The basic formula for success in our sport is very simple in nature: train, eat, sleep and repeat.
This very mundane existence is exactly what it takes to bring out all that your genetics have to offer and it is an extremely exciting venture once you get started.
In the beginning, you probably kept things very simple relying on the aforementioned formula to bring about results. And, to your astonishment it worked! Your gains were tremendous, strength levels went through the roof, new pounds of muscle were being added to your frame on what felt like a daily basis, and you were growing. The recipe you followed probably included a lot of good, clean whole foods and protein shakes coupled with heavy ass training (relatively speaking) and lots of rest. Then something happened. You started reading more, doing your research, listening to those whom you believed knew more than you, watched as many videos as you possibly could and then decided to stray from what was and had been working all along in the quest for a new stimulus for new growth.
All it takes is a few strokes of a keyboard in any internet search engine and you’ll find more ways to train than you can count.
There is no doubt in my mind that the people who are suggesting these different types of training philosophies and principles are doing it for the good of the sport and out of genuine concern for hard training athletes alike. What starts to become troublesome is when the younger generation, who are just starting out, gets bombarded by information overload and loses sight of the basics of this sport (which is where most of us started out and when most of us made the most significant gains). If you are a high end, seasoned trainer looking for that extra little edge to propel your training to a new level, then I can see a need for something out of the ordinary. If you are still a beginner or intermediate trainer, then I see no reason for you to dabble in training measures that are best suited for the professionals and those who have a significant amount of gym time under their belt.
Getting back to our basic formula for success: train, eat, sleep then repeat, there’s a tremendous amount of differentiated learning that takes place depending on who you listen to.
And without the proper filters in place, the uneducated can be lead to believe everything and anything they hear or see. This number of sets and reps performed in this fashion will elicit the best gains in size and strength. Eat clean all the time, have a clean cheat then a dirty cheat, cycle your carbs, back load your carbs, go keto and drop the carbs altogether, lower your protein to train your body to use more fats and carbs, increase your protein to build more muscle and lose more fat, focus on peri-workout nutrition to fuel your workouts, go with IIFYM’s, drink lots of water during training, don’t drink any water during training, train in the morning to benefit from higher natural growth hormone levels, train late at night to take advantage of your circadian rhythms, do cardio, avoid cardio, do only high intensity interval cardio, perform low volume training versus high volume training and the list could go on and on forever.
I am by no means in any position to discredit any of these training and nutrition ideologies or those who have worked very hard to develop them.
I have also never created by own brand of training or nutrition and certainly would never take credit for something I had no input on with its development. All I am simply doing here is making an observation about the state of our sport and the direction it seems to be taking and posing the question, “Are we getting too complicated?” As rhetorical as this question may seem, it should provoke some thought about your own methods and approach.
There’s something to be said when one comes full circle in their actions, processes and beliefs. Upon reflection, you may begin to realize that you’ve overcomplicated and over-thought all things pertaining to achieving the best physique possible and severely underestimated the benefits of keeping things simple. Take a chance and go back to what worked for you in the beginning. You may just find that what you’ve been chasing all along has always been with you and the simplicity of it all was just too much for you to pay attention to and give it the respect it deserved.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, Endevr Brand Ambassador, Max Out or Get Out apparel sponsored writer, Sponsored by Schiek, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador