I have news for a whole lot of people….
This news is something that no one wants to admit but applies to more of us than we think. What I’m about to tell you is a problem that can be addressed, but first needs to be recognized and clarified.
The fact is that there is a pretty decent chance that you are below average.
Below average professionally, below average physically, below average socially. Whatever quality you choose you have to come to terms with the fact that half of the population is going to be below average.
For the more optimistic crowd reading this that also leaves good news. There is a second half of the population who is above average. However just being optimistic doesn’t mean that you are above that magical line.
Complacency Is The Enemy
Everyone knows how easy it is to get caught up in everyday life, doing the same thing day after day after day. You once had big dreams and lofty goals but LIFE got in the way.
A job got in the way.
Your kids got in the way.
YOU GOT IN YOUR OWN WAY.
And before you know it other people passed you by and now you are below average.
That is a scary thing to admit but once we recognize that it is true we can begin to do something about it.
Where To Start
When I think of ways to get the biggest bang for your buck in the gym there are three things that come to mind. If you find a way to cram each of these into each and every training session then I can guarantee you will be improving every time you step in the gym.
“ But Coach Joe, if people only have to do three things why isn’t everyone in great shape?”
Well avid gym-goer, the answer is in the fact that simple does not equate to easy. In theory fitness and nutrition is simple, lifting heavy weights and planning out meals for the week is not easy.
The idea is simple, the execution is not easy.
With that being said, these three ideas are very simple in nature but putting them into practice is the harder part. If you can find the discipline to consistently do these you will make progress and be miles ahead of your peers.
These secret, mystery, all-powerful tactics are as follows:
- Find what you suck at the most and work on that first.
- Do something to keep you coming back.
- Leave yourself in a pile on the floor.
Like we discussed, simple but not easy. Put them into practice and you will achieve your goals, avoid doing them and stay in the same rut you’ve been in for weeks, months, or maybe even years.
First things first, tactic numero uno.
Find What You Suck At, Work On That First
This first tactic is possibly the scariest one because it means we have to come to terms that we may in fact suck at something.
Now assuming that you are below average at one or more things, when we finally decide to address them we also have to decide where to start. To make the most significant impact find what you absolutely suck at, and get to work.
Recently I decided to go for a run with my dog. If you know my dog you know that Bill isn’t quite in peak performance mode all the time, but I was relatively confident in myself. After making it only halfway around my block I came to the realization that this was probably below average.
In fitness terms, my conditioning is clearly not on point. In order to become more athletic overall this was going to be my starting point. I suck at anything over five reps.
Could it be that I can’t count that high? Maybe.
Could it be that I always avoid conditioning because I suck at it? More likely.
If we just took the time to think about what we simply aren’t good at and attacked those things relentlessly, eventually we would at least suck less at them.
So maybe you are different from me and you can run for miles without breaking a sweat. Find something else you suck at. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask your girlfriend.
Ask someone who will be ruthlessly honest with you and become their best friend; you need more of those people in your life anyway.
Once we know what we suck at we can begin to address it. Make this something you think about all the time. Post a note about it on your fridge, at your desk at work, by your bedside, on your bathroom mirror, and anywhere else you will see it.
These constant reminders serve as motivation for when you do get to the gym. This is going to be the thing you hit first, every single time. If you leave it for the end of your training session it will be much easier to quietly head home without working on it.
Find what you suck at, work on that first.
If you suck at pullups, do more pullups. If your legs look similar to a newborn giraffe, maybe squat a little. Genius, I know.
After we finish flailing around for a little and just before feeling like a complete idiot we move on to tactic numero dos.
Do Something To Keep You Coming Back
I’m not sure if people have noticed, maybe its just me, but seeing change takes a lot longer than we think.
You crush leg day like the champion you are, can’t walk for a full week, but your legs still look exactly the same when you finally get out of your wheelchair. What the hell just happened?
Fitness is as much mental as it is physical, and because this is the case it helps to occasionally enjoy what you do in and out of the gym to stay in shape. Having fun doesn’t mean that you aren’t training hard enough; it means that you’ve found something you can stick with long term.
It pains me when I hear that people think of working out as something they “have to do” instead of something they “get to do.” Being in a gym is basically playtime for adults and should be enjoyed as such.
If you are someone who loves to run, go run! Don’t listen to the fitness gurus who say that running will eat up all your gains and you’ll never get strong. If you are someone who lives for bicep curls (and who doesn’t?) go right ahead.
While this may seem relatively straightforward, to some gym-goers fitness is on the same level as rocket science. Luckily for everyone reading this article I have carefully devised a plan to overcome this struggle.
If it makes you happy, do it.
Fuck everybody else who tells you it is stupid or a waste of time or whatever else naysayers say. You can also tell them that I said fuck em too 🙂
Lastly, one last way to make the most of your workout.
Leave Yourself In A Puddle
How many times have you walked out of the gym knowing that you had more in the tank? Thinking you “should have” done something else.
The number one way to push a good workout into a great workout is to finish strong. There are endless mantras that sport coaches and motivational speakers around the world use all the time.
“Leave it all on the field.”
“Don’t hold back.”
“Give it all you got.”
Whatever phrase tickles your fancy, if you finish your workout knowing that you “gave it all you had” I guarantee you’re going to feel better and be raving about it throughout the next few days.
Finishers serve a number of different purposes and can provide fantastic results depending on your goal.
If you are trying to burn fat and lose weight wouldn’t it make sense to work harder and know that you put all of your effort into your workout that day?
If you are trying to build muscle wouldn’t it make sense to push your muscles to absolute failure so they have to repair and rebuild stronger for your next workout?
Someone once told me that “your whole heart beats your half-ass every time”. I love that phrase because a) it makes me giggle and b) it couldn’t be more true. Finish your workouts with 110% effort and it will pay off in the long run.
Walk into any gym in the world and you can immediately pick out who works hard and consistently puts in high effort sessions and those who meander through their “workout” just lazily doing a few sets of whatever sounds appealing that day.
Putting It All Together
A different someone told me “it doesn’t matter how much weight you can lift, it matters how much weight you LOOK like you can lift.” Lifting a ton of weight is great, but looking like you actually work out is really cool too.
If you are honest with yourself and get these three things in a workout I promise that you will have a great session and be far ahead of where you would be without them.
Attack your weaknesses.
Enjoy what you do.
Like I said, simple, but never easy.
~ Coach Joe
Follow me at @ob_coachjoefitz