Change is a big part of life.
You aren’t the same person you were 10 years or 10 months ago, or even 10 minutes ago.
Your body is constantly changing in response to stressors, both environmental and self-imposed. It seeks to make you the strongest, healthiest, highest functioning organism you can be. If it didn’t operate this way our species would’ve lasted just a few ticks on the evolutionary scale.
So change is good. And in training, you need a certain amount of it at regular intervals or your body gets bored and stops responding, like a teenager after playing Grand Theft Auto too many times.
However, too much change, or change for change sake, isn’t good either.
Your body never gets the chance to adapt, to master whatever challenge you’re throwing at it so it can come back bigger, stronger, and better.
That’s why savvy coaches who actually work with real-life humans (fancy that?) approach change with trepidation. Give just enough to force an adaptation, but not so much that your body reverts back to square one.
You can achieve this by keeping the big, important exercises the same and just change the sets and reps or rest interval, or perhaps swap assistance work. Keep improving on the foundation while altering your approach just a little.
That’s also a suitable way to approach the inevitable changes that occur in life. Figure out what’s important to you — your foundation — and keep those things top priority. Now roll with the punches and work with whatever life throws your way.
Adapt, evolve, and change. But never lose sight of who you are.
My life is going through a major change.
While many lucky bastards take August off and just sit by the pool drinking frosty libations, I’ve got tons to deal with.
I’ll be moving and settling in a new city – which means a new gym, a new coffee shop, a new dojo, even driving a car again. Which is kinda cool.
Still, I’ll definitely miss the crazy New York City subway, especially riding the F train over the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. I could never get bored of that view.
It’s also exciting cause I get to return to in-person training after a two-year hiatus imposed upon me by Uncle Sam. I don’t plan to take on too many clients but I do want a dedicated handful of professional guys that want to get down to business.
Side Point: Any online trainer who “doesn’t have time” to work on the gym floor is making a huge mistake. You will lose perspective and your programming will suffer — so your online clients will suffer.
Now if you don’t mind watching your skills degrade then go ahead and chase the 4 Hour Workweek dream. But if you want to excel, then you gotta count some reps and coach. It’s not glamorous and can be a tad monotonous but it’s still the heart and soul of the fucking job.
I’m a firm believer in taking whatever it is you choose to do to as high a level of mastery as possible. Doing so requires you limit how many things you take on — never a bad thing — and it also requires a shit load of discipline.
And discipline is strength.
So with all that, this blog is also going to change.
First, I’m going to try to update it more – twice a week is the goal – and keep the content short and sweet, with a focus on actionable tips for guys looking to look and feel and just plain live better.
I’ll also start doing more Q’n’A type blogs. I’ve been getting quite a few questions through my Contact page about nutrition, training, writing, and looking good naked strategies, and I answer every one. But every time I send off a reply I find myself thinking, “Damn, that was a blog post!”
So send me your questions. If I can answer it intelligently (and it’s not something that’s been covered a thousand times by people smarter than me) I’ll feature it.
That’s right, I’ll make you famous. Better stock up on condoms homie cause your shit’s about to pop off.
Don’t worry, my long, drawn-out blogs on life, fashion, and how 80% of the fitness industry is made up of insecure douchebags will still make an appearance.
Now let me leave you with some actionable tips on Getting Lean.
I got in my best shape of my life this year, at the relatively geriatric age of 41. What is noteworthy, at least for me, is that I did zero minutes of cardio in the process. I just trained my arse off with weights and did martial arts (Krav Maga) 3-5 times a week, and of course, watched my diet closely. It worked.
Now to be perfectly candid, I would’ve achieved better results had I added a bit of cardio, especially towards the end. And I certainly didn’t eat quite as “clean” as I could have (hey, I live in NYC, which is food Nirvana). Yes, clean eating is largely overrated, but there’s no denying that when you need to get really, really lean, food choice matters a lot.
I also could’ve done significantly better had I used a coach. I’m pretty experienced, but a second set of eyes is never a bad thing, especially when those extra eyes are very skilled at prepping competitors.
One of my favorite coaches is my colleague Shelby Starnes. Shelby is an extremely good bodybuilder (an IFBB Pro) but his real strength is coaching. He just gets guys (and girls) into shape – and they win.
After my diet I spoke with Shelby about my approach and what if anything I should’ve done differently, especially as an over 40 athlete.
His response? Do what you did, but at your age you need to do it harder.
Basically, an older guy’s diet has to suck more.
• You have to eat less junk food, even if it “fits your macros.” Older guys simply don’t metabolize food as efficiently as their younger counterparts.
• You typically have to do more exercise (namely cardio) and burn more calories. Your metabolism slows down as you age – your prep has to account for this.
• More consistency in proper nutrition, training, cardio, supplementation, etc. According to Shelby, the guys who become “robots” and just do what they have to do, day in and day out, get the best results. Consistency is the older guy’s best friend.
• Less slip-ups. A calorie bender when you’re young might set your prep back 3 or 4 days. However, when you have some grey hair, one day of binge eating can erase a full week’s worth of progress. Save the cheats for the offseason.
That said, Shelby is quick to point out that everyone is different. One guy’s blueprint for success is probably not going to be yours. That’s where hiring someone who knows what the hell they’re doing pays off.
So if you’re serious, get good coaching. It’s worth it.
That’s it for now. Next post I’ll start unveiling how guys who want to look awesome should train. And it’s not a magic workout or program, but a ground-up approach to programming.
Or I might do a Q’n’A? Who knows. I’m flexible.
Cause change is inevitable.