Spoiler alert: The title of this article is a total lie. I bet you’re shocked. I bet you totally clicked on this article hoping to find the magic bullet to chiseled abs and tight buns. But you know that there is no such thing. Or do you?
Every time I pick up a fitness magazine I see some sort of outlandish title:
“Add 2 Inches To Your Arms In 6 Weeks!”
“Increase Your Bench By 50 Pounds With This Pec-Blasting Routine!”
“The 4-Week Program To Get The Gym-Selfie Abs You’ve Always Wanted!”
Now although most of these workout programs have some merit, they’re really not created for the Average Joe, nor can they elicit substantial results without manipulating other lifestyle variables. For example, I don’t care what you do in the gym- if you’re not eating enough, you won’t see great results, and if you’re not eating well enough, you’ll potentially be adding as much fat as you will muscle. Yes it’s important to have a plan at the gym, but without the proper diet, that plan won’t mean much.
“Fitness is part of a healthy human lifestyle”
I’ve used all sorts of workout programs- yep, even the ones from the magazines that I’m ripping on! When I began to workout I was all about beach-body workouts- arms and chest day followed by arms and chest day followed by arms and shoulders day. From there I graduated to the Westside Barbell template. From there I discovered Wendler’s 5-3-1 program, and so on and so forth. Throughout it all, I dabbled with these 1-off magazine programs to “Get Huge Arms!” and “Add 50 Pounds To My Squat!”- and I regret none of it.
The truth is, we’re all different and some people will respond favorably to certain programs while others will benefit more from a completely different kind of training. Without trying new types of training I would never have discovered what works for me and what doesn’t… and I continue to tinker with this formula every week of my life.
Anecdotal advice from world-class weight lifters and workout programs from magazines can be extremely helpful in figuring out the type of training that works best for you, but think of this information as more of a learning tool than as a get-jacked-guarantee. Every time you try something new it can become a piece to the never-ending puzzle of how to best challenge your body and get the results you want. So as much as I could sit here and write about what has worked for me and how it should work for you, I’d instead like to advise mastering the basics:
1) Be consistent. What I mean by this is that the number one key to getting any sort of result is to show up; set time aside for exercise and execute your plan. Fitness is part of a healthy human lifestyle, not a 4-week blip in a 4500-week lifespan.
2) Remember that there is no quick and easy solution for either weight-loss or for the gain of lean muscle. Just think: How long did it take you to put on the extra fat that you’re carrying around? 52 weeks? 104 weeks? 310 weeks? If so, why do you think you should be able to lose that weight in a fraction of the time? Sure, it can take less time to lose 100 pounds than the 25 years it took to gain it, but thinking that this can happen in a matter of weeks is extremely short-sighted.
3) Instead of focusing on a 4-week miracle plan, focus on making small, sustainable changes in your behavior. Again, this is about creating a healthier lifestyle, not a band-aid solution that won’t last.
4) Focus on performance at the gym, not the number on the scale. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a competitive athlete or lifter; if you continue to push yourself to do 1 extra rep, 1 extra set, 5 extra pounds, etc., you’ll continue to progress and get closer and closer to your ultimate goal- regardless of whether that goal is fat loss or adding muscle.
So can those fancy-pants magazine articles get you the body you want in the time they claim? Odds are that they certainly cannot; but once you’re in the habit of going to the gym and have the urge to mix it up, I would fully encourage you to try any new program that tickles your fancy. It’s important to keep yourself engaged and to have fun at the gym, so grab that magazine and try a new way to “Get Calves She Just Can’t Resist!” Just be sure to learn something and follow-up it up with another program, and another after that, and another after that… Oh, and don’t forget the nutrition part, Bro.