In the last article of this five part series, I discussed the fundamental principles of success. In everything you do, you will find that there are a few core principles which are responsible for 90% of your success. This is true in business, in dating, and in life.
Some of these “elusive fundamentals” are things like:
- Be Consistent
- Seek Clarity
- Focus on What’s Relevant, Discard What is Not
- Learn from Mentors
- Double Down on the High ROI Leverage Points
- Take Massive Action
- Utilize the Slight Edge
These fundamentals are true no matter what you do. If you want to succeed at ANYTHING, you MUST be consistent. You must be clear in your goals. You must focus on what is relevant, learn from mentors, and make small 1% improvements every single day.
Today however, I’d like to shift focus from my previous “Overview” article. I’d like to talk about how these fundamentals are specifically applicable to the most important thing in your life: your health. This encompasses physical fitness, aesthetics, strength, energy, and your overall well being.
Bio-Hacking and Bio-Slacking
In the past decade, there’s been a new and trendy niche to emerge known as “bio-hacking.” The idea is that if you somehow “hack” your biology by giving it certain nutrients or by putting it through certain processes, you can get twice the effort in half the time.
…and while there’s certainly a lot of cool ideas in this sphere (I’m a bio-hacker myself), far too often, bio-hacking turns into bio-slacking.
Take, for example, Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Body. It’s a book that, similar to its title, talks about how you can achieve the physique of Arnold in a few hours a week. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, that’s because it fucking is.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the tips and advice in his book (and the bio-hacker sphere in general) are great. For example, I love drinking apple cider vinegar and doing intermittent fasting to shred fat as fast as possible. I love to use the ECA stack to amplify my body’s fat burning effect.
BUT, and this is the BIG fucking point, I do all of this IN CONJUNCTION WITH working my ass of at the gym. I don’t just sit around and think “Oh boy, if I eat this fucking weird kale extract shit, I’ll lose 50 pounds without doing anything else!” because that’s a fucking lie.
…and this brings me to the whole point I’m trying to make here. All of this bio-hacking shit is just a small 10% adjustment here and there, but nothing HUGE. The real, actual, tangible benefits that account for 90% of your health and vitality, will come from following the fundamentals that I’m about to tell you.
Okay, so now that I’ve got that annoying rant out of the way, let’s talk about the fundamentals. When it comes to your health, there’s really only a few things that are going to give you the most bang for your buck. Learning to REALLY hone in on these things and optimize them will be responsible for 90% of your success.
The fundamentals of health are:
- Lift Weights 3-5x Per Week
- Do Cardio (or HIIT) 1-2x Per Week
- Have Good Nutrition
- Sleep/Recover Enough
That’s it. Literally 90% of your results will come from JUST THIS. So if you’re a skinny, 115 pound nerd who’s trying to get in shape (as I was), don’t fucking bother with “hacking your biology, maannn!” NO! Focus on lifting heavy ass weights and following a laid out bulking diet plan. That’s it. Nothing else for the first two years.
Again, so many guys want to focus on the next cool and trendy thing, but do you know what comprises the MAJORITY of every pro-bodybuilder’s success? A combination of lifting weights, doing cardio, eating well, and sleeping enough. Without those things, no amount of steroids or money will give you the body you want.
Lifting weights is absolutely, without a doubt, the most important thing that every single man should be doing in his life. I’m not joking about this one—if you aren’t lifting weights on a consistent basis, you are fucking yourself in the ass with your success here.
Simply lifting weights will do SO MANY things for you, that you can’t get anywhere else:
- Significantly Boost Testosterone
- Rapidly Build Muscle Mass
- Speed Up Weight Loss
- Increase Sexual Attractiveness
- Seriously Boost Confidence
By just dedicating 4-6 hours a week to your body, which is the most important thing in your entire life, you can significantly transform your entire world. In fact, I still remember some of the incredible benefits of working out that I started to experience when I first began lifting.
Girls began to flirt with me more openly and unabashedly. Guys began to subtly respect me more. I began to respect myself, and I held myself to a higher standard. I built discipline. I got stronger, I felt better, I had more energy, and I could fuck for days. You can’t get these things anywhere else. You can’t buy them. You have to earn them.
Cardio is a tricky beast, because there’s so much misinformation floating around out there in the bodybuilding community. It’s common bro-science to think that cardio will somehow “kill your gains,” which is at best pseudoscience and at worst outright dangerous.
Yes, it is true that doing cardio burns calories—as does anything else. So what, just eat more. Doing cardiovascular exercise has an INCREDIBLE host of benefits, such as:
- Increased Physical Strength
- Drastically Improving Energy Levels
- Boosted Cognition
- Overall Better Health
You should be doing cardiovascular exercise 1-2x a week. I personally prefer to do high intensity interval training once a week, and then a lighter endurance-based form of cardio later on.
So for example, maybe I’ll do some sprints for high intensity interval training. Then a few days later, on a day that I’m not lifting weights, I’ll go do some sort of outdoor activity. Maybe I’ll go to my buddy’s lake house and play Frisbee and swim all day, or something like that. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive, you can switch it up.
Okay, here’s the part where most guys mess up. In order to really take your health into your own hands, you have to learn a lot about different types of foods and what they do to your body. You need to learn about macro-nutrients, ketosis vs. carb-cycling, and diet fads vs. counting your macros.
Fortunately, I cover all of this in my eBook Body of an Alpha, the definitive guide on how to build a physique women go crazy for. Regardless, here’s what I recommend you do for nutrition if you’re just starting out and don’t want to get overwhelmed:
- Learn to Count Your Macros
- Eat Complex Carbs, Vegetables, and Proteins
- Eat Lots of Good Fats (Avocados, Steaks, Eggs, Almonds, etc.)
- Ignore 99% of People Who Tell You Otherwise
First, learn how much you should be eating each day. “What, you mean I can’t just eat when I’m hungry?” Fuck no. How has that been working for you so far? Obviously not well, I assume. Do you just “put gas in your car” whenever you feel like it? NO! You follow a specific, laid-out plan for it. You have a metric that tells you when you need more gas.
It’s the same with your body, and that metric is calories. You should learn how to calculate your calories (I talk about that here). Once you’ve got a number, strive to eat that much per day. Aim for one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and add in lots of complex carbs and healthy fats.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to sell you something, and they’re most likely lying out of their ass. Is there anything wrong with a ketosis diet, the dirty bulk diet, or the Atkins diet? No, of course not—but it’s only one piece of the puzzle, and doesn’t even work if you eat too much. You can get fat off of anything, if you eat more calories than you use.
Funny enough, nobody likes talking about recovery because it’s not “hardcore.” Bench pressing 500 pounds is hardcore. Squatting until you puke is hardcore. But talking about how much you sleep and relax so that your body can minimize cortisol and recover? Not so hardcore.
Even so, recovery is still an incredibly important fundamental—and when someone tells me they’ve hit a “plateau” in the gym, the first question I always ask them is how much they’re sleeping. Not only that though, but also the QUALITY of sleep that they’re getting.
Here’s some general guidelines for recovering properly:
- Aim to sleep 8-9 hours a night. Elite athletes sometimes sleep 10 or more.
- Follow the sleep hacks I’ve talked about.
- Turn off all lights (including phone/computer) at least an hour before bed.
- Meditate to reduce cortisol
Beyond that there’s a bunch of little tips and tricks you can use, such as buying a PEMF machine (Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy) or using SARMs. In fact, SARMs are the best way to speed up recovery that I know of. SARMs are basically legal steroids, and they’ll take you from zero to hero in a matter of months.
Be sure to get the fundamentals down before you move onto something like that, though. Literally just keep track of how much you’re sleeping, how often you’re waking up, and if you feel good when you wake up in the morning. If you’ve got all of that on point, but you’re still not getting stronger, something else is to blame.
The “Bigger” Fundamentals
Now that I’ve discussed the fundamentals specific to your health, let’s take a step back and look at the “bigger picture” fundamentals I discussed before. There are fundamentals specific to each area of your life (which I just covered), and then there are the “bigger” fundamentals, which I like to call principles.
If you’ll recall, these principles are:
- Be Consistent
- Seek Clarity
- Focus on What’s Relevant, Discard What is Not
- Learn from Mentors
- Double Down on the High ROI Leverage Points
- Take Massive Action
- Utilize the Slight Edge
Now let’s take a quick look at how each of these applies to your health and fitness. Keep in mind as well, I’m not just talking about “getting jacked” and looking good, although those are two of my favorite things to do. I’m also talking about improving strength, speed, energy, and overall health, so that you can kick ass all day and night.
You must be consistent with your physical health, otherwise it will rapidly deteriorate. How long do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger would retain his gigantic, buffed up muscles if he stopped working out and eating right? A few months, maybe? Maybe a year?
While it has been proven that you do keep a lot of the muscle mass you earn, and you do build it back FASTER if you happen to lose it, there’s no denying that you have to put in effort to maintain it. In fact, you can see this transition from when he was bodybuilding to when he starred in Conan.
Take a look at the two pictures below, juxtaposed. Arnold won his last Mr. Olympia in 1980, and began recording for Conan the Barbarian just a year later. Look at how much his muscles deteriorated over that period of time, when he likely was off cycle and not lifting as much.
Now obviously he’s still jacked and I would never want to mess with Arnold at a bar fight. But even so, do you see the point? Look at how much muscle mass he lost when his sole focus in life, 24/7/365, wasn’t lifting weights. He lost a significant amount of muscle, as is normal.
This is why you must remain CONSISTENT in all your endeavors. Aww, you didn’t get a shredded six pack in a few months you poor baby? Toughen up—life is struggle, and life is hard. It takes time to succeed, but that’s what you want. Stay consistent, because others won’t—and then you’ll be holding the victory flag.
Seeking clarity in the gym is perhaps one of the most important things you can do to stay on track. Whenever I’m coaching students, and they’re trying to get in better shape, the first thing I always have them do is set a goal.
Usually our conversation goes something like this:
- Jon: “So do you have a goal?”
- Student: “Uh yeah, I want to build more muscle.”
- Jon: “Okay, and?”
- Student: “What do you mean and?”
- Jon: *smacks forehead*
Conversations like this always make me laugh, because it’s just so funny how everyone wants *something* but they don’t even know what that *something* is. As I said before, how the hell can you even get something if you don’t even know WHAT it is?
Be specific. How much muscle do you want to put on? 15 pounds in three months? 10 pounds this month? Do you want to lose fat and build muscle at the same time? How much? Do you want to be at 16% bodyfat by next month? Do you want to bench press 225 pounds by the end of the year? Be specific. Seek clarity. Learn to set specific goals.
Channel Your Focus
Far too many people focus on what’s irrelevant. They worry and fret over seeing a dentist, a general practitioner, a chiropractor, a this and a that, each and every month. All the while, they haven’t gone for a fucking jog in months. Stop trying to outsource focus and look within—where do you need to focus?
Without first seeking clarity, you cannot channel your focus. But once you have clarity, focus is how you get to where you want to be. Do you want to put on 15 pounds of muscle in two months? Okay, then what do you think you should be focusing on? Here’s what:
- How adjusting your Ostarine dose is affecting your muscle gains
- How your body responds to different types of training
- How much you’re eating, where you’re spending too much time cooking
- What you’re doing at the gym
I want to elaborate on that last point, because so many guys don’t know how to focus in the gym. They get there, spend half the time on their phone, and when they do lift they do so with no intensity. You should FEEL the muscles contract in your body and REALLY focus on them. Work that muscle-mind connection, baby.
When you focus on what is relevant, and throw out what isn’t, everything in your life becomes simplified. You streamline your goals, because you’re not fretting over irrelevant bullshit.
Learn From Mentors
Anytime you want to succeed at something, do you know the best way to do so? Finding another person who has ALREADY done it, and then just doing what they did. When you learn from mentors, you effectively shave YEARS off your learning curve, meaning you can devote more time to more important things.
If you’re seriously trying to get in really good physical shape, you should have already subscribed to 3-4 fitness gurus on YouTube. I don’t care who you subscribe to—Elliott Hulse, Thomas DeLauer, or Yours Truly, just be sure you’re getting good information from guys who know what they’re talking about.
Read books. If you don’t know where to start, read blogs. Read from people who have actually achieved what you want—don’t just mindlessly buy the top selling book on Amazon, because it was probably written by a genius, but out of shape marketer trying to sell more copies.
As much as I hate to keep plugging my own work, I’m convinced that the best place for you to start is with my one-of-a-kind eBook “Body of an Alpha.” It covers EVERYTHING you need to know; everything I WISH I knew when I first started off in the gym. I’m telling you, if I had that eBook ten years ago, I would be light years ahead of where I am now.
Regardless, be sure to seek mentors—whether it’s me or someone else. When you seek mentors, you open yourself up to knowledge they’ve had to learn through hard work and failures. So rather than making the mistakes and failures yourself, you can just learn from someone who already has (and who’s come through them alright).
Double Down on High ROI Points
In everything that you do, 80% of your efforts will be responsible for a mere 20% of your results. That other 20% of your efforts though, will be responsible for 80% of your results. This is Pareto’s Law at work, and it’s the single most important key to maximizing your return on investment (ROI).
Ask yourself: what 20% of your health/fitness activities are contributing to 80% of your results? For me, it would be quite simple:
- Lifting Weights
- Eating Right
- Sleeping 9-10 Hours A Night
- Not Stressing Small Things
That’s it. Of course, I do a bunch of other fancy-shmancy stuff, like cryotherapy where I emerge my body into a chamber filled with liquid nitrogen at sub-zero temperatures. Even so, I acknowledge it’s probably not going to give me the same ROI that simply lifting weights will. It’s just a little bit of an added kick.
When you learn to focus on the high ROI points, funny enough, you’ll have more time, money, and energy for those things though. When you’ve got all your bases covered, by lifting and following the other basic, inexpensive fundamentals, you’ll have the resources to use those cool little tricks (like cryotherapy) that can add another maybe 10% or so.
Utilize The Slight Edge
How long does it take to get jacked? Well, the truth is that it really depends on how determined you are. A famous man once said “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and he couldn’t be more right. I’ve seen guys take YEARS to just lose a few pounds of fat, and then I’ve seen myself put on 30 pounds of muscle in a short few months. What gives?
Well, it all comes down to how large you want your slight edge to be. Most people are operating at a slight deficit, so they’re getting maybe -0.1% worse each day. Some people are operating at a slight edge, where they’re gaining 1% a day in improvements. What are you operating at?
When I was preparing for my last fitness photoshoot, I wanted to stack ALL THE ODDS in my favor. So there was no bullshitting around or getting lost in analysis. It was all, sheer action-taking driven by force of will. I had a MASSIVE slight edge, and because of that, I was able to gain tons of muscle in record time.
Even just improving my 1% a day is a HUGE DEAL, because compounded over time that’s a 10x improvement over a single year. Small improvements each day add up over time, which is why you should rarely have a cheat day on your diet, or “skip” the gym. It’s those tiny little habits compounded that add up to success.
Take Massive Action
Lastly, and perhaps MOST IMPORTANTLY, is the idea of taking massive action. You can sit around and read all the theory that you like, but if you don’t actually APPLY IT, then it’s practically useless. Who cares if you know all about medicine, biology, and chemistry, if your body is a frail fucking mess?
The most important thing is to apply what you’ve learned. SO GO! Take note of what you’ve learned, and then go apply it. If you don’t already lift weights, start doing so. Find a good routine that works for you. In fact, I have two free ones on my website already: The Daniel Craig Workout and the Chris Pratt Workout.
Start adjusting your diet accordingly. Learn how many calories you should be eating each day, and go fucking do that. Stop making excuses, stop putting things off, stop procrastinating by reading endless articles and books, and just GO TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!
In summary, most of what men focus on is a waste of time. In life, a mere handful of principles will be responsible for 90% of your success, and if you can successfully learn and apply these principles to your life, you will have more than you ever dreamt possible.
Focus on what matters. Learn from others who have what you want to have. Do the 20% of things that will give you 80% of the results. Stop wasting your time. Stop procrastinating. Seek out other, like-minded people. And most importantly, TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!
If you don’t know where to start, I HIGHLY recommend you check out my critically acclaimed eBook: “Body of an Alpha.” It’s chalk-filled with tips, and loaded to the brim with helpful fitness advice I wish I knew when I first started lifting. It covers all of the “Principles of Lifting” in depth, as well as my own personal routine for getting so jacked.
As always, if you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. I hope you’ve been enjoying this epic five part series on returning to the fundamentals, because I sure have enjoyed writing it so far. Apply the advice I gave you, succeed massively, and maybe I’ll see you around next time. -Jon