The Difference Between Average and Great Fitness Results (+ Program Announcement)
The Difference Is MUCH Less Than You Think
You want to improve your health and fitness, obviously or you wouldn’t be reading this as we speak…
You likely have some dream or ideal body type or fitness goals you want to achieve, but for many of you it might seem unrealistic or like it’s too much work, like you’ll have to devote all your life and energy into it—which is understandable if you don’t, life is MUCH bigger than some arbitrary fitness or physique goals.
What if I told you this isn’t necessarily true, and that the difference between looking “okay” and looking really, really good, great even, is not much different in terms of time invested into it…
Something I’ve never really understood is spending a lot of time on something if we aren’t going to get the best results we can. This is something I see all of the time in the fitness world.
Just for basic health, we need to be in the gym/working out a few days a week, moving around and being active during the day, and obviously eating to fuel us and give us the nutrition we need to be healthy.
If you want to be healthy, these are non-negotiable. I’m not here to argue that you should be doing these basic things because that is not why you are here, we aren’t the type of people trying to make excuses to not be in good health—being healthy IS THE STANDARD I expect for anyone who follows my material.
So given that fact, we already are going to need to devote a few hours a week to exercising and we are already going to be eating in a way that is good for us… that time is already allocated for us to an extent.
So, why do some people see better results than others who are putting in the same amount of time?
Without being pedantic and stating the obvious like “steroids, genetics, etc.”, I’m talking about the average person and their current results and potential with their fitness/physique goals.
Some people just make faster progress or simply just look/perform MUCH better than someone else in a very similar position.
If we’re honest, more people who go to the gym DON’T look like they actually lift than those who do look like they lift. Is it because the people who do just spend more time in the gym? Have some secret diet or training plan? Are obsessed? What is it?
When we really break this down, it boils down to a few factors, like efficiency, effort, and attention to detail which is why we’re here today.
Going from “Okay” to “Okay, Damn”
As always, success leaves clues and we can put our detective hats on and get to the bottom of it to figure out what these “secrets” are.
We’ve already deduced that we are already going to spend the time doing these things, that is a fact, so would more time equal more results?
Maybe, it definitely can, but honestly, the difference between average and above average is not a factor of time—hell some people actually need to spend less time in the gym to get better results, so not that.
The body only has so much it’s able to recover from—we call this Maximum Effective Volume—so more does not equal more, it can actually equal less if we start going beyond this number—results with your physique do not scale with time.
So this is where the clues start narrowing down, if it’s not more time in the gym, could it be somewhere else? Could these people be eating special or particular diets that are giving these results?
Honestly, as long as you’re hitting your caloric and protein goals, for the most part, that takes care of dieting in terms of physique development and there really isn’t a “special diet” outside of maybe having a touch more carbs for growth/fuel if not consuming many… but again, not it.
Could it just be they are active all day and that is why they have better results?
That could help, but plenty of manual laborers look terrible and are obese, while others this actually makes it HARDER to get good results because they need to eat so much… so we’ve struck out again…
Okay, this is enough examples, you get the point, let’s look at what it actually is.
What people who make great progress do vs what average (or even below average) do comes down to intent—meaning they are treating it with a higher level of seriousness. People who make great progress simply care and prioritize their fitness more which manifests in different ways.
The thing is, the difference between average and great results isn’t what most people think it is. What it looks like is very small actions and focus/effort in the right/meaningful places that drive big results.
An example of this is tracking lifts.
This might seem tedious or boring or whatever, but in reality, it is a tool that takes very little time yet can yield massive results. It’s 10% more effort that can drive 10X results.
The same goes for tracking diet.
A more abstract example is your mentality.
If you’re already going to be at the gym, already going to do the exercises, already going to use that time, why in the world would you waste that time by not getting the best results you can?
Really think about this… the only difference between great results or mediocre in this situation is literally your effort… that takes zero time, zero external factors, literally just you mentally deciding to put the effort in or not… The lift is already going to be uncomfortable to an extent, so why avoid that little 10% extra discomfort that comes from really giving it your all? That little extra effort, that mental toughness is what separates average, regular Joe Schmo from someone who truly looks great, often.
These are just 2 examples where it takes just a touch more time (we’re talking less than 10 minutes A WEEK) or it just takes you giving more effort in something you were already doing anyway.
I’ll get into more specific examples so that maybe I can ring a bell in your head and maybe help you realize an area you could be better, but now I want to expand on this framework—the traits and principles behind creating a mental framework so we automatically look for and do the little things that take us from average to great.
As I stated at the very beginning of this older post, the framework I operate with when approaching health and fitness goals is efficiency, meaning we want to get the best results we can in the fastest manner/least time commitment we can—we want to avoid wasted time and effort at all cost, time is your most valuable resource!
To be efficient means that you are lifting, dieting, and living in a way that is going to get you the best results, it means that you go from point A to Point B in a straight line rather than circling around the block a bunch of times before finally taking the scenic route to Point B.
When we approach every fitness decision, we want to approach it with a system or method that allows this. In most cases, this means we want to make sure we are focusing on the things that actually move the needle without hyper-fixating on things that just really don’t. (Linking this post again because it’s a free post and extremely helpful in this context. This post helps highlight the meaningful things vs maybe less so which allows you to better develop this framework.)
When it comes to efficiency in this context of getting better than average results, we want to look for places in our lives where we can just do things better and make our lives easier which will make getting progress easier. No one wants to make the gym our lives, not even me, so by designing our lifestyle in a way that our fitness-related goals are taken care of in a way that works with us rather than against us is huge.
If you’re someone who feels they don’t have enough time, who misses workouts here and there for whatever reason, and otherwise doesn’t feel like the gym flows well with their day… this is where you need to start working at to develop a better structure so these issues go away. That extra consistency very well might be the piece holding you back.
Many times that person who just looks great isn’t necessarily working that much more than you, they are just working smarter. This is why I preach the things I do and write—to teach you the finer details so you have the knowledge to make these smarter decisions.
While this is important and plays a huge role, this won’t be the issue for many, this is not the entire picture and we have other things that are going to tie into this. Some people are very efficient, they do all the right things, but they have a big fatal flaw, lack of:
This is what gets the most people. This is why so many people in the gym spend years and years but never have really anything impressive so to speak to show for it.
This is something that has to be an honest conversation in the mirror with yourself. I’m not saying you need to look like a pro bodybuilder or break records in the gym, but if we’re all honest at the end of the day, we do want to build something appreciable, we want our bodies to reflect the time spent in the gym.
Like I said earlier, there really isn’t an excuse for this one if you’re already in the gym… this is something that can completely transform your physique if you’ll just accept it and make it happen. Again, even if you’re just going through the motions and mailing it in at the gym, you’re still sacrificing time and it’s still going to be uncomfortable, so why not lean into that, accept it, and push yourself to the level it takes to see great results. This doesn’t mean being some hardcore bodybuilder bro, this just means truly pushing yourself on your lifts to the point where your body actually has a reason to grow.
This doesn’t just stop in the gym, it applies everywhere too.
Look at your diet for example. We know we already are going to have to eat for the day, that’s a given, but how you eat and what choices you make can set you apart. Are you going to say “fuck it” and take the easy route, maybe go out to eat, grab something in a package, or whatever… or are you going to actually make the effort to cook a meal, or even better have taken the time to prep your meals for the day, to ensure you are getting the results you want from your diet.
This also applies to things like sleep and other habits that will allow you to truly build something great. Are you actually making the effort to get high-quality sleep? Are you actually going on a few walks a day? All these things add up big, and the bonus is this won’t just improve your body, this will improve your life.
The irony is many people avoid effort because it’s uncomfortable, when in reality the more you apply effort in an efficient manner, the more “comfortable” you feel because you’re actually making meaningful progress—which mentally is one of the most positive emotions and state of mind we can be in.
Now, some of you are pretty efficient, you do put effort in everywhere, but there can still be a missing piece holding you back, this brings us to…
Attention To Detail
I’ve worked with/been around some very impressive people in my life. From guys like Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and even some people in Tier 1 organizations that “don’t even exist”. I’ve worked with millionaires, entrepreneurs, high-level executives, doctors, and other accomplished professionals. I’ve worked with pro bodybuilders, ultra marathoners, college and pro athletes, and even an Olympian before.
Most of them have 1 key attribute (well many, but for this context) that they share and contributes to their success—attention to detail.
There are dozens of quotes from accomplished people that all revolve around the theme of “if you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right” and one I really like “While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary”.
In the gym this can look like ensuring things like your form, tempo, and body position are all correct; logging your weights; choosing exercises that work better for your individual body; utilizing tools like straps, wrist cuffs, better grip attachments, etc. to get better results; etc.
With your diet it can look like making sure you’re covering your basis on micronutrients (vitamins/minerals), you’re not leaving things untracked if you track, avoiding excess highly processed/inflammatory foods, etc.
With your lifestyle it can look like making sure you’re consistent with your step count, not viewing excessive blue light at night, having your gym bag for the next day ready, actually having a good wind down/nighttime routine for better sleep, etc.
You get the point.
These small things add up and some aren’t as obvious as others, like making sure you put your machines on the same height settings each workout so you’re recreating the same conditions. Even that niche detail might not seem like it matters, but compound that over years, and then you realize the impact can be huge.
An example I use very often is in relation to back training. A majority of people in the gym would have no idea what I said if I said “do lat pulldowns with a lat bias to actually target the lats”, which is slight adjustments with your hands/body/movement pattern, most would do a lat pulldown the way you see it done most often which is actually just working your upper and mid back. They don’t even realize they are working their lats much and wonder why their lats are struggling to grow. BUT, by taking just a minute or two to learn how to do this correctly and placing that attention to detail, they’d see massive results.
We still want to be efficient, we don’t want to fixate on things that don’t matter, but we also have to ensure within the big things that we are doing the small parts of those things right.
These aren’t things that require much more time, they won’t always require much more effort, they just require you to give enough of a fuck to want to make sure you’re doing things well and making sure you’re not leaving one part of the chain weak that then comprises the rest of it.
Putting It All Together
I just wrote 5 pages (10 if double spaced, 2500 words) to say we can make much better progress—way better than average—if we just focus in on a few key components and details that hold way too many people back in the gym.
The last thing I want any of you to do is waste your time, it’s far too precious and finite, and I don’t want you to never truly reach your goals and have to wonder “what if” down the line.
My key takeaway here is that we can spend maybe 10% more time and effort to get 10x the results (making these numbers up but you get the point).
Looking great doesn’t equal spending hours a day in the gym, eating chicken, rice, and broccoli every meal, and otherwise devoting your entire life to it. No, it just means using applied effort in the right areas to maximize efficiency.
There are likely a handful of very tiny changes or mental shifts you could make right now to see better results—myself included.
The entire goal of this post was to bring the awareness and reality that building the physique you’ve always wanted, an objectively great physique for your own individual potential (within realistic limits here) isn’t this daunting task that requires a ton of sacrifice. By just eating right and exercising you’re already making the biggest of the “sacrifices”, in terms of time and lifestyle change, these are just the finer details that truly supercharge your results.
Most people probably have some idea of what they think my lifestyle looks like in terms of fitness. They probably think it’s what most of my day is structured around. They couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality is the gym is maybe an hour of my day (4-5 days a week), my diet is just a couple hours a week because of meal prepping, and cardio is something I do during the time I was already going to spend doing something like reading/listening to podcasts/calling my mom/or even watching my shows, getting my steps is just something I do when thinking/brainstorming business ideas or when I’m on the phone (with my mom) + it’s natural stress relief that helps energy and more productivity, and the other things like sleep and such are just things we should do well anyway so it’s hard to even count them as “fitness” tasks.
To my point, in total, it’s less than 10 hours a week yet I’m at the level I’m at. That’s because when I’m doing these things, I’m doing them intelligently with proper intent (high effort) and focusing on spending that time as impactful as possible.
Truly, if I weren’t a fitness professional/coach/writer it would be one of the more insignificant parts of my day like brushing my teeth. I spend the time obsessing over it because it’s my career and I want to be the best, NOT because that level of obsession, or even 10% of it, is required to build a great physique.
If anything, the takeaway is we should treat everything we do in our lives with the same level of care and effort we put into things like being a parent, our careers, our hobbies, or teenagers playing Call of Duty (imagine if you were as passionate about the hour you spend at the gym as you were when you play/played video games…)—How you do anything is how you do everything!
You know, I like that so I’m just going to leave it there.
Coming Soon! (Program Announcement)
As you might’ve seen on Twitter/X, I’m about to drop a new program (for real this time, last time I tentatively announced a new one, life threw a thousand curveballs that derailed the entire thing).
It is going to be a 12-week modified Push Pull Legs Plan (Density Program) that I wrote about in this post.
I’ve spent the last almost 6 months running, modifying, and experimenting with this program after I was introduced to it by Jordan Peters (TrainedByJP) and I’ve been blown away with the results (let’s just say PostFizeek.com is getting a new picture soon…).
This time we are going to be doing it a little differently than the last program.
Instead, we are going to release a downloadable document every week for paid subscribers with a post highlighting little nuances, tips/tricks, and guidance based on your feedback throughout the week.
At the end of the 12 weeks, I will package it all together and you’ll have a little 12-week program ebook/file that you save for future reference or just keep running it (I’ll probably run this same program for years and years).
I’m very excited to bring you this because not only is this program BETTER than the Push Pull Legs program all of you loved, but the design is also 1,000,000 times better (thanks) and the way we are releasing it (plus a few other cool “bonuses”) will make for a better experience for everyone.
Once the first weekly installments for this 12 12-week program go out, this will be a continuous thing. I am planning on running 4 different 12-week programs in 2024 so you have 4 new downloadable programs in your toolbox by the end of the year. (Pretty sick deal for 4 programs for $5/month or $50/year, I’ll be packing these up and selling them as a package for $150-200 to nonsubscribers after 2024).
Myself andare also in talks of maybe running another 90-day challenge with this program… not totally decided and we’d need to figure out some more details, but if not with this program definitely after (the plan is still to give the winner a Rogue Monster Cave, pictured).
Day 1 is the 15th of January so mark your calendars!
Anyway, tomorrow we are recording Episode 3 of the In Gains We Trust Podcast and the episode is all about how to train to build muscle the best way possible.
You people behave this weekend and enjoy the New Year if I don’t talk to you before then!
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.