The following is a really short story about Larry* and what he does in the gym to achieve excellent results.
Read the story through and you will learn what you really need to do to be lean, muscular and healthy.
Hint: it is probably not what some would have you believe.
Larry is a busy man. He is 45 years old, owns his own successful business, is happily married and has two daughters.
Larry works long hours but he still wants to be lean, fit and healthy.
And (he thinks) he knows exactly what is needed to achieve that…
At the gym, we catch up with Larry 90 minutes into his workout!?! Sweat pouring off of him. He can hardly catch his breath...
He has one last circuit of heavy squats, muscle ups, box jumps and handstand push ups to go...
His 3 scoops of a powdered pre-workout supplement mixed with redbull and washed down with a double espresso are wearing off...
He wants to give up...badly.
Every fibre of his being is shouting STOP!
Larry pauses, remembering all those that had suffered before him...
Those that had been lost on the battlefield of biceps and he chastises his weakness.
Then he shouts out ‘no pain, no gain’ whilst others around him look on in disbelief and he crushes that last circuit like a true soldier.
Exhibiting nothing less than full on beast mode…
Sound familiar? Well is shouldn't.
Do you really think 45 year old, exhausted Larry could do the above!?! Could he heck!
In the real world, 90 minutes after his workout started Larry has already showered and is heading to work.
He did have that black coffee pre-workout, that much is true, while checking his bombardment of work emails. But he doesn’t remember the last time he had a redbull or any of the powdered caffeine laden pre-workout supplements out there.
And as for the circuit of heavy squats, muscle ups, box jumps and handstand push ups? Come on. Crossfit? Maybe in some other time/life/body/world where optimal training options don't exist.
There are many different opinions on what a successful gym workout looks like in order to get you results.
The above is a popular example of what many think has to happen each time you enter the gym if they want the physique they desire.
If your goal is to push your body to its max, use lots of random exercises and feel like you’ve just went 5 rounds with Conor McGregor, then yeah, the above might apply to you.
Larry’s goal though, is to get lean, build some muscle and relieve some stress, not create more... So for him the above is just not necessary.
To see results, you should be definitely pushed, out of your comfort zone, each time you train.
However, this should be done on a progressive training program that is designed to build your physique, not demolish it like an unwanted housing scheme. Your program should take your recovery ability and current lifestyle into consideration.
I go into more detail in this article on how a training program should and can be individualised with my help.
Progress from the last workout is the goal of any successful training program and this can be as simple as more reps with a given weight on a particular exercise.
It can also mean just getting your ass to the gym, no matter how you feel and doing your best. And, in a way, you should be more proud of your training achievements on days like that than the days you felt highly motivated.
Larry knows that getting lean and building muscle involves hard work and consistency. But he is smart enough to know that he does not have to be lying in a corner, in need of an ambulance to take him to the shower to get a six-pack.
Forget being a hero for that one hour in the gym and train smart for long lasting results.
Remember that you're only in competition with yesterday's you and you'll be happy as Larry!
*Larry's name has been changed to protect his identity
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