The work required to get results.
I was recently chatting with a client of mine. This client is a classic Type A personality, one of those people who is a serious “go getter” who doesn’t fuck around about anything. We’re gonna call this client Jethro. I wish that was his real name. Jethro would be a great name.
Jethro and I have been working for a few months on a pretty intense fat loss program. One that’s been primarily controlled via diet, as most fat loss programs should be.
Jethro was lamenting the fact that he had a long run planned for this weekend, but the weather was going to be downright awful and he already had so much going on. Knowing Jethro’s program, and that it didn’t involve any running, I asked what was up.
He mentioned that he had been feeling a little flabby, and that he wanted to get in some cardio over the weekend to help take care of that. I dig that. I like it when clients take initiative.
But I also had to set Jethro straight and explain that maybe adding in more exercise to his program, that wasn’t in his program to begin with, might not be the answer.
More work doesn’t always equal more results.
Getting results is fairly straightforward. You put in the work, lift weights, watch your nutrition, sleep, and recovery, and results come. If they’re not coming, you take stock of everything going on.
- If you’re sleep is compromised or life is a never ending hell hole of stress, it’s difficult to make progress because you’re recovery is compromised.
- If you’re not really pushing yourself in the weight room, then you get real with yourself, grow a pair, and start pushing it.
- If you’re not following a real program and just bouncing around, you embrace monogamy and quit being a program whore.
After you’ve been lifting for 4-5 years, you’re well past novice status. Gains come quick to newbies and novices, and much slower to advanced people. You’ll need some advanced programming, and to start thinking more intelligently about your program and what the goal of your program is.
You can start to cycle the focus of your program. Focus for a while on building strength, make a switch and start focusing on building size, and after that start focusing on fat loss. You can alternate between these forever, and smart lifters do just that.
If you’re doing this, it’ll surprise you how little time in the gym it actually requires to get results.
4 days a week in the gym, at an hour each, is enough to get most people great results. No matter what their goal is.
- Want to get jacked? You can absolutely find a program that is 4 days a week and perfect for hypertrophy.
- Want to build serious strength? Some of the best strength programs I’ve ever done were 4 days a week.
- Need to lose a ton of fat? Aside from the fact that your focus should be on what you’re eating, you can create a great fat loss program built around 4 days a week spent in the gym.
Think about that. You can get whatever results you want, and do it in about 4 hours a week. All it requires is some intelligent planning, and serious buy in on your part.
Of course you need to bust your ass in the gym. If you’re sandbagging it in the gym and not putting in the effort, nothing will ever come. Sometimes this is people’s biggest issue. They don’t realize what real effort is. And there’s the obvious caveat that this applies to most people, not all. If you’re a high level competitor in a sport, a marathoner, or something similar obviously this doesn’t apply to you.
Quality is more important than quantity.
For the vast majority of people out there, quality effort is superior to more effort every single time. This is the overarching principle behind the 4-day plan, and why a 4-day plan can get most people to their goals. That 4-day plan involves quality work.
Think about anything else in life. Why would you throw more time at something, when you could get it done in less time and more concentrated effort?
Imagine you hired a contractor to build a deck in your backyard. It’s going to be a badass deck. You’re going to sit out there and drink bloody mary’s every Saturday morning, read philosophy, and ponder lifes greatest questions while surrounded by beautiful plants. All on your badass deck.
Imagine that contractor, if following a quality plan, can get the job done in 1 week by working 8 hours a day. Or he can get it done in 3 weeks working 6 hours a day, but not following a quality plan.
Why would you ever have the contractor in the second scenario? It makes zero sense. The same thing can be said about your training. Find a quality plan, and follow it.
Quality in all facets of life is usually superior to quantity. You still need to work, you just don’t need to work for 8 days a week and 25 hours at a time like some people would have you believe.