The Single Biggest Mistake Most People Make With Their Training Programs
Full Disclosure: Today is a repurposed post written last year and coincides with Eric Cressey placing his resource, High Performance Handbook, on sale this week for $30 off the regular price.
Sale notwithstanding, it’s still a good post. You should read it.
The Single Biggest Mistake People Make With Their Training Programs
I want to tell you about a friend of mine. Lets call him Matt Damon.
For the record, no, Matt Damon isn’t his real name. In fact this friend I’m referring to doesn’t even exist (or star in any Jason Bourne movies).
Rather, he serves as a metaphor for many of you reading this post.
You see Matt is like many of you who, unknowingly or not, repeats the same mistake time and time again when it comes to his (or her!) training.
To his credit, “Matt” makes it a point to ensure the bulk of his training revolves around the compound lifts.
Instead of an “arms and shoulders day, “ he performs a chin-up day; instead of a “hamstring and anterior tibialis day,” he performs a deadlift day; and well, you get the idea.
Likewise, while he generally prefers to lift weights 3-4 times per week, he’s not immune to stepping outside that bubble, understands that variety is the spice of life, and enjoys doing other things. Every now and then he’ll attend the Bikram yoga class or spin class or hell, he’s even been known to spend an afternoon hiking or playing Ultimate Frisbee.
At the end of the day, though, his heart and passion lies in the gym and tossing around some iron.
But here’s the thing: he loves to lift weights. That’s what he eats, drinks and breaths. He spends a lot of his free time reading fitness websites like T-Nation.com, Men’s Health, or various blogs (even this one!)1, and he’s been doing it for a few years now.
Yet, he’s never been really happy with his results.
Matt hasn’t sniffed a PR in months (if not longer), he always seems to have some kind of nagging injury – a tweaked shoulder here, a dinged up knee there – and he can’t remember the last time he looked in the mirror and thought to himself, “are those my pecs or a steel plate I have on my chest?”
He’s more or less spinning his wheels.
Does this sound vaguely familiar? Can you relate? What the hell is he/you doing wrong?
It’s certainly not lack of effort or desire.
I’ll Tell You What’s Wrong
You know that popular saying, “The best program is the one you’re not doing?”
Well, I think a more cogent saying should be,
“The best program is the one you’re not doing, and the one you’ll actually follow for more than a week at a time.”
In other words: Far too many people tend to fall in the trap of program hopping.
One week Matt wants to focus on fat loss, only to do a complete 180 after reading an article the following week talking about a kick-ass Smolov squat cycle.
Then, inevitably, he’ll join his local CrossFit box and do that for a few weeks. That is, of course, until he’s done so many kipping pull-ups and burpees that he hates life or can’t feel the right side of his face.
Which ever comes first.
And then he’ll come across yet another program that promises to add four inches to his biceps, 50 lbs to his bench press, and help him speak fluent Mandarin in a month.
Oh, but wait – two weeks into that program he forgets he promised his girlfriend he’d train for a 5K with her scheduled later next month.
Shit. Goodbye gainz.
You get the point. And I have a fair assumption that, while the above example(s) are a bit exaggerated, many of you reading are sitting their with your tail between your legs.
Many begin an exercise program (whichever it may be), only to follow it for a week, or worse, days, and don’t get immediate results…then blame everything on the program.
Guilty as charged, right?
Program hopping can have a number of detrimental effects:
1. You never give the body the chance to truly adapt to anything. While it’s a good thing to NOT perform the same things over and over again for months on end (which a lot of trainees make a mistake of doing); the same can be said for switching things up too often.
More to the point: There’s a distinct lack of skill development. You never get “good” or develop proficient at doing anything.
It’s a pendulum that’s swung either too far to the left (not changing anything) or too for to the right (program hopping), and what most people need is to swing it back to the middle.
2. Moreover, with program hopping, it makes it much more of a challenge to gauge actual progress.
As noted above, if one week you’re performing a deadlift specialization program only to switch gears three weeks later to follow a bench press specialization program, how the heck do you expect to measure progress?
I don’t know if there’s such a thing as program hopping Adderall, but I will say that for most people, most of the time, what will help them most is a program that will give them structure.
Something that will lock them in and keep their focus for more than a week at a time.
A program that will give them purpose, a goal. Results!
Boom, Goes the Dynamite
A few years ago my good friend, business partner, and long-time training partner, Eric Cressey, released his flagship resource Show and Go.
To say it was a popular program and a huge success would be an understatement. It helped countless people nail personal records they never thought possible, take their physiques to another stratosphere, not to mention helped thousands to learn to move better and feel like a million bucks.
As much as the programming was top-notch, I think the biggest benefit was that it held people accountable and kept them on track for an extended period of time.
It gave them focus!
And like magic, people finally attained results.
A few years later Eric released his second digital training program, The High Performance Handbook.
It’s everything Show and Go was/is, but 10x better.
For movie buffs out there reading, it’s like this: The Godfather was the shiz. But the Godfather II? Well, that mofo slapped you in the face and called you it’s daddy.
High Performance Handbook is The Godfather Part II (<– Eric, you have my permission to use that as a blurb).
It’s been a very popular program, one of the best selling programs on the internet since its initial release, and it’s currently on SALE at $30 off the regular price.
NOTE: I recognize everyone who’s anyone in the industry is highlighting the sale today (and all this week for that matter2.) on their respective blogs and websites.
And rightfully so…it’s an awesome program.
But unlike everyone else, I’ve actually seen the program performed in the flesh and KNOW how well it works.
1. First off, The High Performance Handbook allows anyone who purchases it to customize the program to fit their body-type. There’s a self-assessment component that no other training program has implemented before.
Rather than provide a cookie-cutter program – which, lets be honest, is how things have to be done over the internet when you have limited (if any) actual face time with people – Eric made it a priority that people would be able to modify the program based off their body type, exercise frequency, as well as equipment availability. So, in many ways, this is as NON-cookie cutter of an internet program as you can get.
2. This is about as close as anyone is going to get to training at Cressey Sports Performance without actually stepping foot in Cressey Sports Performance. The templates used and the exercises provided have been tested (and proven to work) time and time again, and are the EXACT same protocols we use to turn people into tanks on a daily basis.
3. Speaking of exercises: Eric filmed over 200+ videos for this product, including all the coaching cues and bullet points we use with our athletes and clients at the facility. That’s over three hours of content on its own.
4. Lastly, there are some pretty sweet bonuses involved from fellow Cressey Sports Performance coaches Miguel Aragoncillo and Andrew Zomberg
In all, you’ll have the option of purchasing the Gold Package (which includes the Nutrition Guide) for $30 off the regular price, or the Silver Package (no Nutrition Guide) for $30 off the regular price as well.
I tried convincing Eric into tossing in a 5×7 picture of me flexing to help sweeten the pot, but he didn’t bite. Pfffft, whatever.
Both options are a steal considering you’re getting 16 weeks of programming with Eric coaching you every step of the way.
The sale’s almost over. Act now. You won’t be sorry.