One thing I was particularly proud of while reading Dan John’s new book Now What (not yet released, but you can get the DVD of the corresponding seminar HERE) is seeing my name pretty often throughout the pages. Dan was, and always will be, my coach.
Whenever I am stuck, I solicit Dan. If I have a knotty programming problem, he helps me get everything untangled. To say I admire Dan is to underplay my affection for him. He is one of The Greats.
Anyway, one idea Dan attributed to me in Now What is that of Pirate Maps (which isn’t exactly attributable to me, but what is originally if not undetected plagiarism?). The premise of Pirate Maps is you wouldn’t complain (if you were a pirate) over the simplicity of a map leading to buried treasure. In fact, you would value it (or despise it) in degree to how simple it is (or isn’t). Because if you’re hunting for buried treasure, complication is the last thing you want. Aside snakes.
I’ve been on a kick with mutated crabs lately, but this time we’re going with snakes.
Furthermore, most people, well, they just don’t need to take an eight week course or read through four or five textbooks to figure out what to do to drop five pounds of fat, put on a little muscle, or touch their toes again. What most people want is a map. Simple, straightforward, written down directions. “Do this.”
I hear it ALL the time. “If I only knew what to do, I would get it done.” Now, whether that is true is conversation for tomorrow, but a problem people have, and it’s a big one, is confusion, which arises, for the most part, from complication. This is why my standing desk has its wheels on backwards: the more components there are to something, the more likely you are to mess it up.
For example, every once in a while I’ll launch some godawful online course (they’re actually pretty good, but not for everyone). I try to keep it as simple as I can. But there’s always someone who’s lost/confused. That’s why I get so involved in my online courses, so I can be around to sort that out.
But then I’ll launch something like KettleBody Blueprints and people love it for how simple it is. Because I built them on the idea of what I would tell someone if I could only write a series of instructions on ONE page. They’re maps. And they lead right to the treasure.
In other words, there are shortcuts to your goals. And you probably want some examples…
Basic Weight Loss Map
One very simple “map” for losing weight is this:
Carbs: 100 grams a day (or less)
Protein: 100 grams a day (or more)
Water: 100 oz a day (or more)
Swings: 100 reps a day (or more)
Notice the lack of any excess instruction here.
But let’s give another example, or two.
Easy Mobility Map
Bear Crawls: 2 minutes straight before/after every workout
Kneeling (or Standing) Hip flexor Stretch: 15-20 seconds every time you stand up from your desk.
We’re using 80/20 here… These two moves, done consistently, will fix a lot of “stuff.” Not everything, but a lot.
Simple Strength Map
Deadlift: 2x/week, at least 3 days apart. One heavy session (2 sets x 3 reps @5rm, 2 sets x 2 reps @3rm, 2 sets x 5 reps @7rm); one explosive (4 sets x 4 reps @7rm).
Pull Ups: 3/x week, on non-consecutive days. One heavy (5 sets x 2 reps @ 3rm); one medium (3 sets x 5 reps @ 7rm), one light (50-100 reps @bodyweight by the end of the day)
Simple? Oh, Sure…
But for anyone who has a few to lose, is tight in the hips, and wants to get better at pull ups/deadlifting, these three maps will help them progress. They’re also flexible. There’s no “diet” or program to follow. Just a set of rules. They’re not even rules, really. They’re reminders.
But here’s the thing: people are so used to associating value with “heft” that it’s become harder and harder to get people to simplify and see less is more.
Such is why I say don’t be surprised when you get KettleBody Blueprints and discover they are only 3-4 pages long. That’s the point! Because you wouldn’t complain if you were a pirate, and somebody handed you a map that was only a page. “Oh, no. This won’t do. Please give me the textbook version that’s 300 pages and infested with jargon and gobbledygook.” You would be thrown overboard, if you said that.
PS – I also have this theory that people seek out “complicated” because it gives them an excuse to not get something done. “Oh, it was too complicated. Nobody could ever follow that. Bleh!”
PPS – Furthermore, there’s a persisting myth that shortcuts don’t exist. Ah, but they do!
Having a good coach is a shortcut. Having a Pirate Map, also, is a short cut. So is using the right tool. (Barbells, for example, are a shortcut to lower body strength when compared to dumbbells – they just are.)
Shortcuts are where effectiveness meets efficiency. In other words, it’s doing things right. But in a world where most people do things the long way, or the complicated way, or no way at all, shortcuts do exist.
PPPS – If you haven’t already, I invite you to take a look at KettleBody Blueprints, if the idea of having a map for your goals appeals to you.