For 6 months last year I was part of a beta-testing group for a new program by Dean Somerset called High Tensile Strength. It will be released later this year and even has its own teaser.

How cool is that! It’s like an invitation to star in your own action film!

I signed up for several reasons; for something different, for someone else to write my programs, for motivation, for accountability, to learn new things… and of course to get results.

Here’s a before and after photo.

 

 

12/05/2014

15/11/2014

Change

Weight

79.1 kg

80.5 kg

+ 1.4 kg

Body Fat Percentage

15.5 %

13.3 %

- 2.2 %

Fat Mass

12.2 kg

10.7 kg

- 1.5 kg

Lean Mass

66.9 kg

69.8 kg

+ 2.9 kg

 

There was a hidden cost to the program… the price of a new wardrobe. By the end of it I only had one shirt left that fit me. And I had some really nice shirts! It’s lucky we’ve had post-Christmas sales so I could restock.

During the time I was doing Dean Somerset’s program I thought about what it takes to be successful in your training. Here are the top 5 things I came up with…

 

1. HAVE A GOAL AND A DEADLINE

I’m a guy, so my goal was simple. To look like a cross between James Bond and Wolverine… but more suave and less hairy. Obviously I’m not there yet, but I’ve still got time. :-)

I really just wanted to add some bulk. The program ran for 6 months, so that was my deadline.

 

2. BE CONSISTENT

Over the six months of the program I had to do four workouts a week. That’s 96 workouts and I didn’t miss a single one. There were plenty of times I didn’t feel like it. There were times it was inconvenient. There were times my workout just plain sucked! The important thing is I still turned up and did it. You can have the best program in the world, but it’s worthless if you don’t turn up and do the work.

 

3. GET A GOOD PROGRAM

At the gym I train in there are people who are still doing exactly the same thing and are still looking exactly the same as they did twelve months ago (and I’ve only been going there for twelve months, so who knows how long they’ve been at it). Our bodies adapt to change, so if you keep doing the same thing you’re not going to see any improvement. But change isn’t limited to just changing the exercises you do. There are plenty of other ways to vary your training including reps, sets, load, tempo, rest, exercise order and rating of perceived exertion. I cycled through four different workouts per week and every four weeks they changed. This gave me time to improve at each exercise, but the program changed before I stagnated. Dean also manipulated all of the other variables I mentioned. So if you don’t know what you’re doing, find someone who does. It’s better to spend a bit of money on a good program than spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

 

4. TRACK YOUR RESULTS

Every four weeks I had to send in my weight, girth measurements, body fat percentage and how many of the 16 prescribed workouts I’d done. This had a couple of benefits:

  • Reporting your results to someone else keeps you accountable. And if you feel accountable to someone, you won’t want to let them down, so you’ll work harder and be more consistent with your exercise. (See how it comes back to consistency. Synergy is a beautiful thing).

“What am I talking about people? Synergy.”

  • Frequent measuring keeps you on track. If everything is going well, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you’ve run off course, then at least you know and can do something about it.

 

5. GET A TRAINER… EVEN IF YOU ARE ONE

For years I’d written my own programs. But it gets boring writing your own programs and if you’re bored then consistency (there it is again), effort and results are going to suffer. Plus there’s no accountability, no motivation, it’s easy to avoid exercises you don’t like (which are probably the ones you need to do) and there are no surprises. And who doesn’t like surprises?

With someone else writing all my programs I could just turn up and do it. I didn’t know what was coming each month, I worked hard and consistently so I wouldn’t let down my trainer and I enjoyed exercise more knowing the program was someone else’s responsibility. Plus I had a trainer who knew more than I did, so I got to learn a heap along the way. #igotlearned

So if you don’t have a trainer, consider getting one. Find someone you like and trust. They may be the missing piece in your puzzle.