Don’t focus on what is missing from your program.

This is a tricky subject because if you are not seeing good results from your current program you should think about what is missing but I’ve recently realized that the people I work with break down into two categories. The first group doesn’t question what I ask them to do. They trust that whatever program they are on is the best one for them and they work as hard as they can on it.

The second group is always wondering if there is something missing from their program. They tend to wonder if there is enough core training, or if they need to be doing a different exercise for their lower body or any one of a dozen other “concerns”. While they work hard you can tell that there is always a question in the back of their mind about what they might be missing.

In the facility these are the people who are always telling me about a new article they read in a magazine or an exercise they saw on the internet. They want to know if we can incorporate it into their program and sometimes I oblige – until they are repeating the process every few weeks. It seems like no matter what we are doing with their program they are busy worrying about what is missing.

Online these are the people who order one of my program and then send me an email asking how they can “incorporate” other workouts into it. They send me a 7 day workout plan they created using a little bit of a few programs, creating a Frankenstein’s monster of a training program. Or they will send me an email asking how they can incorporate every exercise I post on my blog into their current workout. Again, it seems like the focus is on trying to cover every base possible instead of simply working hard on a few key things.

While I certainly encourage people to educate themselves about training so they can make smarter decisions you have to be careful about learning just enough to be dangerous. The truth is that there is no “perfect” program. No matter what you are doing today there is something missing from it which is why you have to systematically change your workouts.

The trick is to not worry about what you might be missing and instead just give your all to what you are doing. That is actually one of the advantages of not trying to put your own program together – you can simply turn off your brain and do what the program says. Busting ass on a few simple things will always produce better results than wondering what you are missing and trying to incorporate everything you read on the internet into your program.

Now, before I end this post I have to admit that I tend to fall into the second category. It is very easy to follow a workout a few times and then start to think about all the things you aren’t doing. However, you have to be aware of how this mindset can sabotage you and discipline yourself if you ever want to achieve long term success.

So, which category do you fall into?

-James Wilson-

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  1. Chris says:

    I fall into the second category – always trying to fine tune stuff. Your post is the kick in the ass I need to put things in perspective – thanks

    Reply • April 28 at 2:22 pm
  2. cookie says:

    James, I agree totally. I know I fit into category 2 and wish I could just switch off and not worry 🙂

    I really like Mike Boyles Cook and Chef analogy. A cook should only ever follow a recipe as they dont have the skills or experience to change it without potential disaster. You wouldn’t go taking 3 separate meal recipes and mix up parts together 🙂 A Chef is highly trained and experienced.. they have the skills to write the recipes we all follow..

    I’ll switch-off, accept I’m a cook and follow Chef James!

    Bon Appétit

    Reply • April 29 at 4:52 am
  3. jeffB says:

    I`m a little from both camps. I have been at it long enough to know what makes a good program, but even the best trainer needs an outside set of eyes sometimes. I`m also very impatient. I don`t expect the overnight miracles like some riders do with training plans, but I am in tune enough with my body to know pretty quickly whether or not something is effective. If I bring in something new and I don`t see positive results within a couple of weeks (again, don`t have to be huge results, just some signs of positive progression) then I will be looking for a change again.

    Reply • April 30 at 12:39 pm
  4. Gerrad says:

    I fit into category 1. While I was at the facility there was someone saying how stupid it was to pull a 70 lbs duffel bag behind while sprinting. You have no idea how bad I wanted to bust ass and pull that thing as hard as I could but my neck injury prevented me from taking any part in it. After all, I did fly 2,300 miles for you to tell me what to do.

    Reply • April 30 at 4:09 pm
  5. Mark Ysseldyk says:

    Great tips here James. I never realized that I am ‘that guy’ who is always looking for what isn’t in my training program until I read your blog. What an eye opener….just going to focus on what I am currently doing and keep it simple! Thanks James!

    Reply • May 5 at 8:56 am

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James Wilson