If you’ve been kicking around the fitness space for a while you’ve probably done some things you wish you hadn’t. Such as crossfitting the shit out yourself. Or eating raw bull testicles because the liver king said it’s going to make you superior to all the other earthlings.
I too have done things I wish I hadn’t. In fact, I tried to count the exact number and it’s somewhere around a shit-ton. So let’s go over a shit-ton of things (six, to be exact) I wish I did when I started my fitness journey.
1. Be more chill about nutrition and training
I’ve done my share of carrying meals in Tupperware and training when more enjoyable activities were available to me. I’ve tracked calories and macros in situations where I shouldn’t have. All that for the sake of getting fractionally less fatter and more buff. Fuck that.
As Jordan Syatt once noted,
“We’re living at a point in human history in which “grinding” 24/7 is apparently cool. Fucking. Relax. Fitness is supposed to enhance your life, not control it. If it’s causing you more stress than necessary, it’ll do more harm. Learn to shut off and relax.”
If you’re just a recreational lifter, relax. If you missed a workout or ate off plan, don’t sweat. No one ever, in the history of ever, got fat by eating one bad meal or got ripped by doing one extra workout. Progress, in either direction, takes time and consistency.
2. Buy fewer supplements
How many people you know owe ripped and healthy bodies to supplements? Thought so.
If you don’t have some type of nutritional deficiency or condition that requires supplements, they’re not necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great supplements for gym performance — protein powder, creatine, caffeine, and a few others — but the vast majority of supplements don’t do anything except take money out of your child’s college fund (although, that can be a waste of money too).
Consistently hitting macro targets and eating a variety of whole, minimally-processed foods eliminates the need for most supplements you’re bombarded with on social media.
3. Spend less time dieting
Back in 2018, I spent a full year living in Australia where the sun shone, the waves were wet, and the koalas were cute. But I had time for none of this awesomeness because I wasted more than half of that year dieting and trying to get shredded to the bone. It’s called being a stupid ass and it’s the opposite of fun.
Once you get to a comfortable, realistic, and healthy body composition, stay there. The leaner you try to stay year-round the less flexible you can be with your food choices and the more social events you have to turn down.
The image on the right shows how lean I got while living as an Aussie:
The thing is… to get to the best physique, you need to feel the worst: You feel hungry and freezing cold all the time and your libido goes down the shitter. Again, no fun.
After I left Australia, I’ve never been this lean ever again. Having abs isn’t as fun as it looks. After all, the most important part of a diet is “having a fucking life.”
4. Prioritize relationships over fitness
Back to Australia.
I traveled there with my two buddies. You’d think that once you’re in one of the best countries in the world with your mates, you’d have fun (read: drinking until you look like someone dragged you out of the river). Hahaha, no. I was too busy with my 5 am workouts and meal prepping.
Never get so busy building a body that you forget to make a living and enjoy it with your friends and family.
Assuming you don’t go out and get shitmixed every weekend, you should be able to go out and focus on the people around you rather than obsessing over your diet and a workout you’re going to miss the next day.
So the next time your friend invites you for a dinner but your brain goes yo, whatcha doin’ you’re going to fuck up all the progress we’ve made during the week you stupid fuck, tell your brain to STFU. Go have fun. Make memories.
5. Train less
Lifting weights every day is stupid. There isn’t a single feature of training every day that has even the tiniest measure of enjoyment in it. And yet I used to do that. Don’t do this mistake. Either you will burn out and quit or get shoulder cancer or something and quit.
Most people train for the wrong reasons — to burn calories and lose weight (more about that in the next point). They think they would gain fat or lose the progress they made if they didn’t train every day. They are driven by fear.
As Bret Contreras, certified strength & conditioning specialist, once wrote,
“The majority of your gains can be realized with a few brief sessions/week, and many lifters overdo it in the gym and end up with overuse injuries and excessive fatigue. Of much greater importance is consistency. The lifter who trains hard 2X/week will see much better results than the lifter who trains 5X/week but fizzles out and only trains 6 months out of the year. Create a plan you can adhere to and the gains will come.”
Most of my clients train 3-4 times per week and see great results because this frequency provides the best results. 2 times per week is fine too but suboptimal. If you want to train 5 times per week or more, knock yourself out. Just understand it’s not inherently better than 3–4 times per week.
6. Prioritize strength over leanness
This one is muy fucking importante. Training is a lot more fun and sustainable when you focus on tangible improvements every week. Start viewing weight lifting as a performance-based thing rather than a way to burn calories and get lean.
This is something I learned the hard way. I used to train to reach a specific calorie burn target. Therefore, I didn’t enjoy a single moment in the gym. It was a chore I had to do to burn calories and lose weight.
So as you set your foot in the gym, focus on beating your last week’s record. Train for muscle and strength. Not because you want to become thin as a rail.
That’s it. Learn from my dumb as a bucket mistakes. Do better. Also…
If you want to bypass all of the nonsensical weight loss information and avoid common beginner mistakes, apply for the 1:1 Coaching Program where my goal is to be at your side the entire way, helping you to avoid scams and pitfalls that most people fall into.
Originally published by me on Medium on December 17, 2022