Determining Your Success

by | Apr 11, 2016 | Bodybuilding | 0 comments

I get asked a lot of questions in a typical week.  Heck, a typical day.  Hour.  Whatever – I get a lot of questions and one of the cool parts of having this job is getting to interact with people who care about your answer and genuinely want to know.  Not the questions from a guy at a party who just found out you’re a trainer and wants to tell you about his Crossfit membership or about how his diet “needs some work”, but questions from people putting in the work daily who care about their results, want more, and are willing to put in the work.

Questions like the following are all great examples:

I was in the gym yesterday and the squat rack was taken so I did my squats on the smith machine, what do you think about that?


For my cardio session instead of doing the treadmill for 30 minutes I hopped around and did 3 different machines for 10 minutes each, is that ok?


I ran out of whey protein and more is on the way, what should I do for my post-workout meal in the meantime?

Now the answers here aren’t really relevant (for kicks, they are “let me see it”, “yes”, and “don’t run out next time”) but what the questions show is that someone is invested in the program, invested in the results, and wants to be compliant.  As a coach, seeing questions like this gets me excited regardless of how many times I’ve answered it because it shows passion, and that’s the thing I need to see to know that we’re on the right track.

One of the best questions I’ve ever been asked:

What else can I be doing do ensure I’m making the most of my efforts?

This from someone who is doing great on their plan but is greedy and wants more – love it!  That of course is a complex question and took some time to answer, but it got me thinking about my own question:

What separates those who struggle from those who succeed?

I wrestled with this one for a while – lots of possibilities to explore here.  How are the workouts tackled, how intense is your cardio, how precise are you in measuring foods and avoiding ‘off-plan’ foods, all the obvious stuff.  The more I thought about it, the more I zoomed out and saw the bigger picture and realized that the answer was really rather obvious.  The answer is a question itself, actually:

Do you view this plan as a burden or an opportunity?

Put another way:  is it all – the diet, the cardio, the training – is it something you have to do, or something you get to do.  I’m not saying that your cardio time has to be your favorite time of the day, but if you don’t enjoy it in some way or find a way to make grinding it out somewhat appealing, eventually it’s going to suck and you’re going to hate it and stop.  Or, alternatively, achieve your short-term goal and THEN stop and experience a horrible backslide and depression as a result.

Same thing with the diet:  if you don’t make your food appealing, you’re going to falter on your plan.  Yes most of us want more carbs, more fats, more pizza and burgers (or wait, is that just me?) but finding combinations that make your protein and veggie meals (or whatever) tasty is critical; make those something you look forward to.

If you don’t already love training, well…that’s just weird.  BUT even in that case, do you view this as a chance to really understand your body, how it moves and how to use it?  Or is it “ugh, I have to go to the gym”?  If you’re inexperienced you will certainly have a lot to learn, but it CAN be done and if you approach it like you would trying to learn anything else you really want to do, you’ll find the knowledge and experience come quickly.  Ask questions.  Be curious.

People who dislike training, can’t find a way to make their diet appealing and are unable to embrace cardio in at least some way are going to struggle.  You can make some progress for a bit but ultimately your mindset – treating your plan as a burden, or a chore, or as homework – is going to win out.  I don’t think many successful people are necessarily programmed to love all of these things, and I also don’t think that hyper-focusing on the results you plan to achieve tomorrow is the correct approach to motivate you today.  Taking in a comprehensive plan like this as viewing it as the opportunity to lean, grow, and improve is the real key.  It can certainly be difficult to maintain long-term – and regardless of who you are, this is a long process – but always remembering that you wake up with the ability to do this is the biggest key to success in my opinion.

Be positive.  Be open to new things.  Learn.