Arnold Schwarzenegger's Heavy Squat

Quick Fixes, Cheating and Consistency: The Great Secret

Strength training always was (and will be) a place for secrets. Secret routines, secret supplements, secret exercises, you name it. It’s all about human psychology. Everybody needs secrets to believe in. You can create an ordinary routine. Nobody will even notice it. Add “secret” to the label and BAM, it will immediately become something that people desire to know. Same thing with every aspect of training, nutrition and restoration. Secret foods, secret sleep tactics. People need secrets.

There is only one secret… You all know it: it’s hard work and consistency that pays off. Hard work and consistency are the key constants in every training equation. No matter what your goal is (strength, size, fat loss or all at once) hard work and consistency is what brings results, not secret routines or secret supplements.

Here are some guidelines that I follow and recommend you to follow as well:

1. Work Hard.

This is stated so many times, but people don’t seem to want to listen. You need to work hard to get results. You need to THINK hard to get results. Training is not rocket science, but people rarely understand what are they doing with their training and lives. Performance is everything. You need to perform better every session. I don’t care how. Add weight, cut the rest periods, do more reps, get faster, hold positions longer, decrease leverage, slowdown reps – the options are endless. But you need to progress forward. Always.

2. Make Consistency a Lifestyle.

Nobody likes quitters. My motto is: “If you start something – finish it”. Forget about toning up for summer and stuff. Make training part of your life. Once and forever. Only then you will be able to reap the benefits. This story is old as life. People admire somebody: “Look at this guy! He’s so strong/big/lean!” And then add: “Aah, genetic freak!” or “It’s all steroids!” or “I could easily possess such physique but I have no time for this”. I’m freaking out when I hear such stuff. People always seek the simplest explanation. On the other hand, that guy could be just like them, an ordinary Joe with crappy genetics, without using steroids and with a wife, 2 kids and does hard labor. But he puts time and effort in his training. He could have been training for 5, 10, 15, even 20 years to reach such results. He made consistency his lifestyle. That’s what I mean.

3. Be Flexible.

“Ok, I got it, man, consistency. Now I will quit my life to train!” Dead wrong. Consistency and hard work are ultimately important, but if you want to be successful you need to learn to be flexible. Let me explain this one on the dieting example. Imagine that you are on a diet that restricts calories and food choices. You can either test your discipline and become anti-social, and screw your diet in little time. Or you can arrange a cheat day and eat everything you want on that day. It will help you to stay sane and this approach will give you opportunity to stay with this diet much longer. For example, a month with both approaches:

First approach: 30 days of clean eating (it requires titanium discipline and I doubt that anybody can make it for a month)

Second approach: 25-26 days of clean eating (it requires much less discipline and it will last much longer than a month)

And in the end just calculate. Second approach provides approx. 300-310 days of clean eating out of 365. Anybody can lean out with such flexible approach. The same is true for training and sleep. If you can’t train or you need to stay awake all night long once in a while it’s no big deal. As long as you are consistent in these areas.

4. Forget About Quick Fixes.

You need to understand that there are no quick fixes unless your condition is already near perfect. How many times have you heard: “Get ripped in 4 weeks!” or “Get huge in 6 weeks!” or other advertising slogans that are true only for small group of people. To be realistic you need to multiply those numbers. How about: “Get ripped in 8 months!” or “Get huge in 12 months!”? Always set realistic goals.

5. Focus on Basics.

It’s better to do one thing perfect than five things average. Focus on basics. Basic training, basic nutrition and basic restoration. That’s what works. There wasn’t a man who didn’t grow from squats, deadlifts, presses and rows if everything else in check. Choose good old compound movements over isolation in your training. Choose whole (even raw) food sources over highly processed and man-made food sources in your diet. And eat as many vegetables as you can stuff in yourself. Sleep at least 8 hours a day. And you’re all set to get results.

These simple principles can form a very effective strategy in reaching your goals. Follow them and you WILL succeed.

Stay tuned for more on rough training.

Play rough!

Alex Zinchenko

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