Do You Have Training ADD?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it.

New guy comes into the gym (or starts posting on the Interwebz), ready to get as strong as possible. He’s just read Wendler’s 5-3-1 and just knows this is the program for him

He gets rolling, and he starts to make some progress. His numbers are going up, and by all accounts, he’s well on his way to achieving his goals.

And then it happens.“Man, this program is working great! But, you know it’s summer time and all, and I’ve got be pool-ready, so I think I need to do a diet/cutting phase.”

(This is where Mike takes a sharp pencil and introduces it to his eyeballs.)

Think about it like this – three of the primary goals that almost any male has when entering the gym are as follows:

  1. Lose body fat
  2. Add muscle
  3. Get stronger

Now at least adding muscle and getting stronger don’t have to mutually exclusive; they can be in the same general direction.

What’s frustrating, though, is when we start to lose fat, or add muscle/get stronger, and then we decide to go in the opposite direction!

Let me use a map analogy, for all you visual thinkers out there.

You’re starting dead in the middle of our triangle, and you’ve decided you want to lose some body fat and get ready for the pool.

You start off on your journey, and you make some decent progress. When you’re at the pool, on the beach, or in a wife-beater, you look great.

But then you hit the gym, and realize you’re getting smaller. The horror!

So what do you do? Well it’s time to bulk up and put some muscle back on. You go from weighing and measuring all your foods incessantly to the “see food” diet.

Along the way, you get diverted again – after all, what good is it to have muscle but not a commensurate level of strength?

So again you switch course, and focus on building strength versus just size.

And yet again, progress is being had, but to your dismay you look in the mirror only to realize not you’re soft and puffy, and well, that just won’t cut it!

So you head back towards a fat loss program.

Do you see the lunacy in all this?

If you followed my amazing diagrams along the way, you’ll realize one thing – you are mired in mediocrity!

You never really achieved ANY of your goals. Sure, you made some progress, but you never really pushed your body to its limits, to see what you could really do with a dedicated and consistent approach.

You want to know one of the reasons people have such great success with Eric Cressey’s Show and Go program?

Sure, it’s a great program. But more importantly, he takes the guesswork out of the process and gives you 4-months of programming. You don’t have to think – just hit the gym, train hard, go home and recover.

But you know why it really works? Or why any long-term program works for those who stick to it?

Because they stuck to ONE GOAL for an extended period of time!

Dan John always says, “The goal is to keep the goal the goal.”

It sounds ridiculous, but the more time I spend in this industry, the more I realize how true it really is.

Here’s another great example – Dave Tate has spent more time under the bar in his life than just about anyone I know. And while Dave isn’t currently training for powerlifting, he still has a focused mindset when it comes to his training. He always has a goal.

Instead of just floating from program to program month after month, he has a set routine that he follows and rotates every three months. It looks something like this:

Block 1 (Months 1-3) – Mobility, Corrective, Prehab, etc.

Block 2 (Months 4-6) – Strength

Block 3 (Months 7-9) – Hypertrophy and Size

Block 4 (Months 10-12) – Body Composition/Fat Loss

Now I may not have this exactly right, but the premise stays the same. If you want to achieve a goal, you need to determine ONE GOAL and stick with it for a considerable period of time.

How long is “considerable” you may be wondering?

I would say 4 months minimum, but 6 months is probably better.

If you aren’t spending at least 4-6 months focused singularly on one goal, please do not blame the program (or the person writing the program) for it’s lack of results.

Instead, look squarely in the mirror, and blame the person looking back at you.

Stay strong


(Photo Courtesy of CampDarby)


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  1. The best results in the long term, that I’ve had, was when I would train for size and strength, eat to gain 1 pound a week until I gained 10 pounds, then train to maintain and drop fat until I saw abs again. Rinse and repeat.

    I’ve also done the long bulk, long cut. Let me tell you, the short bulk, short cut is WAY better.

  2. Hey Mike,

    Is there any post, article, or discussion that describes Dave Tate’s yearly cycle like you mentioned? That interested me the most, especially his Mobility/Corrective phase — would really love to see what sort of stuff he does (though I’d love to see everything) — or at least an example of it.


  3. Loved Show and Go the first time I went through it so I went at it a second time and the numbers continued to climb. It is always good to have someone else do the thinking for you. The best cure for my training ADD is to have a plan mapped out on paper before you start.

    It works wonders for your clients as well if they can see what they will be doing a couple months down the road.

  4. Although I haven’t programme-hopped in the last 6 months and have seen my numbers and results almost come to fruition, I still have that ADD at times.

    That’s why I believe that whatever you do, you have to set goals. Write down 12-week or 16-week goals and get to work. Resist all attempts to turn your head and instead focus on your goal. Goals, as you mention, are the key!

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