This ‘70%’ Fitness Plan Gave Me Incredible Results After I Struggled for Years

The only hardcore part of this fitness routine is the consistency, but the results will change your life.

It seems like our fitness goals are sabotaged by a billion factors outside our control. Environmental toxins,  lack of hydration and sleep, blueberry cheesecake—all of these things affect our body chemistry and willpower, and they can make it really hard to stick with routines and to build muscle like we should.

I know this frustration as well as you do.

I suffered from digestive issues for all of my adult life, and no matter which workout program I tried or how well I ate, I never stuck with it, and I never got results. My poor health was always the #1 excuse to drop out of the game. But when I stopped making excuses for life in general, I finally found a way to reach the fitness goals that had always evaded me. It just wasn’t what I ever expected it would be.

Today I have the physique I’ve always wanted—the chiseled abs, the defined chest, arms and legs…still working on the Austen Powers chest hair! But it’s not just the physique that counts…I feel really, really good about myself. I feel more powerful and confident than ever, which spills over into my solopreneur career and relationships. I’m better at my favorite sports and I’m not getting injuries all the time anymore.

All this is to say that my life is a bajillion times better now that I’m at the top of my fitness game. And I want every single one of my Millennial Success readers to have this quality of life, too.

But how did I go from skinnyfat and helpless-feeling to fit and confident after so many years of failing to achieve my fitness goals?

I went softcore.

Yep.

I always considered myself a badass because I was the guy who would kill himself to get quick results: whether that was getting the top Army PT score in my battalion, completing a marathon-length run on a bet, or playing beach volleyball for ten hours straight. I loved going all out and proving to myself that I could do things that others couldn’t. But one thing others could do, which I hadn’t mastered, was to stick with a routine and be consistently fit.

My burnout approach to fitness mirrored my approach to life in general, which explained why I wasn’t successful.

I was always the type to go hard, hard, hard for as long as I could, whether that was with a new business or educational endeavor. But just like with my fitness, I burned out in a flash. I couldn’t get results because I was never consistent enough.

After I hit rock bottom and found myself back at my parents (for like the 10th time) though, I changed my approach.

I knew I wanted to be a writer, and I knew that being flakey had always been my bane, so I promised myself to write an article every single day for a year. Just 500-800 words; nothing big. Certainly not hardcore. But the hardcore consistency worked miracles: I started making awesome money after just the first month, and within a year I had gained enough high-paying clientele to be independent for the first time in my life.

The softcore approach guarantees results. But for some reason, though, I didn’t take that approach for my fitness until this year. It actually took listening to a podcast with Firas Zahabi for things to click.

The 70% ‘Softcore’ Approach That Will Revolutionize Your Fitness

This MMA training phenom and fitness guru was on the Joe Rogan podcast recently just shredding the popular concepts of fitness and muscle growth—you know, like working out to failure every time, and pushing yourself till you piss yourself and forget your name. I was intrigued. 

Firas says that you shouldn’t go past 70% except for rare occasions, and to do softcore workouts basically every day. This way you don’t have to recover for three days and can do more repetitions over time, which strengthens the connective tissues that keep you from getting injured.

It made too much sense, so I tried it out for myself. And it worked like a freakin’ charm.

It was a little strange going from that “you’re a pussy if you cant walk for three days after your workout” mentality to very brief and light workout. But in doing lower repetitions and not burning myself out, I found that my exercise was now energizing instead of fatiguing—like a little cup of coffee that I could whip out wherever I was. And that helped me grow back my love for fitness and exercise, which I had trashed during my burnout regimens.

I always hated feeling fatigued. When I constantly dreaded being worn-the-fuck-out after a workout, I conditioned myself to hate working out in general, and that eventually led to me quitting all of my routines. But now, much like with coffee, I’m fully addicted to my fitness routine.

I love breaking up my day with three or four light workouts that take no longer than five minutes each—pushups, pullups, dips, sprints. It just feels natural. I love being able to repeat my workouts almost every day, that way I’m consistently moving, getting my blood pumping, and feeling energized. And I love the results I’ve gained over the past few months: defined abs, chest and arms for the first time ever, looking and feeling good naked, and drastically improved performance in my favorite sports.

The best thing about my new softcore routine though is that I’m finally consistent with my fitness. The energy I have, the confidence I have, the pride I have…this has all fed back directly into my work, my writing and my relationships. Life has been 10,000x better over the last six months and it’s because I sacrificed my ‘hardcore’ mentality and finally got consistent with my fitness routines.

You can give it a 110% if you want…but in my experience, 70% is way better.

Conclusion

I’m proof that anyone—no matter how long you’ve struggled with fitness, or how many reasons you have to quit your routines—can get the fitness results they want. You just have to trade that hardcore mentality for something more sustainable, like a 70% mentality.

Instead of challenging yourself to work out so hard that you puke or can’t walk, I’m challenging you to

a) not push yourself past 70% for the most part
b) to do those softer workouts frequently throughout the day, and
c) to do them almost every day. (Give yourself one day off per week.)

This will make you hardcore consistent, and it’ll get you the fitness results you need to take your life to the next level. So pick a few of your favorite body weight exercises and throw in a sprint or two per week.

Let me know how it works out for you!

Written by Daniel Dowling
As a "lost millennial" turned solopreneur writer and coach, I write on massive personal development for sites including Entrepreneur, Fitbit and Fast Company, and I teach ambitious people how to become successful solopreneurs and balanced human beings here at Millennial Success.