The Secret (No Not That One!)

The Secret (No Not That One!)

by Chris Young 

Don’t worry, I’m not about to hit you with a sequel to that ridiculous self help book that came out a few years ago; you know the one, it’s where you really wish for something to happen with everything you have and then the Universe / God will supply whatever you wished for. No, it’s definitely nothing like that, in fact this article is about as far from that rubbish as you can get.

Not on my recommended reading list!

Here’s the secret, are you ready? Here it is – The Secret is Consistent, Hard Work! Which over time gets even harder. This is especially true for physique goals (fat loss, strength, muscle size, etc).

End of the article; the briefest ever! Well, not quite.

This has been said many times before. My good friend Jim Wendler said, when asked about how to get really strong, something along the lines of “lift heavy shit, eat good food, rest, repeat for 10 years!” The real problem is that people don’t want to hear this kind of long-term-ism; especially when you are promised easy alternatives from the media.


The media realise that you don’t want to hear that hard vigorous exercise and sensible eating will give you the type of body you want; they know that you want to hear about the latest fad, especially if that fad involves little effort (see my occasional series on Cult and Gimmick bashing for specific examples at

One of the greatest shames of all this is that people in the 70s and 80s knew that basic weight training, and circuits for cardio were the way to go, it’s just that many chose not go that way because it’s tough; but in the last 5-10 years this seems to have been forgotten. The media have banged on for so long now about what this or that personality is doing that they’ve actually forgotten that there is something which really works.

Back in the good old days, from the mid 1930s through to the 70s, if one wanted to increase muscle of strength, or to lose weight they would order a barbell / dumbbell set that would look something like this.

What we used to buy.

The exercises which came with these courses were tough exercises, exercises which worked, exercises like Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans, Presses, Rows, etc. The picture above (bottom left corner) even shows a neck harness being used! When was the last time you saw anyone do neck work in a commercial gym?

If you commit to performing exercises such as those just mentioned several times a week, and you put in some effort then you will get results, there is really no way you could fail to other than if your diet is out of line with your goals (there’s my disclaimer).

Since the late 80s this is the kind of crap we now buy!

So, if we know what we should be doing then why haven’t you been told about this? Who can you blame for being mis-sold everything from Personal Training sessions with trainers who don’t know what they’re doing, through to the multitude of gimmicks that appear on TV at 2am? You want to know who to blame? Take a look in the mirror!

If you the public didn’t always want the easy way out; if you the public didn’t continually buy into ridiculous ideas; if you the public didn’t hang on every word some ridiculous celebrity was spouting then we wouldn’t be in this mess. You have no one to blame but yourself!

In future be more critical of the sources of information you use. Ask yourself, “should I listen to this person?” What might they be selling, either directly or indirectly? Are they a good person for me to model?

If you’re looking into buying a piece of exercise equipment ask: is this going to work me hard enough to achieve my goals? Can one really work hard performing bodyweight Squats on a vibration plate? Not really. Can one work really hard performing Squats with a barbell on your back? I think we all know the answer to that.

If after asking these questions you decide that it’s really all a bit too much effort for you then that’s fine; all you need to do then is adjust your goals; and that will be your choice, a choice you’ve made while armed with good information, not a choice made through wishful thinking.

Just in case you’re still not clear; the secret is – Consistent, Hard Work!

Chris is a British and World Champion Drug Free Powerlifter who has worked in the fitness industry since 1985, he currently runs the gym at the very prestigious Spa at Pennyhill Park ( Along with Powerlifting, Chris has competed nationally in Martial Arts, and has dabbled in Drug Free Bodybuilding. Chris can be contacted through