Lee Priest always trained strategically and with purpose throughout his decorated IFBB Pro League career. In a recent IFBB AMA YouTube video, Priest opened up on why you’re not making progress in the gym and discussed the temptations of using performance-enhancing drugs.
“The journey this the journey that, you’re not on a fucking journey, you’re going into the gym to train for God’s sake,” Priest explains.
As an Open Pro, Priest led a memorable career, having conquered some of the sport’s most prestigious stages. Despite boasting a shorter stature, Priest never used it as an excuse. At one point, the Australian native managed to defeat mass monsters like former eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman and his successor, Jay Cutler, a testament to the quality and hardness of Priest’s physique.
In 2013, Priest decided to step away from competing professionally, but the knowledge he acquired throughout his tenure has turned him into a valuable resource for up-and-coming talent. With fitness goals at the forefront of everyone’s mind for the new year, Priest explained in detail how he would go about achieving progress — even without top-tier genetics.
Lee Priest on Why You’re Not Making Gym Progress: ‘Do Pre-Exhaust & Do Supersets’
Physique imperfections are par for the course, so Lee Priest says not to concern yourself with them, instead focus on training hard.
“You’re always going to have imperfections in your body, one side being bigger than the other. Don’t worry about it. Just keep training hard. Those little imperfections that you notice, trust me, one of my arms was maybe a quarter of an inch more than the other. Did y’all notice? No. It’s almost like when you have a nice car and you put a scratch on it.
People go, ‘Nice car,’ I say, ‘Yeah, apart from the scratch there.’ They’re like, ‘Oh wait, I didn’t even see it and now that you pointed it out, I see it.’ Back to the main question, the main thing you have to learn when getting into bodybuilding if you want to make it a career or you want to compete or whatever is patience.”
While genetics can affect how quickly someone develops muscle, Priest underlined the importance of patience during the training process.
“Bodybuilding is not like other sports where you can pick it up really quick and sometimes you might get good at it really quick. You know, bodybuilding with the genetics, even with genetics, yes some people will develop quicker and you look at him and you’re like ‘Oh my God he’s on juice.’ But generally, they are not, they just have genetics but not everyone is like that so just be patient,” shared Lee Priest.
When specifically advising young people, Priest implored them to ‘keep working hard’ as nothing comes easy.
“With phones and text messages that people won’t reply straight away, they want stuff instantly, you know the saying nothing good comes easy, it’s true.
For the young people listening, keep working hard. It will happen but you have to be patient and you have to keep going back and yes, you’ll hit plateaus.”
As for breaking through training plateaus, Priest once again advised lifers to practice patience, adding that ‘You’re focusing on the wrong thing.’
“It’s like your strength, you’ll go through stages where your strength goes up and then you might just sit at a point where you won’t get any stronger. Your body will get to a point where it can’t lift more. That’s when you might change the variation of the exercises.”
“You might change the order in which you do them, do pre-exhaust, do supersets, there’s so many other things to do but you’re focusing on the wrong thing. You need to train and you need to be patient. You need to keep pushing on and doing the best that you can do because if you don’t it just – people turn to steroids too soon.”
Priest: “Take Your Body Naturally As Far As You Can Go Before You Add Stuff In”
According to Priest, lifters who are just starting should sculpt their body as far as they can naturally before delving into the world of performance-enhancing drugs.
“My mates are doing them so I want to do them. To me, I think you shouldn’t be doing them unless you have at least five years minimum of foundation work to take your body naturally as far as you can go before you add that stuff in.”
Most of all, Priest said it’s important to enjoy the training and to stay focused inside the gym because the internet can project unrealistic expectations on people.
“Enjoy going to the gym, enjoy training, stay focused, and stop looking at the internet but if you do look at the internet, no one has a perfect life or lives in a perfect world, they might portray that on to the internet but everyone has struggles, everyone has problems.”
Lastly, Priest laid out the parameters of intense training, sharing that you don’t have to kill yourself to achieve results.
“Training hard doesn’t mean going super heavy killing yourself, it just means walking through that gym door. If you can get through the gym door, you’ve made the first move. Anything from there is a bonus, as long as you don’t turn around and walk back out.”
In his spare time, Priest has offered guidance to aspiring bodybuilders, often comparing their plights to when he was competing actively. He took issue with Pros who only compete at one show per year. Priest went as far as to suggest that the IFBB Pro League should ‘make’ athletes participate in more bodybuilding contests each season.
Whether it’s training advice or opinions about dieting, Priest never shies away from a discussion. If it’s a matter of building a quality physique, Priest believes it’s always best to maximize your potential without additional help from PEDs.
“Failure is when you don’t even give it a shot,” Lee Priest shared.