One Simple Secret to Success in the Gym

Taylor, handstand on the wall.

Some argue that programming is the key to success in the gym. The logic, and at face value it makes sense, is that if I simply do what Stacy Tovar is doing, then I’ll also be that much closer to her level of success.

The reality of it, however, is that so long as the basic, universal concepts are represented in the program, the program itself isn’t magic.

Consider any of the recognizable strength and conditioning programs out there; most of them look similar. They include things like overloading, specificity, recovery, periodization, etc. Whether you’re training for a marathon or for a powerlifting meet, all programs are based on similar templates and models.

So what’s the real secret to success? The magic is in the coaching. A good coach is what makes any program work. He observes and modifies the volume, load, and movements to match how you’re performing on that day. He understands your limitations and has a clear vision of your potential. He’ll push you to PR on a day you’re moving well; he’ll advise an adjustment on a day you’re struggling. He won’t let you settle for simply doing the rounds and reps written on your notebook or on the whiteboard.