Have you heard? Monday is the new Friday. Just don’t get up early tomorrow to eat Sugar Smacks and watch Superfriends in your jammies. Meh do what you want.
1. Months of homework won’t fit into a few weeks.
An unfortunate trend is making dramatic changes in calories or cardio in a misguided attempt to cram months of “homework” into mere weeks, or even days.
While there’s merit to a “get in and get out” approach to fat loss (especially for someone who’s big picture goal is to get bigger) a slow & steady approach will yield less dramatic swings in energy and water weight, not to mention more lasting changes in terms of habits and lifestyle.
It’s best to of dieting/fat loss as a pendulum. The more extreme you “pull” on one end (calorie restriction, cardio) the more dramatic the “push back” (bingeing, burnout).
Subtle, sustainable adjustments are always best.
As for short term “mini-bulks?” While that’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard (this is the fitness industry after all) at best it shows an inability to differentiate between building muscle and simply gaining weight.
Fat loss happens pretty damn fast. Even after the initial water drop. But building muscle is much slower, especially after the newbie phase. Even for assisted lifters.
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2. New clients ask me a lot about calories and macros and specialized diets and cutting edge “tweaks.”
Unfortunately (at least for them), I usually answer with “sure but let’s first talk structure and goals and lifestyle and time management.”
So basically I’ve become the guy 25 year-old me wanted to smash with a folding chair.
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3. In a cruel twist of fate, goals to eat healthier are often sabotaged by the people we love.
One solution is to cut these pesky humans out of your life. While that might be tempting (and I appreciate the pragmatism) it’s not always the right thing to do. Sadly.
An alternative is to accept another cruelty: some will see any commitment to self improvement as an unspoken criticism on their own strength of character.
But rather than be inspired and join you in making improvements to their own lifestyle, they instead pressure you to screw up and fall apart. Because seeing you feel defeated makes them feel victorious.
Wow. People sure suck.
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4. Think about the “end” of your workouts.
Folks put time, effort, and thought into their warm-ups. Some will even take it a little TOO far, such as flopping through 25 different mobility drills before a five exercise weight training workout. But to each their own.
One thing I don’t see enough attention paid is how to END a workout.
Now this isn’t the “cool down,” which for most should be just hitting the shower or getting the hell outta there. I’m referring to the last 10-15 mins of a standard workout.
It’s actually money time. Because while what you do earlier in a session is the most productive, what you do last is the most memorable.
Personal trainers use this to their advantage when they smash a client at the end of an otherwise uneventful session, as to “leave them feeling like they accomplished something.”
But you can use these dying minutes in a more honest way. The key is keeping the time finite, i.e., 10 minutes, and then seeing how much work you can perform in that set window.
This creates a sense of urgency; both a powerful motivator and underused/under-appreciated psychological component to training.
Plus it’s fun.
Many of the classic “finishers” work. The key is to MAKE SURE THE FINISHER ALIGNS WITH THE GOAL.
Some of my favorites for hypertrophy are:
- 10 minutes of biceps and triceps… or abs and calves… or shoulder giant sets… or forearms and calves….. or walking lunges, etc.
- Push Ups and crunches, max reps in 10 mins
- Prowler pushes, max laps for 10 minutes
- Farmer’s walks, max laps for 10 minutes
You can obviously do fat loss or met-con finishers as well.
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5. “My whole life I’ve been insecure and unhappy with my body, so once I reached a responsible age, I decided to work with my physician/care provider to improve my physical appearance and quality of life—for me.”
Physique enthusiasts make this argument.
Know who else does?
This means you can’t be all libertarian “my body is my business so let me do what I want” on one side and then deny someone else that same pursuit of happiness on the other.
Well, you can. It just makes you a hypocrite.
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