Last month, I mentioned that JCDFitness turned 3 years old in October and I had an awesome time celebrating birthday month with friends such as John Romaniello, Roger Lawson, Kenneth Yim, Dick Talens and others in New York City.
But that’s not the exact reason for this short post.
You see, there are a few things I discovered on my trip to New York City. One thing is there’s an endless amount of awesome food in Manhattan and I think I could eat pizza everyday and never get sick of it.
Something else I learned is getting lost on the subway is not the most fun way to kill time, but it will sure keep you from biting your nails (ever hung onto one of those rails??).
Okay, but seriously – the main thing I learned whilst being gone was that our time is very valuable. I mean, I’ve always known this, but I really got it on this trip.
My days were full of meetings, work, and exploration of the city. My nights were usually spent out making new friends, getting food with Kenneth or John.
To say my diet was monitored and controlled would be an outright lie. I ate so much food, but thankfully I was walking just about everywhere, so it all balanced quite nicely.
So what was my training like?
It was all over the place. In fact, I trained very sporadically, but when I did, I made it count. I trained hard and heavy because I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to get back in the gym.
Some might suggest I simply take a training break, but going 11-12 days without some type of heavy lifting didn’t jive with me.
Many people make the mistake of throwing their training and diet out the window when going on vacation, only to come back chubbier and weaker as a result.
I’ve done this in the past, and knew I wouldn’t do repeat that mistake this time – so what kept me in check?
A few things, actually.
The Keys to Success
In my opinion, those things are structure, good record keeping, a solid plan of action, and the tenacity to accept an imperfect schedule.
Structure – for many people, beginners and even intermediates alike, structure is often foreign. As long as I’ve been training, I’ve even had periods where I’d just go into the gym without a structured plan to follow.
And trust me – it didn’t turn out well. Sometimes, I’d go two days in a row, then take 3 days off, only to go back for a single session, then not train the rest of the following week.
Record Keeping – I remember pulling out my logbook from my backpack and hearing Kenneth saying something like “the secrets!” You know, keeping a logbook seems so simple, yet many people still never use them. I can count on one hand the amount of people in my gym who are using one and they’re bigger/stronger than most.
Even in our time, with all the mobile apps there are to track our workouts, etc., I still use the trusty pen and notebook. Well, that and the fact that I gave up my smart phone as I’m on a mobile social media fast for some time (might write about this on another blog later).
But still – even if I had a smart phone, I think I’d still use my notebook.
My records kept me in check – there was no guesswork; only my previous bests to give me a starting point for the training session I was about to embark on.
My Plan – Without a plan, we all fail – we’ll never hit our mark if we have nothing to aim for. As of late, my plan has been to continue improving my raw strength on the box squat and RDL, while bringing up my upper body size.
If I didn’t have written goals with structure and records from my logbook to ensure my improvement, I’d not have made the progress I have over the last year.
Problems I’ve Encountered
For myself, one of the biggest problems I’ve faced is treating myself as a client – I spoke much about this in my article titled Why We Fitness Folks Suck at Coaching Ourselves. We oftentimes get this ideal that we’re different – that we’re some unique little snowflakes. The truth is, outside of genetic disorders and diseases that may limit our ultimate potential, most of us are very similar metabolically.
To fix myself, I either have someone else write my programming, or when I do, I have it approved by others.
Another problem I’ve seen with friends, clients and readers is lack of being able to set up a guided plan – regardless of the crazy amount of information at our disposal. It’s hard to sift through all the literature, blog posts and online articles – and even harder to piece everything together with the confidence that it often takes to make it actually work.
Along with this issue is the amount of choices we have. Do you do the classic 5×5, a Westside variation, Doggcrapp training, 7-day bodybuilding splits, or the popular HIT training? How do we make a choice? Should we possibly limit our choices?
And this leads me to the big question…
What’s Your Biggest Fitness Struggle?
I know I mentioned in my latest update that I may begin working on a JCDFitness manual for body recomposition – one that would give you the tools to lose fat, build muscle and continue doing it – a long-term approach.
The response in the comment section was good, but the emails solidified the idea – I want to go ahead and begin piecing it together. I’m making some final decisions on the content currently, so please, if you’ve experienced any issue at all with your training and/or diet programs in the past – let me know in the comments or email me.
This is for you – so I want it to be as awesome as you deserve it to be.