How I Gamed The GMAT And Scored 20pts ABOVE Harvard's Midscore (without fancy tutors)... ...AND Gained 35lbs of Muscle & put 100lbs on My Bench in 6 Weeks. ...And how you can use this process to get whatever goal you desire Ep 104



In a conversation with Dr. Cashy, the host explores the significant effort required to achieve muscle growth compared to maintenance, paralleling this with his experience of intense preparation for the GMAT to gain admission to Harvard's MBA program. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the input-output ratio in any goal, highlighting his rigorous study schedule that led to a 740 score on the GMAT. Similarly, he discusses his physical transformation gained through high-volume training, as advised by his friend Greg Knuckles, which resulted in a dramatic increase in muscle mass and strength. The host draws analogies between these personal achievements and the effort needed to grow a business, stressing that substantial effort and adaptation are necessary for growth, far exceeding what is required for maintenance. He encourages entrepreneurs to understand and embrace the high level of effort, sacrifice, and discomfort needed to push past inertia and achieve significant progress in their endeavors.

Summary Notes

Inspiration for Discussion

  • Alex was inspired by a conversation with Dr. Cashy about physiological differences in muscle maintenance vs. muscle gain.
  • Dr. Cashy emphasized that the effort to maintain muscle is significantly less than the effort required to gain muscle.
  • Alex relates this concept to his own experience of gaining muscle and increasing his bench press weight dramatically.

"And he was talking about how a lot of people physiologically don't know the difference between maintenance and doing what they need to do to massively gain muscle, right?"

This quote underscores the common misunderstanding about the physiological requirements of muscle maintenance versus muscle growth.

Framework for Achieving Goals

  • Alex discusses a framework he used for gaining muscle and preparing for the GMAT.
  • The framework involves understanding the input-output ratio necessary for achieving a goal and then committing fully to the required inputs.
  • He applied this same framework to both physical training and academic preparation, demonstrating its versatility.

"And so the process is, basically that I went through was trying to figure out what is the input output ratio or response that you need to figure out within any goal that you have. And then once you establish what that formula is, you just go all into it, right?"

This quote explains the core concept of Alex's framework: determining the necessary input to achieve a desired output and then dedicating oneself to that input.

GMAT Preparation Strategy

  • Alex shares his methodical approach to improving his GMAT score.
  • He identified a linear relationship between the number of practice problems completed and the GMAT score.
  • Alex committed to a rigorous study schedule, treating his preparation like a full-time job in addition to his actual full-time job.
  • His efforts resulted in a GMAT score that exceeded the average required for Harvard's MBA program.

"So it was linear. The more problems you did in practice, the better your score was."

This quote highlights the direct correlation Alex found between practice and performance on the GMAT.

Effort vs. Intelligence

  • Alex reflects on perceptions of his intelligence based on his achievements.
  • He emphasizes that his success was due to a "herculean amount of effort," not inherent genius.
  • Alex also discusses the role of self-belief and the placebo effect in his achievements, particularly in his physical training.

"But it's like, I mean, if everyone saw what went into it, they probably wouldn't say that. You know what I mean? It was just, like a herculean amount of effort."

This quote conveys Alex's belief that effort, rather than innate intelligence, was the key to his success.

Muscle Gain Experience

  • Alex talks about his personal journey in powerlifting and muscle building.
  • He shares how his perspective changed after a conversation with Greg Knuckles, who suggested that overtraining is practically impossible for most people.
  • Greg's advice led Alex to increase his training volume, resulting in significant muscle gains and strength improvements.

"And Greg was like, it's basically impossible for you to overtrain. He's like, you can physiologically do it. He's like, it's just not practically possible for most humans."

The quote captures Greg's reassurance to Alex that increasing training volume is unlikely to result in overtraining for most individuals.

Diminishing Returns in Training and Test Prep

  • Alex compares the diminishing returns experienced in muscle training to those in GMAT preparation.
  • He notes that while gains may decrease over time, consistent effort still leads to improvements.
  • This concept is applied to both physical training and academic testing, showing the universal nature of diminishing returns.

"There are diminishing returns, but you still get returns, right?"

This quote illustrates the idea that despite diminishing returns, continuous effort will still yield positive results.

Diminishing Returns and Exponential Rewards

  • The concept of diminishing returns is discussed, where increased effort yields smaller incremental gains.
  • Despite diminishing returns, the final marginal improvements can result in significant competitive advantages.
  • The last incremental gain can move an individual from second to first place, offering substantial rewards.

"And despite the fact that they're diminishing returns, sometimes the actual reward for the diminishing returns is the opposite. It's exponential."

This quote highlights the paradox where despite smaller gains in effort, the resulting rewards can be disproportionately large, especially when it comes to moving up in competitive rankings.

Preparation and Study Techniques

  • Preparation for the GMAT involved an intense regimen of studying 16 books over 16 weeks.
  • Consistent testing was also a part of the preparation strategy, with a test taken every week.

"But what I did with the Harvard GMAT score, I mean, 16 books, like, this is what I'm trying to use my hands here, but this is four books. I did four times this in the 16 weeks to prepare for the test."

The quote illustrates the speaker's rigorous study method for the GMAT, quantifying the volume of material covered in preparation for the exam.

Muscle Training and Adaptation

  • The speaker describes their approach to muscle training, aiming to make the body believe it was under constant demand to adapt.
  • The strategy involved a high volume of repetitive exercises rather than high intensity.
  • Muscle and fitness gains were achieved through this method, which was later documented in a popular article.

"And so I wanted to put it in this huge state of right, where it was forced to adapt. It was either going to adapt or break, right?"

The quote conveys the speaker's intention to push their body to the limits of adaptation, forcing it to grow or face failure.

Training Philosophy and Business Growth

  • The speaker draws a parallel between muscle training and business growth, emphasizing the different levels of effort required.
  • Maintaining a business requires less effort compared to the effort needed to grow a business.
  • The speaker encourages entrepreneurs to apply the same principles of consistent, intense effort to their business practices.

"And so that's kind of the point of this whole video, is that for you to maintain your business, it doesn't need a lot of effort. [...] For you to grow your business, it's not going to be twice as much as your maintenance. It might be ten times as much."

This quote underscores the main message of the discussion: that growing a business demands significantly more effort than simply maintaining one, drawing an analogy to the effort required in muscle training for growth versus maintenance.

Call to Action for Podcast Support

  • The speaker does not run ads or sell products on their podcast, relying on audience support to spread their message.
  • They request listeners to rate, review, and share the podcast to reach and help more entrepreneurs.

"The single thing that I ask you to do is you can just leave a review, it'll take you 10 seconds or one type of the thumb. It would mean the absolute world to me. And more importantly, it may change the world for someone else."

Here, the speaker expresses the importance of audience engagement through reviews and shares to help the podcast's mission of aiding entrepreneurs. The quote serves as a heartfelt request for support to amplify their impact.

Effort and Change

  • Change requires significant effort, both personally and within a business.
  • Effort is often perceived as painful but is necessary for growth.
  • Psychological and emotional growth is needed alongside business development.
  • Pushing past inertia involves motivating teams, setting clear goals, and implementing new processes.

And a lot of that effort is perceived as pain, right? Like it wasn't fun for me to do 4 hours of freaking test problems when I was 22.

This quote emphasizes the personal struggle and perceived pain associated with the effort required to grow and make changes.

Personal Sacrifice and Learning

  • Personal sacrifice is often necessary for achieving goals.
  • The speaker reflects on their own experience of foregoing social activities to study for the GMAT.
  • The lesson learned was that sufficient work can lead to achieving any goal, despite it sounding cliché.

And I know that sounds really trite and overused, so I apologize. But I think a lot of times it's the degree of effort that most people miss, you know what I mean? And the degree of sacrifice, the degree of pain that they have to go through.

The speaker acknowledges the cliché but stresses the importance of recognizing the true level of effort, sacrifice, and pain required for success.

Growth Through Discomfort

  • Growth often requires discomfort or a significant challenge.
  • The speaker compares this to muscle growth, where a sufficient stimulus is needed for adaptation.
  • Discomfort should be seen as a stimulus for growth, not as a negative.

Like you have to break it down to the point where it's like fearing for its life. And that's where adaptation starts happening, because the stimulus is sufficient to cause change, right?

This quote draws a parallel between physical training and personal growth, indicating that a substantial challenge is necessary to initiate change.

Stimulus and Response

  • Difficult times can act as a stimulus for growth.
  • The speaker encourages embracing challenges as opportunities.
  • Feeling discomfort can be a precursor to positive changes.

If you have that feeling, like, let it be the stimulus that forces you to grow, and don't take it as a negative, take it as a positive, because maybe this is that moment that pushed you over the edge to get you to grow...

This quote suggests that difficult emotions or situations should be used as motivation to grow, rather than being viewed negatively.

Patterns of Growth

  • Growth is not always steady; it often occurs in spurts followed by plateaus.
  • The speaker has observed this pattern both physiologically and in business.
  • Rest periods are important for establishing new baselines after growth.

But a lot of times the periods of growth that I've noticed in my life have not been steady. They've been spurts and plateaus, spurts and plateaus.

The speaker shares their personal observation that growth tends to happen in bursts with periods of stability in between.

Business and Exercise Parallels

  • There are parallels between business practices and physical training.
  • Consistent effort in specific activities leads to improved results.
  • Understanding the concept of volume is crucial in both contexts.

There are these parallels, and I remember when I figured out that one, which is the amount of outreach attempts I had with leads was directly portion of much how money I made.

This quote highlights a direct correlation the speaker discovered between the volume of work in one area (outreach attempts) and success (money made), illustrating the importance of understanding the relationship between effort and outcome.

Volume and Mastery

  • Increasing volume in activities can lead to a higher level of skill mastery.
  • The speaker suggests that simply maintaining current levels of effort will not lead to growth.
  • More frequent and intensive practice is needed to advance skills.

You might have to up to 30 people a week in order to really put a new stimulus on your brain and give it enough attention and enough reps and enough practice to actually achieve a new level of mastery for that skill.

The quote explains that increasing the volume of an activity, such as sales conversations, is necessary to push past maintenance and achieve new levels of skill mastery.

Dose-Response Relationships in Personal Goals

  • Understanding the dose-response relationships in life is crucial for achieving goals.
  • Identifying the effort and sacrifice needed for desired outcomes is essential.
  • There's often a delay between input (effort) and output (results).

"Trying to figure out the dose response relationships that exist in your life is like literally the key to unlocking whatever you want."

This quote emphasizes the importance of understanding the correlation between the effort put into an activity and the results obtained from it.

Commitment and Long-Term Training

  • Consistent and long-term commitment is necessary to achieve significant physical gains.
  • Training from a young age with a strategic approach can lead to substantial results over time.
  • The perception of having "good genetics" may often be a misinterpretation of consistent hard work and dedication.

"I've been training since I was 13... I've been training for 16 years, you know what I mean?"

Alex reflects on his long-term commitment to training from a young age, which has contributed to his muscular physique.

Volume and Intensity in Training

  • High levels of training volume and intensity are often underestimated by many individuals.
  • The concept of doing more than what is considered average is key to muscle growth and hypertrophy.
  • Training consistently, even when sore and tired, is part of the necessary effort for adaptation and improvement.

"Are we done yet? Are we going to move on to the next exercise? Because we're like seven, eight sets into this one exercise and I'm like, we got three more."

Alex describes the typical reaction of others to his high-volume training sessions, highlighting the unexpected intensity of his workouts.

Diminishing Returns and Consistent Effort

  • The principle of diminishing returns applies to training, business, and other areas of life.
  • Even with diminishing returns, consistent effort can lead to significant cumulative gains.
  • In business, small improvements in efficiency can lead to disproportionately large increases in profit margins and overall success.

"In a world of diminishing returns, I still returned more, you know what I mean?"

This quote illustrates that despite the principle of diminishing returns, Alex's consistent effort in training resulted in greater overall gains compared to others.

Business Growth and Efficiency

  • Improving business systems in acquisition, retention, and ascension can substantially increase profit margins.
  • Even a small percentage increase in efficiency can lead to a tripling of business revenue.
  • The difference between successful individuals and others is often the ability to extract more from each effort.

"If you can just squeeze an extra 20% out of all of the systems... you just tripled your business and it seems like you're only squeezing out 20%."

Dr. Cashy discusses how optimizing business systems by a seemingly small percentage can result in a significant increase in business profitability.

Encouragement and Persistence

  • Encouragement for trainers and individuals going through challenging times is important.
  • Recognizing that delay in seeing results is a normal part of the process.
  • Enjoying the journey and the process is essential for long-term success and satisfaction.

"Drop a comment. Drop a like, maybe it'll be useful for some of your trainers who are maybe in that hard time or maybe you are in that hard time of like, okay, I've identified the input but I haven't seen the output yet and that's okay."

Greg Knuckles encourages engagement and reassures listeners that not seeing immediate results is a normal part of the growth process.

Economic Context and Taking Action

  • Despite economic downturns, opportunities for growth and success still exist.
  • The current state of the economy requires proactive measures and readiness from teams.
  • The period leading up to summer is seen as a critical time for businesses to capitalize on available opportunities.

"Despite the recession that is going to come, we still have a pretty frothy economy. So you guys should be doubling down and pillaging and taking everything that you can between now and summertime."

Greg Knuckles advises listeners to take advantage of the current economic conditions before an anticipated recession, suggesting a proactive approach to business growth.

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