Serious Progress Isn't Complicated, But It's Not Easy.
I have been in and around the fitness industry now since 2011. That makes me feel slightly old given that next year that will be 10 years in the industry. Albeit for 3 of them, I was not actively involved. So, let’s call it 7.
In this time I have seen one pattern above all else shine through again and again when people don’t get the results they want or the progress. And to be honest, it’s the simplest thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest.
All the time I see people switching or looking for one trick that’s going to bring them what they want in their pursuit of performance or health. People switch programs before it’s finished, they leave a gym because it wasn’t working, they don’t follow through with a plan because it didn’t work after 12 weeks.
This isn’t something you do for 6 months and then give away. This is an aspect of life that is never-ending and always evolving. You will never be “there” as there will always change. The sooner we appreciate and accept it, the sooner we can get on with the job and enjoy the journey, deal with its up and downs, and embrace it.
So what is it exactly that people don’t do?
They don’t do the basics really, excruciatingly well.
What are the basics? Well, there was a photo that popped up a while ago on Instagram which was named something like “10 things that require 0 talent”. That list is an excellent place to start.
However, I want to spell this out so there is no ambiguity.
Below are the movements and practices I believe that you need to be good at to make consistent progress and set yourself up for success.
The basic movements:
- Brace – if you don’t know how to brace or stabilize your spine to prevent injury while under load and improve performance everything else is going to be much harder. Get this nailed and everything will be much simpler.
- Squatting (doesn’t need to be a back squat) – just learning to nail the squat pattern in whichever way you want to load it. Just learn to do it exceptionally well.
- Hip Hinge – learn to hip hinge effectively and brace while moving load in a hip hinge movement. This doesn’t mean deadlift. This means hip hinge – think Romanian Deadlifts.
- Pull – Vertically and Horizontally – learn to grab a bar and pull yourself up. Learn how your scapula mechanics affects your ability to stabilize and move the load with your arms.
- Land and Jump – Want to get powerful? Want to be explosive? Learn to jump and you will be able to effectively transfer power from your strength training into your athletic pursuits.
- Press – Horizontally and vertically – this like the squat point does not mean you have to bench press with a straight bar. But being able to organize yourself to complete a movement that either moves load away from you and yourself away from a static point (push-ups) is vital. Plus, we should all be able to put something above our head, so we should probably practice that, again don’t just think of the barbell.
The basic life habits:
We all inherently know what healthy food is and what bad food is. If we placed them side by side on a table I'd argue most people would know what the better option was.
The less processed and fresher the food, the high the likelihood is that it will be good for you.
What's healthier, a bowl of oats or some coco pops?
If you got that wrong, you need to find a dietitian asap.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is fairly common sense. Just get better at it.
You know you shouldn’t sit on your phone before you go to sleep. So stop.
If you have a partner talk to them, or even better yet, yeah you know where I’m going with this…. Then have a shower and go to sleep
If you don’t have a partner – read a book – challenge your imagination or do some mindfulness practice.
Get better at understanding where you are weak and seek out help
If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far go together
Get outside and sweat every day
Growing up as a kid in the 90s in regional Queensland drove this home to me. Something I think a lot of people miss out on now.
Get outside, enjoy life get in the outdoors and sweat. Get some vitamin D and enjoy what’s around you.
Get rid of the clutter as often as possible
The state of someones living area is generally an insight as to the state of their brain or thought processes.
Plus, how good does it feel when everything around you is clean and in its place. I can just feel my OCD being soothed at the thought of it.
This is not an exhaustive list, but the point is, we know what we “should” be doing to push us in the direction we want to go. We just need to hold ourselves accountable and follow through.
That’s the biggest thing. If you can hold yourself accountable and follow through on your actions regardless of how you “feel” then you will start to tick off goals at a faster rate. You will start running forward rather than just chasing your tail aimlessly.