The only case I can come up with against “boring” is the fact that it’s boring.
If you stop to think about the most successful people on this planet, you will find a common theme.
That common theme is not the complexity of their system, the “top secret information” in their sales tactics, or the “one, weird trick” they utilized in order to become a kingpin.
The common theme of very successful people is the consistent and daily application of tried and true methods in order to gain organic success.
Of course, you will need to find a way of doing things which works .
The problem lies in the fact that what works is usually basic. There is nothing earth-shattering about the nuts-and-bolts. Showing up and putting in hard work day in and day out works every time.
An “overnight success” is usually a 5 (or even a 10) year plan finally coming to fruition after putting in the daily grunt work.
Insane Results Sometimes Aren’t Enough
Take a close look at this client data to see exactly what I mean.
Look at 3 numbers specifically – this client’s weight, this client’s 2 inches below the waist numbers, and this client’s quad numbers.
He was on the bigger side of our clients to start, but he was motivated and ready to change that.
After a few weeks, it became very clear this was working and working well. He was put on solid and sustainable macronutrient numbers, and a basic barbell lifting plan. Nothing too fancy, as he was a beginner in the weight room.
Although the weight didn’t move downwards at all, in 6 weeks, this client had lost an astonishing 13 centimeters at a point measured 2 inches below the belly button – that’s over 4 inches of belly fat gone in 6 weeks. A truly remarkable job.
So, why didn’t the weight budge? He has lost almost nothing on the scale – and the scale is an excellent motivator. If that scale number is going down, the client has buy-in, regardless of the measurements. (Even though we discuss how measurements trump the scale every time – humans are funny creatures, though, and believe what they want.)
If you take a close look at his quad measurement, in the same time he has lost 13 centimeters off his belly, he has also GAINED 8 centimeters on his quads. He is gaining mass in his legs rapidly. He might even be retaining water in them due to exercising and training them for the first time in a very long time.
Even after these results, this client messaged me and said,
Jason – I’m starting to second guess this. I’m not totally convinced it’s working. Is there more to this? Why isn’t the scale moving? Do you think we should do a PSMF (protein sparing, modified fast), or maybe go keto? Should we try to get into ketosis to burn more fat? What do you think?
We had a talk about expectations and mastering the basics instead. He jumped firmly back on the wagon and I have full confidence he’s going to be kicking ass for a long time.
Our conversation is a prime example of what happens to most of us. We inherently understand that the basics will take us wherever we want to go. In order to win the game of fitness – and the game of life, really – you need to accept the fact that in many ways, “boring” is actually better.
Embrace The Boring
Boring gets such a bad rap.
I received a Tweet the other day after I had posted an article about my new fitness pictures I had taken. I was jacked and shredded, so of course I was asked the question:
If you don’t mind me asking, Jason, what was your basic split for the M/W/F training over that 8 month period? https://t.co/fI5xGLYk3T
— Paul Thiel (@pjthiel) August 17, 2015
The question made me smile – isn’t this what everyone wants to know? “What’s your secret, bro?”
I think my answer surprised him:
.@pjthiel m- deads, pull-ups, push-ups, w- bench, rows, curls/tris, f- leg press, ohp, push-ups. I keep it basic.
— Jason (@anymanfitness) August 17, 2015
I’ve been lifting for over a decade – I only train 3 days per week – and I just gave out my “workout secrets”. Check it. 3-4 movements per session, 3 days per week, with such “top secret moves” as pull-ups, push-ups, and deadlifts.
Embrace the boring, my friends.
I used to spend a great deal of my time trying to come up with fantastic “IIFYM treats”. I would scour the internet for recipes looking for tasty “protein cookies”, “protein cheesecakes”, “protein pancakes”, “protein fluffs”, and anything else I could concoct in my kitchen.
I spent a great deal of time purchasing these ingredients, creating the treats, baking them, cleaning up, and eating them. Hours were spent on these recipes, trying to turn a “boring” diet into an “exciting culinary adventure”.
It took me way too long to learn how to “embrace the boring”.
Things are only as bad as we make them out to be. Stresses are only as stressful as we perceive them.
The healthiest meals for you are often the simplest – and easiest to make. Whatever happened to a chunk of meat, some whole-food carbs, and some veggies on the side? One could make the argument that if 99% of our meals looked like this, our collective waistlines would shrink permanently as a result.
How To Be Boring
Being boring is rather easy – you will have to deal with the monotony, though. But boring comes with a reward – progress.
Here are a few common questions or goals new trainees have and how to solve them. If you go out and apply them consistently starting tomorrow, you will see more progress than ever before in 6 months’ time.
- Are you a beginner to weight training?
- Read this article and choose one of our beginner’s programs. Run it until you milk all of your gains using the parameters which are shown. This will likely take at least 6 months and you will be stronger than ever when you finish.
- Are you a beginner to dieting?
- Pick a standard meal frequency. You can fast if you wish, but it’s not necessary. Eat 3 meals per day ONLY. Be sure each meal has protein and veggies. If you train on that day, include carbs. Each meal should be one plate, no more. Eat whole foods and stay hydrated. No snacking or liquid calories. If you do this for 6 months, you will lose buckets of fat without the need for fancy diets or supplements.
- Do you have a lagging body part?
- Start training it more often using a basic movement.
- Is your chest is lagging? Start doing bench press 3 times per week consistently. On your off days, complete 200 push-ups throughout the course of the day. If you do this for 6 months, your chest will have more fullness and definition.
- Are your biceps lagging? Start curling 5-10 sets every workout. Be sure you also have plenty of compound movements which hit the biceps as well. Pull-ups, chin-ups, rows, etc.
- Start training it more often using a basic movement.
- Are you having trouble showing consistency when dieting?
- Create a week (or two) worth of meals.
- Have them include exact amounts of each food you will eat – down to the weighed measurements.
- Buy a 30-day calendar.
- Each day you eat exactly on the plan, mark it off with a big “X”.
- At the end of 30 days, see how many “X”‘s you have.
- Try to beat it the following month.
The Antidote For Boring
There is something which makes “boring” more acceptable.
A huge reason so many find fitness “boring” is that they fail to take accurate measurements and show progress. Their positive feedback loop is off. Without positive feedback in measurable, objective form, it’s easy to fall off the wagon.
- Be sure you’re keeping detailed records of what you are doing in order to assess forward movement.
- Be sure to keep a training log so you can see how much stronger you’re getting.
- Be sure to take pictures of yourself so you can see the visible changes you’re going through.
- Be sure to take time to relax, step back, and look at the picture.
If you feel a bit “bored”, that’s likely okay.
Those who can ride out the “boring” are often called “exceptional” by their peers.
Yours in boringness,