Even if you never set foot in a gym your whole life, you owe it to yourself to read "The 80/20 Rule of Lifting" -
The value of the 80/20 rule is that it reminds you to focus on the 20% that matters. You should identify and focus on these things. So in bodybuilding, what are they? I would say that the 20% that matters includes:
Researching & following a good, fundamental, bodybuilding program. (Not a perfect one, it doesn't exist). Putting in hard work in the gym, consistently, over a long period of time. Following the rule of progression, and ensure that over time you are lifting more weight, more reps, or more sets. Having good nutrition. Eating enough good stuff, and not too much bad stuff over the course of a day. Getting adequate recovery. Adjusting your plan periodically, based on your results and your experiences.
Which basically means: Train. Eat. Rest. Repeat. Week in and week out. Focusing on the basics will give you 80% of your results.
So if that's the important 20%, what's the 80% that's trivial? Well in my opinion it's details like these:
Should I do 3 sets of 8 reps or 5 sets of 10 reps? What's better, 1.25g protein per pound or 1.37g/lb, or 1.5 g/lb.? I'm doing BB curls, should I be doing DB curls or EZ bar curls instead? What's the best angle for incline barbell presses? If I don't get 30g of protein within half an hour after training, is my session wasted? How much should I be lifting for my height / weight? Are DB flyes better than using the Pec Dec?
Etc. Etc. Etc. Honestly, that stuff doesn't make a difference. Or rather, if it does it makes a relatively small difference (20%); or only makes a difference for a relatively small few who are at the limits of their physical development. For most of us average Joes, it just doesn't matter!
People love getting caught up in the details. But the details aren't going to get you here from there. You need to get started. Action.
-Go to the gym
-Complex lifts with good form
-Everything else is details
Last week, Edan Maor reached out to me and invited me and the SebastianMarshall.com readers to test Chatty.
We tested it out. It still has wrinkles to be ironed out in it, but it's promising. It's a super easy way to get real time, on-site chat on a site.
But there's details to be ironed out. When the Chatty team launched, Facebook Connect was the only way to log in, you couldn't chat without Facebook connect, there was no moderation privileges at all, and there was an annoying issue where Chatty would keep popping up every time you moved to a new page.
But you know what? It doesn't matter, because the Chatty team is further along than 99% of projects ever get.
Building a web app:
-Pick a problem consumers have
-Solve the most basic version of that problem
-Get it in front of people who could use it
-Incorporate their biggest feedback
-Get it in front of more people
-Look to get money somehow
-Everything else is details
Ramit Sethi says about personal finance - "We love to debate minutia."
Most people get caught up in the details and neglect the actually important things about personal finance, saving, investing. It's not that hard.
-Figure out your expenses.
-Cut places where high spending is producing low quality for you.
-Increase places where more spending would produce huge quality.
-Definitely minimizes expenses, fees, and nonsense that gives you no benefit.
-Lower your tax burden as much as you can
-Build an emergency fund
-Save some of your income each month, ideally in a tax-advantaged account
-Everything else is details
At least once a week, I get someone telling me they'd like to start a blog and asking thoughts. But most of the questions I get asked won't matter at all.
-Get a blog registered on your own domain
-Write and post on a regular schedule, ideally daily
-Keep that schedule sacred
-Get your blog posts in front of as many people as you can that are relevant
-Listen to feedback and adapt so your writing improves
-Keep writing a lot and getting it in front of people
-Everything else is details
There's a time for details.
If you become really passionate about something, maybe you want to become an expert in the field. In your profession, learning all the details can make for highly polished work.
There's plenty of good time for details. But there's one bad time - that's when you're paying attention to details instead of taking the big actions.
Don't let research and details get in the way of taking action. Narrow it down to the bare minimum you need to do to get started. Do that. Now you've started.
Action. Then details. Remember that.
Action first. Then details.
Hey Sebastian, great reminder! In my experience fear is the problem number one and the reason most people dwell so much on details: it's easier to excuse oneself for doing nothing while searching for perfection than just doing something and failing. Which brings up what I feel is the root problem: fear of failure. It seems like we've done poorly as a collective to nurture a process that encourages people to try things and learn from the failures that will inevitably come. This is a talk I watched a while ago from the Lift11 conference titled "The importance of innovation and thinking different", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LleIMKgPdZs . I found the guy and the talk a bit nuts :), but also very inspirational, hoping folks around here will like it too.
Wow, that is cool one - your suggestion closely resembles that of Ramit Sethi from IWTYTBR http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com - he posts TONS of stuffs which are useful and can be followed every day. Will be glad if you can share more.
I find this a particular problem in engineering. By the second engineering meeting after a new project is started, the design team is repeatedly getting bogged down discussing trivial details long before the 'big picture' functionality of the project is yet to be settled. Even before it is settled that the device should have a temperature sensor, a 2 hour discussion of the relative merits of different sensor technologies ensues. In engineering, the 80% details do matter, but only AFTER the 20% big picture is sketched down.
I think it's a form of procrastination. It gives the satisfaction of doing 'something' without having to commit to achieving any specific outcome.
And just like the situations above, it takes vigilance to notice when you're getting bogged down in unimportant details and drag yourself back to what matters.
Agreed. Over the last three or four months I've been trying to do a lot of expansive stuff, and I was trying to do it 'too perfectly' focusing on the small details. It all became too much and I sort of fizzled out and didn't feel like doing anything.
I'm currently incorporating breathing/relaxation and concentration exercises into my day, and focusing on the most important aspects, which at the moment is preparing for my exams. In the short term I've found a reduction in stress and an increase in the amount of productive time. Hopefully, can turn in into an ingrained habit.
I think Bruce Lee said something like 'focus on daily reduction, not daily accumulation'. Good advice in some ways.
I agree 100% - this article describes the biggest problem I have when starting something new. I've tried so many different exercise programs that I can barely count them. But with all programs I forget the most important part - actually sticking to them for a while. By the way, the best trick for getting exercise - pick a sport you love, find a group that plays it consistently, and start playing. This is the *only* form of exercise I've been getting consistently for the last 8 years (Basketball, in my case).
By the way, we've fixed 2 of the issues mentioned with Chatty that Sebastian mentions here (login without Facebook, and the popup showing up on every page). And he's right - launching on this site was a great way to learn that *these* are the right issues to focus on right now. So thanks a lot to everyone here who gave us feedback!
Reminds me of Michael Pollan's opening line to his book In Defense of Food:
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
He distinguishes what he calls food -- which is stuff your grandparents would have recognized as food and served, before the food industry started processing food -- from food products -- which are processed. So he's implicitly saying don't eat food products.
He communicates more than 80% of a healthy diet in seven words than most diet books. The rest is details.
Edan Maor from Chatty just kindly invited us into beta testing for Chatty.
Chatty is instant Facebook-like chat for any website. Site visitors can group-chat with each other in one large chat room, and it gives site visitors a dead-simple way of interacting with one another. Chatty’s design, features and entire essence is about encouraging site users to engage in conversation with one another. The web is chock-full of information but what we are really after as people is not information but other interesting people. Chatty takes users closer to that end.
We're testing it out on the site. You can log in using Facebook Connect and chat with other readers.
Via email, here was my initial concerns about Chatty -
My first few thoughts/concerns btw -
I try to stay away from writing about the actual specifics of training and bodybuilding. There's enough shit on T-Nation, Bodybuilding.com, and the like. Why waste time re-inventing the wheel?
Instead, I usually write about client psychology and behavior. There's a serious dearth of that in the industry. Let's create more shit around that.
There's one exception to this, and it's a place I can add a ton of value – building a 3D chest.
Everywhere I look, there are people who start lifting with Starting Strength and come out looking like centaurs.
On the contrary, I've taken my chest from something was sadly concave and turned it into my best body part. Really, the first thing that people notice about me is that my chesticular region might have its own gravitational pull.