I spent almost two decades working for fitness magazines as a writer and photographer. I spent a handful of years before that in the supplement industry. I owned a gym for nine years. I’ve been a coach for over 30 years and an athlete much longer than that. I don’t remember a day in my 56 years that wasn’t centered around fitness, making progress and change.
If I could boil all those years down to the most commonly asked question and the most misunderstood topic, it would have to be “How do I change my body?”.
Volumes, and now terabytes, have been devoted to this topic ever since the first fur-speedo-wearing muscle head picked up a rock. Millions if not billions has been spent in quest of the answer, and the result, in fact, whole industries have been built around this topic – and most of it is BS.
Here’s how it works in the real world. Your body will adapt to just about anything you subject it to. If you do an activity that is more strenuous than what your body is used to doing it will adapt to that workload by getting stronger, bigger, or by developing more endurance, speed, agility, and so on. This is THE fundamental principle of resistance training and the very reason men started picking up heavy things to grow muscle in the first place.
Somewhere along the way, around when someone realized they could make money selling you something other than the simple truth, that concept got lost in a complex maze of mysterious schemes, programs, diets and systems that were going to get you there faster and better.
Here’s how it works in detail. Go to the gym, or outside, or anywhere you can move around and not break something. When you get there, warmup your body so it is ready to exercise. Then, do something you haven’t done before or do it a different way, in a different sequence, at a different speed or intensity. Just change something and your body will adapt by getting bigger, stronger, faster, more powerful, more agile, more flexible, and so on. Change something and you create change.
Feed your body what it needs and rest enough to recover from the results of your work. Do that consistently for a length of time and the cumulative result will be a dramatic change. There is no magical training program, no magical supplement, and no magical drug that will do any of that for you. It will take some time, some work, some sacrifice, and disciplined commitment and that’s what you need to be prepared to do.
If you want things to happen faster then don’t miss workouts, train as hard as you can, eat the right things and enough of them and get plenty of rest to recover. That’s the shortcut.
If you want to do anything well in life, or better yet, be the best you can be at something, you don’t look for the easy way. Just do what needs doing and when you get there, you’ll have done something you can be proud of. It’s not about being as good or better than someone else; it’s about being the best you can be.