Did you know? My mind-blowing fitness discoveries

I started training at home – doing 100 pushups every night before taking a shower – as a young teenager, eager to get bigger and stronger. I had zero – and I really mean zero – knowledge about anything I was doing – workouts, recovery, diets, and even mindsets. I didn’t even know how to do a pushup with perfect – or at least good enough – form…

Which brings me to the present day: over 10 years after doing my first home-workout in the bathroom, I’m now ready to share some of my holy shit mind-blowing discoveries that I had that really changed my approach to fitness (part 2 is also coming very soon). Today, most of these things seem trivial – as they might be to you too, especially if you’re more advanced. Still, let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had similar moments of clarity on your fitness-journey!

The 80-20 rule

Once upon a time, I was an all or nothing type of person:
I either worked out every day, or I stopped working out altogether…
I either had a 100% healthy diet, or I ate like complete shit…
I either restricted drinking alcohol completely, or went partying every weekend (or every 3 days, whatever)…

To sum it up: I either focused on reaching my fitness-goals, and sacrificed my life – ok, most other aspects of my life – to achieve them, or I just quit altogether to finally just enjoy life. There was no in-between…

I didn’t realize, that I can’t always have all – but at those times, something is still way better than nothing. Because of this, I worked out periodically for most of my teenage years, having nerves of steel and extreme focus for maybe a year, followed by a complete burnout lasting a few months (when I lived my life in triple speed just to make up for all the things that I missed).

Knowing this, I don’t think I have to explain my lack of progress as a teenager (yeah, there were other factors too – I’ll get to them in a later post).

Then I started watching YouTube videos… That’s when I first heard that in fitness (as well as many other things in life) I have to be strictly on point only about 80% of the time – as for the other 20%, I can be a little less hard on myself. Suddenly, the world became so much more colorful:
I could enjoy a slice of cake – even when cutting – maybe once a week…
If I was tired and couldn’t push myself hard enough in the gym every once in a while, I didn’t have to beat myself up over it anymore…
I could finally have a drink or two with my friends a few times a month…

I just needed to be strict with myself and focused on my goals 80% of the time – and not fuck up completely in the other 20%. This means that as long as you’re doing the right thing – with your workout, with your diet, and with your lifestyle – 80% of the time, you could loosen up a little in the remaining 20% (as long as you don’t do something remarkably stupid).

This isn’t permission to do some fundamentally wrong shit in the remaining 20%, or to purposefully skip workouts, eat at bad as you can, or down 3 bottles of vodka at a bar… It is permission, however, to loosen up a little, enjoy your life while working towards your fitness-goals, and be OK with messing up from time-to-time – as long as you don’t lose sight of the big picture.

Supplements aren’t magic, BUT

If you’ve read almost any of my other fitness-articles, you know that I’m a huge fan of supplements. I mean, why wouldn’t I be? Supplements are awesome: without going on-and-on about them, let me just say more gains, less fat, better health! With that being said, it actually took me quite a while to figure out that I could get amazing results without ever touching supplements…

I too fell for all the marketing-bullshit coming from supplement-companies. I even spent my first pay-check exclusively on supplements (bad decision, but at least I learned from it)… But my diet was shit, I was half-assing most of my workouts, and I had a typical college lifestyle (work hard, play harder). Despite buying half the shelf in the supplement-store, I had no results after a month… Nothing after 2 months… And I think I even looked slightly worse at the end of the third month (still not sure how I managed that though)… But how could that be? The sales-dude at the store told me that all this shit will cause me burst through my plateau… He seemed like a nice guy; surely he was being 100% honest…

I stopped taking supplements shortly after, and focused on creating a diet-plan that I could actually stick to, I used actual hard-core science to design my workouts – pushing myself harder than ever each and every time – and made conscious choices to improve my lifestyle. This alone was enough to finally burst through my plateau and get some all new gains – I didn’t need fucking supplements and shit.

But I was still curious: what if I got it all wrong? I mean, there are so many people swearing that supplements do work… So, I did my research. I read scientific articles on the effects of the most popular supplements, and I looked at research about their individual ingredients. I contacted some of these companies to ask questions, read reviews, and even asked around on forums. After months of spending nearly all of my free-time on studying nutrition and human biology, I finally had the knowledge to separate bullshit from science.

Once I gave it another go – only buying proven supplements from the best companies – every aspect of my workouts, mood, and even general health improved greatly. It wasn’t magical or anything, but it was enough to make a very noticeable difference in every way.

The bottom line is to do your research; don’t fall for every catchy phrase you come across – and if something’s too good to be true, then it most likely is (or something extremely damaging to your health). Now, I’m not going to go into the specific supplements I currently take – that’s for a different post some time soon. Still, if you’re interested, check out Legion Athletics and Receptra Naturals – I love most of their products (all scientifically backed and extremely high-quality), and would recommend them to anyone who’s tired of all the bullshit in the fitness-industry!

Abs are made in the kitchen

Ok, this one is kind of a lie…

Abs are actually made in the gym, but they’re definitely revealed in the kitchen. I knew a guy, who – a few years ago – was probably accounting for a huge portion of the world’s daily sit-up count, but still didn’t have any visible abs. The funny part is, that I still see this guy every time I look into the mirror! While sit-ups aren’t among the best core-exercises, I was still expecting at least some results. But no… My diet sucked… A lot!

Everyone has some abs: you need them for stabilizing you body in almost any position, you flex them pretty hard whenever you’re laughing or coughing, and taking a daily shit is actually not a bad beginner’s ab-workout (OK, not the best one out there, but you get my point). You use your abs no matter what, so you already have some abs to begin with.

But if you want chiseled, popping, and defined abs, then just being alive isn’t going to cut it; you’ll have to train your abs – sculpt them – in the gym, just like any other muscle-group you have. And even then, nobody’s going to see your masterpiece if it’s covered in layers of fat, carefully hiding it from the outer world.

You have to be pretty lean for your abs to show, and your diet is probably the single most important element of your leanness: if you have a good diet, you can crack an egg on your abs; but if you don’t, well, let’s just say that you can’t out-train a bad diet. You have to cut down to around 10% body-fat to have nice and toned abs – and your other muscles will also have that incredible 3D-look as a bonus!

Have you had any similar moments of truth? Let me know in the comments, I’m actually very excited to hear about them! Also, I have so much more mind-blowing discoveries to share with you: Part 2 of this post is coming up very soon – make sure to follow Vikingfinity so you don’t miss it!

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