I recently saw a photo of a fitness model with a fantastic physique that had been posted on a Facebook page. Among the several comments attached to the photo was one by a woman who said something along the lines of, “awesome shoulders, I wish I knew what her program was!”
She was right, the model did have great shoulders, but I must admit that the second part of her comment frustrated me a bit. My frustration wasn’t with the woman however, but rather the fitness media and marketing people who are responsible for constantly corrupting people’s thinking.
We’ve been indoctrinated into believing that to succeed in this area, we need to know some secret, or to have access to some special program or cutting-edge information.
Of course, this is all nonsense.
So why are these fallacies continuously being spread? That’s very simple – for profit. Getting into great physical shape is tough, and anyone who claims to have the means to make it quicker and easier for people often stands to make a lot of money from his or her “secrets”.
We’re told so often about this amazing program and that program and what incredible things they can do, that at the end of the day we all start to believe the lies – that we need special programs to achieve anything.
What we really need is very simple – we need to do the basics, we need to be consistent, and we need to persevere. That’s the only real secret there is. You’re not going to hear that from too many people, because there’s no money in it for them, but it’s the truth.
Let’s look at the example of building great shoulders, since that’s what started this discussion in the first place.
There are a handful of basic weight training exercises that target each of the three heads (front, side and rear) of your shoulder muscles. I won’t bother listing what they are here since this isn’t an exercise instruction post, but you’ll find them anywhere online or in any good exercise instruction book.
Choose one or two of these basic exercises for each head to put together a routine, and choose how many sets and how many reps of each you want to perform. Then get to work. Train heavy. It’s as simple as that.
Train your shoulders consistently with the basics and in time they’ll look great.
I personally train my shoulders twice a week at the moment, both times heavy. I use basic exercises and I mix them up. Nicole Wilkins, one of the top three figure competitors in the world, also trains her shoulders twice a week – basic exercises, once heavy and once light.
I have no doubt that there are numerous Figure competitors with great shoulders who train their shoulders once a week, and perhaps some that do so three times a week.
The fact is, if you were to ask ten different figure competitors to describe their shoulder routines, they would all be different, maybe even drastically so in some cases. And yet they could all have great shoulders.
What does this tell us?
It tells us that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. There is no “right way”. We are all individuals – our bodies all respond differently, we all have different preferences, and we all have different goals and objectives. And there are different paths we can each take to get to the same destination.
The basics get you to your goal at about 90% efficiency, maybe even more. The truth is, that’s plenty good for most people.
Sure, there’s room for improvement on that where you can get to your goal quicker and maybe even get better results – for example if your aim is to step onto the competition stage. But guess what? It doesn’t come from a special program that someone is selling or that someone else is using.
Remember what I said, we are all individuals. The best way to get to your goal as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to get the best results possible, is to try varying things to see what works best for you personally. Some things will improve your progress and some won’t. The only way to find out is to try.
This is how you discover your own personal secret.
It’s not rocket science. It’s just starting with the basics, and then tweaking things here and there if you want to step things up a bit.
But the main thing is to just keep working. People waste so much time (and money) searching for the holy grail that doesn’t exit. Hard work is the holy grail.
People can sit on the couch and talk about this isn’t being done right and that isn’t perfect . . . at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get in there and do it. You have to do the work, that’s it.
I saw a YouTube video recently with a fitness model demonstrating a fairly basic exercise, and she was mistaken about the muscle group that the exercise was targeting. The muscle group she thought was being targeted was recruited as an assisting muscle group, but it actually wasn’t the main focus of the exercise.
And guess what? She looked phenomenal just the same.
There’s an important lesson there. Even with mistakes and less-than-perfect technique, you can still get great results if you just keep working (as long as you train safe of course, I’m not suggesting it’s OK to be reckless).
So beware of making the mistake of looking for “the perfect way” or magic program or formula that guarantees your success, there’s really no such thing. These are nothing more than figments of the imagination that are the result of the flawed thinking that marketing has infected the industry with.