008. Why You Shouldn’t Train Like a Professional Athlete


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008. Why You Shouldn’t Train Like a Professional Athlete

Today, I want to address a really common myth in the fitness industry that persuades many people. And this myth is used to sell a lot of books and programs. It’s this: If a professional athlete or model uses or endorses a particular program, then you should do it. This is why magazines like Men’s Health and Muscle & Fitness will publish articles like:

And, while it sounds obvious — use their methods to get their results — it overlooks one basic thing: Professional athletes have been training for their entire lives, and those who make it into the Majors are the top 1% of performers of those who have been training their entire lives to achieve their level of performance.

So, what you really have at the professional level are not the people who are most knowledgeable about diet and exercise, but the most genetically gifted humans who have been training for four hours a day, six days a week, since they went through puberty. This means that, at the elite level, the people who make it their are so gifted and are surrounded by people running such a calculated program, that they could literally play Dance, Dance, Revolution for 3 hours a day and they’re gonna get stronger and faster.

It’s the same thing with models on Instagram. They have an even better advantage than professional athletes in the sense that they’re often genetically gifted and and aren’t tested for steroids. And they might not be selling you a training program, but a supplement.

We see this same thing playing out in Reebok and Nike commercials. They show clips of people sprinting with parachutes tied to their waists and running up stairs at a football stadium and doing complicated powerlifting movements while their chiseled abs and bouldering shoulders glisten in the staged lighting.

So, you think: I need to tie parachutes to my waist and learn to do complicated weight lifts and go to a football stadium. You feel like if you do anything less, you’re not going to get to the place of the models in that commercial, or the professional athletes featured in the advertisement. You think, “If I do anything less than that, my results will be less than that.”

But here’s the problem: All of the really showy movements and gear that people show off that people think constitutes “professional exercise” is more for developing certain skills related to a particular sport, but they actually do very little for developing strength or muscle.

Let me put it this way: 80% of what it takes to look and perform like a professional athlete is exactly what you’re gonna find in the TheoFit CORE SERIES program. That’s 80% of it. That will, without qualification, take you from 0% to 80% of any fitness goal you have. But to perform with professional athletes, genetics constitutes the other 10%, and those showy functional movements that they show you in ads and on commercials constitute the other 10%.

You see, athletic brands and supplements and athletes want to wrap their tentacles around your checkbook by trying to convince you that getting in excellent shape is more complicated than it really is. But it’s very simple. Making your body strong, and fast, and healthy, and lean, doesn’t require parachutes or ropes tied to a wall or jerking hundreds of pounds up and down. It requires 5 sets of 5, or 3 sets of 10 — really boring, unexciting, un-instagrammable stuff.

The fundamental tasks that will take you to any fitness goal are so boring and unimpressive that you can’t sell a product or motivate a million people with it. You can’t say, “I’m gonna go to the gym and follow this program and walk on the treadmill” and fire up a stadium. But that’s all it takes. Don’t put this burden of complexity on yourself where you’re underestimating what you’re routine is gonna get for you. To achieve maximal health and vitality, you don’t need to do the functional training that they show off in commercials. All you need to do is follow the fundamentals of weight lifting and cardio and diet. That’s it.

And if you’re able to do that with as much intensity as you can bring to the table, consistently, for several months — you will see radical changes in your body that no parachutes or Crossfit lifts or rope swinging will give you.

This is good news. All you have to do is stick to your program. You’re not functioning at Fitness Level 1. If you’re following a basic weight lifting, cardio, and diet program that includes sufficient program and sensitivity to caloric intake, then doesn’t get much more complicated than what you’re doing right now. Not at all. So get excited about your program, because that’s the vehicle that will bring you from where you are to where you want to be. There’s no special mushroom or special skill you need to add later to get you to level up in special way.

Maybe that’s what’s preventing you from working out — you think you have to work out like a pro. You don’t. Or maybe you’re tempted to skip a workout because it’s a “light day,” or you’re tempted to skip a day because your workout isn’t Reebok Commercial worthy. Don’t. Don’t let the mythology of the Reebok commercial that fetishizes the functional training of professional athletes hijack your motivation and drive to execute your fundamental training, which isn’t flashy or fun or exciting — but which gives you most, if not all, of your desired results.

Fitness is made of 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there.

Keep it simple. And focus 100% of your intensity on what’s in front of you. If you shortchange your program because you underestimate what it can do for you, then your program will shortchange your results. But if you’re dedicated and consistent with these simple principles, you’re going to see results. This is it:

  • Lift.

  • Diet.

  • Repeat.

No parachutes or ropes or special powders or pills required.