When I first made the decision to get in great shape, I was willing to do whatever it took. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of exactly what it would actually take to transform my body in just a few months.
Up to that point in my life, I was only somewhat familiar with the concepts of working out. I grew up playing basketball, which took up the majority of my time. I played into my college years, and never had time to pursue my true passion of fitness. After graduation, I accepted an accounting job because “that’s what you were supposed to do.”
Working 90 hour weeks doing something I absolutely despised began to take it’s toll. For the first time in my life, I started resorting to junk food and beer as a remedy for my own despair. Within just a few months, I had gained nearly 40 pounds and had a body fat percentage of 27%.
Needless to say, I ended up leaving that job. I stopped listening to the status quo, and started living life on my terms. From that point forward, I immersed myself into every aspect of training. I bought every program, read every article, and even hired my own personal trainer. I was training 6-7 times per week, and often times supplemented my resistance workouts with slow cardio sessions on the treadmill.
My goal wasn’t to become a bodybuilder. I wanted to build proportioned muscle tone and strip off the fat that I had gained during tax season.
There wasn’t much of one. After training hard for an entire summer, I was disappointed with the way that I looked. I had gained some mass, but didn’t have any muscle definition to show for it. I was waiting for that one magical day when I saw a ripped, chiseled physique in the mirror. Unfortunately, it never came.
I started to resort to lame excuses such as, “I just don’t have good genetics.” My friends (at the time) would insist that the time, energy, and dedication to get in shape simply wasn’t worth it.
Looking back, they were right. It wasn’t worth it…for them.
But I was committed to transforming my body. Despite I wasn’t achieving the goals I had set out for, I knew my work ethic would eventually prevail.
So what was impeding me from reaching my fitness goals? I was putting in the time and effort, but simply couldn’t get the lean body that I wanted.
The answer was simple and obvious. I wasn’t prioritizing my nutrition. But more importantly, I wasn’t following the “Success Syllabus” of fitness.
The Success Syllabus of Fitness
You see, transforming your body is no different than anything else worth having in life. The things that work are often times counter intuitive and not obvious. If you simply “work hard” without following a proven blueprint for success, you are going to fail. If you follow the same training regimen as everyone else, you are going to fail.
“The masses are always wrong.” -Charles Bukowski
Getting in shape is all about working SMART, not working hard. Contrary to popular belief, transforming your body is not a one dimensional process. If you don’t emphasize all the different components involved, you will never reach your fitness goals.
Let me give you an example…
As I already stated, I was an accounting major in college. At this juncture of my life, I was making choices based on other people’s standards of success. Deep down inside, I knew that I would never be able to leverage my innate strengthens and abilities in accounting. Nevertheless, I chose to ignore my intuition and borrow tens of thousands of dollars to learn debits, credits, and taxes. After all, my family members and professors insisted that “it was the only way to success.”
I remember my first accounting class like it was yesterday. I couldn’t fathom the boring, mundane lectures…it literally put me to sleep. In total, I made it to class only a handful of times throughout the entire semester. I prepared for the tests by borrowing notes from my classmates and studying on my own accord. I aced all three exams, and never once contemplated getting anything less than an A for a final grade.
When I received a D- on the last day of class, I was thoroughly confused. I thought for sure that Professor Benjamin had made an honest mistake. When I approached him about the situation, he assured me that I had nearly failed the course.
He said, “Kiley, class participation was 40% of your entire grade. You only showed up three times this semester, so the maximum grade you can receive is just 60%.”
So despite I aced every one of the exams, I received a D- for the semester.
You may be thinking, “What does this have to do with my fitness goals?”
EVERYTHING. IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOUR FITNESS GOALS.
You see, fitness has it’s own syllabus and curriculum. If you neglect any one of the three components, it will be virtually impossible for you to get the body of your dreams.
The Success Syllabus
Nutrition – 50%
Exercise – 40%
Rest – 10%
I realize this may go against some of what you were told. This formula is based on my personal goals, which was to overcome my bad genetics and build lean, proportioned muscle tone. If I wanted to simply “lose weight”, then nutrition would account for up to 80% of the process.
Remember my friend…the masses are always wrong. If everyone believes something to be true, it’s a virtual certainty that they’re all wrong. Building lean muscle is no different than any other endeavor in life. The majority of these so called “experts” making falsified claims have absolutely no results to show for themselves.
After taking an honest assessment of my efforts that summer, I realized I was neglecting my eating habits. In fact, I was barely putting any effort towards my nutrition. I would often indulge on my favorite junk foods, and binge drink on weekends with my friends. Despite I was working out vigorously, the maximum grade I could’ve receive on the Success Syllabus was a 50%…last I checked, that’s a failing physique.
The Overwhelming Importance Of Nutrition
Up to that point, the concept of nutrition didn’t resonate with me. I remember thinking, “How could the foods you consume matter more than the labor you put into your workouts?”
Then I thought about the actual time I was spending in the gym. Think about it for a second…how long do you spend training each day? 30 minutes, an hour at the most? Now, what are you doing for those remaining 23 hours?
Regardless of how hard you train, your workouts account for just 4% of your entire day. The other 96% is spent either eating, resting, or working.
This was a major paradigm shift for me. When I finally understood the overwhelming importance of nutrition, I decided to modify my eating habits. Just a few short months later, I lost 40 pounds of pure fat and was finally able to build lean, sculpted muscle.
During my transformation, the only things I changed were my diet and rest. I continued to follow the same training regimen and began to slowly cut the toxicity out of my life. I focused on getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and stopped partying until 3am on weekends. This amplified the intensity of my workouts and enhanced my energy levels each day.
This syllabus has been the foundation of my own personal transformation, in addition to hundreds of my clients. Remember that common sense is never common practice. Most people understand the importance of nutrition when it comes to building lean muscle and losing fat. However, just knowing this information isn’t enough. If you’re serious about taking your body to the next level, then you need to come to terms with the daily routines that are required to get there.
Muscle growth doesn’t happen when you’re sweating. In fact, you only create the demand for growth during your training. You will only see results when you supplement your workouts with the proper nutritional sources.
Just like my boring accounting class in college, I had to learn the hard way with fat loss. I was focusing all my efforts into training, and ended up neglecting the most important part of the process. If you want to build lean muscle, then you must prioritize your eating habits. This doesn’t mean that you have to eat grilled chicken and broccoli every single day. In fact, there are numerous ways to make bland, healthy foods taste amazing. Use this Success Syllabus as a blueprint going forward, and focus on training smart.