If you’re anything like I was, you’re having trouble figuring out what you’re doing wrong with your fitness goals.
Sure, you could try the ‘all or nothing’ approach you may believe is required to accomplish those goals of yours, but you’re wrong. Just because Susie Squatsalot shows you her meal prep and her workouts doesn’t mean she’s not binge eating McDonald’s in the back of her closet.
If Susie Can See Results Without Being Perfect, Why Can’t You?
Social media is the problem, and not for the reasons you’re thinking.
No, I’m not the guy that thinks social media is evil or the fitness industry is ruined because we’re all posting selfies showing off our bodies. #bootyshelf
At the time of writing this I’m thirty years old. I grew up in the internet age, run an e-commerce business, and see a huge benefit from social media.
Don’t click that ‘back’ button on your browser just yet, what I am working towards here is worthwhile if you’re struggling in the gym. I should know, I struggled for YEARS myself.
It wasn’t social media back then, but the magazines and forums causing the same problem. Your struggle is my struggle, and I’m here to help you understand what took me years to figure out and cost me a large sum of money.
I figured it out, became an award-winning coach, and founded a supplement company - THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU AS WELL.
Social Media Is The #1 Reason You’re Not Making The Progress You Want.
No, social media isn’t creeping into your bed at night and shoving Reese’s into your mouth while you sleep, but it is influencing your decision making. Social media is your best source of fitness information, and that’s a problem.
Let me explain a bit further.
You jump on instagram and start scrolling through your phone. You have one of those ‘thumb stopping moments’ and see someone doing an exercise you’ve never seen before.
This guy (or gal) must know what they’re talking about right? They look the way you want to look! Even better, they’re laying it out for you so you can learn from them and implement the same thing!
So you grab that exercise and make a mental note of it.. “I’m going to use that on my next arm day” - hey, if that guy is doing it then it’s a good exercise, right?
Sure.. We’ll go with that. Assuming the person knows what they’re talking about and is showing you a good exercise, there’s nothing wrong with that.
What's Wrong With Trying a New Exercise?
What’s wrong with it is that you dumped the exercise you were planning for that arm day and decided to throw this new exercise in because you saw someone else doing it.
Like a cat chasing a red dot you jumped from what you were planning to do to something completely different.
Unfortunately, you’re finding that red dot everywhere on instagram.
How many times have you switched up your entire workout split? How much difference has it made?
Let me guess - almost none?
Switching your workout frequently is an illusion of progress.
You may think you’re ‘keeping your body guessing’ or that it’s making you ‘more sore’ than the other workout was but those are not indicators of progress.
With a new workout you’re just not used to it yet. That means you’re bad, unskilled at doing it. Pretty quickly you’ll see that skill level and adaptation increase in your body and you’ll notice STRENGTH GAINS!
You feel like you’ve made good progress…. and then it comes to an abrupt STOP.
Progress doesn’t continue and you feel like you’ve ‘plateaued’, right? So what do you do next? SWITCH IT UP AM I RIGHT?
Chasing that red dot is even worse because there’s never a base (hint: foreshadowing.. pay attention). You are swapping exercises so frequently that there is no rhyme or reason to what you’re doing.
We’re all pulled to do this - I did it, and nearly everyone I have worked with does it.
Why? Because we’re rushing our results.
We live in a society of instant gratification that is only getting worse.
We see our favorite instagram guru and that dude is jacked (or 'that girl is goals!'.. did I get that right?). We want to be like them so badly that we rush things. We are only interested in the payoff because we think that will make up happy.
This desperate need for results leads us to make the wrong choices. We stop paying attention to what might have been working and do something else. We chase the red dot or think we need that ‘all or nothing’ approach.
That person you follow on instagram? Oooh yeah they train 7 days a week. #nodaysoff
Using social media to find new techniques isn’t a bad thing, I think it’s fantastic and I utilize it myself. Sharing information is beneficial for all of us - that’s how we learn things or use our brains to deduce that something is not worth our time.
Know What Is On Your Level
Some information is so good that it’s not meant for you. Not yet. You shouldn’t be focusing on trying to spin a basketball on your finger if you haven’t mastered the fundamentals of ball handling. It’s a cool trick, but it’s not going to help you. You’re jumping ahead and trying to master the small tweaks - the 1-2% differences.
Remember, 20% of what you do will give you 80% of your results. Stay focused on that 20% above everything else and don’t look for those little tricks.
How To Achieve Confidence
You may not feel confident about what you’re doing, and that’s perfectly natural. The ones that start out confident in what they’re doing are the naive ones.
It’s a fragile time and social media makes it harder. Social media can cause you to second guess everything you’re doing.
When you focus on what everyone else is doing, you’re going to lose. You don’t need to be confident that you know everything, be confident knowing that what you’re doing is moving you closer to your goal at your own pace. For some people that’s faster than others, but remember we don’t all have the same goals.
Hopefully what I keep coming back to is taking seed in your mind. I don’t want you to look at this as another ‘tactic’ or ‘technique’ to satisfy your red dot syndrome.
There’s far too much of that in the fitness industry, and even more of it in supplements.
So far I’ve told you a lot of what not to do, which can be helpful but probably not what you’re looking for… right?
What is happening in all of these situations is only wrong based on the circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with utilizing a new workout that you’ve seen someone else do and try it out. There’s nothing wrong with small tips and tricks to make things more efficient and gain an extra 1-2%.
Those Tricks Are Not The Answer
More specifically, what’s missing is a solid foundation. You want a foundation that you can build upon. Something solid and established that helps you decide if it fits in line with what you’ve already done.
When you branch out and try something new, you know what to expect and how to make sure it’s moving you closer to your goal.
A foundation helps you to decide if what you’re seeing on social media is something that should be implemented for yourself or isn’t relevant at all.
The "Secret" To Building a Solid Foundation
First, you need to change your mindset. If you’ve had an epiphany during this article, fantastic! You’re ready for the next step.
If not, no worries. It may take some time for you to really mull over this and think about it before it makes sense. Our brains have a funny way of solving our problems for us while we’re sleeping - kind of like rewiring our connections.
Second, you have to truly define what you want to accomplish. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there? It’s time to really take a deep look inward and find what you want and how important it is. I’ve written a completely separate blog post on this concept here: How S.M.A.R.T. Are Your Fitness Goals?
Really think backwards on what it would take to accomplish this goal… What kind of workouts would it take to get where you want to be? What would a realistic, sustainable diet look like for you?
How does cardio fit into the equation and what kind of cardio would you be doing? Finally, what supplements would help you move closer to this goal?
Of course Nutrithority supplements, but what specifically?
Lastly, you need to develop a foundation blueprint. Now, I’ve never actually seen a blueprint in person but that’s not important for this metaphor…
This blueprint is specifically what it’s going to take to get where you want to go. It’s your strategy session, your road map, your compass.. I can keep listing out metaphors if that helps, but I think you get the idea.
This takes detail, time, thought, energy, and ultimately execution. Up till now you’ve been jumping around wildly trying to move in a direction you’re not sure about, now you know which direction you’re going to move and you can start piecing together all of the things that will help you get there faster and more efficiently.
Your foundation blueprint serves as a reminder when you find yourself veering off course (as we all do).
What all should be included in your blueprint? Everything you feel the need to put in there to be successful. Obviously your workouts, nutrition, cardio, and supplementation will be listed out but what else is important?
How does your sleep play into moving you closer to your goal? What issues do you have with following through on your plan - find a way to solve those. Sometimes it’s as simple as reducing activation energy by planning ahead.
The goal here is a cohesive system, a plan… a blueprint of where you’re going and what it takes to get there, but don’t forget to break it out into sprints.
You’ll screw up plenty, we all do - but it’s not the perfection you’re striving for. You are pushing to build YOUR foundation… The foundation is hidden, unseen. It doesn’t have to look pretty or decorated - it just needs to be solid.