You want to take down even the most audacious goals? The type of change that will revolutionize life as you know it forever? Great, the process is as simple as having a clear and objective plan in place and executing it every damn day. Without goals, results are random at best. Don’t settle for less, set goals.
#4 You Let Ego Instead of Intelligence Drive Your Training
There’s a fine line between letting your ego dictate you’re training and honing your ego in and allowing it to work positively for your training and results.
I’d be brutal dishonest with you if I said that the biggest, strongest and most resilient lifters and strength athletes in the world aren’t at least partially driven by ego. But here’s the deal, knowing damn well that ego is present in us all, it’d be counter productive to attempt to take ego out of lifting, because ego is truly the fuel long term results are forged on.
We all strive to lift heavier weights, to pack on more size and shred up, but taking a step back and realizing that those goals that when attained, will be a big internal ego boost are dependent on intelligence and structure in your training, nutrition and lifestyle choices. Once you have set out on the clear course to goal attainment, ego should work for you, and not deter you from your path.
In highly competitive internal and external environments, staying objective to your current abilities can be tough. But the true sign of maturity in the rack and beyond is exemplifying the ability to be honest with yourself while sticking to the plan that through intelligent calculation, constant feedback and experience, you know will get you to your goal and beyond.
Taking yourself out of your “in the moment” mindset and placing yourself into a big picture mental landscape will help you keep the path to success even in the most trying of times where your humanistic nature will want to veer off course. If you can be real with yourself, and earn the right to achieve goals at world-class levels, that “ego” that you have battled your entire lifting career will start to work for you instead of against you. That right there is the true definition of mastery.
#3 You Have No Idea What’s Actually Entering Your Body
Making a positive change in any goal you set out to attain is dependent on you not only knowing where you want to end up, but also what your current location is. When it comes to nutrition and diet, it’s no surprise that a vast majority of people have no idea of the content or quantity of fuel that is entering their body.
While I loathe the idea of being left slave to your phone to track every single minute detail of food and beverage that enters your mouth, this arduous process needs to be the starting point to create a baseline of nutritional planning. What keeps people from starting the “tracking” process in the first place? The idea that they will have to adhere to this mind-numbing process for life. And this is simply not true.
We track anything that we do in order to gain data over time so we can review it and make modifications as need be to continue to make improvements towards our goals. Hopefully through the process repeated finger flexion at the kitchen counter you’ll develop things called habits. And that’s really the goal.
Once you have defined your baseline level of caloric and macronutrient intake, taking action on strategically altering these two foundational nutritional principles is the next step. Set your calories according to your goal, which is usually fat-loss or muscle building, and if you want to take it one small step further break down your macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbs) into more clearly programmed ratios. And yeah, for a vast majority of people this simple intake alteration will produce results.
Don’t fall victim to the dogmatic and highly complex nutritional strategies that flood our industry unless you have mastered the foundations first. Sadly, trying to train and eat on the most advanced and highly complex programs is the current norm and is one of the single most polarizing problems in the health of our society. And we wonder why people crash diet, burn out and end up fatter and sicker than ever before. Master the basics, make small changes over time and earn the right to irrationally complicate things when the time comes.
#2 You Solely Believe In A Strictly Narrow Minded & Dogmatic Approach
Speaking of narrow-minded dogmatic approaches to training and nutrition, they are literally stealing your gains from you. The day that you start thinking everyone who doesn’t 110% believe exactly what you believe is full of shit is the day you become a dogmatic fitness guru, and that’s never a good thing to hang your hat on.
Creating dynamic results in your health, physique or performance is not dependent on one single perfect approach, but rather the synergy of many gold-standard methods and techniques to formulate your perfect programming and strategy set according to your needs, your current ability levels and your specific goals.
As soon as you buy into the misguided thought that there is only one way to produce notable results in strength, hypertrophy or function, your results will be limited. It’s as simple as that. If you look at anyone who embodies what it is to live with physical prowess and resiliency, it’s clear that there is a multi-faceted approach to the way they choose to train, eat and live. That’s because no two people are the same, and long-term results depend on you identifying and defining your individuality and planning accordingly.
I realize it’s easier to drink the Kool-Aid of the latest fitness trend, or go all-in on a sexy approach to training or nutrition that is producing results for the 0.001% physical outliers of the human population like professional bodybuilders and the athletes competing in the CrossFit Games.
But instead of wasting your time, being constantly frustrated and chronically hurt, wouldn’t you rather just be your best you, and get results from a means that is more personal to you? If you answer no, then you better check your priorities. Living a physically successful life is about figuring out what works for you, no matter what it is to a certain extent, and continuing to master and improve it over time. If you don’t buy into this system, which is your best system, then good luck to you and enjoy the misery.
#1 You’re Always Hurt & Never Strive To Train Pain-Free
By now you probably realize how hard it is to build muscle, to burn fat, get brutally strong and perform at an elite level. But, do you know what’s even harder? Trying to achieve those goals while your body is always chronically broken down, hurt and continuously battling itself to stay out of pain’s way while trying to achieve goals simultaneously.
In no way, shape or form should injures ever become a common “price of doing business” for strength training. If you are a lifter who is a self-fulfilling injury prophecy who can literally predict their own orthopedic demise with clock like precision, you are most likely to blame.
Though injuries sometimes do randomly occur without signs of negligence or a lack of proper programming, execution or detail, but most of the time injuries happen due to your lack of judgment and focus. And yes, this goes for activities in AND outside of the gym.
I get it, injuries do sometimes happen, and occasionally they are out of our control as strength athletes. But the worst thing you can do is to pack it in and stop training all together. And a close second is to pound through your training like nothing ever happened and force feed painful movements and ugly reps just to self-justify a half-assed workout.
When injuries happen, whether they should have been preventable or not, it allows the person an opportunity to use the data which usually comes in the form of a aching back or nervy shooting pain through the shoulder, to improve programming, tighten up technique or just fix some broken links that are the true origins of these chronic and traumatic injuries in the first place.
We’ve all been guilty of sustaining preventable injuries at some point in time, but the smart lifters who plan on moving iron for the rest of their lives use this painful occurrence as a wake up call and get their shit together. If you never fix what’s broken, your orthopedic health, and your lifting career for that matter will always be left up to chance. Learn your lesson, study up and focus in on working on what needs to be fixed and live to lift another day. And maybe if you’re luck you’ll begin to experience a rarely occurring phenomenon, which is truly “pain-free” training.
About The Author
Dr. John Rusin is a sports performance specialist and injury prevention expert that has coached some of the world’s most elite athletes including multiple Olympic gold medalists, NFL & MLB All-Star performers, and professional athletes from 11 different sports. Dr. Rusin has also managed some of the most successful barbell sport athletes in the world including world record holding powerlifters, CrossFit Games athletes, and IFBB professional bodybuilders and physique athletes. His innovative pain-free performance programs have been successfully used by over 25,000 athletes, which has gained him the reputation as the go-to industry expert for rebuilding after pain, injuries or plateaus. Dr. Rusin is also the founder of the Pain-Free Performance Specialist Certification (PPSC) that has certified over 1500 personal trainers, strength coaches and rehab pros from across the globe in his methods over the past two years.