Kai Greene discusses the biggest mistakes young bodybuilders make and the importance of self mastery.

When you get an interview with Kai Greene, you know that you’ll be in for quite an interesting ride. Unlike most bodybuilders, Kai doesn’t give straightforward answers. Instead he thinks deeply and even philosophically about the nature of the question and tries to provide deeper advice than typically provided by pro bodybuilders. That’s why during our latest video conversation with Kai, we asked him what advice he would give to aspiring bodybuilders looking to go pro. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Kai Greene explains why young bodybuilders don’t need coaches to succeed.

At the top of this segment of our interview with Kai Greene, Vlad Yudin asked Kai what advice he would give to aspiring bodybuilders. Instead of giving a cliche or stock answer. He actually followed up with a question himself – “What exactly do you mean?”

After a quick back and forth, it became clear what Kai Greene was getting at. Depending on what stage a young bodybuilder is in – there is a wide variety of advice you can give. Is this a young 12 year old bodybuilder? Or a young 20-something year old bodybuilder? Have they competed before? Have they seriously trained before?

Kai Greene keeps mentioning the phrase “next level” in his answer. As he tries to navigate some sort of advice, he focuses on how “next level” can mean different things to different people. That’s the problem with asking for advice from pro bodybuilders who have succeeded. Everyone’s path is often different. Everyone’s personality, body, and genetics are different. It’s challenging to give advice of real value that can apply to everyone in one fell swoop.

So what about coaches then? Could a bodybuilding coach be the solution to this problem? Should a young aspiring bodybuilder that wants to go pro work with a coach to get individually tailored advice? Even then, Kai Greene didn’t necessarily agree. In fact, he states that it might be more helpful to not have a coach during a bodybuilder’s early years.

This might come as a surprise to many. How is a young and inexperienced bodybuilder supposed to learn without getting some sort of advice from an experienced professional? Kai Greene thinks that coaches are actually more valuable for experienced pros. Why? Because a coach can help a top tier pro shake out of their usual routine and push them in directions that take them to the next level. Of course, as Kai made it clear earlier, “next level” for a successful pro is very different than “next level” for an amateur competitor.

So the biggest advice Kai Greene can give is to not rely heavily on a coach and instead throw yourself into the fire. Learn from failures and experience. Learn from doing and not planning. While planning is important, it shouldn’t replace action.

Kai believes that a coach is only a valuable resource once the client has learned self mastery of their body and ability. That way both the client and the coach can work together to push past the bodybuilder’s natural plateaus and take his or her physique to new places.

A young bodybuilder doesn’t need a coach to know their natural limits. Or to learn good habits such as a reliable training routine or diet. Yes, a coach can give you a more nuanced training program or perhaps tips on a better diet. But it means nothing if you don’t have the self mastery to follow it securely.

So while it might sound surprising at first – Kai Greene is essentially asking young bodybuilders to learn their own limits first. To build their own habits first. To push themselves and learn self mastery as much as possible… and then find a coach.

You can watch Kai Greene’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.