I sipped on my beer. He was telling me how he had made some changes to his plan for playing professional baseball. He had his shit together, that was obvious. But I could tell by the way he explained things that he wasn't sure about his choices.
"Listen," I as I took another sip."You can sit here and debate with yourself about the best training program all day, but you're not going to get anywhere from just that."
He was making the same mistake I was making at 22. Searching for the "perfect" program. Thinking that adding more was the answer, and trying to work every single muscle into every workout.
It's frustrating, I know.
"You need to stop trying to create the perfect program and start doing the optimal program."
Nobody is perfect, right? That doesn't stop the vast majority of people involved with fitness to still reach for it. It's an end goal, though a damn near impossible end goal, but it motivates people to get in the gym and on the track, so I'm not going to knock it too much.
Sometimes, though, perfect becomes an obsession. This time, I will judge. And try to get it into your head that you're wasting your time.
Obsessing over being "perfect" is just an excuse to bask in mediocrity.
The Myth of the “Perfect” Diet or Workout
Despite all that, too many want to be Alphas are on the epic journey to find the perfect diet. Or the perfect workout plan. It doesn't really work all that well, but repeated failures don't usually stop this type.
I still remember back in college, I would spend upwards of 18 hours making a single 4-5 week training plan. Back and forth between trying to balance every exercise in the workout perfectly. Then searching all over for the newest and coolest workouts, because they had to be more effective, right?
Looking back now it seems insane to spend that much time debating between front shoulder raises and side shoulder raises. At that time, these seemed like the things that would make or break me.
But, I didn't know any better.
In my mind, if what I was doing wasn't perfect then I was wasting my time. Becoming the biggest, strongest mother fucker on the block was what was going to happen, and it needed to happen now.
Perfect Equals Something That Will Always Work
Perfect: entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings
When clients ask me what the "right" or the "perfect" diet is for them, it's damn near impossible to give a straight answer.
What defines "right"? Is it something that works? Or is it something that is the best possible route to take?
What about "perfect"? How do we know if what qualifies as "perfect" today will still make that mark in a month?
I usually lump "right" and "perfect" into the same category when it's about training/diet. When you approach it like this, you start to realize that the "right" diet isn't something that you can just make up.
Hell, you can't even just find it and be like "Welp, my search is over. This is perfect!"
It takes a hell of a lot of time and trial/error to find out what really works for you. This is where patience, discipline, and an over arching goal become crucial.
Optimal Equals Something That is Efficient
Optimal: The greatest degree or best result obtained or obtainable under specific conditions
Optimal, on the other hand, is making the best decision with what you have in front of you.
It's like being McGyver and needing to escape a cell with only a pebble and some of his long, flowing locks. Here's an example...my "perfect" gym would be fitted with:
- Olympic lifting platforms
- Shit ton of bumper plates
- Pull up bars
- Squat racks
- Glute-ham raise
- Jump ropes
- Heavy punching bag
- Speed bag
- Atlas Stones
- 70 yards of turf
- 70 yards of track
Where in the hell am I ever going to find a gym like that? There are only a few places in the world that are set up like that. But, none of them are within driving distance of me. So why does it matter how perfect they are if I can't get to them?
On the flip side, check out my optimal gym setup...
- Olympic bar
- Bumper plates
- Pull up bar (optional)
Massive difference right?
True, I can get some insanely effective workouts done in Gym A. But I can get just as great workouts in with Gym B. This is where the constant search for perfect/right becomes counter-productive. All of that time you spent searching google for the perfect gym could have been spent learning how to use a barbell effectively and efficiently to build yourself up to Alpha.
How to Stop Yourself From Chasing Perfect
So, how do you know if what you're doing is "perfect" or optimal?
Well, the easiest way to know is by looking at how much time you spend planning it out (that is if you plan it yourself or have a coach). If you're spinning your wheels and spending hours creating a plan "worthy enough for you", then you're most likely wasting your time searching for perfect. When it comes to training all you need to do is stick to these three concepts and you'll be heading int he right direction.
- Lift Heavy
- Run Fast
- Rest Often
Seriously, that's the basics of every single effective training program out there. There is no need to over think it. Especially when you're just training to look good and lose fat.
For diet, it's these five concepts that make up the base of success. Anything after that is just extra and really doesn't need to be thought about until you stop seeing progress from the concepts mentioned above.
- Start every meal with 1-2 cups of vegetables
- Eat 1-2 palm sized portions of protein
- Before your workout - Add some fat
- After your workout - Add some carbs
- Fast at least a single 18-24 hour period once every seven days
Again, that's it. Follow these five "rules" and you'll be 90% closer to your goal than you were before.
Call to Action
Some of you are chasing perfect and you know it.
That's Ok, now is your time to fix your training or diet and get on the right track. Here is what I want you to do...
Message me and tell me how you're chasing perfect. Tell me how you're going to make changes so you stop chasing perfect and start doing what is optimal. Then, ask any and all questions you have.
You're getting free access and basically a free consultation on your training program. Usually I charge for this type of stuff...but consider it an early Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Festivus present. ;)