Those of you who frequent the site know I spend some time over on Reddit. I was checking out some stuff on r/Fitness recently and I came across this Chest 101: An Anatomical Guide to Training post and I just sighed to myself and moved on. But later on I thought, this really is the kind of crap that keeps people who are new to fitness from actually achieving anything. You see the fitness world suffers from Fuckarounditis, and its victims are many.
Fuckarounditis is a behavioral disorder characterized by a mediocre physique and complete lack of progress, despite significant amounts of time spent in the gym.
– Berkhan, M. (2011) “Targeting The Fuckarounditis Epidemic: Preventative Measures and Intervention Strategies.”
Fuckarounditis is Real, I’ve Been There
The first fitness advice I found was between the covers of a Men’s Health magazine and it wasn’t very helpful. I wasted untold time with the ‘ultimate bicep blaster workout’ type bullshit those magazines pump out, most of my friends were doing the same crap. From there I moved on to BodyBuilding.com and their inexhaustible supply of articles, blog and forum posts all espousing contradictory information, confusing fitness routines and just utter baloney. There were other sources thrown in there too; simplyshredded.com being a great example and their anything but simple advice from clearly very ‘natural’ athletes who workout 7 days a week and hit each muscle group 10 times with 4 sets and 10 reps each. Ya let me jump on that train, should be able to keep that going for about a day and a half.
I may have never recovered had it not been for a rather large and fit friend boiling the situation down for me, I was suffering from Fuckarounditis and its dear friend the illusion of complexity.
The Illusion of Complexity
The Internet is a breeding ground for fuckarounditis. There are endless amounts of information at your finger tips; quasi-scientific bullshit, utterly terrible advice and uninformed answers.
Some of the bullshit is so close to scientific that it seems legit, it uses the right terms, elaborate detail, and the latest research. This makes it easier to swallow for those of us with an education. One of the biggest culprits I’ll call out here is Examine.com, they cram their pages with ‘study’ after ‘study’ and it all looks really impressive until you realize that one, there’s no reason any common person needs any of the information available there for general fitness, two, that they clearly are just including every bit of information they find not just the relevant or scientifically significant ones, and three, they’re mostly just out to get you to click their referral links, buy stuff and make them money. Once again, I’m calling r/Fitness out on this one, stop circlejerking this affiliate site.
The problem at the very core of the fuckarounditis is the overabundance of information available. With so many theories, articles, opinions, comment sections, Instagram stars, magazines, tv personalities, etc… adding their input on a topic, we perceive it as complex. Fitness must be hard, right? It must take a lot of knowledge, hitting the right macros, doing the right lifts, in the right order, at the right time of day, with the right kind of equipment, with the right supplements, with the right colored Nike Romaleos on our feet, and on, and on it goes.
Some of that is our own damn fault, there is no quick fix, there aren’t easy six-packs, you won’t add 25 pounds to your bench press in a week, you can’t lose 15 pounds in a week and a half, shoveling protein powder with last year’s Mr. Olympia on the wrapper down your throat isn’t the answer to overnight gains. So stop looking for the quick way out, fitness is what you do for a lifetime, not something you achieve.
We must read everything. We must be informed. We must think long and hard about our routines, and our meals and our equipment choices. Only then can achieve our goals. Or not.
When it comes to strength training and most forms of exercise and fitness, the right choices are limited and uncomplicated. There are right and wrong ways to do things, and for the most part there isn’t any ‘new’ science you need to worry yourself about. Arnold was getting ripped 50 years ago using techniques that are very simple and the guys that were getting ripped 50 years before him were doing the same things. Guess what the big guys are doing these days? I guarantee you it’s not inducing rhabdomyolysis with the latest Crossfit WOD, it’s the same old tried and true stuff.
Even the basic ‘dos and don’ts get watered down with crap. Spend a few years in a place like r/Fitness like I have and you’ll learn there are 100 different correct ways to do a squat and that those ways change almost with the seasons. If you were to find an r/Fitness approved Squat form check video from 2011 and upload it today it would probably get hammered for being completely wrong, when at the time it was lauded for being perfect. That’s confusing and worthless advice.
The same thing goes for nutrition. Diet-related fuckarounditis hurts everyone. Rasberry ketones from doctor hack, overly complicated macronutrient calculators, it’s all here too. Normal, healthy people worrying about insulin, the ketones in their piss, avoiding carbs like the plague and still failing to accomplish anything.
Fitness Really is Simple
Interested in Strength Training or Muscle Building? Here’s the magic equation:
Lift heavy weights three times a week for an hour, increase weight as you’re able. Eat lots of food and get a lot of sleep.
Want to lose weight? Here’s the magic equation for that:
Do some form of cardio (walk, run, bike) for 30 minutes on 5 days of the week. Eat less food than you do now.
Want to get faster at running, cycling, swimming? Here’s the magic equation for that:
Run, cycle or swim for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week.
If you actually do that you’ll be in amazing shape, I know a pro-am cyclist who rides 4-5 hours a week, is sponsored by top name cycling brands and who spends nearly every weekend of the year kicking ass in races around the country. Four to Five hours a week.
That’s really all it takes folks. Stop the bullshit, stop changing from one ‘magical’ routine to another every two weeks. Just go do the thing you want to do and eat toward your goal. Your body will take care of the rest.
Some More Tips to Help You Beat Fuckarounditis
1. Keep Track of What You Do and What You Accomplish
Fitness works on a timeline our minds can’t always comprehend. If you gain 0.2 MPH on your average speed while cycling on a week to week basis will that be immediately noticeable to you? No, but if you’re keeping a good log it will be, because in 10 weeks you’ll see that you’re 2 MPH faster. That’s real progress. If you add 2.5 pounds to your bench press every 2 weeks it might feel like you’re getting nowhere, but in a year you could be pushing 65 pounds more than when you started. That’s a huge difference.
If you don’t keep track and log your workouts you run the risk of not seeing your gains, and if you don’t see your gains you’re going to starting fucking around with what you’re doing and look for ‘help’.
Strong is my favorite app for logging workouts, it’s simple, effective and has a no bullshit interface.
2. Have a Plan and be Methodical
What are you going to do in your workout today? Are you going to give up before you do your sets of squats? Are you going to throw in the towel at mile 15 when you intended to go for 20?
In strength training, it’s really easy. If you’re new to lifting, the only thing that should change from week to week is what you load onto the bar. Increase the weight, keep the sets and reps the same. Don’t add in new bicep moves you saw in Men’s Health, just do the same workout you did last time. It’s the only way you can evaluate your progress.
It might seem tedious at first, but little compares to watching the amount of weight you’re pushing and pulling increase over time if you stick to the long game.
3. Don’t Waste Time Thinking About Supplements
There aren’t any magic supplements that will increase your testosterone naturally, without consequence and in a meaningful manner. And if you’re at the point where you might reasonably be considering steroids to progress you don’t need an article on fuckarounditis.
There are supplements that you might find useful, and I plan to write about the ones worth your time in the near future, but for now just work on actually getting into a training and eating groove.
4. Working Out Requires Work
If you aren’t willing to go to some very dark, very uncomfortable places take up yoga. Strength training requires grit, cycling requires grit, running requires grit. Some of the worst pain and some of the darkest places I’ve been were on my bike or in the gym.
If you’re not grimacing, grunting, breathing like a banshee or loudly exhaling through pursed lips while you try and maintain abdominal pressure to bench press, you’re wasting your time. You shouldn’t be comfortable, embrace the pain. One good rep is 1000x better than 8 weak ones.
5. Do Not Target Body Parts
If you can’t do 3 sets of 8 to 12 chin ups with some weight hanging off a belt you have no place looking into new ways to beef up your biceps. Body part specialization is so far beyond you coming out of your fuckarounditis that it shouldn’t even cross your mind.
If your chest is still lagging once you can bench 1.5x your body weight feel free to call me out.
6. Curb the Excuses
You get your leg training on the bike, so you don’t need squats. Plus you’re afraid you might hurt your back. Maybe you’ll try some box jumping pistol squats, you hears those are more effective anyway. It’s Frank’s birthday so to be part of the fun you should have a piece of cake, in a 100 person office it sure seems like there are a lot of birthdays…
Squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups and bench presses are not necessarily fun. Putting your head down and turning over the peddles so you can keep your average speed at 24 MPH is not fun. But, loading a curl bar and fucking around with that is fun. A bike ride to Dairy Queen is also fun. Which do you think gets you somewhere fitness-wise?
Mental fortitude is half the battle with fitness, doing something hard and consistently takes grit. Grit will benefit your training and it sure as hell echoes into your life outside the gym.
Final word, listen to your body. Your body will tell you the difference between good pain and ‘something went wrong’ pain, listen. Your body will show you whether or not your diet is working, watch. Your body will tell you if you need a break, take one.
Last updated 3-14-17