Layne Norton | Read Studies, Not Books

Layne Norton | Read Studies, Not Books

Have you ever wondered how highly successful people conducted their rise to prominence?

And as if that weren’t enough, there is a select few who continue to achieve year after year. In some cases, decades of performance and positive impact. What is it that sets these high performers apart from the masses? This week’s featured podcast guest may have some special insight into these questions.

Layne Norton, PhD., is a Scientist, Pro Natural Bodybuilder, Raw Elite Powerlifter, and Coach. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, and a Doctorate in Nutritional Sciences.

For nearly two decades, Layne has set himself apart in the strength and conditioning world, both as an athlete and knowledge-worker. His ability to teach and apply an evidence-based approach to strength training and nutrition has fueled the growth of multiple businesses and a loyal following of supporters.

In a recent episode of the Bare Performance Podcast, Layne sits down with BPN Founder and CEO, Nick Bare to discuss training, mindset, and keys to lasting success in much more than the fitness industry, but life as a whole.

This episode is jam-packed with quality information to help you excel in all facets of life, from health and wellness, to business, training, and your unique personal pursuits.

Your Starting Point

Early on in life, Layne asked two simple questions of himself that ultimately guided him towards his purpose of today.

Question 1: What do I really like doing?

Question 2: What am I good at?

With this framework in mind, and years upon years of commitment towards his passion for health and fitness, Layne became clear on his path: a science-based approach to training and nutrition, establishing himself as a data-backed educator and practitioner in the field.

In reflecting on their journey’s, Nick and Layne’s discussion revolved around the most influenceable areas of our lives, and how we can most effectively move the needle in our own lives.

Their message stresses the mindset and application of action above all else; the closest thing that we have to ‘magic’, according to Norton. To further stress this point, he refers to a Steve Jobs quote…

“You can’t connect the dots moving forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”

We shouldn’t try to see it before we can believe it. Trust your intuition, pursue what fulfills you, and allow yourself to make mistakes; ultimately, these perceived failures will provide the highly valuable lessons for us all.

Too many people are scared to act. But for Layne, the greatest opportunities of his life have been built out of consistent action, ensuing hardship, and the vulnerability necessary to press forward.

We can go all in on our lives, but this commitment requires a prioritization of action over emotion. Go all in.

Your Craft

Once you invest fully into yourself through action, a unique craft will present itself. Out of this craft comes a more detailed vision into the life that you’re meant to live.

On this topic, Nick mentions the common belief that it would be a lot easier tomorrow if I quit today. This desire for comfort pushes many towards average, while a select few, like Layne, understand that their feelings don’t have to be granted a bandwidth over their lives. They can continue pushing forward, regardless of the circumstances.

Norton’s life and work is a testament to the importance of being a practitioner of your craft. What does this mean? In their discussion, Layne and Nick address the difference between dogmatic and pragmatic belief systems.

Pragmaticism is rooted in a single-track mindset. Only one way can be correct; your perspectives are limited. Counter to this approach is a dogmatic belief system, an approach that understands the multitude of possibilities and differing routes to success.

Layne believes fully in a dogmatic approach to his craft, understanding the importance of data-backed evidence, and his ability to experiment with new information in practice. As he states, stop reading books and start reading studies! He mentions the Dunning-Kruger effect of knowledge acquisition. A theory that contrasts a person’s actual knowledge-level, compared to their personal perception of expertise on a given topic.

This effect shines a light on the challenge of identifying actual experts from the more misinformed authority figures that have a voice in today’s world.

On this idea, Layne shares his criteria for identifying a true expert in any field:

  1. Educational Background – they have a formal base of knowledge in the craft
  2. Personal Experience – they apply the craft to their own lives
  3. Teaching Experience – they can effectively teach others to better understand the craft

In the context of your area of focus, consider the level of knowledge and skill that you currently possess, and how those abilities can develop over the course of decades. Prioritize knowledge-acquisition, and the capacity through which you can progress from generalist to specialist, an important evolution, discussed with more detail in the episode.

Everything is a tool, so long as we allow it to be. Allow your craft to be developed through an acceptance of what you don’t know, and an actionable plan towards growth.

Your Approach

Consistency conquers perfection. With both Layne and Nick’s story as models for this idea, each of their accomplishments emphasize the compounding benefit of years upon years of work.

In Layne’s case, a commitment of this magnitude has established him as a trustworthy source, in a field crowded with misinformation. And for Nick, the growth of Bare Performance Nutrition and the Go One More® community is a direct result of over-commitment and obsession towards possibility.

Along your journey, it’s necessary to work through setbacks, refusing to allow them to diminish your will.

In the episode, Layne discusses the importance of struggling early in the process, because it allows us to prove our ability (even if only to ourselves) in overcoming obstacles. Many people quit when frustrations arise. They can’t see a clear path forward, so they fold. Those who stand out, succeed, and have a meaningful impact on the world, refuse to settle.

Life won’t afford us guaranteed outcomes, it’s your responsibility to build a body of work that allows for a discovery of all that can be achieved. When applied, your approach may look like this:

  1. Identify your goal
  2. Create daily action items promoting progress towards your goal
  3. Do the work, refusing to allow excuse and emotion to halt progress

For Layne, Nick, and all who strive to Go One More in their lives, there is no secret. They just DO, putting action at the forefront of their plan. As Layne states so effectively, it’s a freeing feeling to know that it will be challenging. From the beginning, accept that the journey will be imperfect, and through these imperfections you will discover crucial understandings about yourself, and the world that you aim to serve.

The magic is in the doing.

We are so grateful that Layne joined us for this episode of the podcast! His experience and wisdom are evident and provide great value to all who strive for growth and achievement in their lives.

For more great content, make sure to subscribe to the Bare Performance Podcast! Every week, Nick Bare, Founder and CEO of Bare Performance Nutrition, brings you insightful stories, knowledge, and inspiration to help you reach your full potential in life, fitness, and business.

Don’t miss out on future episodes that embody the Go One More® mindset.


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