I traded my soul and bought a new car recently.
Like a still-smells-absolutely-amazing new.
For the past few years I have (like most guys) had various visions of my ‘dream car’. While the visions have changed slightly over time, a few things have stayed the same.
There were consistently a few extra staples I craved:
-A smooth exterior
-An even smoother interior
-And (unlike most guys)… fabulous fuel economy.
Not very Vin Diesel-esque, but it’s what I wanted. These ‘extras’ aren’t the only thing that mattered. But… they are what would separate any old car from my dream car. And they’re exactly what caused me to fall head over heels for this hottie right hurr.
God, she’s pretty.
Most of you probably have similar, yet unique, visions. Certain cars and certain things that keep you up at night. These visions also probably include your own individual staples. Your own extras. That last 5% that transform a good car into a great one.
Sometimes though, it can be easy to be blinded by these very extras.
Lets play a game.
Imagine you found your exact dream car. Straight out of your
There she is:
-red with flames
-no exhaust pipe
-one worn-in wheelie bar
-and even one of those archaic manual window cranks
You know, real Fast and the Furious type shit.
Exactly what you wanted.
Right there in front of you.
And within your budget.
You purchase this beast. Snag the keys. And set off to outrun cops and hijack tractor-trailers.
Then… right as you attempt to start it… you realize one thing. This piece of junk doesn’t even have an engine.
Whoa… not exactly your dream car anymore is it?
It’s similar, yeah.
It has the last 5% to the tee, but it’s missing something. It’s missing that first 95%. The engine. The clutch. The chunk that actually makes the car what it is. The shit that makes the car go.
It has all the extras. All the cool shit. But it has left out the things which actually matter.
Sadly, this is where most people get lost with their fitness as well.
We all look for the things that turn a good plan into a great one.
The meal timing, the rest periods, the variations.
We find the “optimal” details, and nail them.
But somehow, in the process, we forget to focus in on what actually matters.
The workouts themselves, the calories, the effort, the consistency.
The stuff that actually matters.
The things that make your plan go.
We work so hard to make our plan perfect, that we forget what it takes to make our plan good.
Sort of like buying a cake for your wedding, and only ordering the frosting.
You’re missing the substance.
Don’t get me wrong though, I love the fancy shit as much as anybody. (Hence the touch screen dashboard in my car)
But I also realize that without the core, its all useless.
If I didn’t have an ignition, there’s no starting my car.
If I didn’t have an engine, there’s no getting to work.
If I didnt have wheels…. there’s… well… you get the picture.
I’m sure that you typically realize this too. You wouldn’t buy a computer without a keyboard. You wouldn’t buy a bedframe without a matress. And you wouldn’t buy a house without a foundation.
You’re above that.
We all are.
But, if we’re really so smart, then why do we get so dead-set on skimping the foundation of our fitness?
Just as basic. Yet so consistently missed.
Maybe it’s the over-promising (yet under-delivering) magazine articles and TV informercials. Or maybe it’s the “insane” transformations that actors undergo before their big screen debut’s.
Whatever it is, it’s got us jumping the gun faster than Usain Bolt in his prime. Looking for that extra push to get us over the top. All while we haven’t even learned to get out of the bottom.
It needs to change.
Or rather, it doesnt need to change – we do.
Not because the last 5% is useless.
But because without the first 95%, you’ll never really get to enjoy that last 5.
So for a bit, let’s focus on just that. Building your first 95. Your engine, your clutch, the shit that makes you go. Because while a touch screen on a bicycle is cool, a touch screen in a goddamn tank is way fucking cooler.
The First 95%
I work in a commercial gym. And not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask for “the secret to bigger biceps”. I typically ask about their chin-up strength, to which most people reply, “Uhm, I can do a couple… I think”.
When I tell them to focus on getting stronger for a bit; most take it as an insult.
Or like I’m not letting them into “the club”.
This isn’t the case.
Most people are just too weak now a days. Don’t be this person. Focus on getting stronger in the big movements. Ya know… The bench press, the squat, the deadlift… and oh yeah, the bench press. 🙂
(What? I like benching too.)
Get stronger- that way when it comes time to chase the pump, you can actually catch it.
Follow a Plan
So, you’re ready to get stronger now.
From here you just need a plan of attack. This is where most people get too caught up. Once again looking for that perfect plan. Tripping on those extras. Don’t.
Instead of waiting for the optimal program, do this:
Grab a widely used, and strength-based, plan. And dominate it. It really doesn’t matter what plan you choose. Check out Leangain’s RPT, Stronglifts, 5/3/1, 5×5, whatever. (They’re all popular for a reason)
Don’t get too caught up in which, just choose one and go all in for a significant duration.
“Ready. Shoot. Aim.”
Still not sure where to go? E-mail me. Ask me some pointers for starting out. And I’ll get you going in the right direction.
Pro-bono, of course.
Pay Attention to What (and how much) You Eat
Duh. Seems like common sense, right?
Calories are number 1.
Macronutrients are number 2.
Regardless of goal, these will always be at the top of the mountain.
Very few people will disagree with this.
What’s often forgotten is that Food Choices are a close number 3.
“Eating Healthy” has genuinely become very underrated as of late. (Crazy how fads go in cycles like that.) While tuna and broccoli used to be the holy grail of nutrition, lately it has become more about who can eat the most cookie dough and still get ripped.
Look, I get it. IIFYM is supa-rad (that’s what the popular kids say, right?). And eating countless poptarts is way cooler than eating chicken and brocolli filled tuperware. But who cares how “supa-rad” your eating habits are?
If you aren’t aware… no one does.
Let’s do the shit that works, and while moderation is always key, I’ve witnessed very few poor physiques built on the correct amount of healthy foods.
Don’t get it twisted. I’m not advocating unlimited amounts of peanut butter and sweet potatos. Calories are still the top of the pyramid. It’s just that many of us could really benefit from eating a little bit less crap.
Where will this all get you?
Further along than most people in fitness ever get. Sure, you won’t be elite (yet). But you’ll have built your foundation, your engine, all that stuff.
You’ll be able to get to where you want to go.
You may not be a fully-loaded tank yet.
But for now, you’re one hell of a 10-second car.
And according to my boy Vin, there’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ 10-second car.
….whatever the hell that means.
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