Replicate

What have you done before that you wish to do again?

Demonstrate somethings possibility, and it will always be there for you to go back to.

If you have lost 15lb before, you can lose 15lb again.

If you have lifted 300lb before, you can do it again.

If you have pulled yourself up from tough circumstances before, you can do it again.

Maybe it will require a different path.

Or maybe all you will need is to replicate your process.

Working Out: Similar To Bedtime

This post is inspired by a conversation my wife and I had this morning. Perhaps you can relate to what we talked about.

Bedtime is one of our favorite parts to our day.

But only the part that we are actually in bed and ready to go to sleep.

Getting ready for bed is one of our least favorite parts to our day.

Even though we can’t wait to go to sleep, the process of getting to that point (going upstairs, taking a shower, brushing teeth, etc.) always seems like a chore.

We usually find ourselves stalling to go to bed, and often end up making it to bed later than we should.

It is interesting how we let something we loathe delay something we love.

Working out can be the same way.

There’s not a person on earth who doesn’t feel great after a workout, yet it is easy to never make it to your workout because the things that must precede a workout can seem like a hassle.

Who wants to plan to go to the gym and pack the necessary gear the night before? Who wants to drive to the gym, when it’s just as far (or shorter) to just go home? Who wants to push them self during a workout, when they would be more comfortable not?

Give yourself the chance to feel great about working out.

Don’t let small obstacles prevent you from getting to the gym.

The Source of Your Goals

The goals you set out to achieve don’t just happen.

A process must be followed in order for you to reach them.

The process always trails back to your mentality.

You must stay positive.

Every single negative thought you have will affect your process in a bad way.

And a negative outlook on the process can develop quickly.

Much quicker than a positive one.

A positive outlook takes work to build.

Negative influence will come from yourself and it will come from others.

It will come daily.

You must be ready to kill it the very moment it tries to enter your mind.

First, do you believe in yourself that you can attain the goal?

You should.

You have to.

If you don’t, you will be pounded into the ground with self-doubt. You will let what others think and say about you hold you back. You’ll never even give yourself a chance from the start.

In addition to protecting yourself against your own self-destructive thoughts and from other people’s pessimism, you’ll have to train yourself to deal with day-to-day impulses and discouragements.

Are you going to be mentally disciplined enough to order the right thing from the menu, or will you succumb to ordering the burger basket?

Are you going to be mentally tough enough to push all the way through five reps (when the first three felt amazingly difficult), or will you quit and let the temporary discomfort win the battle?

If your visual body inspection doesn’t turn up the results you expected, will stay on track and order a salad from the menu, or will you give up on the process and go for the burger basket this time?

Will you be patient enough to keep drilling and fine-tuning your bench press (even though you’ve been stuck at the same weight for 6 months), or will you even begin to think to yourself that this will never get better?

Thinking to yourself that your bench press will never improve, or thinking to yourself that your body isn’t changing for the better is exactly what you need to avoid.

These thoughts are negativity.

These thoughts are going to happen.

There are going to be times that you feel you are making no progress.

There will be times that you question if you’re even going in the right direction.

This is when you find out where your mind is at.

This is your opportunity to improve your mindset.

It’s what you need to reach your goal.

What Others Say

There will always be someone (or some people) there to try to bring you down.

They will tell you that you’re starting to look too muscular, or too thin.

They will criticize the form you used to complete a particular lift.

They will claim that you’re going to get hurt doing the type of exercise you’re doing.

It’s never an expert that makes these types of comments.

It’s never a person who actually has any knowledge about what they’re commenting about.

It’s always someone who feels threatened by you.

It’s always someone in a worse place than you are, trying to bring you down with them.

Their comments don’t matter.

They don’t deserve to have any influence over you.

On the other hand, there will always be someone (or some people) there to encourage you.

They will tell you that you are looking great, and will be there to congratulate you on a made lift.

While this kind of feedback can be productive, it also doesn’t matter.

Positive feedback doesn’t matter.

Negative feedback certainly doesn’t matter.

You should be changing your body and increasing your capabilities for yourself, not to gain positive or negative attention from other people.

The only thing that matters is whether or not you’re happy with what you have going on.

Distractions

Those who eliminate distractions will make the most progress.

Impatience is a distraction. No one is patient enough.

Everyone thinks they should be seeing progress week to week.

It just doesn’t happen that way.

It’s great when you do make progress, but know that steady progress is rare (more likely, impossible).

You will make some progress.

Then you will have a setback.

Then you will stay the same for a while.

Then you will have another setback.

Then you will stay the same for a longgggg time.

Then you will make progress again.

And a cycle similar to this will continue.

Whatever you want to happen, expect it to take twice as long as you’re hoping for.

If you want to lose 20 pounds, and you think you can do it in 3 months, It’s probably going to take you 6.

Getting frustrated that you’re not losing enough of those 20 pounds faster is a distraction.

Soon that distraction will lead you to quitting.

Don’t get distracted with how you think things should be happening.

Follow a simple formula: do mostly the right things, on as many days of the week as you can, for as long of time as possible.

Follow it and forget about the rest.

Whatever you want to happen, will happen, if you do enough of the right stuff for long enough.

But no one can do that. They have to get distracted instead.

Everyone would rather attempt to interpret why they aren’t seeing the progress they want.

They get fixated on what the scale says, on how their clothes fit, or how they look in the mirror.

When will you lose those 20 pounds?

Probably a couple months later than you think you’ll lose it by.

But few actually get that far, to those 2 extra months.

They got distracted and quit too early.

You Have What Other People Don't Have

There’s only one You.

A quick way to kill your drive and happiness is to compare yourself to others. With today’s internet and social apps, we are so connected to people both near and far. We are naturally inclined to compare ourselves to others from time to time.

Someone seems to have more ability than you have…

Someone seems to have more free time than you do…

Someone seems to be better looking than you are…

Someone seems to be more accepted than you are…

Someone seems to be living with more luxuries than you have…

Someone seems to be more advanced in their career than you are…

Any time these kinds of thoughts and comparisons to others creep into my mind, I have to remind myself that I have more special things than anyone else.

No one else has a Madden Murphy. No one else has my wife. No one else has my great parents, siblings and family.

And you have things that are even more special than the things I have!

The things I have aren’t special to you and they shouldn’t be. Nothing that other people have, and nothing that other people do should be special to you.

We all have our own strengths, advantages, and precious parts to our lives.

Identify and appreciate what you have, not what other people have.

It Takes Too Much Time

Today I had a realization. From this realization, there isn’t even anything for me to be critical of. Just something that came to mind.

I think a lot of people are resistant to exercising because it takes too much time.

Not even that it takes too much time to develop a workout routine, or to see results, or anything like that.

It’s that it literally takes time to exercise.

To exercise, you have to set aside time during your day to put your body through motion.

It’s the only way.

Other aspects of health and fitness do not eat up time like working out does.

Compare it to eating healthier, for instance.

That doesn’t have to take up any of your time.

You can eat something healthy at a time you could otherwise eat something unhealthy and not lose any time at all.

It takes no longer to eat something good for you than it does to eat something bad for you, but it does take longer to work out than it does to not work out.

Interesting.

Don't Think

We are all guilty of overthinking things from time to time.

When it comes to working toward goals in the gym, its best to condition yourself to quit thinking so much.

Quit thinking about how you feel.

Quit thinking about where you want to go.

Quit thinking about what you should have, or should not have done in the past.

All you need to think about is the task at hand.

It’s really all that matters.

It doesn’t matter that you’re feeling sluggish today.

It doesn’t matter that your last set felt harder than you expected.

It doesn’t matter that you regret what you ate last night.

Achieving your goal(s) requires adherence to a very simple formula.

Before reaching your goal, there is a certain amount of work that must get done.

You must chip away at that work.

It doesn’t matter that you aren’t 100% today.

It doesn’t matter that your mind isn’t all the way in it today.

Wake up!

The work still has to get done.

It's Hard Being Healthy

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” -Theodore Roosevelt

It's pretty easy to be unhealthy. Anyone can spend their days eating whatever they want while doing no physical activity.

No one wants to be unhealthy, but not everyone is willing to do what is required to become and remain healthy.

There is effort, pain, and difficulty involved with being healthy.

The same goes for reaching any fitness goal.

If you want to lose weight, it will take a lot of effort and it will be very difficult. It's easy to start your diet on day 1 when your motivation is at its highest, but on day 3 is when the real struggle sets in. 

It takes a lot of effort to get stronger in the gym. You must train yourself to push through a lot of pain. It's easy to become inspired to get stronger when you're watching youtube videos of people throwing around twice as much weight as you can lift, but it's a different story when you're only halfway through a grueling set of 8 (and you know you have 3 more sets to go). 

Everyone gets caught believing that the goals they are going for shouldn't be this hard. Yes, it should.

If you are not yet where you want to be, you don't deserve to be comfortable. The only way to get there is with a lot of effort, pain, and difficulty.

 

Who Is On Your Team?

It's hard to not be affected by criticism.

It's natural to feel bad when someone crushes your dreams or puts you down.

People that do this are not on your team.

On the other hand, there will always be people who truly have your back.

These people are on your team.

People not on your team judge you and offer you no productive solutions.

People on your team care about you and your goals.

If they are going to criticize, it will be constructive in nature.

The people not on your team are jealous and want to see you fail.

The people on your team are supportive and want to see you succeed.

There should be no room for negative people on your team.

Don't let them feel like they are a part of your team.

Don't give them importance. 

Don't let them bother you.

Ignore them.

The people not on your team don't matter.

The ones that are on your team are the only ones that matter.

 

 

Back To The Gym After A Hiatus

We have all had long breaks from the gym. For some, a long break is a week or two, but plenty of people have skipped the gym for several months or several years in a row. No matter what length of time it has been, it is very difficult to re-motivate yourself to get back into working out.

Lots of things go through your mind at this point...

"People will judge me."

"I won't fit in anymore."

"I won't be able to do what I used to."

"I have so far to go to get back on track."

You know that you should start working out again, and you know that if you did you would for sure feel better. However, the anxiety associated with even thinking about stepping inside a gym is always enough for you to extend your hiatus. 

To be honest, going back to the gym after a long break will not be easy at all. It will feel daunting to open those gym doors and see what you think are hardcore fitness people. If you are courageous enough to step inside, you will feel like everyone is watching you.

I guarantee that going to the gym for the first time, or after taking a long amount of time off is going to be uncomfortable. 

But I also guarantee that this discomfort actually has no substance to it at all. The fears you have created inside your head should not hold you back, because while it feels like everyone is watching you, not many people actually are. 

The really fit people (the ones you think are judging you the most), are actually judging you the least. They are either too self-consumed to even notice you, or (if you can believe this) are actually rooting you on.

Sure, you will get a few looks from people, but don't assume they are nitpicking you. You are in fact a new face and most people are excited to see new faces (at the very least, curious about them.)

A gym is a great community. Once you get past the mental barrier you put up yourself, you will find the gym to be filled with plenty of supportive people who want you to be there to feel better, to look better, to get stronger, etc alongside of them.

If You Fail to Prepare, You Prepare to Fail

When it comes to health and fitness, preparation is huge.

It takes a lot of discipline and consistency to close in on your goals.

If you don't take the time to properly prepare for certain scenarios you are sure to find yourself in, it will be difficult to stay on track to achieving these goals. 

This was true for me today.

For me to have a successful week, I need to get certain things done over the weekend. Yesterday I was particularly lazy and didn't get all of my food prepped for the week. This meant I needed to prep that food this morning.

I did complete this task, but it was at the expense of some of the other things I already needed to do today. Everything I had to do today was done with lower quality than normal, just because I started the week behind schedule. 

My Monday was a failure because I failed to properly prepare for Monday. 

 

Punish Yourself (Controversial Post)

On most nights, I call and talk to my wife on my way home from the gym. 

While talking last night, she asked me what I was going to eat for supper and I told her - chicken. I told her that I needed to punish myself.

Yes, eating that bland chicken breast was pretty much a punishment.

Initially, I said I needed to punish myself just to be funny. It wasn't until she confusedly asked why I needed to punish myself that I decided I actually do think it's good to "punish yourself" from time to time. Even when it is not deserved. 

Everyone wants to experience comfort and satisfaction, and some people think they should have it all the time.

That's just not realistic.

In fact, in order to experience the highest levels of comfort and satisfaction, you must have times of discomfort and dissatisfaction. 

The more I interact with people day to day, the more I conclude that everything is truly about balance.

The most important example of balance may be our very own home. Earth resides in the "goldilocks zone". If we were any further away from the sun, we would freeze up. If we were any closer, we would boil. We are able to exist because we are just the right distance from the sun.

Everything in existence needs to have balance, even your actions.

You cannot take take take take take. You have to give just as much as you take. If you don't replace your takes with gives, your life will be out of balance.

A person who only talks about themself is a taker, and they will sap the life right out of you. A person who is conversational with you is both a taker and a giver, and offers you a balanced interaction. 

A person who is overly negative is out of balance.

A person out for their own self interests only does not have balance.

A person who complains more than they compliment is out of balance.

A person who only bench presses, nothing else, does not have balance.

A person unwilling to get outside of their comfort zone (as it relates to this post, punish themself) is out of balance.

Not every day of your life will be enjoyable. Some of your days will be miserable. Every meal you eat will not be satisfying. Sometimes you need to visit Drew's kitchen for a flavorless chicken breast.

If you apply some discomfort to your own life, the times of comfort have the potential to be so much greater.

To be clear, I'm not saying to go out of your way to make yourself significantly suffer, or to mistreat yourself in a way that will deteriorate you mentally or physically. 

I am saying that giving yourself a dose of controlled displeasure every now and again will condition you to better deal with inconveniences that come your way. 

 

 

 

 

 

Focus On The Mirror Not The Scale

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post in an attempt to convince you not to rely on mirrors so heavily when working out.

In the gym, mirrors are (most of the time) better off not being used, but when it comes to your overall appearance, the mirror is the best tool to have at your disposal. 

Unfortunately, many people let what the scale reads dictate whether they like or don't like what they see in the mirror.

Why do you care what the scale reads if you don't even like what you see in the mirror, to begin with?

If you do like what you see when you look in the mirror, why does a number on the scale even matter to you?

This is very similar to what I preach for eating - eat quality foods, don't get wrapped up in counting calories. 

Look at what you see in the mirror, don't get wrapped up in what the scale reads. 

What Does It Mean To 'Reduce Stress'?

We have all heard that it is good for our health to reduce stress. But what actually makes our stress levels go down?

We are told to exercise and to get the right amount of sleep. These are accepted as being healthy practices to help keep stress under control.

Although healthy, and two things I highly recommend to anyone, finding time to work out as well as getting to bed on time aren't enticing enough to some people.

Even though it's not considered "healthy", sometimes catching up on a few DVR'd episodes of Dr. Phil with a slice of pizza in your left hand and an ice cream cone in your right is what it will take to feel better.

Your hormones play a big part in determining your stress levels, but honestly, I don't know enough about them to get into it.

So to not get into what physiologically needs to happen to get rid of stress, I think what helps us reduce stress is for us to experience some form of escapism from the frustrations in our lives.

This could just be forgetting about your day for an hour during your workout.

It could be going for a walk long enough that you forget what you were just fighting with your spouse about.

It could be the brief enjoyment of a burger and fries - so enjoyable that at the moment, you've stopped worrying about tomorrow's presentation. 

It could be anything that takes your mind off the turbulence in your head churning your stress.

Over time, hopefully, we train ourselves to deal with stress better.

Hopefully, we recognize which methods of dealing with stress work best for us.

Things in your life can certainly cause you to stress, but what is most powerful is how you react to those things in your life. If you have an arsenal of activities that you can use to get your mind on things other than your day to day annoyances, you will be better off. Who am I to judge what those activities are for you?

Figure out which activities make you feel good while doing them, and do those things more often to keep stress at bay.