There are a lot of people who are constantly jumping from plan to plan and program to program without giving it 100% effort and follow through. There are many problems with this type of programming ADHD and I’m going to get into a few of them here. I also want to start off by saying this is something that many of us, including myself, have done at one point or another. In the beginner phase it’s most common but it’s not totally uncommon to see seasoned athletes/competitors doing it as well. In the age of information we have endless resources but the struggle of sifting through the noise and trying to find a worthwhile program has become more difficult. This is a big part of the reason people get distracted from the program at hand and aimlessly jump on the next bandwagon that seems to be legit. So on to the problems of this roundabout chase.
Learning your body
This right here is the most important and valuable thing for any person involved in fitness and athletics (everyone from the avid gym goer, the NPC competitor, powerlifter, to MMA fighter fall into that category). The secret to success in this game is to constantly learn, apply, keep, and throw away. What this means is starting a program and hitting it at 100% for the duration while paying attention to how your body is responding. You find pieces that you respond well to and pieces that you don’t. The pieces of the plan that you respond well to go into your toolbox and the rest is trashed. Then with knowledge of what works you start to find the next plan of attack. Repeat, build, repeat, build, and after years of doing this you start to have a serious collection of tools in that box.
The only way to effectively do this is to find a plan that seems to be legit and give it a run. That means to completion, not 2-3 weeks and trashing it. An example of this is when I was a teenager and trained a sheiko program for powerlifting. After completing the full program I saw that my squat and dead didn’t respond all that well but my bench went through the roof. The volume and set up from the program worked wonders for my bench, so I kept that part. Years later I switched to bodybuilding and training the squat in a higher rep range added a ton of weight to the lift. I then started adding in more high rep squat training when I switched back to powerlifting.
This same process has been applied to meal planning also. For the last 10 years I have been experimenting on myself and bringing that to my clients. By constantly looking at responses to specific adjustments I have enough in the toolbox to quickly figure someone’s body out and plan accordingly. Week by week, adjustment by adjustment, and the entire process is a learning experience that can be used in the future. This is only possible if someone is sticking to a plan and giving it the time needed to see the specific responses. Whether you are working with a coach or approaching it on your own the same thing applies. Execute and learn.
Creating a pattern for success or failure
This is simple. People who constantly jump from one plan to the next without ever giving something their full effort and attention will never succeed. It’s the quitter’s mentality. Just because someone has found something new to start up on doesn’t mean they aren’t quitting. It’s quitting in sequence. 1 year, 4 different plans, minimal progress, and nothing learned. They may have been training and meal planning for the year but they also quit (not switched) 4 times and made barely any headway.
What’s the most common reason people quit a program? Lack of discipline and commitment. More often than not it’s that simple. Someone sets a goal, starts a plan, realizes it’s not easy, and quits. On to the next one. Same outcome. Over and over without ever looking at the common denominator, no execution.
If you build this pattern as a habit you’re destined to follow the circular road to nowhere until you get real with yourself. Are some plans better than other? Of course but if you don’t ever give a plan 100% effort will you know what worked and what didn’t? Nope. You are left with an empty toolbox, a lot of time wasted, no closer to your goal than when you started.
Picking a meal plan
Obviously something that puts you in a good position from the jump is starting with a solid set up. This means research and educating yourself on the plan. Talk to people who are experienced and get their take on it. Google can be your friend if the source is a well respected professional in the industry. If it’s some clickbait type post, blog, website, you are in the wrong place. If it seems gimmicky, flashy, or like a fad in any way, you’re in the wrong place. If it’s totally contrary to EVERYTHING the majority of the top athletes are doing, you’re in the wrong place. If it seems really easy and something that’s appealing to the masses, it’s trash.
If you are looking to hire a coach there are some things to keep an eye out for. A good coach shouldn’t be vague about their approach and really shouldn’t have a specific idea of an approach for you until they consult with you first. There are a few things a coach needs to know before they have an idea of how they will approach your planning. Starting point, job/schedule, aversions to certain foods, injuries, experience etc. all come into play when setting up a plan. If it’s something other than this it’s likely a cookie-cutter set up. Knowing the client and their specific needs and starting point lay the foundation for success.
Choosing a training program
This is something that comes with personal experience and knowing your body as I stated earlier. As you learn how you react to specific types of training it becomes easier to find a program to run. I can’t handle the higher intensity volume work I used to use when I wasn’t as strong so when I see a program that 80%+ and high volume/frequency, it’s immediately out. I know I can’t recover efficiently between sessions. This is more important for the athletes and competitive lifters than it is for the physique/bodybuilding crowd. Certain types of training and goals allow more leeway for trying drastically different programs and making progress with all of them. However, you will still learn the different ways you respond to different types of training and over time can find a way to mesh all the effective pieces of different programs to suit your current goal. And as the current goal changes, the chosen training may change as well. See why proper execution and learning your body is so important?
Major in the basics
The basics expanded upon are the brick and mortar of the build. This goes for everything in diet and training. Don’t look to reinvent the wheel, look at how to make the wheel more efficient. This means the basic big compound lifts are what a training program should typically be centered around. And as for diet, the common sense type foods and basic supplementation are what it’s centered around. No gimmicky supplements are needed. No approach like fasting for the majority of the day, being able to eat whatever you want, or cutting out an entire food group are going to get you anywhere or teach you what you need to make this work long term. Basic, build.
If anyone is interested in talking about their goals and finding the best approach to get started, contact me. Get pointed in the right direction and attack.