Monday 3 November 2014

The Greatest Secret in the Fitness Industry

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The fitness industry is full of “secrets”. Secret routines, secret supplement formulas, secret exercises and secret tricks all promising to get you the body of your dreams faster and easier than you ever dreamed possible. With all this marketing hype it can be easy to get side-tracked from what is truly important for getting you to your goals. Therefore, today, I want to tell you about the biggest and greatest secret of all in the fitness industry…

The biggest secret in the fitness industry is that there are no secrets. Only those who accept this can get on with what it truly takes to reach their training goals. 
I know that seems so anti-climactic, but stay with me because this has some important applications for you and your training.

Contrary to popular belief:
  • There is no magical herb extract grown only at the base of the Himalayan Mountains that will strip body fat off your body while you watch TV, drink beer and eat pizza
  • Changing the angle of your pinky finger when doing curls will not give you a bicep peak like Arnold’s
  • A fancy periodization program from some eastern European country is not the secret to setting a world record in the deadlift
  • You will not “Get the body you’ve always wanted in six weeks guaranteed or your money back”
  • The reason you do not have a six pack is not because you lack some weird crunch variation in your training program
  • 3 minutes a day of training will not give you abs
  • There is not device that will double your vertical jump or cut your 40 yard dash time in half
  • There is no fancy piece of training equipment (no matter how technologically advanced it sounds) that will ever replace a hard set of squats or deadlifts

I’m sure as you read through this list you said in your head “I know” to each one. The truth is we are all susceptible to over-hyped fitness marketing claims – not because we are stupid, but simply because deep down inside we want to believe they are true. 

The true secret to reaching your training goals is a simple, 3-step procedure:

Step 1: Stop searching for the magical “secrets” 
Searching for these magical secrets is really looking for an easy way out. However, we all know this does not work. There is no substitution for hard work. If there was an easy way to a great body everyone would be walking around ripped and jacked. Every moment sent watching/reading ads for the next magical secret is time lost that could have been spent doing what you need to do to get your goals. Once you give up this mythical quest and embrace that you will have to work your butt off, you find yourself on the path to success.

Step 2: Start doing what already know you need to do
Make a to-do check list of everything you need to do and consistently do them. Here is a sample list to get you started:
  • Set a clearly-defined goal and let that dictate your nutrition, training and lifestyle decisions 
  • Clean out the junk food from your cupboards and fridge
  • Go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of whole, natural single-ingredient foods
  • Spend time each day cooking, eating your whole, natural foods and cleaning dishes
  • Consider using some appropriate supplements for your needs and goals (e.g. vitamin D, fish oil, protein powder)
  • Take a few days each week (e.g. Tues & Saturday) to do some meal prep for the rest of the week
  • Keep a food log
  • Schedule 3-4 weekly training sessions per week (even 2 can work for the crazy busy person if you work really hard on the basics)
  • Pick the best and most appropriate exercises for you.  (Many people fail to reach their goals by simply choosing inferior exercises)
  • Progressively add weight to these exercises (this sounds simple but most do not do this)
  • Stick with a program for an appropriate length of time and focus on getting better at it
  • Train smart AND hard
  • Keep a training log
  • Prioritize getting to bed as early as reasonably possible
  • Do some roam rolling and stretching before bed
  • Take one day off per week to rest
  • Make time to do the things that help you refresh and re-charge
  • Examine your schedule and look for time wasters that you can eliminate to create more time not just for doing the above, but for living a quality life
Step 3: Keep learning new ways to get better at the basics
If you continually apply the action steps from step 2, you will be light-years ahead of most people at the gym. However, here are some examples to help you get even better:
  • Once you are consistently eating whole, natural foods, seek to tweak amounts and ratios of protein, fats and carbs for your individual needs
  • Once you are consistently doing great exercises, seek to improve your technique so you can do these even safer and more effectively (see my YouTube channel for more info on this) 
  • Once you are training hard, look for ways to train smarter
  • Consider adding some additional performance supplements (e.g. creatine)
  • Get some coaching as needed
  • Stay committed to your goals for the long haul
Sure there are a lot of fakes in the industry, but there are also a lot of people trying to make the world a better place by offering excellent coaching, helpful resources, quality equipment and helpful supplements. Stay committed to your goals, relentlessly apply the basics and stay open to learning better ways of doing the basics. If getting an athletic, high performance, aesthetically-pleasing body was easy, everyone would be in great shape.  However, it is the achievement of something very rare and difficult that makes the journey so rewarding the achievement of the goal so enjoyable to savor. 

Happy Training!

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