Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Searching for validation

No magic bullet

One of the themes that I've come back to a few times in recent months is the fundamental that there is no "magic bullet" when it comes to training.  So often we are searching for the new method, the gnostic truth that, after all these years, will finally yield those long desired gains in muscle and losses of fat.  We are a desperate and gullible market.  Show us an abstract from a study, or an impressive transformation photo and we are yours...paypal dollars flow for whatever ebook or course you are selling.

The truth of course is that there is no secret method.  Patience, consistency and simplicity are what counts.  Realistic expectations.  The fundamentals remain fundamental.  Train hard, progressively and consistently over a protracted period on some safe exercises and be satisfied with the results.  Lots of methods will work within that space.

Tell me I am OK

What I've noticed in myself a few times in relation to all this is how eagerly I seek validation of my ideas.  I will mull over my training, analyse and re-analyse an exercise or routine and come up with an approach that I think will work for me.  Then, however, I start to google.....I begin to try to find those out there that agree with my approach, my new idea.  If I find some to agree with me - then great.  If not then I am cast into a slough of despond and doubt.

The basics

Let's just be boring.  Stick to some basics for a while.  Forget what else is out there.  Put some blinkers on for a while.  Give it a chance.  Be realistic.  Stick at it long enough for it to make a difference.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

Gosh. I could have written this myself, but not only about workouts but health/nutrition, too. I get a notion that seems to fit my needs, my body (petite female, not overweight), the time I have for workouts, etc, and you, I Google, searching for validation for my ideas, vindication when they studies "prove" them true.

The Internet just seems to suck me in and won't let go. Worse, if you'll indulge me a little new age-y sounding analogy, I am coming to think of it as a magnet the throws of my inner compass. It makes me not trust myself, my instincts because it keeps me distracted, unbalanced and unsure of myself by focusing on others' (gurus') ideas. How can one find their "true north" when the compass is just spinning in circles all the time?

Your recurring theme of simplicity, consistency and patience is spot on. For me, however, I need to couple that with a lot of self-discipline to not search for or read anything fitness related. Just go cold turkey, and reintroduce myself to my instincts, my intuition.

Thanks for speaking the truth, especially when it isn't what people want to hear. That's when being truthful is the most challenging.

All the best.


FeelGoodEating said...


Great comment K.

No need to reinvent the wheel, plenty of good solid BASIC PROVEN info out there.
Try some, find what suits YOU and get on with it.
Week in week out for the rest of your life with the level of effort that suits YOU.
I firmly believe if you dedicate yourself to a basic practice like this... You will reap unbeleivable benefits.
Now.... Do the same with you thoughts.....consistently think good postive uplifting forward momentum thinking thoughts..... Week in week out for the rest of your life....
Now add some wholefood cooked at home or by your community of loved ones and i believe you have an ulitmate recipe for succes. All by just following the very basics.

Validation.... I dont know about that... But what i do know is that at age 46 I feel fucking great, my body works pretty much the same way it did when I was 20,if not better but much much stronger, and i look prety darn good naked.

Sorry for the ramble but let me throw in some "life" into the equation.

Just like everyone out there my life is no field of dreams. Im under the constant onslaught of this wonderful wacky and very demanding society we live in, I too struggle with finances, aging parents, ex- spouses, work pressure, retirement dreams....its by no means an "easy" ride...for ANYONE.

But Ive found that by applying the very basics of what I just wrote.....(basic exercise, basic mental work, basic diet week in week out year after year) life becomes so full of meaning,loving, pleasure, ,playing,,, and learning.

Just my humble 2cents.


Craig said...


Good stuff. I probably should reread this about once a month, just to save myself from fretting so much.

I did see your post on BBS, and had a question about your current training regime. Decided, based on your 'feeling like a heretic' comment, that it might be better to ask here.

If I understood correctly, you are now doing 5 sets of exercise per body part, but only spend 20 minutes per workout. Even with 4 day a week training, it seems like it would be hard to squeeze in enough different exercises to cover the whole body. I'm wondering if I misunderstood? Or maybe you just don't rest very long between sets? How do you manage to be so time efficient with a multi-set approach?

Unknown said...

The Internet just appears to imbibe me in and won't let proceed. poorer, if you'll indulge me a little new age-y ringing out analogy, I am approaching to think of it as a magnet the hurls of my inward compass. It makes me not believe myself, my gut feelings because it keeps me diverted, unbalanced and hesitant of myself by focusing on other ones' (gurus') ideas.

Massage for Events

Chris said...


I might have been exaggerating a bit but it is around 20-30 mins. I was doing that routine for a few months when I was leaning out a bit. I've relaxed the diet a bit for a while a the moment and my routine is a bit less rigid too, as I've been busy with work and sumer.

Anyway the routine was pretty much:

Chest: DB Bench 3x5; pushups 2x 15-25
shoulders: moment arm exercise style side raise 2x12
triceps extension: 2 x 12
Back: horizontal row 3 x5; pulldown 2 x 15
Biceps: hamer curl 2 x 5, incline dumbbell curl 2x12
Legs: hip raise for gluteus, then interval sprints on the bike.

Plus a general warm up

JR said...

Chris, my somewhat irreverent theory is that most of the inflamed argumentation on certain blogs and forums would evaporate if the participants just went ahead and trained more and debated less. Exercise (and nutrition for that matter)has fascinating theoretical underpinnings which, the more deeply I understand them, the less conclusively they translate to specific, narrow prescriptions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris, that is a pretty good workout you laid out above for someone like me who is 46 and because of achy shoulder & back has issues with heavy squats/deadlifts/overhead presses. What was your frequency with that workout?

Chris said...

I was doing that 3-4 times a week.

I'm back to a full body routine at the moment about 2-3 times a week, plus lots of walking.

FeelGoodEating said...


Can you share the weight poundage your pushing and pulling?


Chris said...

Marc - great comment up there by the way! Thanks. Life throws all these plans and thoughts into a mixer.

In term of weights, I am not that strong. On the dumbbell bench I use 30kg dumbbells because that is the heaviest in the gym at work. 3x5 is done pretty slowly and I can do 3x10 with them. The rows depend on the machine. Hammer curls - about 20kg.

There are times I will focus on bodyweight exercise for a while - it is effort that counts.