Workout Tips

The 9/2/1 Rule: A Bodybuilder's Guide to Fitness

Get strategic with your training to achieve optimal results over the long haul.

bodybuilder barbell

We move faster than ever before from day to day and demand a lot of ourselves in many facets of our lives. It's virtually impossible to maintain a high intensity all of the time. We need to strategically think about when we are going to maintain, surge, and step back. I have noticed this with my clients over the last 13 years. They either want to go super hard or they want to just take a break. They find no middle ground, which is where we should be living the majority of the time. So, I developed what I call the 9/2/1 rule. It can be used in all areas of life, but I will relate it to nutrition and exercise here.

9- Baseline

This is where you will be living for the majority of the year. For 9-months, you will strive to move a little bit each day, get a few hard workouts in, and eat well 80-90% of the time. You make good progress and don’t go backwards. You continue to see changes in your energy, mind, body, lean muscle mass, fat loss and physical fitness. Not huge leaps and bounds, but just enough. You can fit this routine into your daily habits without too much difficulty. This is where you really succeed.

High Volume Diesel Squat Workout

2- Surge

There are times in your life where you will need to “surge”. For this 2-month period, you will prioritize your fitness and nutrition. It will be the main focus in your life. You will have to sacrifice some other things to get there. Parties, time with friends, household projects, and many other things might have to take a backseat for a while. This is the time to go at it hard and never look back. For some, 2-months may be too long to keep up a high intensity. If you need to, you can reduce it to 4-6 weeks. It just depends on the person. Regardless, you only have a certain amount of time that you can go hard before you burn out, crash, and maybe even go backwards. Proceed with caution.

bodybuilder relaxing

1- Step back  

If you put in the work up front, you will earn a well-deserved vacation. You don’t have to use this month all at once. You could use it in chunks. Most people will find it beneficial to use it on a real week long vacation, during holiday parties, or times that you are working hard on other areas of your life. Now, this does not mean that you need to go totally off the wagon. It's just a time to step back and enjoy life. Take a break from the hard work you put in and push the reset button. After you take the needed time off, it’s time to go back to your baseline.

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