The Answer No One Wants to Hear

What workout program do you do?

It’s a question I’m asked at least once a week – in the gym, at a social event, from a reader, from a friend – and what they’re really trying to ask is “How do you look the way you do?”

I usually try to satisfy their question with some version of lifting weights, doing sprints, or rowing. This generic response will usually suffice, and the person will likely draw the conclusion that I must have some tricks up my sleeve that I won’t talk about.

But the real answer to their question?

I’ve had a heavy barbell in my hands or on my back nearly every day for the past seventeen years.

And therein lies the problem. While this is the truthful answer to their question, it’s not the one most people want to hear. Because if they wanted my advice and I told them to lift heavy weights for fifteen years straight, the conversation would be over before it began.

Repetition is the master of all great, predictable outcomes.

We are inundated with ways to cut corners in everything from our work to our workouts. Media thrives off of ways to burn belly fat, get rich, or feel your best in just a matter of weeks. Our social feeds are filled with friends doing some new 30 day workout or nutrition program.

We want the results, but we also want to see the finish line in the near future.

But alas, this is not how life works.

If I were to ask Seth Godin how to be a great author, he’d tell me to write every single day for the next 20 years.

If I were to ask Jerry Seinfeld how to be a great comedian, he’d tell me to write jokes and practice every single day for the next 15 years.

If I were to ask the top sales rep at any company how to be a great sales rep, they’d tell me to pick up the phone 100 times a day, every single day.

Success is not sexy, as much as we want to make it so. It also isn’t accessible via a shortcut, band-aid, or “hack”.

So now whenever someone asks me what workout program I do, I’m just going to tell them the truth, the answer no one wants to hear…

…that I’ve had this heavy-ass steel bar on me for 17 years and counting.