The value of habits, consistency, and resilience with Layne Norton, Ph.D.

“The point of this all is that consistency is the fundamental... You could have any diet. You could have any training system. If you're consistent, you're going to see results” - Layne Norton, Ph.D.

Read Time 4 minutes

Layne Norton is a physique coach, a natural professional bodybuilder and powerlifter, and holds a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences.

This clip is from The Drive podcast 163 – Layne Norton, Ph.D.: Building muscle, losing fat, and the importance of resistance training. Originally released on May 24, 2021.


Show Notes

  • How does Layne stay consistent and diligent?
  • The principles of resistance training are very similar to those for life in general
    • Pyramid schemes are not the way to acquire wealth
      • 80% of millionaires are first-generation self-made based not on luck but by consistent, long-term fiscal discipline
    • Need to modify behavior to get consistency
      • Binging on junk food or blowing money on a shopping spree are due to behaviors that must be modified
      • need to create new positive habits
  • Marie Spreckley did a systematic review looking at people who lost weight and kept it off 
    • Was inspired to get her PhD after reading Layne’s book Fat Loss Forever
    • Maintenance of weight loss was associated with consistency and the ability to embrace challenges rather than running from them or viewing challenges as part of the process
    • She also found that the people who lost weight and kept it off said that they had to form a new identity
  • Peter says James Clear’s book first made him understand this
    • The key is not discipline and willpower, which will fade over time
    • Must change mindset from “I have to exercise” to “I am a fit person who exercises”
    • Makes it easier to do day in and day out
    • Peter never struggles with exercise, but he will always struggle with food a bit because he hasn’t had a “full identity switch” with food
  • Ethan Suplee is an actor known for the movie Remember the Titans 
    • He lost a tremendous amount of weight and is “jacked” now
    • He says “I killed my clone today,” which means he formed a new identity and killed the person he once was
  • “You cannot create a new life … while still dragging those behaviors behind you”
    • It’s like an alcoholic who gives up drinking
    • You can’t just say I’ll stop drinking, you have to change everything about your life
    • The same is true of nutrition and maybe also exercise – you must give some old habits up
  • “The great thing about nutrition is you get to pick what you sacrifice”
    • Pick the form of restriction that feels easiest
    • For Layne, it feels easy to control portion size and track calories and macros, so he can otherwise eat what he wants
    • For other people this feels labor intensive and avoiding specific foods may work better
  • Layne initially assumed that what worked for him would work for everyone but he realized it wasn’t true

“At the end of the day, if you’ve ever lost weight and then regained it, why did it happen? It didn’t happen because you didn’t get your macronutrient ratio perfect or your nutrient timing wasn’t down, it happened because you stopped being consistent with the behaviors that you implemented.” —Layne Norton

  • People say they wish they were motivated to exercise like Layne is
    • He tells them it’s like marriage – you always love your spouse, but sometimes you fight and are not always happy with them
    • He loves weightlifting but he acquired that love through years
    • It’s fine to take a day off, but you have to be careful that it doesn’t turn into weeks and months and years
    • He sees training like brushing his teeth – he doesn’t need to be motivated and pump himself up to brush his teeth, because if he doesn’t his teeth will go bad
    • Similarly, if you don’t exercise, your body will suffer

“It is not a question of motivation, it is a question of ‘what do I want and what are the actions that are required to get what I want?’ And if my actions do not line up with what is needed and the amount of work that is needed, it’s very simple: I’m not going to get what I want.” —Layne Norton

  • People need to:
    • 1) buy in
    • 2) persist after the honeymoon phase when facing their first challenge or setback
  • Participants in the systematic review said it was difficult to see their weight fluctuate; Layne tells them to weigh in every single day and take the average
  • “The point of this all is that consistency is the fundamental… You could have any diet. You could have any training system. If you’re consistent, you’re going to see results”
    • If you tried to be the best 3-point shooter you could be, and you practiced every single day for three hours a day for 10 years
      • you probably wouldn’t be in the NBA
      • but even with no instruction, coach, or books, you’d be pretty damn good at shooting three pointers
  • Layne says to use other people’s stories for inspiration, but be very careful about comparing yourself 
    • Don’t ask yourself if you can be like a specific person but instead if you can get better
    • When he started out, other people told him he wouldn’t be good at weightlifting
    • If he had listened to them, he never would have won a gold medal in the squat

“I got a lot farther than I ever could have imagined just through sheer consistency. I did a lot of stuff wrong, but sheer mass effect of work and consistency can make up for a lot of shortcomings.” —Layne Norton


Layne Norton, Ph.D.

Layne Norton is a natural pro bodybuilder, professional powerlifter, and a bodybuilding / figure / physique coach.  He has won numerous bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions and currently holds the world record for the IPF 93 kg class squat.  He is the co-author of several books, including Fat Loss Forever: How to Lose Fat and KEEP It Off, as well as several research publications. He has a degree in biochemistry from Eckerd College and earned his PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois.

Website: Biolayne 

Podcast: Physique Science Radio

Twitter: @BioLayne

Facebook: Layne Norton

Instagram: Biolayne

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