Jonny Potter talks about fuckaround-itis …
There’s a plague sweeping gyms across the land.
Trainers, young and old are suffering from it.
It’s killing progress, ruining strength gains, and making us weaker.
It’s called Fuckaround-itis.
What is fuckaround-itis?
It’s this seeming need for everyone to be doing the latest fancy, flash in the pan, trendy training method or diet, and the idea that you can’t possibly just stick to a routine that focuses on basic progressive overload.
But have faith. It can be cured.
Muscle confusion is a myth, nonsense, completely made up – however you want to look at it.
Trying to confuse them is a valuable waste of time and effort; effort that could be used to focus on a lift (such as a squat or a deadlift) and develop it over a matter of weeks and months.
Lifting is a skill and like all skills, it takes hundreds (if not thousands) of repetitions in order to become a master.
There’s some truth to the fact that you shouldn’t be doing the exact same program for a long period of time, but like so much in the fitness industry, this is blown completely out of context and taken to the extreme, where people try to perform different exercises, sets and reps ranges every single workout.
It’s a good idea to change and progress your training routine over a period of multiple weeks and months, NOT making every Monday’s session completely different to the last – the only thing you’re confusing here is yourself.
A pump isn’t a bad thing.
And you shouldn’t only train in low rep ranges all the time. If hypertrophy is the goal, the pump can be very effective when used strategically, as it causes benefits such as increasing protein synthesis and causes a greater degree of muscle retention and breakdown than lower reps.
However, where chasing the pump becomes a negative aspect is when the lower rep ranges are completely ignored and you focus on high reps all he time, just for the sake of making your arms look like big veiny pythons for 10 minutes post workout, until your vascularity returns to that of a mere mortal.
Constantly training with high reps and light weight will not only decrease the amount of load you can lift but is also very mentally demanding, anyone who has taken a set of 15+ squats to failure VS a set of 6 squats to failure will tell you immediately which rep scheme they enjoy more… and which terrifies them. The pain inducing acidosis, which comes hand in hand with high rep training, can also make high reps extremely taxing for an individual and can affect overall adherence (both physically and psychologically).
In order to gain as much muscle as possible you should focus on progressively overloading whilst partnering lower reps with heavy loads as well as lighter loads using moderate – high reps which ensures both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers are targeted and developed as effectively as possible.
Take home note: Getting blood to the muscle isn’t the only way to get bigger – your CNS is king, and that only gets worked properly when you go heavy.
Take a notepad, use your phone, a fancy spread sheet … whatever! Just start logging your progress.
There are two types of guys who log their sessions – newbies, and the more advanced trainers who have the best physiques. What happens to those in between?
No one is ever too experienced or advanced to not bother using a logbook due to the simple fact that ‘if you don’t know where you are, how do you know where you are going?’
Logging lifts, reps, rest and even how a certain set felt by using techniques such as the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) or a simpler method such as ‘reps to failure’ (RTF) are extremely useful tools in order to gauge progress and manage fatigue.
Step it up a notch and look at measuring units of volume, as well as the above. Even if you just chose to monitor volume on compounds such as bench, deads, squats and rows, it gives you a way to ensure constant progressive overload and keep tabs on how you’re doing.
Us bodybuilders aren’t renowned for being the brightest, but I’m sure we’ve got just about enough intelligence to remember a pen to paper during our workouts and write those numbers down.
Drop sets, super sets, giant sets and the like do have their place, but if this is all you’ve been doing throughout every set of every exercise on every training day then you’re putting your body under a hell of a lot of stress and most likely impacting recovery too.
Stop pissing around and go back to some straight sets for a while, pick a basic plan which emphasizes the compounds, chuck some accessory movements to work on weak areas and you’re good to go.
Focus on adding 1 more rep, an extra 5lbs to the bar or an extra set every couple of workouts and you’ll burst through your plateaus, be able to recover better, also get some tangible data from monitoring your progress and most importantly grow and get stronger
Having short rests between your sets is stupid.
If you’re that fatigued from your last set then how an earth are you going to progress on the next one or even match the previous sets’ reps.
Not resting enough between a set is obviously going to negatively impact total session volume too (see the pattern here?)
Rest as long as you want between a set, whether that is 3,4 or even 5 minutes. Wait until you are fully recovered mentally and physically in order to dedicate what is needed to each set…. then dominate.
Please please please don’t be one of those guys who program hop.
Program hoppers go nowhere, in fact they do go somewhere…. backwards!
I know the struggle is real when your favorite author releases a new workout but jumping from 1 plan 1 week to the ‘next best thing’ a week later won’t allow you progress a thing!
-Pick a plan.
-Do that plan for at least 8 weeks religiously.
-Monitor lifts and progress accordingly.
-If the end result after the 8 weeks resulted in the desired effect then run the plan again or take notes from the plan and focus on another one with similar principles that you now know you’ll progress on.
-If it resulted in sub-optimal results then chose another plan and run it religiously for at least 8 weeks.
Don’t program hop. Running a sub-standard muscle mag plan for 12 weeks with logged progress will far outweigh the results of 6 of the best training programs that are chopped and changed week on week.
Fuckaround-itis is a horrible condition to come across, but it is preventable and it is curable. A good dose of what’s laid out above is all that you need in order to fight it.
It’s simple really:
-Stick to a plan.
-Use high and low rep schemes.
-Record your sessions.
-Progress your lifts.
Avoid paralysis by analysis, and as tempting as it is to jump on board with the latest Tracy Anderson super high-intensity, kettlebell yoga workout plan, deep down you know you’re just running the risk of developing another case of fuckaround-it is.
Jonny Hamilton-Potter runs JHP Fitness, where he specializes in helping skinny guys bulk up without getting fat.
You can contact him at –
Learn what supplements you need to take, WHATEVER YOUR GOAL
Sign up to the newsletter for regular updates