Got chatting to a guy in the gym the other day.
He was telling me about his training program and the type of physique he was aiming for.
He took out his phone and showed me his Instagram feed.
“I want to look like him,” he said, pointing to a picture of a bloke that looked like a fitness model.
“So I’m following his routine.”
This, of course, makes perfect sense.
Mr Fitness Model has spent many years figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
He’s gone through the trial and error, so you don’t have to.
Success leaves clues, as the old saying goes.
So if you want to look like Mr Fitness Model, then you should do what he does.
Or should you?
For one, you don’t know how long he’s been training, and what type of training he’s done over the years.
The routine he followed to get where he is now may be very different to what he’s doing at the moment.
Is the routine laid out an accurate description of what he’s doing in the gym? Or did he make stuff up so his program sounds new, different or exciting?
What are his genetics like?
Some people have very favorable muscle building genetics, and will build muscle a lot faster than those who don’t, even when following the same routine and diet.
Is he on the sauce?
You can’t take a routine used by someone on gear and assume that you’ll get the same results by following the same program. It’s not going to happen.
You also need to consider a phenomenon known as the survivorship bias.
There may very well be thousands of people who have followed the exact same program (or one like it), and didn’t get the same results.
But you’re never going to hear about them, mainly because people who try and fail to get in shape aren’t posting their pictures on Instagram.
In other words, you’re much more likely to hear about the successes than the failures, which gives you a distorted picture about the effectiveness of a particular diet or exercise program.
From entrepreneur James Clear:
“Survivorship bias refers to our tendency to focus on the winners in a particular area and try to learn from them while completely forgetting about the losers who are employing the same strategy.
“There might be thousands of athletes who train in a very similar way to LeBron James, but never made it to the NBA. The problem is nobody hears about the thousands of athletes who never made it to the top.
“We only hear from the people who survive. We mistakenly overvalue the strategies, tactics, and advice of one survivor while ignoring the fact that the same strategies, tactics, and advice didn’t work for most people.”
Those are just some of the reasons I like looking at the research on diet and exercise, rather than focusing on the the results of any one individual, or even a handful of people.
You get a much better idea about what contributed to the success of a particular diet or training methodology, what had a neutral effect, and what (if anything) was detrimental.
See Also: The Flat Belly Cheat Sheet
If you want less flab and more muscle when you look down at your abs (or where they should be), check out The Flat Belly Cheat Sheet.
It's a quick guide, which you can read online or keep as a PDF, that tells you exactly how to lose your gut and get back in shape. To get a FREE copy of the cheat sheet sent to you, please enter your email address in the box below, and hit the “send it now” button.