginners, at least from a pure development perspective.

Very passionate and “knowledgeable” beginners, absolutely, and some with a lot of years under the bar; but few were anywhere near the limits of their muscle or strength building potential.

In short, their level of passion and knowledge far exceeded their physique.

I’m not making fun of these folks… as that was basically me.

By the time I was in my late 20’s I knew a LOT — when to add chains and bands to a strength cycle, how to program to meet strength training norms, could recite dozens of different “weak body part” routines, and even dabbled in shit way out of my pay grade like optimizing neuro-transmitters.

Yet I was also weak by most lifting standards and certainly wasn’t turning any heads with my physique.

It wasn’t until I stopped thirsting for what’s new and cool and focused on getting very good at what’s been proven to work that I was able to shorten that once enormous divide between my knowledge and what I was able to build with it.

Yet it’s bittersweet. I figured this out way too late in life and will never close that gap entirely.

At my age I won’t be adding a lot more muscle to my frame and I’m certainly well past my meager strength-building prime. Even with the most enthusiastic “life extension doc” I’d never be able to build a physique that matches what I know about the subject.

But at least I can still use what I’ve learned to help other people.

And lesson #1 is to embrace being a beginner for as long as you can.

That means run with it. Because there are no gains like newbie gains — and if you’ve never experienced that kind of initial growth, maybe it’s because you’ve never allowed yourself to?

Try ratcheting down the complexity and ramping up your execution of what’s really necessary.

And if you are in fact someone who would qualify as advanced, don’t worry.

There are plenty of seasoned experts in extra-Medium shirts ready to help you take your training to the next level.