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Bodybuilder Chris Bumstead Trains During Q&A, Discusses Retirement, Recovery, and Avoiding Burnout

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Chris “CBum” Bumstead is smack dab in the middle of his off-season, but that doesn’t mean he’s not testing his body in the gym every chance he gets. The bodybuilder is pursuing his fourth straight Classic Physique Olympia title (2019-2021) and seems deadset on that mission. On May 25, 2022, Bumstead shared a video on his YouTube channel that saw him challenge his chest and shoulders.

At the same time as Bumstead pushed it in training, he sandwiched in an ongoing full-day Q&A for his fans and channel subscribers. Overall, it’s a comprehensive, personable look into the thought process of one of bodybuilding’s elite. 

Bumstead’s Chest and Shoulder Workout

Bumstead wastes no time diving into his training, noting that these lifts are more about maintenance as his chest strength is slowly coming back. 

Dumbbell Chest Press 

Bumstead elects to go heavy with a traditional flat dumbbell press to start his session. After a few (unfilmed) working sets, he notes that his top set (or the set highest in intensity) was with 150-pound dumbbells in each hand. 

“Life is good, but I have to prove it. Pics or it didn’t happen.”

Flat Chest Machine Press

After taking a short breather with his warmup lift, Bumstead hops onto a flat chest machine for more presses. There appear to be three weight plates on both ends, but Bumstead otherwise doesn’t disclose the total weight or the number of sets. 

Notably, Bumstead punctuates this lift with an answer to a question about any potential retirement in the near future. In a possible twist, the bodybuilder says he hasn’t made any plans beyond 2022 and December’s upcoming Mr. Olympia. Though, that could be more him not thinking too far ahead yet rather than an allusion to any pending decision. 

“If it goes well and I’m happy and healthy, I could do it again,” Bumstead says. “But if I’m miserable and I hate it, and I think ‘why the [expletive] am I doing this to myself?’ and I’m done and that wasn’t worth it, then I’ll probably be over it.”

Cable Chest Flyes

After discussing part of his future, Bumstead shifts to a cable machine and continues to round out his pectoral muscles with some cable chest flyes. When done, an online fan asks him about his training and recovery cycle.

CBum breaks it down as succinctly as possible. 

“Rest and sleep and eat; there’s no secret answer to this,” Bumstead notes. “Be conscious of not overtraining. I know that word’s [overtraining] kind of [expletive], but it can be real. If you’re training hard every day, you’re probably not going to sleep great, and you’re probably not going to recover.”

The latter sleep note seems to be of paramount importance for Bumstead, and he reiterates the point. 

“So, at the top of my priority list is getting rest days in consistently, like two a week,” Bumstead says. “Equally tied in importance is sleep. I need to get eight hours of sleep, minimum. Sleep is so crucial for growth as a bodybuilder.”

Research backs up Bumstead’s sleep assertion. One study maintained that athletes with even small amounts of sleep deprivation saw markedly negative effects on their strength, endurance, and general well-being. (1)

[Related: Bodybuilder Breon Ansley Shares A Killer, High-Volume Legs Workout]

Cable Lower Chest Raises

Bumstead pivots to the shoulder-focused portion of his workout, beginning with cable lateral raises to warm up and pre-exhaust the muscle. Afterward, Bumstead diagrams whether he’ll shift any part of his approach for the 2022 Mr. Olympia.

He doesn’t mince his words. 

“Everything, be better, everything but being better,” Bumstead says. “For real, I’m just going to apply what I [expletive] up last year because my body was a little different and be more adjustable this year.”

Bumstead is honest, saying he thinks he needs to let his body and mind rest more than before. 

“Last year, I buried myself in a hole,” Bumstead says. “I was doing two hours of cardio, 1,5oo calories, my body was stressed, my mind was stressed, and I wasn’t losing weight. So this year, I’m not letting my mind get there. I’m going to be more relaxed. I’m going to allow myself more time… I’ll start prep earlier.”

Shoulder Machine Press

To finish the session, Bumstead pumps out a few heavy sets on a shoulder press machine with what appears to be four plates on both sides. In what could certainly be an essential discussion for bodybuilders and other strength sports athletes alike, Bumstead then tells a fan how he deals with “mental burnout.”

“Mental burnout just comes from giving yourself the balance at the very least amount that you need it,” Bumstead says. “Personally, I burn myself the [expletive] out every year until the [Mr.] Olympia, but I know that after I can take two months off. So that’s kind of lucky for me.”

While Bumstead outlines his apparent fortune by taking breaks, he knows that’s not possible for everyone, and he offers some sage advice in return.

“But for the average person who doesn’t have one day a year where they have to be 100 percent for, and they crash it right after, you kind of have to find your own balances,” Bumstead continues. “You better find one or two weekends where you just shut off. Leave your phone behind. You’d be surprised what solitude can do to your mind to reset.”

[Related: Bodybuilder Shaun Clarida Breaks Down An Intense Arms Workout]

Mr. Olympia Looms Closer

Much of what Bumstead posts on his YouTube channel these days has a connection to the Mr. Olympia. The 2022 edition of the contest will place on December 15-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. At the time of this writing, it’s still 29 weeks away, giving Bumstead plenty of time to reap benefits from those mental and physical shifts in his training. 

References:

  1. Vitale, K.C., Owens, R., Hopkins, S.R., Malhotra, A. (2019). Sleep Hygiene for Optimizing Recovery in Athletes: Review and Recommendations. International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine. 2019 Aug; 40(8): 535–543.

Featured image: @cbum on Instagram

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