What’s the hardest you’ve ever worked? This photo was 10 weeks into the hardest 16 weeks I’ve ever dieted and trained, yet not my best outcome. Why? It’s not ONLY about hard work.
Without getting into what was happening business-wise, let’s just focus on the end of my cut-down in 2008: the last 4 months I trained 3 times PER DAY (not a typo). I had 2.5 cartons egg whites, 8 cups raw spinach, 1/2 cup white rice, a multi, two 1g caps fish oil, four 1g caps CLA, and 3 gallons spring water per day. THAT. IS. IT. No cheat meals. Not once. No drugs. Not even caffeine. No tea or coffee. I didn’t even have anything that tasted sweet, no flavored water, no flavored anything, no sweetener, no sauces, no mint or cinnamon even, including my toothpaste. 21 intense workouts/week on 250 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 27 grams net carb, 6 grams fat (1,166 calories). No breaks. No treats. The months prior to this weren’t slacking at all. So don’t you dare say it’s ONLY about hard work. With my genetics and all my givens, this was the farthest I could could go with it in my 20s, ending at a somewhat lean 225lbs.
This picture was at 10 weeks in. I got more shredded in the last 6, but not a ton. Never did a water deplete - so who knows. In fact, I was so disappointed I didn’t take a single picture at the end. Also, the credit markets crashed as we were about to launch a new business, which was absolutely devastating. People forget that during the Fall of 2008 it was unclear if the world would continue to exist; whole industries imploded; free-market capitalists BEGGED for socialistic big government subsidy bailouts. All around, it was rough. The hardest working year of my life equaled negative return on investment.
I. HEAR. YOU. I hear people who are aggravated by how hard they work versus someone else. I have outperformed this physique with less work, just by focusing more on rest, recovery and stress management. And someone may argue “smarter, not harder.” But this sentiment isn’t true. Sometimes head starts, cheating, trust funds, genetics, timing, and dumb luck can take someone farther, faster, sooner, for longer.
For most people, you’re going to have to work harder than it “should be”. But let us be kind to ourselves and one another, recognizing that there is no 1-to-1 return on hard work. It matters ALWAYS, but not ONLY.