Note: This was a guest post on A King's Castle, a great blog for…
This is one of those massively field tested techniques that can be applied to any endeavour that you’re trying to improve at. I personally have used this to improve my physique over time.
- A full-time job
- A girlfriend
- A heavy social life
This stuff works.
There are about five Key Performance Indicators which determine your success in any area. You need to rank yourself (honestly and critically) in each area, on a scale from one to ten. You will see that some you are good in, whereas some you aren’t so good in.
This exercise is all about focusing on your weakest link, so you can become better overall. We all have some limiting factor (or several) that prevents us from achieving greater success.
Here are the five KPI’s, that are 100% within your control, for fitness success:
- Diet Adherence
- Training Adherence
- Time Management
The average guy, who hasn’t had great success in this area, tends to look something like this:
Diet adherence (easily the most difficult) – 2
Training adherence – 5
Lifestyle – 3 to 6 (very subjective)
Time management – 5
Knowledge – 5
Three years ago, I was okay. I had a decent physique, and a decent foundation, however it was nothing impressive. Things were eh okay, but I wanted to improve. It looked something like this:
Diet adherence – 4
Training adherence – 8
Lifestyle – 5
Time management – 5
Knowledge – 8
My situation wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great.
NOW, where am I? I have a lot more freedom in general, and a lot less obligations than I used to have. I also have far better time management skills. I have set-up my diet in a way that allows for maximum freedom too – VERY important.
Here it is:
Diet adherence – 8 (still got a way to go)
Training adherence – 9.5
Lifestyle – 8
Time Management – 10
Knowledge – 8.5
To be honest, I wouldn’t say my knowledge is much greater than it was three years ago, but it’s more than enough knowledge, and the application to real-life is probably better than it used to be. There’s many knowledgeable guys out there, with useless real-life application of said knowledge.
My lifestyle is better than it was, as it’s geared towards freedom, fun and excitement, as opposed to boredom, and the consequential tendency to compensate with food.
My drawback at the moment is finances *cough*typicalyoungerguy*cough*, but it’s rapidly improving, and my financial baseline for happiness is fairly low, due to the lack of liabilities I have.
Now, rank yourself out of ten, and see where your weak points are. BE HONEST, BE BRUTAL, BE HARSH.
The real magic with this, is isolating your weak point, and directing all of your focus and energy into improving THAT, and only that.
Once you get good in all five areas, you will be able to get shredded, and stay shredded. You will be able to gain muscle for long periods of time, with virtually no body fat gain.
Let’s expand upon these in more detail.
Your diet set-up is of course crucial. The more freedom and flexibility you have, the more sustainable your diet will be. Your diet adherence will be far superior to the guy torturing himself on Keto or Paleo or whatever, and as we know, 80% of your success with your appearance, is down to your diet.
- Freedom to eat more or less what you want within your caloric budget
- Freedom to eat with your friends and family, and enjoy a great social life
You can indeed satisfy the above, and still lose weight.
Your training set-up is important, and freedom and flexibility are crucial again. Too many times I have seen guys try to start a new program which entails hitting the gym six times per week, only to have completely given up two weeks later.
It’s heartbreaking. Don’t do it.
Training 3-4 times per week is ideal for most, and if you need to eventually work up to really high volumes in order to keep getting bigger and stronger, that’s fine. Just do it gradually. Don’t jump into high volume routines, otherwise you’ll end up a mess.
Other than avoiding being daft, try to keep it fun – do exercises you enjoy. Shoot for rep PR’s regularly. Have fun!
In terms of your lifestyle, this is undoubtedly a huge factor that indirectly impacts everything else; diet and training adherence, sleep, your health, your relationships etc. The two biggest causes of over-eating, and consequently body fat gain, are:
Your lifestyle needs to be geared around avoiding boredom and stress as much as possible. It’s an undeniable fact that a guy who experiences frequent boredom and frequent stress is going to struggle far more to make progress in his fitness life, than the guy who lives a stress-free life.
Stress is a funny one, in the sense that it can send one person one way, and another guy in the opposite direction. One guy will binge ’till his heart’s content, the other won’t eat. Bad either way.
Boredom only seems to make people fat.
What causes boredom?
I think the primary cause of boredom is having a job you hate. Being “too comfortable” (with no incentive to be sexually attractive) in romantic relationships also seems to do this too. There are other causes of course, but they’re outside the scope of this post.
Have an exciting, varied and interesting life. It will help a lot.
Whether it’s integrating your meal schedule into your daily timetable, or timing the gym session to fit in perfectly with your energy levels, time management is crucial.
Poor time management leads to:
- Excessive, or insufficient caloric intake. You often end up wasting money on junk food, as you failed to plan ahead. OR, you eat nothing.
- Shitty gym sessions (or no gym sessions). You’re stressed out, lethargic and weak, rather than vibrant, hungry and aggressive. Good time management allows you to perform when your motivation and energy levels are highest.
What’s worked best for me is a calendar system on my laptop, where I schedule appointments/activities, and can keep track of what works best at differing times. You need to know in advance when you are training, and what you will be eating when.
The more you know, the better, and this tends to grow with experience.
The more you know about training, nutrition and recovery, the more you can connect the dots and see the overall puzzle – and see how everything ties in together.
Anyway, I know the two areas I need to focus on:
- Diet adherence (alcohol makes it trickier sometimes ;))
- Lifestyle – I need a little more money to ensure I can always have the means to do the things I want to, which basically means that I will avoid boredom in the long-run
Where are YOUR weaknesses?