Wednesday, March 5, 2014

10 simple do's and don'ts of productive training


  1. Eat enough to supply your body with the energy that will be required for the type of training you are engaging in.  Seems simple enough, but so many people try to go into the gym and train very hard, without realizing they haven't adequately supplied their body with enough fuel for training.  
  2. Eat those foods within the proper time frame.  If you are training in 45 minutes, slamming down a large meal will probably result in a poor training session.  In that case, a pop tart or something with more simple sugars is more ideal.  If it will be 2 or 3 hours before you train, a mix of low GI carbs, some fats, and some protein are solid.  
  3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Even being mildly dehydrated can result in poor training sessions.  I tend to drink more than a gallon a day, however on days I train very hard I try to get in closer to 2 gallons.  Do not count diet drinks, milk, or any other liquids towards that gallon intake.  
  4. Pay close attention to your sleep, or lack of.  Lack of sleep won't significantly impair performance in the gym, however it will impair your recover.  Never walk when you can be still.  Never stand when you can sit.  Never sit when you can lay down.  When you can lay down, try to get some extra z's in.
  5. Perfect your technique.  This will be an on going process, but it's vitally important to learn how to perform the big movements in a way that works optimally with your leverages.  This will also lead to fewer injuries, and downtime.
  6. Stick to a routine or program long enough to give it a fair shake.  If you can't stick a routine or program out for 6 weeks then you have training ADD.  
  7. Have specific goals and a specific time frame in which you want to accomplish them.  That means more than "I want to get stronger."  What does "stronger" mean?  Ask the right questions and you'll get the best answers.
  8. Keep your bodyfat in check.  Training for strength is no excuse for turning into a fucking slob.
  9. Stimulate, don't annihilate.  Walking out of the gym in a heap after every session is flat out not a requirement for getting bigger and stronger.  I always found that my best progress occurred when I left feeling better than when I walked in.  
  10. Have a life.  If you're in the gym every single night, you might want to reevaluate your life as a whole.  The gym should serve as a means to an end.  Time with family, friends, and loved ones should always be paramount, and not take a backseat to you lifting a barbell.  

  1. Eat more junk than quality food.  I mean, for serious.  I see so many guys posting pics of junk that I wonder when they are eating steak, rice, potatoes, eggs, so forth and so on.
  2. Try to mimic someone else's routine with the belief it will get you to where they are.  What an advanced guy is doing now, isn't what he was doing 3,5,8,10+ years ago.  Everyone goes through phases where they need different things to improve.  
  3. Use exceptions as rules.  Just because you know a guy that got big, strong, jacked using some strange method of dieting or training means it will do the same for you.  The majority of us are not special snowflakes.
  4. Train heavy all the time.  I beat this dead horse a lot, I know.  But in the past year I've gotten stronger than ever training sub-max, and not beating the shit out of myself with weights in the 90+% range.  You don't have to train anywhere near as heavy as you may think in order to get bigger and stronger.
  5. Try to get bigger/leaner/stronger at the same time.  Plan accordingly for each phase and pour all of your energy into ONE of those components.  
  6. Compare yourself to what other people can do.  It will only frustrate you.  
  7. Belittle your accomplishments.  Everyone had to start somewhere, and every step forward you take is meaningful.  Be proud of the fruits of your labor.  Then, refocus and continue moving forward towards the next one.
  8. Get discouraged when things don't always go the way you planned.  Training comes with lots of failures and disappointment.  It's a huge part of getting better.  There will be plenty of lows to go along with the highs.  Appreciate them both for the purpose they serve.  And that is to help you get better.
  9. Believe there is some magic routine or diet that will turn you into Superman.  There are no real secrets.  Hard work, time, and patience are the main ingredients in the soup of success.
  10. Worry about the things you cannot change.  It will only drive you crazy.


  1. Like a lot of other young guys, I have trouble leaving my ego at the door - I used to train 90%+ every time I worked out and was shocked by my lack of progress. Then, in October, I had some surgery that took me out of the gym for a while, and I was forced to train light for several months upon returning. Lo and behold, training sub-maximally is getting me more strong/jacked/tan than ever before (and my joints don't feel like they're going to explode)
    It took me two years of reading your blog and ebooks + a mandatory multi-month deload from surgery, but I'm finally getting the message. Keep beating that dead horse... my generation can still be saved

  2. Great list. The simple things are the hardest to stay focused on it seems. In life and training.