The Almighty Standard: Part One

This article is the first in a series of posts to look at the Blueprint to Beast Success Formula applied specifically to body transformation.

The first component of the Blueprint to Beast success formula is the development of a clearly defined standard. This is simply, as Tony Robbins describes, “The minimum that you are willing to accept for yourself”. Linguistically, you can hear the difference between that statement and “This is what I’d like to have”.

Clarity is paramount when it comes to accomplishing what you want in life. In my upcoming book “Blueprint to Beast” I will be laying out these principles in much greater detail as they pertain to success in general, but for our purposes in this book we will be looking at how to use this proven success formula with the objective of creating the physique that you truly desire.

When I’m working with a client, the first thing that we do is determine their individual standard. We use the idea that the subconscious mind is largely visual as a shortcut to “install” the standard. This is accomplished by finding an image that represents their specific desired outcome(s).

 “Goals are Shitty”

 During the interview process, I determine what it is that the client wants first by allowing them to tell me what their goals are. I’ve been quoted before as saying, “Goals are shitty”, and I couldn’t be more emphatic in my belief that this is true. My statement however requires a bit of explanation.

The idea of a goal is flawed in terms of getting your subconscious mind to work on your behalf. A goal is nothing more than a spoken or written wish. It is not even a statement of intent. You say to me,

 “I’d like to be ten percent bodyfat”

 “I’d like to look more athletic”

 “I really want to be able to deadlift 500 and press bodyweight for reps”

 or worse,

 “I don’t need a six-pack, I just want to be leaner than I am now”


 “I don’t care to be the strongest guy in the gym, I just want to be able to pull ass at the beach when I take my shirt off”

 None of these goals sound bad right? I mean who am I to tell someone what he or she should or shouldn’t want from his or her efforts?

It’s not that their words do not make sense, I speak their language, and I understand the meaning of their words. Unfortunately however, their own subconscious mind is not as clear about what they want.

I frequently say that the subconscious is infinitely intelligent and yet relatively dumb at the same time. It is dumb in that it does not automatically take a half-assed, verbalized wish as a target on which to lock its sights and guide and direct behavior in order to see the wish materialize in reality.

That’s the problem with setting a goal. You are not using the single most powerful tool that you have at your disposal, your subconscious, to ensure that the job gets done.

In the latter examples of goals that I commonly hear that I listed above the client isn’t even really telling me what they want, but rather what they don’t need to have, or what they can do without.

How clear is this to an already confused, overworked supercomputer that is only capable of following the precise direction provided by your beliefs (which we will look at in the next section); your standard?

If you understand that your subconscious works like a guided missile to ensure that whatever it is tasked with accomplishing gets done, then you can begin to understand why I say that goals are shitty since they do not directly define a task for it to get to work on.

 Creating the Standard

Ok so all of this sounds good, we know that a simple goal is not enough. We’ve all set goals, even written them down or made them public in some other manner in an effort to increase our accountability. We know that despite how convicted we may set out to be, we rarely see the idea come to fruition. We’ve also established by now that getting the subconscious mind locked on to a target increases our chances of success exponentially.

So how do we install this standard, this minimum that we are willing to accept for ourselves, into our subconscious so that it can do its dirty work?

It’s simpler than you may think if you use the method that I use with my coaching and consultation clients.

First we have to understand and accept that the subconscious is largely visual in nature and responds to images better than any other stimulus. Once we do this, then we must determine what image will represent our target. This is where it gets a bit trickier.

You see, I can’t give you an image to use. I am not in your brain, and therefore do not represent complex ideas in visual form in the same manner that you do.

In order for the image to represent the adaptations that you want, it needs to be derived organically from your own mind. I elicit the discovery of this image by asking the client a simple question.

Once I’ve allowed the client to answer the first question that I mentioned,

 “What are your Goals?”

I follow with another question,

 “If I had the ability to wave a magic wand and make all of the changes that you want to see happen instantly, what would that look like?”

Specifically I am referring to what the finished product would look like visually.

A brief silence, or the client asking me to further explain usually follows this question. Male clients in particular do not normally openly name another man who they would like to look like. This is something that is far more common with females (more on this in a minute).

On the surface this may seem extremely superficial and often spurs confusion in the mind of the client.

I mean after all, haven’t we been taught by now that form follows function?

Haven’t the majority of us dismissed the idea of aesthetics being the primary mission when training and eating right?

Aren’t we supposed to be worried about getting stronger, more athletic, healthier, and then reap the aesthetic rewards as “side effects”?

There is a boatload of truth in all of those ideas, but you see we are not talking about conscious understanding or theory here, but rather the process of getting the subconscious, our secret weapon, on the job.

Follow me here…

Let’s say our client tells me in the exposition of the interview that his goals are to build muscle, bench press 315 for reps, lose bodyfat, and become more athletic in general.

Then, after my question/challenge they tell me that they’d ultimately like to look more like The Rock.

I then follow with a series of questions such as,

 “Would it be possible for you to look more like The Rock without building muscle in the process?”

 “Do you suppose if you looked more like The Rock that you would be able to bench press 315 for reps? Do you suppose he can do that?”

 “Would you have to lose bodyfat to have a physique that was more similar to his?”

 “Do you suppose that The Rock is more athletic than you are, and if so, do you suppose that you would be more athletic all around if you had a body that looked like his?”

The answers to these questions are predictable. No one will select an image (in this case a person) that is inferior to themselves in any of the departments that they wish to see improvement in. Why would they?

So, instead of a bunch of foggy wishes (goals) we now have an image that represents all of the changes that we want to make. Internally when we view this image it represents those adaptations, it is much more than a simple photo of someone who we’d like to look like.

Make sense?

So we immediately replace our goals with a standard, an image that we view a minimum of two times per day in order to re-experience the representations that we have anchored to it, and further instruct our subconscious to seek the target, the visual end state, which brings with it all of the other things that we ultimately wish to have.

Yes this means locating an image of another male (who usually happens to be shirtless) for the purposes of staring at least twice per day. Enter the concerns of the masculine man. Like I said, females will normally come off the top of their head within seconds with the name of a woman, a celebrity perhaps, that represents what they want. Males hesitate; though almost always have tucked away in their mind a physique role model.

Often times in order to lighten the tension and elicit the response that I want from the male client I will assure them that in all my years of doing this I have successfully converted a few lesbians to straight, or at the very least bisexual women, (hey when you’ve got it you’ve got it) but that I’ve never worked with a male client who has changed his sexual orientation as a result of working with me.

Simply put, using this method of creating a standard, which involves looking at a shirtless guy a few times a day, will not make you develop a love for “The Big Bang Theory”, Justin Bieber, or just plain dick overnight.

That is my promise to you.

So that’s it. Think about what I said regarding the magic wand. If I waved it for you, who would you look like? Who is a visual representation of the characteristics that you wish to possess?

Once you’ve identified that individual, locate a photo, the photo that best represents your new standard. You’ll know the one when you see it. Then put it somewhere that you will see it at least twice per day, remembering each time you view it what it represents to you.

At that point you will be actively installing the standard into your subconscious, and will be allowing it to work its magic and direct your behavior all day long towards getting what you want.

As bizarre and blasphemous as it may sound, the inconvenient truth here is that when it comes to the subconscious, function follows form.


Above are a few examples of images that clients of mine have used as their standard. Look at each and see if you can list several physical or athletic adaptations that would need to take place in order for you to look more like the image. I found each in about five minutes using a simple Google image search. This certainly isn’t complicated stuff. While the above are all celebrities or athletes, sometimes the image is of a friend, or someone who most would not know, but who best represents the standard to the individual.

Part Two will pick up where we left off here, and will examine why it is so important that one determine their own image to represent their individual standard.

 This post is an excerpt from my book “Drop the Panties: The Greyskull Guide to a Better Body”. If you enjoyed this content and would like to read more about the Blueprint to Beast Success Formula applied to body transformation, I highly recommend that you pick up this title.


Johnny Pain is the man behind as well as the East Coast’s notorious Greyskull Barbell Club and several other ventures. He is the author of several books on subjects pertaining to strength and conditioning. He can be found comically entertaining questions on his Q and A forum at or can be reached for consultations, training seminars, or speaking engagements at

Also, you can follow him on Twitter: @thejohnnypain



4 Responses

  1. I did this after reading Drop The Panties. My standard was (is?) Joe Manganiello. We are the same height and weight approximately so it made sense. It has been a little awkward explaining to people why I have pictures of him on my phone though…
    *stripper sitting on my lap at a bucks looking at photos of my paintings*
    “Uh, why do you have pictures of a shirtless dude on your phone?”
    “That’s Joe Manganiello. He’s my physique goal.”
    “Uhh ok”

    May 29, 2013 at 6:04 am

    • Haha, that’s great. This weekend I got three or four questions about the “Forbes” logo tattoo on my neck in a similar manner. The important take away here is that you did, in fact, have high quality ass on your lap, an unquestionable result of your application of these ideas (shameless, aren’t I?). A lesser man would never be in your position.

      May 29, 2013 at 6:08 am

  2. TaylorCannon

    I’m digging the new content.
    You’ve been busy this month.

    May 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm

  3. Pingback: Setting The ‘Standard’ – Numpty Thrubbers

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