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Stop Failing: 2 Simple Ways To Stay Motivated In The Gym

Most of us skip the gym even when we know we should go. Here are 2 simple ways to set up an effective workout and eating plan that you’ll actually want to do. (Bonus: Download the Free “Uncover Your Hidden Muscle” Workout Program)

First, A Warning: Don’t Be Joe

Joe wants to look and feel better. So he buys “The Best Workout and Diet Program Ever” from a cool fitness guy on the Internet.

According to the program, all Joe has to do to get in shape is:

  • go to the gym 6 days per week
  • do fasted cardio every morning
  • do intervals at least twice per week after he lifts
  • figure out his 1-rep max on the “Big 3” lifts
  • follow the 20-minute warm-up before lifting
  • follow the 10-minute cool down after lifting
  • rest exactly 60 seconds between each set
  • lift with a 3-0-X cadence on each rep
  • use perfect form on every exercise

Then there’s the nutrition plan. It’s as easy as:

  • calculating his “maintenance level” calories
  • preparing meals that are either P+C (protein and carb) or P+F (protein and fat)
  • remembering to eat P+C meals in the mornings and P+F meals in the evening
  • remembering to eat a P+C meal after a workout, even if it’s in the evening
  • cooking all of his meals and separate them into individual Tupperware containers
  • drinking 8 glasses of water
  • drinking a pre-workout shake
  • drinking a peri-workout shake
  • drinking a post-workout shake

And don’t forget the other recommendations:

  • get 8 hours of sleep
  • stop drinking caffeine after 1PM
  • start drinking green tea
  • stretch in the evenings
  • fix his posture throughout the day

It seems like a lot…but Joe is excited and ready to go.

What Happens To JoE – Six Months Later

In Month 1, Joe starts the new program. He skips a few workouts and cardio sessions, but overall he’s doing OK. It feels good to be in the gym, and he feels like he’s making some progress.

When Month 2 rolls around, though, Joe is skipping more and more workouts — or following his own made-up workout. He’s starting to feel a little guilty about slacking. He still tries to eat healthy food, but gives in and eats stuff he knows is “bad” for him a few times per week.

In Month 3, Joe’s lack of motivation — and lack of results — is starting to get to him. He feels like a wuss.

“Why don’t you just get your ass to the gym?” he thinks.

In Month 4, Joe is only going to the gym once per week. He skips meals and doesn’t get enough protein. He forgets to take his fish oil.

In Month 5, Joe only goes to the gym twice. He feels like shit.

In Month 6, he buys a new workout program. “This time,” he thinks, “I’m gonna stick to it.”

And then Joe proceeds do the exact same thing as before: Fail.

Where Did Joe Screw Up?

We’ve all been Joe at some time. We:

  • Skip the gym and slack on workouts every now and then.
  • Eat unhealthy food.
  • Feel lazy and unmotivated.
  • Get too busy for elaborate workouts.

It happens to the best of us. But I’ll let you in on a secret: You can change everything by following 2 simple rules — rules that will make you feel more motivated and help you build a great looking body. 

Stop Failing: 2 Simple Ways to Stay Motivated in the Gym

2 Rules Of Highly Effective Workout and Nutrition Programs

This isn’t for bodybuilders or hardcore athletes. These two rules are for guys like you and me who have real lives and want to look better, feel better, and build the kind body and life we can be proud of.

Rule #1: Make your program ridiculously simple and easy to follow.

Guys tend to think the most complex or hardcore workout programs will give them the best results. In reality, the more complex the workout is, the less likely you are to actually do it. Same goes for nutrition.

Remember Joe’s program from above? It had too many things going on, even if they were good ideas. If he missed just one workout, he felt like he screwed up the whole program. And he was trying (and failing) to do a lot of stuff that sounds cool but doesn’t really matter. (No guy really needs three separate workout shakes.)

That’s why the best way to stick to your plan and get results is to make your program ridiculously simple. We’ll show you how in a second.

Rule #2: Recruit some reinforcement (get people to help)

Guys don’t like to ask for help because it makes them feel weak.

But a true sign of strength is knowing how to get stuff done and knowing when someone else could help you.

You could hire a coach, work out with a friend or a group of guys, or work out with your partner. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you tell other people what you’re doing and get some reinforcement.

Download “Uncover Your Hidden Muscle‘ Workout Program For Free

Of course, we don’t just like to talk about things here at S2B. We like to take action. And we’re doing that by giving you a free workout and eating plan that follows our 2 Rules.

Background: Recently S2B coach Chuck Dertinger gained a little fat (especially around his stomach) due to missing the gym for a couple of months while he recovered from an injury.

So Dr. John Berardi wrote him a plan that follows our 2 Rules to help him lose the weight and look better. As you can see from the below photos, the program did the job.

The best part? You can download it for free right now. Then check out the specifics of why it worked below.

Download Uncover Your Hidden Muscle: The 5-Week Fat Loss Blitz.

Rule #1: Make the program ridiculously simple and easy to follow.

Simple Workout

The 5-Week Fat Loss Blitz program doesn’t have any sets, reps, or even exercises. All it has is a time-limit each day. (Ex: 45 minutes of upper body circuit training; 20 minutes of treadmill sprints, etc.)

Why is that important?

Well, before his injury, Chuck was used to following very strict workout programs — and was starting to burn out. He was losing motivation to go the gym. But by having time-limit guidelines instead of strict workout parameters, the 5-Week Blitz program allowed Chuck to be creative and have some fun.

The most important thing wasn’t how many sets he did or how much weight he used. The most important thing was getting to the gym and doing something every day.

Simple Nutrition

For the 5-Week Fat Loss Blitz nutrition plan, Chuck did a few things that helped him get lean, like:

  • eating the same things over and over again, ensuring that he wouldn’t exhaust his willpower by making decisions on what and how much to eat.
  • experimenting with intermittent fasting, skipping breakfast in the morning and eating high-quality food after his workouts
  • eating more carbohydrates on some days and less carbohydrates on other day (the simplest form of calorie-cycling)

An example of a high-carb meal.

RULE #2: RECRUIT SOME REINFORCEMENT (GET PEOPLE TO HELP)

Although not specifically outlined in the plan, Chuck often trained with a group of friends who pushed him to finish the hardest workouts.

But the biggest help (obviously) came from John Berardi who wrote the 5-Week Fat Loss Blitz plan. Both JB and Chuck knew: if Chuck was gonna get results, he had to trust the program and work consistently.

The same goes for you.

What Should You Do Now?

Stop beating yourself up when you skip the gym. Follow the 2 rules. Download the plan. And get going.

(One more thing: My apologies if your name is actually Joe. No hard feelings.)

About the Author: Nate Green is the Program Director for Scrawny To Brawny. You can find him on Facebook or Google+.

29 Responses to Stop Failing

  1. John Underdown says:

    Cool post as always Nate. Can I ask why your (as In PNs) workouts always seem to involve upper body hypertrophy, upper body strength, but just one batch of lower body stuff?

    Cheers,
    John

    • Nate Green says:

      Hey John –

      The main reason, for me, is that there may be a good portion of guys who read the program who haven’t spent 5+ years in the gym.

      In that case, heavy lower body loading two days in one week just may not be that effective or even safe.

      And, honestly, unless you’re really, really into working out and enjoy spending time in the gym, I just don’t think the extra lower body work is necessary to make your legs get bigger and stronger.

      Finally, there are two sprint days in this program. That’s definitely an intense leg workout if you push it. By adding in another leg day, we’d be compromising recovery.

      Make sense?

      -Nate

  2. biglou says:

    Dude, How come you don’t put the specific workouts on the pdf of The 5 week blitz? It doesn’t make any sense

    • Nate Green says:

      Hey Big Lou –

      This may help. From the article:

      “The 5-Week Fat Loss Blitz program doesn’t have any sets, reps, or even exercises. All it has is a time-limit each day. (Ex: 45 minutes of upper body circuit training; 20 minutes of treadmill sprints, etc.)

      Why is that important?

      Well, before his injury, Chuck was used to following very strict workout programs — and was starting to burn out. He was losing motivation to go the gym. But by having time-limit guidelines instead of strict workout parameters, the 5-Week Blitz program allowed Chuck to be creative and have some fun.”

      +++++

      Still, I knew that most guys would actually enjoy having sets and reps and all that. That’s why I put together a “sample week” program. You can find that toward the bottom of the article in red brackets.

      Cheers,
      Nate

  3. me says:

    And if you’re trying to bulk up and starting to look a bit like chuck pre weight loss? Time for a day or two of IF?

    • Nate Green says:

      Depends. If you’re in the S2B coaching program, I suggest checking with your coach.

      IF can help and is a very easy way to “test” to see what works for you. But some guys don’t really enjoy it. It takes some getting used to.

      Still, you said “you’re trying to bulk up.” So you have to expect that you may just gain a little fat when you’re eating that much.

      If you can gain weight, you can do what Chuck did and get lean, too. Same principles — (slightly) different actions.

  4. Hey Nate,

    Great article, I’ve been guilty myself of focusing on the minutiae and although I stuck to about 10 days and got decent results, I too found it impossible to keep it up for a sustained period. Going to give your plan a go, but one thing I really struggle with is eating enough veggies to help make myself feel full. Have you got any easy recipes or tips for making things like broccoli, beans etc more enjoyable? Or recommend any tasty “obscure” healthy veg that I can add into my menu to keep up my veg. quota and keep boredom low.

    • guest12010101 says:

      find veg you like and eat them raw, or eat more fibrous vegetables like sweetcorns and broccoli. if you don’t like a veg, don’t eat it, that’s my advice.

    • Nate Green says:

      Easiest fix: have an awesome salad with every meal.

      Now, this isn’t a BS all green leaf lettuce salad. You have to add some crunch and variety. Follow these steps:

      1. Get a Big Bowl.

      2. Add one cup of a “soft” leaf like butterhead lettuce, spinach, or mixed greens.

      3. Add two cups of a “crunch” leaf or vegetable like broccoli slaw, coleslaw (shredded cabbage), sliced carrots, or romaine lettuce.

      4. Add a small handful of a fresh herb like basil, arugula, cilantro, or Italian parsley.

      5. Add 1 cup of toppings like sliced cucumber, tomato, carrots, celery, or bell peppers.

      6. Add 1/4 cup of rinsed canned beans.

      7. Add 1/4 cup of raw mixed nuts.

      8. Add a couple tablespoons of a light salad dressing. Or use oil and vinegar

  5. Kim Nikkelborg says:

    Hey Nate.

    Awesome piece of writing as usual, I do have a question about the mealplaning on the PDF: I’m all for intermediate fasting, but cutting back meals to 2 times/day seems a bit off to me? Am I reading the PDF wrong, or is this correct? Because then in theory, get your workout done at 6 – 7 AM, eat at 8 AM and again at 12 AM and drink BCAA at around 3 PM and get nothing more until the next morning for 35 days? That’s some serious fasting if you are use to eating 3 meals + 3 super shakes :D

    • Nate Green says:

      Remember: this is specific to Chuck’s situation. So he worked out at 1PM normally.

      If you normally work out at 7 then it’s just up to you how you want to do IF. You could skip it altogether or you could take BCAAs before and after your workout and keep the post-workout meal till Noon or 1.

  6. Marcus Neely says:

    Is this post for the guys in the S2B coaching program?

  7. FitnessCPA says:

    Wondering what you consider “unhealthy” or “high quality” foods and how you could classify a food in isolation as healthy or unhealthy or high quality or low quality. Also wondering how you could say a diet will be good for fat loss without counting calories. And why the BCAAs? If one is getting enough protein, isn’t he also getting enough BCAAs? Thanks as always!

  8. Adam Lee says:

    Has my S2B book become obsolete? As I read through Joe’s program I thought, “All good things. He just shouldn’t do them all at once.” But, Nate, you make it sound like most aren’t good things. Are they not?

    • Nate Green says:

      Definitely not obsolete. But here’s the thing:

      Joe thinks he should be able to do all those healthy habits all at once. He beats himself up if he fails at any of them and feels like he screws up.

      The fact that you know “he shouldn’t do them all at once” is a testament to your knowledge about how change actually happens.

      The hard part is actually only doing one thing at once. :)

      • Adam Lee says:

        Thanks, Nate. I started reading your “old” blog prior to you joining S2B. I greatly enjoy both what and how you write. Stoked that you’re a [big] part of JB’s and PN’s team. Perhaps one day I too will embark upon the S2B journey. And thanks for putting my mind at ease about Joe. I was worried about “him” . . .

  9. Conor says:

    Hey Nate,

    You say 3 vit D. How much IU do u recommend? The ones I have each contain 5000IU, (Life extension).

    Cheers,

    C

  10. Wyatt says:

    I was one of Coach Chuck’s workout partners during his recovery, I even took the picture on the left! I can tell you that the program entered in this article is truly the exact one Chuck used to get back in shape.

    We had a ton of fun with it and really brings enjoyment back into training. I recommend anyone who wants to shake things up give it a shot, not mention with summer fast approaching, everyone wants to look great and this will do it.

    The first few days of training fasted sucks, but you get used to it and by the second week you’re not even thinking about breakfast.

    Just make sure to eat properly when you do and supplements are always a great boost!

    Keep things simple and fun and you WILL see results!!!
    TRAIN HARD.

    P.S Love your work Nate!

  11. john says:

    What’s in the greens breakfast please?

  12. Uncover your hidden muscle isn’t that simple for those who have little muscle to uncover.

    And when you rearrange the letters of Chuck Dertinger, you get Tiger Crunched with a K left over that I don’t know what to do with. No wonder that dude is huge.

  13. Mig says:

    Hi, there! Thanks for this post – I always read your stuff right away when it comes into my inbox. I’ve been following you & JB’s fitness strategies for awhile now… on JB’s site, it says that the daily fast (a la Chuck, above) is best suited for guys who already have less than 15% body fat and want to get “extremely lean.” Would you wager that that’s when you see best results with IF?

    Awhile ago I tried IF & I like working out while fasting, it gives me something to think about/do instead of think about being ravenous.

  14. craig says:

    wondering if you could break down the hip mobility/ core circuit portion of the work out? how many exercises are in the core circuit ? what did you do for hip mobility

  15. Ariel says:

    Hi Nate! how could I adapt this program if I do my workouts at 11.30 pm? I will really appreciate your help.