I had it.
I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t true…….was it?
Was I doing this all wrong?
I had just stumbled across Leangains, almost by accident. While browsing the low-carb websites (I’ve read The Lean Muscle Diet as penance……), I ran across a mention of intermittent fasting, or IF, in the comments. It was the first time I had heard the name Martin Berkhan and his infamous protocol, Leangains.
It was Fall, 2011. Almost 4 years ago.
So, after reading the comment, I typed “Leangains” into the Google Search bar. And I clicked on the first link.
And the first thing I saw was “Fuckarounditis”.
I’ve gotta admit – I was a bit turned off. The ripped trainer on the right hand column, the cocky and brazen attitude of the writing, and…….well…………..there was one other piece that turned me off as well.
It described damned near EVERYTHING I was doing. To a “t”.
Apparently, according to this Swedish dude, I was suffering from a debilitating disease that was holding me back. In both my training and my life.
I was suffering from “Fuckarounditis”.
Eventually, after the anger and the disbelief subsided, I let my guard down and began to take Martin’s teachings to heart. I incorporated his regimes into my life. I helped others do the same. I developed my own applications of Leangains and began teaching the system to others. I started my own blog.
But it all began with the diagnosis……..and the eradication………….of this horrible affliction.
Fitness articles come out every day. Some are good, bunches are not, and a few stick with you. And fester under your skin. And perhaps, one day, they change you – for the better.
And whenever someone asks me about MY favorite fitness article, the article that truly changed me, there is absolutely no question what the answer is.
Even now, almost 4 years after “Fuckarounditis” was written, I still return to it, about once per month, to re-read. And I always get something new at each reading. At first, it seems Martin was talking about being sure you squat, deadlift, and keep a training log. And to some, that may be all the article is about.
But the longer I reflect on the majesty of “Fuckarounditis”, the more the article takes on a life outside the walls of your local gym. The messages and philosophies within parallel the ways with which you should approach all aspects of your life.
Unafraid. Unabashed. Unwavering. Unrelenting. Unwilling to back down.
“Fuckarounditis” changed my life. There’s no doubt about it.
Here are 7 different takeaways from Martin Berkhan’s masterpiece which have stuck with me to this day.
What Martin said: “Training the core is a phrase used by people who are afraid to squat.”
My takeaway: “Stop avoiding shit you don’t want to do.”
Was I training my “core”? Yeah. I was. Crunches galore. Some were on a bosu ball.
Was I still fat? Yeah. I was. For sure.
Was I fat because I was “training my core”?
Not really. I was fat because I was continuing to avoid things simply because I didn’t want to do them. I had squatted before. I had deadlifted before. Both of them fucking hurt. Squats especially. It was heavy and you had to put the weight on your back.
And my diet? What diet? I had no diet. I mean, I ate food, but I didn’t look – seriously look – at the macronutrient content of ANYTHING.
And why didn’t I want to do this? Because I didn’t want to be bothered.
And after I began macro counting, squatting, and deadlifting? Everything changed. Everything.
I began to view life differently. I began to be more direct. More confident. Much more of a “go-getter”. In short, I was no longer afraid to do scary-ass-shit. Sometimes that meant squats and deadlifts. Sometimes that meant having a tough discussion with a co-worker or family member. Sometimes that meant cleaning my car. It just depended on the day. We always have shit we don’t want to do.
But overtime, I stopped thinking about how much I didn’t want to do that shit – I just did it. And if it sucked it sucked. So what? And the ability to do shit I didn’t want to do without so much as giving one, single fuck, started as a result of “Fuckarounditis”.
What Martin said: “Never choose weights at random. Never do things for ‘shits and giggles’.”
My takeaway: “Have a plan and be methodical.”
Does that mean your plan must always go 100% just as you envisioned it? Of course not.
But haphazardly going through the motions just to say you “did” something is the way of much of the world. Just go through the motions, baby. Live another day. Count down the time until the weekend.
Do stuff for fun. Relax. Don’t worry, be happy. Let life happen.
And I was letting “life happen” way too much.
Those who take life by the balls, create a plan, and go execute the plan to the best of their ability become the movers, the shakers, the ass-kickers and the life-dominators.
Which doesn’t mean you’ll know 100% how your plan will be achieved. Just be sure you know it’s there, you keep the vision in front of you, and you do what you need to do to always be moving one step closer to your ultimate goal.
What Martin said: “Be a minimalist.”
My takeaway: “More is not always better.”
We are always searching for more. More, more more. More money, more success, more fame, more friends, more “likes”, more “re-tweets”. Bigger houses, better vacations, faster cars, blah, blah, blah.
Even though it’s been proven that time and time again, money and things don’t buy happiness after the basic necessities have been met.
Your goal should always be to improve – not to “have”. And improvement doesn’t always mean an increase. No matter what the endeavor.
In fitness, this may mean scaling back the number of training sessions and deadlifting more. In life, it may mean making more time for your wife and family.
Start emphasizing and exploiting that which gives you a true return on your investment. And reap the rewards.
What Martin said: “Don’t think more about supplements than squats.”
My takeaway: “Stop thinking about the 1% that doesn’t really matter.”
There are so many pieces to the fitness puzzle – at least that’s what the fitness industry seems to perpetuate at times. How can we possibly be expected to keep up with the latest trends, styles, workouts, supplements, research, studies, etc.
Deer spray? Bulletproof coffee? Fasted training? Rep ranges? Frequency? Meal timing?
Nearly none of it matters.
Perhaps Martin was actually speaking about supplements only – but his message can apply to most of the fitness advice out there.
Want permanent results? Train hard, eat well, and forget the rest. Even though there might be a small, positive net affect from fasted cardio vs. fed cardio, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
Master the basics before you give anything else thought – at all.
What Martin said: “Stop training to look like Tyler Durden.”
My takeaway: “Train to be your best. Looking your best is merely a byproduct of that.”
In his classic comparison of a client and Tyler Durden, Martin pretty much lays it out there.
Do you want to look like someone with a famous physique? Then watch your diet and lift hard.
That’s pretty much all there is to it.
But therein lies the beauty of Berkhan’s underlying theme. In order to look amazing, you need to be willing to practice, consistently, the moves which will build muscle over time. And you must be willing to eat properly, consistently, during that time as well.
Everyone has an obsession with the end product. Having an obsession with having “shredded abs” is the easy part. Any guy would gladly name “washboard abs” as a desirable physical attribute to have.
But in order to get those abs? You’re going to need to have an obsession with beating your training logs and nailing your macros. Consistently. For a good amount of time.
If you train to be the best, in the gym and at the dinner table, looking the best will just happen. Kind of like a door prize.
What Martin said: “Let’s see some fucking effort next time.”
My takeaway: “Let’s see some fucking effort next time.”
Yeah. There’s no hidden meaning here.
I used to think effort looked like this: 23 sets of bench superset with cable flys and 10 x 10 curls. In the squat rack. Sorry.
After taking this article to heart, I found another level of intensity in the gym. I stopped giving a shit about what others thought when I grunted. I began deadlifting, causing quite a few soccer moms to complain about the noise. Thankfully, the workers knew me and had my back. And let me do my thing.
You’re in the gym for about an hour, three times per week. It’s your time. It’s your zen. It’s your Church.
Show some effort. And make it count.
What Martin said: “You think ripped abs will get you laid.”
My takeaway: “Train for yourself. Not for anyone else.”
For years, I trained to look good. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to look good. Everyone wants to be proud of what they have accomplished with their hard work.
But to train solely in order to reach some sort of physical ideal…………is a plan which will ultimately result in more frustration and self-loathing than confidence and self-accomplishment.
As I continued to push on, training for “this” and for “that” and for a “6-pack” and for a bigger “yoke”, over time, it became abundantly clear to me.
Nobody cared about what I looked like. Except for myself.
My wife wanted me healthy. But nothing else really mattered.
My kids wanted me to be able to play with them. But that was all.
My friends? Yeah, they didn’t give a shit either. I guess having shredded abs is cool. But up here in Michigan? You only get a few weeks per year to show them off.
Over time, I learned the true joy of lifting and fitness is found in the hard work itself. It’s found in the actual process of self-improvement. It’s found in the discipline which comes over time. It’s found in unleashing your own potential. In the constant struggle to be the best you you can be.
I’ll forever be indebted to Martin for penning his masterpiece. It’s a post which has spawned a generation of gym goers, deadlifting and squatting heavy, and avoiding cardio like the plague.
And having “Fuckarounditis” will live in infamy in gyms across the globe. Every time a bosu ball squat is performed, or a tricep kickback is utilized, someone somewhere will snicker.
And load up the barbell with 45’s.
Nope. Not even once.
And we have Martin Berkhan to thank for that.