Suffer Smart, Not Hard

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For those who have been following us for a while you probably know that our slogan at Flex Success is “diet smart, not hard”. Our mission is to not only help people achieve sustainable results through nutrition and movement but also educate them along the journey, develop a healthier relationship with food and obtaining the the knowledge and ability to do this for the rest of their lives. The ultimate goal, funnily enough, is so they don’t ever have to “diet” again.

We promote flexible dieting, balance and aim to remove the negative connotation associated with dieting so the process can be enjoyable. In my opinion, for the general population that simply want to lose some body fat, get in shape for the summer, fit in a dress for a wedding etc, the key as coaches is to help them find the balance between what they want and what they need.

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Whatever nutrition and training modality that is going to allow them to be consistent whilst allow them to live their life as usual is the one for them. A lot of the time it may not be the most “optimal” on paper. However, for the general population that don’t live and breathe the lifestyle, most would agree that this type of approach is far easier with minimal amount of suffering in comparisons to what they may have trailed in the past.


Now when it comes to contest preparation for physique athletes. The key is, as the title suggest, is to “suffer smart, not hard”. Optimisation is the name of the game when it comes to getting stage ready which naturally results in more “restrictions” and less “flexibility” being applied. Because of that, there is a stigma of a hardcore mentality that if you don’t go through the extreme with everything or if you don’t suffer then you are lazy and you won’t look as good as the person who is suffering more.

Dieting to an extreme level of body fat hurts. It really hurts. Doesn’t matter what foods you eat you will need to suffer mentally and physically to get contest lean. The difference is an evidence based and calculated approach gives you the ability to measure and manage as many variables as possible so that way you can make calculated decisions in order to get an optimal result. And perhaps you don’t have to suffer just for the sake of suffering.

One of the common misconception in the competition preparation demographics is aimed towards people who utilise the flexible dieting approach in their contest prep nutrition; that they are lazy and are not willing to suffer. That is far from the truth.


Take a step back and think about it. Tracking your nutrition and being intelligent with your food choices actually takes a lot of work and thinking. Anyone that knows how to track their nutrition can tell you that. In a way it’s actually easier to just eat a diet with minimal flexibility like chicken, broccoli and brown rice over and over again.

However, if you can apply the flexible dieting concept and you know how to manipulate food volume then you can start the dieting phase eating high calorie and relative low volume diet and end the dieting phase with a low calorie and high volume foods. Or perhaps you can fit in a variety of foods in moderation so you never have to “cheat” on your diet. Which ultimately leads to a more optimal outcome.

Let’s take coach Dean for example. He just competed last season and I think most people would agree that he was one of the most conditioned competitors on stage. People see him post about the delicious foods that he eats and think he doesn’t suffer. I can you that he suffered just as much as everyone else who was able to get that lean.

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The only difference is he measured and managed every single variable and everything that he did from training to nutrition was all calculated. He didn’t starve himself or train to failure every session just for the sake of suffering and being hardcore. He did what he needed in order to get the most optimal result.

The moral of the story is, “suffer smart, not hard”

Diet smart not hard.

Coach Allen.