Man Wastes Life So You Don’t Have To

I don’t know about you, but I’m very familiar with the occassional sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me I don’t have any idea what the hell is going on and that I’m just a series of unfortunate events away from going broke and being forced to breed Alpacas while moonlighting as a carny to make ends meet…or at the very least that I’m spending too much time assing around and not doing the things that make feel alive.

Adorable, but ain't nobody got time for that.

Adorable, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Maybe you haven’t descended into the depths of Alpaca farming that I have, but I’m sure you can relate.

Most of us more or less wrangle this feeling at some point and start to navigate our lives in the direction that we want to go in, making the necessary adjustments along the way. But then there are those that don’t, who let the momentum of the life that they’re living carry them away without any resistance, despite their inner voice telling them to keep fighting the good fighting.

Below is one of those stories via Reddit user JohnJerryson.

A Cautionary Tale

Hi, I my name’s John. I’ve been lurking for a while, but I’ve finally made an account to post this. I need to get my life off my chest. About me. I’m a 46 year old banker and I have been living my whole life the opposite of how I wanted.

All my dreams, my passion, gone. In a steady 9-7 job. 6 days a week. For 26 years. I repeatedly chose the safe path for everything, which eventually changed who I was.

Today I found out my wife has been cheating on me for the last 10 years. My son feels nothing for me. I realised I missed my father’s funeral FOR NOTHING. I didn’t complete my novel, travelling the world, helping the homeless. All these things I thought I knew to be a certainty about myself when i was in my late teens and early twenties. If my younger self had met me today, I would have punched myself in the face. I’ll get to how those dreams were crushed soon.

Let’s start with a description of me when I was 20. It seemed only yesterday when I was sure I was going to change the world. People loved me, and I loved people. I was innovative, creative, spontaneous, risk-taking and great with people. I had two dreams. The first, was writing a utopic/dystopic book.

The second, was travelling the world and helping the poor and homeless. I had been dating my wife for four years by then. Young love. She loved my spontaneity, my energy, my ability to make people laugh and feel loved.

I knew my book was going to change the world. I would show the perspective of the ‘bad’ and the ‘twisted’, showing my viewers that everybody thinks differently, that people never think what the do is wrong. I was 70 pages through when i was 20. I am still 70 pages in, at 46.

By 20, I had backpacking around New Zealand and the Phillipines. I planned to do all of Asia, then Europe, then America (I live in Australia by the way). To date, I have only been to New Zealand and the Phillipines.

Now, we get to where it all went wrong. My biggest regrets. I was 20. I was the only child. I needed to be stable. I needed to take that graduate job, which would dictate my whole life.

To devote my entire life in a 9-7 job. What was I thinking? How could I live, when the job was my life? After coming home, I would eat dinner, prepare my work for the following day, and sleep at 10pm, to wake up at 6am the following day. God, I can’t remember the last time I’ve made love to my wife.

Yesterday, my wife admitted to cheating on me for the last 10 years. 10 years. That seems like a long time, but i can’t comprehend it. It doesn’t even hurt. She says it’s because I’ve changed. I’m not the person I was. What have I been doing in the last 10 years? Outside of work, I really can’t say anything. Not being a proper husband. Not being ME.

Who am I? What happened to me? I didn’t even ask for a divorce, or yell at her, or cry. I felt NOTHING. Now I can feel a tear as I write this. But not because my wife has been cheating on me, but because I am now realising I have been dying inside.

What happened to that fun-loving, risk-taking, energetic person that was me, hungering to change the world? I remember being asked on a date by the most popular girl in the school, but declining her for my now-wife. God, I was really popular with the girls in high school. In university/college too. But i stayed loyal. I didn’t explore. I studied everyday.

Remember all that backpacking and book-writing I told you about? That was all in the first few years of college. I worked part-time and splurged all that I had earned. Now, I save every penny. I don’t remember a time I spend anything on anything fun. On anything for myself. What do I even want now?

My father passed ten years ago. I remember getting calls from mom, telling me he was getting sicker and sicker. I was getting busier and busier, on the verge of a big promotion. I kept putting my visit off, hoping in my mind he would hold on. He died, and I got my promotion. I haven’t seen him in 15 years.

When he died, I told myself it didn’t matter what I didn’t see him. Being an atheist, I rationalized that being dead, it wouldn’t matter anyway. WHAT WAS I THINKING? Rationalizing everything, making excuses to put things off. Excuses. Procrastination. It all leads to one thing, nothing. I rationalized that financial security was the most important thing.

I now know, that it definitely is not. I regret doing nothing with my energy, when I had it. My passions. My youth. I regret letting my job take over my life. I regret being an awful husband, a money-making machine.

I regret not finishing my novel, not travelling the world. Not being emotionally there for my son. Being a damn emotionless wallet.

If you’re reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave your dreams for later. Relish in your energy, your passions. Don’t stay on the internet with all your spare time (unless your passion needs it).

Please, do something with your life while your young. DO NOT settle down at 20. DO NOT forget your friends, your family. Yourself. Do NOT waste your life. Your ambitions. Like I did mine. Do not be like me.

Courtesy of Colin Wright

Courtesy of Colin Wright

This is your life and no one else is responsible for what you do with it. If there’s something that you want to do but have been putting off for any number of reasons, make some progress towards it, no matter how small,  NOW.

Join a gym, send that e-mail you’ve been talking about doing, take an exercise class, buy a recipe book and cook a meal even if it ends up tasting like a toxic shoe. Do anything you can to throw a wrench in the mechanical cog of momentum.

If you don’t, no one else will.

How To Take Charge Of Your Motivation

Photo By Lee Scott

From world leaders to authors and movie stars, we all have these moments of blah. Motivation can be a fickle and elusive force, leaving us wondering if we really want the things that we set out to achieve.

One moment you’re on top of the world, moving towards your goals, cutting through tasks with ninja-like speed and accuracy, and then the next you’re derailed, unmotivated and left wondering how it all fell apart so quickly.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. You have the necessary tools to harness this seemingly magical force, using it to your advantage whenever the situation demands, and it all starts with reconnecting with the ball of awesome that is you.

What’s Your Story?

Photo credit: Myung Jung Kim/PA Wire

Bruce Wayne became Batman after the death of his parents.

Peter Parker became Spiderman after that whole radioactive spider biting him thing went down.

Bruce Lee’s training and philosophy changed dramatically due to the outcome of a fight he had with a rival martial artist.

On a less heroic note, we both come from vastly different backgrounds. JC was an athlete growing up and was introduced to strength training early on. Rog, on the other hand, grew up a gamer and didn’t pick up a barbell until he was in his 20s.

We’re all a bundle of unique stories. Use it to your advantage.

Psychologically they’re an amazing tool for creating lasting change because you have a pool of experiences to draw from – everything up until this very moment is at your disposal. It represents the switch, that moment when your life begins to shift in a fundamental way away from both where you came from and where you are towards where you want to be.

This is just the beginning, however. The real ingredient behind getting your motivational engine started and keeping it running amidst the occasional stats and stops is connecting your story to a powerful why.

Unabashedly Choose Your Goal

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Want to find a simple, no-fuss way to manage your diet and training yet well-meaning people keep piling complication upon complication on you?

What if you just want to look great naked yet are constantly talked into trying methods that aren’t bringing you any closer to inspiring shock and awe when you jumped out of that birthday cake in your birthday suit?

Your goal is yours and yours alone – don’t let anyone hijack it.

It doesn’t have to appeal to the sensibilities of anyone else but yourself. In the end you’re going to be the one making the necessary sacrifices and doing the work needed to get there, so making sure that you’re physically and emotionally invested first is key

Write It Down

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Scribble it on a napkin, put it in a word document or carve it into a tree if you’re feeling a bit old school. The mission here is to write it down, getting it out of your head and bringing it into the real world.

When you own your goal like this, you set the stage of success in two important ways.

First, it forces you to make a decision. By putting pen to pad (or fingers to keyboard), you’ve said in a tangible way that this is what you want. Doing this not only makes your goal more real, but it also serves as a beacon, directing your internal GPS towards Awesomeville. You can’t hit what you can’t see.

You don’t need to know exactly how you’ll get there yet. Right now this is enough to get you going.

Secondly, it narrows your vision. Choices become a lot easier to make. What you do either leads you closer towards your goal or it doesn’t. By knowing what to say yes to, you also identify what you need to say no to as well.

Instead of getting distracted and led astray by every shiny thing along the way, you’re able to stay focused on the things that will bring you the most value and results for your time invested. In the great words of the sage and philosopher Mr. T, you cut out all the unnecessary jibba-jabba.

Pass The “Vanilla Ice” Test

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In the mid 90s, rapper Vanilla Ice was allegedly held upside down over a balcony by a record executive who threatened to drop him unless he came up with a few million dollars. True or not, this actually has a lot to do finding your own motivation.

And if you don’t know who Vanilla Ice is, I’m not sure if I feel sad for your soul, or jealous that I’ll never again be as pure and innocent as you are right now.

When it comes to our goals, we often have what’s considered a base reason. We want to get in shape, be strong, lose some weight, feel good, be healthy or a host of other generic answers.

Many times our analysis of what we want goes no further than this, and because of it we set our chances of success incredibly low right from the start.

Put yourself in Ice’s shoes. Imagine someone holding you over a balcony ready to drop unless you told them why you want to achieve your goals, do you think you’d give them some of the baseline answers from above?

If so think again, because it’s a long way down.

Friedrich Nietzsche said that he who has a strong enough why can bear any how. This is critical as you’ll undoubtedly encounter resistance and setbacks along the way to achieving anything worthwhile. If your why isn’t built on a solid foundation of personal meaning on an emotional level, it becomes far easier to abandon your goal whenever difficulties arise.

Your why will serve as the kindle for your fire during times of doubt.

Do you want to feel more confident & comfortable in your own skin?

Do you want to be able to play with your children as much as their little hearts desire?

Do you want to stay healthy so as not to end up like a loved one who died far too soon due to not taking care of themselves?

Do you want to feel more attractive to and have more sex with your partner?

We can’t answer this question for you – it’s up to you to fill in the blank. As long as your reasons are true to yourself and get you absolutely excited about pursuing your goal, resonating with something deep inside of yourself, you’ve passed the test.

Action Precedes Motivation

We’re going to touch more on this in the habit module, but wanted to leave you with this idea. When was the last time you felt motivated?

When was the last time you had that aha moment or spark to get going only to have it fade away within a day or two. It feels extremely easy to act when we are motivated, but it’s fairly difficult to act when we’re not.

So how do we combat this? It’s worth stating that you’re never going to be completely moitvated all the time. If you are, we’d like some of your secret sauce. The main thing that separates those who could stuff done, and those who don’t are the ones who don’t rely on motivation to act.

So, even if you don’t feel like doing something, it’s better to act out of knowing what you want your outcome to look like, rather than waiting for more motivation.

Use Past Mistakes To Fuel Future Success

If this is your first foray into pursuing a fitness or health goal, we envy you – you’re about to learn a ton about yourself in the process.

If you’ve been around the block a few times and still haven’t achieved what you’re looking for, chances are you’ve encountered the same personal road blocks over and over again.

Instead of viewing mistakes as failures that offer you nothing, change your perspective and see them for what they are – ways that simply didn’t work. By knowing what don’t work, it frees you up to learn from them and focus on finding ways that do.

You can also reach out to people who’ve accomplished what you’re looking to do and ask them what pitfalls they encountered along the way. It may seem intimidating at first, but odds are they’ll be more than willing to help someone who is in a position they were themselves once in.

When you’re in uncharted goal territory, it helps to have a partial road map pieced together from both your personal experiences and those of others who’ve been successful.

As you get better at bouncing back better and wiser from your setbacks, jumping into the fray once again, the process becomes more enjoyable. Refine your course as necessary and let the process itself, not the reward you seek, become its own reward.

With this mindset firmly in place, it’s not a matter of if you’ll reach your goal, but when.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

The Great Comparison Hoax

Comparison

Death by a thousand cuts.

Luckily I don’t mean a literal death, since that’s the least anabolic activity of all time and would surely negatively impact your gains. The death I’m speaking of is more sinister, capable of covering your otherwise great life with a general malaise that seems unshakable.

Most of us know objectively that to compare ourselves to others is an exercise in futility. We’re emotional creatures, and logic and rational thinking get drop kicked right out of the window when it comes to our wants and desires.

When it comes to how we look, how strong we are, how fast we’re progressing and everything in between, our emotions can push our rational minds out of the driver’s seat, take the wheel, and drive us straight towards Crazyville.

Like sticking a fork into an electrical socket, or taking a 3 hour nap while you’re cooking a steak in an oven (I’m not alone in the last one…right?), comparing ourselves to others is more often than not a horrible idea that no good can come from.

Much like a moth drawn to the flame, we just can’t help ourselves. None of us are truly immune to it.

Our Behind-The-Scenes VS Their Highlight Reel

Grass

We’re with ourselves 24/7, and as a result we know more about us than any outside observer would; our motivations, goals and hot button issues. When we go into comparison mode, our brain wrangles up those demons and throws them right back into our faces, completely unfiltered.

The problem is that we aren’t comparing our demons to someone else’s – we’re pitting them against only what we can see on the surface, and given that people typically put their best foot forward in the public, this is rarely an accurate portrait of the situation.

Imagine yourself doing all that you can to get results in the gym. You’re logging your workouts, keeping track of your calories and nutrients, making time to prepare your meals when you would love nothing more than to ease up on the reigns just a little bit.

Then one day you see someone working out there with a physique that you would sell your first born child for, casually strolling through their session. And here’s what kicks you right in the junk: they’re eating a candy bar post workout.

All of a sudden, your inner comparison beast busts loose.

Why do they look like that and I don’t? They clearly don’t work as hard as I do. I train hard ERRYday. #BeastMode #NoDaysOff #AnotherRidiculousHashtagHere.

 I take my nutrition way more seriously and here they are eating a candy bar, looking like they just walked off the set of a photo shoot.

But you don’t know the full story. You don’t know what they sacrificed to get there, or anything about them. All you have to go off is this brief snapshot in time, and it’s easy for the comparing mind to take that and create a vivid picture that’s far from reality.

Getting caught in this trap can cause you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t do. I’m talking constant program hopping, ridiculous diets, setting unrealistic time frames for yourself, and setting out on a never-ending quest searching for “the secret”.

Our worst vs their best. Our inside vs their outside. It’s always a losing battle.

Welcome To The Black Hole Of Suck

this-is-going-to-suck

The appetite of a black hole is insatiable, feeding off of everything around it. When it comes to comparisons, this is the exact scenario that we find ourselves in – and it will drain your life dry if you let it.

In this mode, nothing is ever enough. You constantly feel inferior.

You’re never strong, because someone else is stronger.

You never feel truly feel comfortable in your skin, because someone is always leaner, has bigger biceps or more ab definition.

You aren’t making progress fast enough, because someone is always achieving more in a shorter amount of time.

Comparison feeds off of these types of thoughts., and it never ends.

I once dated a woman whose ex boyfriend was a UFC fighter. After a quick Google search to find out who he was, I went from being completely happy with my development and progress to feeling like Captain America pre-Soldier Serum.

Here I am, a guy who works out 3x a week, loves to eat ice cream by the pint, enjoys a good marathon video game session and more often than not falls asleep to a YouTube video because I stayed up way too late clicking my way through the internet rabbit hole, comparing myself to an Olympic champion with ungodly genetics who trains more hours in a week than I do in a single month and makes a living training to punch a hole through the soul of other elite athletes in front of thousands of people.

If I were looking for a recipe to help make myself feel like hot diggity dog shit, I hit the nail right on the head.

By constantly sucking in all of this outside stimuli without any filter, letting it bombard our inner world, all we do is diminish our own accomplishments, taking the wind out of our sails for no good reason.

The Only Way To Slay The Comparison Beast

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To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The act of comparing may never really go away, but you can turn the tide in your favor.

When you notice in the moment that you’re falling victim to this mindset, stop immediately before the thoughts build any momentum.

Take a deep breath and relax. By doing this, you go from being reactionary to proactive, creating space to decide what you’re going to do next with the information you have.

This may sound woo woo as all hell, but give it a try. Your breath (that thing that keeps you alive) is intimately connected to controlling how you feel in any given moment.

Is your training partner progressing faster than you? Great – there’s something that you can learn from them. Maybe you won’t have the same results as them for a host of reasons, but if nothing else it shows you a vision of what is possible, and you can bring that energy and excitement to your workouts.

There will always be someone better than you out there, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. All that you can focus on and truly control is the effort that you bring to the task.

You’re the only person that you need to compare yourself to, and only to check-in and make sure that you’re improving at a rate that’s acceptable for you and your goals.

When this is the focus, what others are doing becomes irrelevant.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that you can’t look at what others are doing and using that as fuel to push yourself forward.

Sometimes seeing others making progress towards their goals can be a healthy gut check for you, allowing you to reconnect and give yourself an honest assessment as to if you’re playing it safe or if you have more to give.

For others it does more harm than good. It’s like fire: you can use it to warm up your house or burn it to the ground. The devil is in the details, and it will take time to learn when to push forward and when to be kinder to yourself and pull back a bit.

Instead letting the accomplishments of others feel like a slight towards you, use them to build yourself up. Choose to be inspired by what others are doing, no longer making yourself the victim of outside forces, and tap into a constantly renewable source of motivation and energy – yourself.

Game Of Bones: 3 Ways To Crush Stiffness And Prepare Your Body For Battle (AKA Life)

Photo Credit: dot-dashlee

Today’s guest article is brought to you by the awesome Kate Galliett – enjoy!

It was a dark and stormy night. The candles had been lit and were flickering, casting dancing shadows against the stone walls. I, Kate Galliett, Queen of the land of Fit For Real Life, had settled in for an evening of movement studying & wine drinking. There was a knock at my door.

“Who’s there?”

“Tis I, Rog Law of House Cinnabon.”

Rog entered my castle with a look of despair on his face.

“M’lady, I am troubled.”

“What is the matter Sir Rog? Is there trouble at the Wall?”

“No . It’s much worse than that. It’s my people. They are being crushed by an unseen force! It’s said to be called “21st century living”. Have you heard of this thing? Their bodies are breaking down. I know I have what they need to be confident, sexy mo-fos, but I fear all will be lost if they lose the ability to move freely and without restriction!

I’ve come to ask your help. Please Lady Kate, join forces with me and help the good people of the Land of Sexification to move better, feel better, and be better.”

I sensed myself shift into battle-mode.

“Sir Rog, I only hope it is not too late. Come quickly, we must get to work drawing up battle plans immediately to fight the crushing force that is ‘21st century living’.”

What follows is what was born out of that dark, stormy evening.

These are the very best recommendations I could give to Sir Rog to help his people – you – to save yourself from the darkest of forces, that which sucks the life of you; unnecessary aches, pains, and injuries caused by modern-lifestyles which grind us into the ground if we aren’t actively working to fend it off and become truly unbreakable humans.

Commit To Practice Time Every Day 

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Do you think master swordsman, Syrio, teacher to young Arya Stark of the much-loved Stark Family of Kings’ Landing, became a master by practicing only on occasion? No-sir-ee-bob. He also would never have said “no-sir-ee-bob”.

The point is, by not actively working to improve your mobility, you’re actively allowing the sub-par soft-tissue quality and movement-capacity to remain. You don’t become a master overnight. You don’t become a master in 30 days. Depending on how long you’ve been carrying around soft tissue that is tight, rigid, and otherwise not bend-y, it might take a fair chunk of time to get your body moving fluidly again.

Start looking for opportunities to interject mobility work into your day. You will often catch me stretching the soft tissue of my well-worn gymnastics hands into the table, the steering wheel, the floor if I’m sitting on it…because I know, that if I reserve soft-tissue work for just once a week, my hands will be incapacitated, locked up from all of the strain that gymnastics and rock climbing puts on them.

Wherever you need to improve your soft-tissue quality, you must seek out ways to do that in your day. It could mean digging your foot into a lacrosse ball in the morning as you brush your teeth. It could mean standing up every hour at work and finding a doorway to stretch your chest out in.

Commit to it. Commit to yourself.

Do Your Research And Know Your Weak Spots

Martell

If you’re about to be double-crossed by the Kings’ Hand, it would serve you well to know ahead of time. But to do so, you’ve got to be looking below the surface of what you’re being told.

For example, if your IT Band is aching and hurting, your IT Band is fooling you into thinking that it is the cause of the issue. It’s not that things are never as they seem, sometimes, the IT Band truly is causing an issue – BUT – more often than not, the pain in the IT Band is coming from a root issue that lies elsewhere.

Here are a few reasons why the IT Band can be painful:

– The hips are unstable (read: weak) and the IT Band is trying to do the work of the other hip muscles.

– The glutes are weak, and when the glutes are weak that is a whole bunch of effort that has to be moved to other parts of the lower body, and the IT Band won’t be escaping the extra work load even though it will hate every second of it.

– Your running form is poor. Not everyone likes to run. But some people do. And those who do would be well-served to run with good form. Because anything done with poor form is just plain poor son.

– There’s an insane amount of “run form techniques” out there, but a simple one that easily moves you into better run form is hill running. The incline doesn’t allow you to over-stride, and you will automatically land more forefoot on the hill as you run up it. The grassy surface is a bonus! PS – just walk down, lest you be the fool who trips and goes rolling the rest of the day down.

– Your shoes are selling you out. No need to go crazy with minimalist shoes unless you’re into that sort of thing, but, when you have tight shoes on that don’t let your feet articulate with the ground very well (or at all), your foot becomes weaker, and in time that will negatively affect the stability of your knee. The IT Band inserts just below the knee, so what is happening with the knee, will eventually affect the IT Band as well.

Become The Leader Of Your Body

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(Writers’ note: there is a long-standing battle between myself & Rog Law regarding which man is better and obviously the answer to that is “Rob Stark”, but Mr Lawson feels that “Jon Snow” is our winner here, and yet we remain friends proving that friendship can be built despite fundamental differences of opinion.)

Rob Stark may be a young man still as he unites an army of men behind him as they engage in conflict with the Lannisters’ army, but unite them he does. (No need to lead your body into a Red Wedding though…ain’t nobody got time for that shit.)

It’s time to stop letting achy joints & injured bodies decide what your life-agenda is going to be.

How many things have you put off because your body was telling you “hey, we hurt”?

How much longer are you going to let the Lannisters rule your….oh, sorry, got carried away there for a sec. Your body, how long are you going to let your body decide whether you do ‘more’ or ‘less’ with life?

You, as a human, have the capability to do anything your mind and heart desires. But, you want your body to be physically capable of doing it, or else, those things you wish to do will remain but fantasies in your mind.

Here are 3 things you must do if you want to lead your body to glorious victory:

Get mobile. You need your soft-tissue to be pliable and move-able. If it’s not, your joints will take extra wear & tear, which not only hurts, but it also wears them down faster.

Get connected to your body. Don’t get lost in fitness by only looking at measurable things. There is value in looking to hard-to-quantify, but absolutely legit things like the mind-body connection (or to give you a ‘non-hippie’ term: proprioception & kinesthetic awareness).

Get your foundation strong. Strength training doesn’t just strengthen your muscles – it also strengthens every part of your skeleton, and having a strong structure means less risk of breaking the structure. Build the base of the structure strong and mighty and you’re going to have a structure that is durable for a lifetime of adventures.

Sexification Note: Earlier this year, Kate created a 12 week program to help people re-connect with their bodies while ridding themselves of nagging pains and annoying stiffness. I personally use Kate’s resource because I move as well as a hippo riding a skateboard and feel way too old before my time. Since it’s helping me get my groove back and then some, I want to pass it along to you as well.

Click here to learn how to free yourself from stiffness and random pains.

An Open Letter to People Struggling to Exercise

It’s hard to ignore, isn’t it?

That pulling sensation from somewhere deep inside. While the origin is unknown, this isn’t the first time that this feeling has crept up on you.

Maybe it was the game you watched. Seeing the athletes move their bodies with a sense of purpose, all towards a single objective, trigged your own desire to step into the arena.

It could’ve been that couple that ran past you, laughing with each other as they quickly changed from full-sized humans into tiny specks in the distance. You haven’t gone on a walk in awhile, and on any given day a set of stairs can leave you more winded than you care to admit. It feels like a finger thump straight to your heart.

Or perhaps it hit you as you flipped through the magazine in the checkout lane. On the cover, some “fit” model with abs for days. Page 26: lean legs and a butt that could stop a speeding bullet without so much as a flex.

Regardless of the source, the cause is the same. Your higher self, your own personal version of Jiminy Cricket, your inner voice (mind sounds like DMX, in case you were wondering), is throwing anything it can at you, trying to get you to pay attention to one thing: you’re not firing on all cylinders.

I’ve Been There Too

Back in the not too distant past, I was about as unhealthy as you could get.

Outside of organized sports until I was 12, moving around just wasn’t my thing. I took full advantage of every possible opportunity to lie down, sit in a chair or lean against a conveniently placed wall.

Exercise? Nope – it made me breath too hard. Then I’d sweat too much, which means I’d need more showers, which would cause me to run out of workout clothes, forcing me to continuously buy new ones. You can clearly see how if i kept exercising it would only lead to my financial ruin.

And eating healthy? French fries are technically a vegetable, and scientists have managed to cram every vitamin, mineral and nutrient that I need be a fully functioning human into chicken nuggets, so I didn’t need to bother with eating that green stuff.

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Does not include cash purchases or eating friends leftovers.

Lengthy gaming sessions that stretched from dusk till dawn were the norm. Food that I could buy and eat in five minutes or less became my main source of sustenance.

At 20, after years of these kinds of shenanigans, it’s no wonder that I slept horribly, was in a constant state of lethargy, had cholesterol levels over 350 and suffered from a boner that was as dependable as a narcoleptic security guard.

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Certified sex machine.

Looking to do something (pretty much anything) to turn things around, I stumbled my way into fitness thanks to a series of random events, and it sent my life in an entirely new direction.

The Benefits

You’ll probably live longer. Even if you don’t, your quality of life will undoubtedly be better when compared to doing nothing.

You’ll have less fat and more muscle, all contributing to a leaner you. Clothes will fit better.

You’ll be more resistant to random injuries and the normal wear and tear of life. Slipping on ice in the winter time is no longer an instant death sentence.

Everyday life become easier because you’re stronger and more prepared for the tasks.

Exercise can serve as a new outlet for your aggression, sadness, or simply become a way to wrangle and process your thoughts better. Empowerment is just one workout away.

You’ll have more energy and an increased sense of self-confidence, not only from your appearance changing, but from the act of pursuing a goal.

Less stress, sharper brain function and an increased sense of creativity all await you. Your sex life will be better too because you’re more aware of and connected to your body – hollaaaaaaa.

You’ll be better able to modulate your energy. Like a DJ doing their DJ thing (like Jon Snow, I know nothing), you’ll know your levels at all times, whether you’re giving a task your all, have a little more in the tank, or you’re just coasting. And you can adjust your faders – is that what they’re called? – accordingly.

Here’s the rub: it takes time & consistency for all of these benefits to come to fruition. The sooner you make peace with this fact, the smoother your ride will be.

I completely get the urge to want it all right NOW. I was there, too. I was stunned when my biceps didn’t explode through my Kmart t-shirt after my first curl, and my back didn’t grow wide enough to block out the Sun when I did my first chin up. You mean I have to come back tomorrow and do this whole exercise thing AGAIN?!

Yup.

NedFit

Do Something. Anything.

Do what you like. Yoga, running, weight lifting, break dancing or chasing ducks through the park like a crazy person. In the beginning, it really doesn’t matter.

If you’re new to exercise, pick something and get moving just to get the ball rolling. Remove as much friction as you possibly can between you and starting.

Do you need to have a solid plan when starting out? Not at all. Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough for the time being – you’ll learn what you need to along the way, refining your aim as you progress. Plus you’ll likely change course plenty of times as you figure out what’s important to you and what isn’t.

One of my first fitness fails was a run in the middle of winter wearing sweatpants, a hoodie, gym shoes and construction gloves because I just finished watching a Rocky montage. I slipped and bruised my tailbone and I gingerly limped my way back across campus while holding my buttcheeks in shame.

Sign Up For The Journey, Not The Destination

Some are motivated by the drive to succeed while others get pumped up when they’re trying their best not to lose. You may be someone who is motivated by outside rewards, or you forge ahead based on intrinsic factors. No matter which camp you more or less identify with, tap into your motivation style.

There’s no judgement on where you fall. This is a marathon, not a sprint. To avoid burnout, find something that you enjoy about the process outside of the end goal you’re looking to achieve. Regardless of where you want to go, the distance between point A and point Z is going to take time, and you can run yourself ragged grinding as fast as you can towards the finish line without actually enjoying anything along the way.

It’s like someone on a quest to make a million dollars. They can either become so focused on the destination that they only experience any kind of joy once they hit their goal, or they can create mini check points & rewards along the way, specific to how they roll, to keep them excited and make the road to dolla dollas far more enjoyable.

Abs Are Overrated

Last year I hired a coach and spent a few months dieting down for a photo shoot, something that I always wanted to do for the hell of it. I set the of goal of becoming leaner than I had ever been, and 20 pounds later I achieved just that.

And I was happy. For like 5.6 seconds in total.

AbsWomp

Mainly I was just hungry and I wanted cake.

That’s the thing nobody really tells you. Once you reach your coveted destination, the victory is short-lived and before you know it your brain is already focusing the next shiny object.

I wasn’t any happier when I reached complete ab-domination, but when I started I sure thought that I would be. That’s when I realized that it’s not necessarily about the goal that you pick, but more about what your goal represents, who you become in the process and the traits that you develop along the way.

Even if you don’t completely hit your target, you’ll still learn a ton in the process. Sometimes a goal isn’t meant to be hit, but it gives you something to aim at for the time being.

As tempting as it is to try and fix inside issues with outside solutions, don’t. You’re enough as is right now. Instead of aiming to fix yourself, or thinking that you’ll be happier once you have X, adopt the mindset that you’re just making upgrades to an already awesome design.

Work from the inside out, not the other way around.

You’re Gonna Mess Up

A lot.

Years later you’ll look back on the major fails made along the way and laugh at yourself, wondering if your brain was hijacked by aliens who controlled your body, making it do silly things for their enjoyment.

It’s part of the game, so chalk it up as nothing but feedback designed to help you learn, grow, and spin your wheels less in the future.

Don’t add unnecessary pressure by locking yourself into some arbitrary deadline from the start. Chances are it’ll be unrealistic to begin with anyway. This whole exercise thing is like a giant carousel. When you inevitably goof up, fall off your intended path or things don’t go as planned, don’t flip out – the next chance to make things right is moments ago.

Ready? Take a deep breath and get ready for a wild ride. I have no idea where you’ll end up, but I promise that it will change your life if you let it.

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright

The Unbearable Lightness of Not Giving a Fuck: Why Caring Less Helps You Live More

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Close your eyes, pause for a second and listen.

Do you hear that?

Somewhere very near, nestled between your left and right ears, is the sound of a never-ending cacophony of fucks bouncing off the walls of your skull, slowly driving you mad.

And unbeknownst to you, it’s holding you back from going all-in. From choosing a goal and showing it what you’re made of. From grabbing hold of life and making the most out of your short time on this spinning rock.

Heart disease? Sugar? Ninjas? Nah, giving too many fucks – that’s the real silent killer.

The Anatomy of a Fuck

It’s completely natural to care about the opinions of others; we’re social creatures and we’ve been doing it all of our lives.

No one is immune to this, nor should we be.

Allow me to share a few shining examples from my past.

At some point in early grade school (or yesterday), I remember having to pee. Bad. Cartoonishly bad. Michael Jackson bad. I raised my hand to go to the toilet and the teacher told me to hold it. So I did, all while recalling the horror stories of those who dared tempt fate before me and paid the price. In their pants.

Then came the critical fork-in-the-road moment. I was either going to sit there and soil my adorable Dockers shorts in front of all my friends, or challenge authority and fight my way to porcelain freedom. Thankfully my mom gave me enough good sense, and I ran out of that classroom and down the hallway like I scored the winning goal in the World Cup.

Then there was the time when I gave a public speech and got way too close to the microphone when I spoke, causing epic feedback and giving the audience an excuse to erupt in laughter. To this day, the thought of speaking to more than one person fills me with debilitating levels of anxiety.

I could go on, but you don’t have the time and I’m quickly running out of tears.

These are my stories – what are yours?

I see it all the time when working with clients.

Busy men an women who put themselves dead last after a long list of duties, stressing because they’re running around trying to be everything to everyone.

And we’re not even talking about what can start to happen once you choose to do something differently.

Put on weight? Nobody says a word.

Adopt new habits, start to feel empowered about the direction of your life, and maybe lose a little weight in the process? All of a sudden you’ve changed. You’re in the gym too much. You’re obsessed. You’re too muscular. You’re looking unhealthy. You’re no fun.

The Sea of Fucks is vast and wide; navigating it can be treacherous, and if we’re not careful it will swallow us whole.

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The problem isn’t that we care about what others think; we’re not robots. The real danger appears when begin to value their opinion more than the combination of our own knowledge, instincts and sense of self-worth, and changing our actions because of them.

Giving too many unnecessary fucks  fills our lives with so much noise that true clarity becomes damn near impossible. It forces us to dull our edges, and because we’re too busy worrying about what other might think about us we become stifled, unable to express who we truly are.

Here are three practices that you can begin to use in the war for your mental sanity.

Get Clear On What You Want

This step is critical in creating an anti-fuck shield deep within your soul. Your goals are you goals, so own them completely.

The less clear we are in terms of what our aim is, the more likely we are to fall victim to the whims and fancies of others.

One week you want to build a back that’s large enough to block out the Sun, then the next you’re switching it all up, devoting your energy towards becoming an ultra marathon runner because someone told you that it’s the best way to get a six-pack.

Like dandelion fluff on a breezy summer day, just as you start to head in one direction and gain traction, you’re quickly blown in another, stuck in this seemingly endless loop of having your course of action determined by external forces.

Remember The Golden Mantra

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Ready? Here it is: Just because someone can talk to you doesn’t mean you should listen.

Imagine if I waltzed into where they house the Large Hadron Collider, with my little shorts and shaker cup filled with protein powder, and started lecturing all of these brilliant scientists on what they were doing wrong, how I thought they could make improvements, and that putting a piece of cake inside the machine would probably accelerate results due to its delicious nature.

These people are at the top of their field, with years or rigorous study and practical experience to back them up.

Me? I know less about physics than I do about how planes work (AKA nothing at all). I’m just there, throwing unsubstantiated fucks into the air for no reason other than I can. They have every right to smile and nod, while secretly trying to make me disappear with their mind.

There’s a different between acknowledging that someone is saying something versus actually absorbing what’s said and having it influence your behaviour.

Create Your Power Team

It’s easy for us to be deterred or hurt by comments that people make about us or what we’re doing, but author Brenè Brown has a simple tactic to help us filer and reduce the amount of people we let into our inner circle: make a list.

Brown suggests that we take a small piece of paper (think smaller than you’re already imagining) and write down the names of people whose opinions and feedback we actually value and will ever think about considering.

This list will clearly different depending on the context of the situation.

Did you hire a coach to help you achieve your fitness goals? They should be on your list of people to listen to.

You know who isn’t on your list? The guy behind the deli counter who is telling you all about the newest plan he’s on that lets you eat as many cookies and raw bacon slices as you want while only working out once a month.

Are you putting your work out there for people? Perfect. Then you may want to listen to the feedback from the people who’ve invested their money in you by buying your product.

You know who doesn’t get a say? YouTube comment trolls and people who haven’t spent a dime supporting your work.

It’s hard to focus on anything but the one negative comment amongst a sea of positive praise and feedback, but you can strive towards this ideal and refine your approach over time.

At the end of the day, you make the final calls. It’s your job to filter all the feedback you receive, choose to accept, ignore, an then decide on a course of action. You are the gate keeper through which all fucks must pass – take this job seriously.

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There’s Only One Choice

To quote my friend Julien Smith, those who don’t give a fuck change the world. The rest do not.

But what if you’re setting your sights a bit lower? What if you don’t want to change the world, but just your world?

Then, oddly enough, after rallying for hoarding all the fucks and not giving any, giving them is exactly what needs to happen.

Give them to yourself. Give yourself permission to fail horribly, succeed wildly and everything in between.

Give them to those you serve. Your clients, community, friends and loved ones and protect them fiercely. This will fill you with more energy than you’ve ever had before.

The feeling of lightness that you experience once you realise how simple this can all be if you allow it is almost unbearable at first, then it transforms into something incredibly freeing.

We’re here for a brief moment in time. Don’t become so buried beneath the weight of the fucks that other people hoist upon your shoulders that you become a passive observer instead of an active participant in your own life.

Further Resources

Julien Smith – The Complete Guide To Not Giving A Fuck

Mark Manson – Fuck Yes or  No

Johnny B. Truant – The Universe Doesn’t Give A Flying Fuck About You

6 Tips From The Hulk to Help You Smash Diet Anxiety For Good

Dietary debauchery.

Accidental calorie overload.

Hand-to-mouth malfunction.

These all fall under the umbrella of Hulking Out, that moment where you throw your metaphorical papers into the air, say to hell with it and go on an unexpected roaring rampage of food.

That time when you ate half the birthday cake (and it wasn’t even your birthday)? That’s Hulking Out.

When you intend to eat just one serving of ice cream, but before you know it your head is stuck in the container because you tried to lick the last drop out of the corner? The Hulk strikes again.

You didn’t mean to, he just came out.

Instead of throwing in the towel and resigning yourself to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and constant setbacks, it’s time to fight fire with fire and learn what Earth’s mightiest hero himself can teach you about overcoming diet anxiety once and for all.

1. Use A Less Severe Deficit

Let’s face it: when we’re hungry, our proclivity for making food related blunders increases by a bajillion percent. Dieting isn’t something that our bodies necessarily enjoy – we’re tapping into fat stores that it has grown accustomed to having – so the bigger the energy deficit we create, and the longer we do so, the more inclined our bodies are to sound the “FEED ME!” alarm.

This is why crash diets don’t work in the long run. They impose severe calorie restrictions in an all-out blitz on the fluff, with your body using all the tricks in the book to try and get you to eat more. Once the diet is over, the sense of freedom can be overwhelming and the the Hulking Out process begins, often leading right back to where you were (or worse) over the course of uncontrolled weeks or months.

To combat this, more is more.

To start, begin with a conservative deficit of anywhere between 500 and 700 calories, holding this level steady for as long as you can before adjusting variables. When the time comes, think of adding more activity instead of cutting calories further – save that as an option of last resort. When doing so, adjust downward slowly in the neighborhood of 100-150 calories, letting your results dictate when to make this executive decision.

The goal of a diet is to eat as much food as you can while still making sustainable progress, not cutting as many calories as possible in a mad dash for the fat loss finish line. Eating more calories, while still remaining in an overall weekly deficit, leads to more compliance and less Hulking Out, allowing you to enjoy the process as much as possible along the way.

2. Hug It Out

You’re human. You’re going to slip up at some point – let’s just hope your mistake don’t involve busting out of your shirt and causing millions of dollars of damage to an unsuspecting city. It’s not what happens that will define you, but how you respond.

A typical Hulking Out scenario looks something like this:

  1. Person eats something they didn’t intend to or a larger quantity of something than planned.
  2. Person beats themselves up mentally about it (I knew better, why am I so stupid, it’s always going to be like this, etc)
  3. Person punishes themselves physically on top of this, restricting food severely or super charging their activity as a way to try and recover.
  4. They can’t sustain this level of restriction and deprivation and the Hulk comes out. The cycle continues, becoming harder to break the more it happens.

So, what’s the answer? Chill out!

I know, it’s hard to do in the moment, especially with so many emotions running through you head at the time. I’ve been there many times myself. Nothing positive comes from wearing yourself out physically and mentally as a form of punishment. In fact, it just increases the likelihood of it occurring again as you constantly reinforce this pattern.

Instead, get in the habit of being more forgiving of yourself. looking to find the lessons in each setback so that you can act differently the next time.

Ok, so you goofed up. You made a minor error on one of the thousands of days that you’ll likely live; a dribble in the bucket of life that won’t mean a thing to your results in the grand scheme of things. This is a lifestyle, baby. Keeping a long term perspective instead of boxing yourself rigid and sometimes unrealistic short-term deadlines will go along way towards keeping the Hulk at bay.

3. Don’t Demonize ANY Food

When we restrict ourselves, putting certain foods onto an untouchable pedestal, it’s only natural for us to want them more than ever before.

Want to ensure that you’ll Hulk Out in a remarkably horrible fashion? Tell yourself that a food you love is completely off or restrict it severely. The naughtier you make the food, the higher the chances of you losing your damn mind when you actually decide to indulge because you’ve hyped it up so much.

The apple pie that was an occasional thought before might as well sprout legs and embark on the epic journey directly for your mouth.

The only foods that are “bad” are those that you can’t tolerate, can’t control once you start, or hate the taste of. Approach your diet with the mindset that there are no off-limit foods and that everything is on the table. Once you know that you can have anything you want, the desire to actually have it diminishes.

Yeah, it’s pretty Zen.

4. Don’t Eat Horrible Food

This belief is deeply embedded in my soul, more a part of me than Wolverine’s Adamantium.

Have you ever wanted to have something but thought it was too unhealthy, fattening or whatever reason you used to justify not smashing it into your face, only to get upset when the lame substitute you settled on left you feeling cold and unsatisfied?

On top of wasting calories on something that sucked, a common response is to end up getting your hand on what you originally wanted in the first place and devouring it with reckless abandon, almost as if to spite your sub par treat. This is called Reverse Hulking Out and it happens to the best of us.

Don’t settle for mediocre food. If you want some chips, then portion them out (the epitome of strength) and have some. Make sure they’re the kind that you really want and enjoy every last bite of it. Don’t try to compromise and choke down some veggie chips because it sounds like a good idea.

As an example, if I’m going to eat a cinnamon roll, you can bet all your money that it’ll be a Cinnabon. I’ve been burned far too many times with other copycats and know that they just won’t compare, so why bother?

Friends don’t let friends waste calories.

5. Have A Release Valve

I call these the “break glass in case of emergency” foods. For some, it’s a single doughnut, a little Skinny Cow ice cream, or a nice glass of wine before bed. Whatever your thing is, the goal is to incorporate it into your diet often enough so that it doesn’t interfere with your results yet helps keep you sane and compliance.

When you feel the Hulk pressure building, have your emergency food. You’ll likely find that this alone takes the edge off to the point where you’re ready to jump back into the game again, often for days or weeks on end without need anything release. You decide the frequency that works best for you.

6. Own It

Owning your decisions fully is empowering and brings a certain sense of calm to you life, fitness or not. Instead of things happening to you, you’re in the driver’s seat. You control how you act and respond to the reality of things, no longer being a victim of your circumstances. The optimal choice may not be available in every scenario, but believing that you’re capable of making the best decision given your situating and trusting yourself to do so is key.

“That’s my secret, Captain, I’m always angry.” – Dr. Banner

The more in control you feel, the less anxiety you’ll potentially have about any situation because you know you have it under control. As you prove this to yourself through your actions, small and Hulk-sized, it will feel less like a cheesy Hallmark feel-good statement and more of an ingrained belief that makes you feel unstoppable.

What are some ways that you keep yourself from Hulking out or help keep diet anxiety to a minimum? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

The Best Life and Training Advice I Received From a Homeless Man

The night was filled with an air of uncertainty.

Bodies were all over the place. Some were curled up on the ground sleeping. Others were on their respective corners panhandling. A select few wandered the pavement aimlessly, yelling obscenities into the night or at whomever was brave enough to get too close.

It was a scene that I was all too familiar with. I had several ways to respond.

A) Give some money (not an option with only credit cards).

B) Fake the funk and act like I’m talking on the phone.

C) Temporarily lose any sense of hearing and peripheral vision, becoming Robot Rog and walking right by without a word.

Standard protocol.

Ahead of me I hear one of the homeless men ask someone for money. He brushes him off, saying that he wishes he could help him, which prompts the homeless man to yell the wildest, most insightful response I’ve heard to anything in the history of the world.

 “Fuck a wish!”

I stayed up that night laughing with my friends at what he said, mainly because of how shocking and raw it was, but a week later I still couldn’t shake the statement, and here’s why.

Why Wishing Sucks & What To Do Instead

It’s natural to wish, to want, to desire. We all do this to some extent.

Some men and women see someone with a well-developed physique walk down the street and wish they could be like them.

Many aspiring authors read an amazing piece of writing and wish they could create something similar.

Every time I watch Bill Burr, Patrice O’Neal, Louis C.K.,or any other amazing stand-up comedian perform, I wish that I could do what they did.

Wishing, however, is a dangerous trap that we can catch ourselves in that does more harm than good.

We’re problem solvers by nature. When we wish something, our brain goes to work, searching through our mental Google database to find a way to turn that wish into a reality.

It wants us to take action.

What happens when we don’t, though?

It confuses our mind and body. It causes friction and conflict, dissonance between our desires and our behaviors. It’s like the student who knows the answer to the teacher’s question yet doesn’t get called on, despite raising their hand and waving it in the air like a psychopath.

Wishes can also serve as a false release valve, a “press in case of emergency” button. We can want something so badly that the act of wishing releases the pressure, taking it from something that could happen and turning it into an impossible task that’s outside of ourselves and our capabilities. At this point we may as well wait for a genie or Christina Aguilera to come out of a bottle, because that’s the only way what we wish is going to happen.

We can become addicted to wishing, conditioning ourselves to believe that wanting alone is just as good, if not better than, striving towards and attaining.

So, what to do instead?

Ask Better Questions

This alone leads to more productive answers, increasing the likelihood of taking better action. When you find yourself wishing, chances are you’re on the right track. Instead of letting the thread end there, take yourself deeper down the rabbit hole.

Ask yourself what are some steps that you can take to bring yourself closer to where you want to be. Don’t just keep them in your head. Write them down, big and small ideas alike. Put them in the notepad app on your phone, or tattoo them on your body like in Momento if that you’re feeling extra sassy.

As an example, for the last few months every time I saw someone with a Bane-esque looking back, I found myself wishing that I too could increase the jacktitude of my back muscles. I took my own advice and made the following list of things that I could act on.

– Do more heavy rows
– Get better at pull ups
– Do more back exercises in the higher rep ranges
– Train my upper back more frequently
– Eat more food and gain a bit more body fat while chasing muscle gains

This list got my mind going and gave me something to go off of. After using this is as a rough outline, I got out of my own head, sat down and put together a training program based on the above musings and I’m loving it more than this dog loves his owner.

Be as general or specific as you want to be, as long as you feed the wish instead of letting it float around in the realm of fantasy.

Scale Back

Don’t expect to jump right to the end goal the first time you’re attempting something. That’s similar to trying to face and defeat the final boss of a video game within 5 minutes of picking up the controller. It sounds good in theory, but in reality you’ll get smashed like a warm cookie you forgot was in your back pocket before sitting down, making you less likely to try again in the future.

Start as small as possible. Make the barrier for winning so low that you can’t help but crush it. As you rack up those wins, improve and become more confident, push yourself further away from your comfort zone in doses that you can handle. If you’re still a bit scared then that’s good –you’re right where you need to be

This isn’t meant to dampen your enthusiasm or a kind way of saying that you’re not capable, but a pre-preemptive strike to make sure that you only push forward when your experience have prepared you for it.

Embrace The Suck

You know that sinking feeling you get in the depths of your stomach when you’re trying something new, different and out of your norm? I won’t promise that it will go away, but I will promise that you’ll get better at handling it the more you take action.

Expect to be weaker than you want to be on certain exercises.

Expect for your writing to be a bit lame when compared to the ideal in your head.

Expect to have a few less than spectacular days as far as eating goes as you begin to get your diet together.

It might not be the absolute worst feeling in the world, but no matter what your goals are, there’s no way around this step. You have to be willing to go to that dark and sometimes terrifying place where the gap between the current you and where you want to be is larger than Godzilla’s pants (if he wore them).

This is the same place Frodo goes when he puts on the One Ring, the place of doubt any hero goes as he sets off on his quest – and that’s ok.

You will stumble, you will feel like you messed up and you will want to call it quits at some point.

Do not let this stop you. Be kind and forgiving of yourself as you move forward, always remembering this: where you are is just that, a starting point, not where you’re destined to end up.

Feedback is your homie

Aim for progress in ways that are measurable, apply specifically to your situation, and get you excited to continue moving forward. Keeping it as fun as possible along the way (here are training and dietary ways to funify your life) helps, too.

Let both your experience and results guide you. If you need to stay at a certain level while you figure out your next move, then so be it. Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve always done – be open trying new techniques, tactics and experimenting with different ways of thinking as you move forward.

Speaking of thinking differently, my friend and fellow trainer David Dellanave has based his entire business on helping people break out of the typical strength training mold. To find out more, check out his free book detailing how he does just that while getting you to trust yourself more in the process.

Act

All of this is useless without action. We’re either going to wish, dream and hope that the things we want will magically appear in our lives, or we’re going to decide to work for them.

Below is one of my online training clients after he decided to stop wishing and start taking tangible steps towards his goal.

After all the planning, plotting and pontificating is done, action is the only thing that can save you. Always has been and always will be.

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As my friend and mentor Alan Aragon so eloquently put it, a life spent chasing dreams that never come true is better than a life spent running away from dreams that could have.

3 Powerful Exercises To Keep Your Chest Swole, Triceps Terrifying & Shoulders Pain Free

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In the land of the chest the bench press is king, and many would rather fight a horde of rabid bears with a spoon before they had to stop benching. Unfortunately for some, the perfect storm of shoulder issues and improper form makes the bench press and some of its variations (i.e. barbell floor press, incline bench press, etc) a no-go.

If this perfectly describes you – I’m also part of the “can’t bench because my shoulders feel like death” club – then have no fear. I’m going to keep this short and sweet like a cinnamon roll and give you three pressing variations that you can use in place of or alongside bench pressing to ensure that your strength and sexy levels don’t plummet precipitously without sacrificing shoulder health.

Weighted Push Up

In terms of strength development, the loaded push up is a mighty tool to have in your arsenal. Most people can do a ton of push ups, but sooner or later loading them in order to keep progressing becomes a huge issue. Weight vests and chains are cool but can become cumbersome or simply aren’t available, but by using a dip belt, something most commercials gyms have, we can side-step this issue completely.

For this variation, make sure that you set the bench far enough away from the bar so that you’re hips aren’t hiked high into the air (I could have pushed the bench back a bit further in this video). As you can see with the booty wiggle, the placement of the belt is important. Try to set it as high as you can on your torso without it interfering with the movement in order to minimize lower back discomfort. The further down the belt is placed on your lower back, the more you risk going into hyper extension which can lead to low back discomfort.

Keep your glutes squeezed mega tight throughout the entire exercise. Make sure that you place the bar high enough so that the weights don’t hit the floor at the bottom of the push up.

I’ve loaded up to 200lbs on this variation without any problem, so needless to say it can be used both for low rep strength sets of 5-8 as well as high rep pump stuff, ranging anywhere from 15-20 and beyond. To increase chest activation, actively try to push the bar together as you push up.

Band Push Up

Bands are a fantastic way to crush your chest and triceps no matter where you are in the world. For a greater challenge, simply use thicker bands.

Band Prayer Press

If you’re in the mood to hate your life while completely scorching your chest and tricepticons in the fires of Hades, this exercise is for you.

High reps sets ranging anywhere from 20-50 work best here. Make sure to keep your hands clasped together the entire time, squeezing your chest together and exploding forcefully outwards with each rep. For an even more sinister pump, control the “lowering” portion of the exercise for 3-5 seconds on each rep. You can also use an incomplete range of motion, pulsing the end range of the exercise and going for a glorious set of 100 reps, although I only recommend doing this if you’ve completed a will and are prepared to lose your life in the pursuit of hypertrophy.

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Be warned that it’s impossible to look normal while doing this exercise.

May your chest inspire the hopes and dreams of millions.
May your arm girth frighten the elderly, slow moving adults and very small children.
May your gains be plentiful.
Go forth and prosper.

Sexification Note: For a great band distributor, check out this site. I have no association with them and get no financial kickback. These are the only bands I’ve used and their awesomeness is the only brand that I can attest to.

For light resistance: EFS Pro Mini and Pro  Monster Mini Bands (red and black respectively)

For greater resistance: EFS Pro Light, Average & Strong bands (orange, gray and blue respectively).

 

Achieving and Maintaining Your Sexy With Alternate Day Fasting

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Sexification Note: This post won’t be heavy on the science front and will be filled mainly with notes from my personal experience. I’m happy to answer any questions that you have in the comment section, and all I ask is that you keep an open mind while reading this.

If you’re new to fasting in general, I recommend reading this aaaaaand this to quickly educate yourself on what it’s all about before diving in.

After a year of shorter duration daily fasts, I began experimenting with longer fasts, ranging anywhere from 24 to 62 hours (known loosely as Alternate Day Fasting) without eating during my longest stretch, essentially only eating on the days that I strength trained. The details of that experiment can be found here, but a quick summary is that I dropped 7lbs in 2 weeks (losing 4 more over the course of the trial), while either maintaining or increasing my strength.

My results were near effortless and I was able to maintain them with ease. Stepping back from this extreme style of fasting and going back to something more conservative (Leangains styles or simple 24 hours fasts), I want to share with you what some of the benefits were and how you use it in the pursuit of your own fat loss and maintenance goals.

But…..WHY?!

Gigantic benefits such as lack of hunger while dieting, increased focus and improved mood from fasting are all discussed here, but my reasons for experimenting went beyond these reasons and I hope that you can glean something from these experiences.

The main benefit for me was purely psychological. For the majority of my adult life, I’ve struggled with food. If I’m sad, I’m eating a ton of food. If I’m happy, I’m eating a cave full of the delicious nom noms. I wanted to use this an opportunity to explore my own habits and see what I could learn from them.

With actual physical hunger taken out of the equation, I found that I ate primarily when I was under stress, bored or simply looking for a distraction from something that I was supposed to be doing. By setting a hard fasting deadline (i.e. not eating for 24-36 hours) for myself, I was forced to sit with the uncomfortable feeling and resolve it instead of using food as medicine. Sometimes I broke and ate early, but I didn’t beat myself up about it, learned from the experience and simply hopped back on.

On the actual fat loss & maintenance side of things, fasting creates a large deficit with minimal effort. It’s easy to get OCD about dieting and keeping track of your macros, so I used it as a tool to free up my mental real estate to focus on more important things while simultaneously worrying less about the eating side. Plus it allowed me to not have to even worry about stressing at social gatherings, which is a huge plus because I love food & good company.

Less food prep. Less dishes. Less money spent.

Preparing For Battle

A good relationship with food

I can’t overstate the importance of this step, both from personal experience and from that of my clients.

When I first started fasting, it exposed a major flaw within myself: I was a binger. I LURVE to eat – my mom called me a bottomless pit as a kid – and if I’m not careful I can cause dietary destruction with even the most restrictive feeding window (I went from 16/8 to 20/4 before going back to a conventional style of eating until I got a handle on things).

For some, fasting tends to intensify issues that people have with food and bring them bubbling up to the surface in a big, bad way, especially during longer periods of fasting. It’s extremely difficult to tame the beast while you’re inside it, so if you find yourself running into the same issues over and over again, take a step back and resolve them before writing fasting off completely. If it works for you, cool. If it doesn’t, then that’s cool, too. You learned something new about yourself and you can apply it to whatever you decided to do going forward.

The mindset of a boss

A boss does what needs to be done.

Let me preface this by saying that I know where you’re coming from. Having been a 6-7 (up to 8 if i was feeling particularly sassy) meals a per day dude in the past, I’ve been through periods of ravenous hunger to the point where I would actually get angry if I couldn’t eat my next preciously scheduled meal on time.

You’re the owner of the most adaptable machine in the universe – act accordingly.

You will not die if you don’t eat in the short term. If that were the case, it would’ve been game over for the human race a long time ago. You’re a lot more flexible than you give yourself credit for. Hunger is a real thing, but how we respond to it mentally plays a huge role as well. When we come face to face with hunger, more often than not we give in right away, stomping it out with food (usually way more than we actually need).

While adapting your body to go for longer periods of time without eating, expect hunger. Some will have more than others, but learn what you can from it during your transition. Each successful encounter where you power through those hunger spikes like the boss you are, the more you empower yourself. Hunger doesn’t control you, you control your hunger.

Chill out!

Long fasts can be a big stressor on the body, and when you throw that into the mix of an already stress-filled lifestyle you have  a recipe for disaster. Before giving this an honest go, make sure you’re getting adequate sleep (fasting on little sleep can make fasting extremely difficult) while also doing your best to reduce stress in all other areas of your life – it will make the process a lot easier.

Getting Started

1) Choose your fasting window

For those just starting out in the world of extended fasts, 24 hours (‘ala Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat style) is a good place to start. Depending on your lifestyle, here are some examples of how that would look.

  • Finish your last meal at lunch and fast until lunch time the next day.
  • Finish your last meal at dinner and fast until dinner time the next day.

For someone with a family, dinner time with them is probably pretty important so dinner to dinner may be the best option. On the other hand, someone who is single and has a large degree of autonomy has more wiggle room. I’ve found that going to bed on a full stomach helps myself & my clients with compliance, but the strategy you choose is completely up to you.

To extend the fast to 36-48 hours, simply adjust and plan accordingly. Here are some examples.

  • Finish your last meal at dinner on Monday and fast until breakfast on Wednesday (36 hours).
  • Finish your last meal at lunch on Monday and fast until dinner on Wednesday (36 hours).
  • Finish your last meal at dinner on Monday and fast until dinner on Wednesday (48 hours)
  • Finish your last meal at lunch on Monday and fast until lunch on Wednesday (48 hours)

Fasting for this long is not necessary at all, but can be done and by doing so you afford yourself the opportunity to eat more when you do eat. Depending on your personality, this can be a powerful motivator.

For me, training 3x a week, I only ate on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and single meal on Friday or Saturday depending on social outings/hunger levels. This allowed me to eat essentially whatever I liked on training days without keeping track of my macros because the the large deficit that I was creating on the other days of the week.

2) Choose your feeding window

This may seem complicated, but it’s actually the easiest, and most delicious, part of the process.

All you do here is decide how long your eating window is going to be (I’ve found 4-8 hours to be best, but this isn’t set in stone by any means) and plan accordingly.

The number of meals you eat is entirely up to you, but I recommend at 2 to 3 depending on if you’re in fat loss or maintenance mode as the gastric stress from trying to fit an entire day’s worth of calories in one may leave you with a broken toilet and no friends – you have been warned!

3) Fit your training into the equation

You have a couple of options here.

  • Fasted training.
  • Beginning your feeding window with a small meal prior to training.

For fasted training, consume 10g of Branch Chain Amino Acids 15-30 minutes prior to training. After training, you can begin eating or if that isn’t possible, consume 10g of Branch Chain Amino Acids for every 2 hours that you go without eating until you start your feeding window. Here’s an example of this.

8:30am – 10g BCAAs
9-10am – Train
10am – 10g BCAA
12pm – Begin feeding window

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I eat ?

That all depends.

For fat loss, I recommend that you start by eating at maintenance on your training days and 10-15% below maintenance on your off days, adjust according to your results.

If you’re following more of a 48 hour fast approach, you can eat at maintenance on training days if you’re a brave soul or 10% more than that to help stave off hunger, letting the deficit created on your off days handle the rest.

For maintaining your physique once you’ve achieved it, you can obviously get away with eating more as long as you make sure to adjust according to your results.

Again, the number of meals you eat is up to you, but I recommend at least 2 meals.

What should I eat?

For most people, the main benefit of fasting is that you can eat larger, satiating meals while dieting or maintaining. Of course this means that some junk food (any eating plan devoid of a Cinnabon now and then has no place in this world) will sneak in there from time to time, but make sure that the majority of your food intake comes from whole, unprocessed foods.

Here are some specifics.

  • Protein – Eat between 0.8 – 1 gram of protein protein per pound of body weight (the fluffier you are, the less protein you’ll need to stave off muscle loss) regardless of the day. Bump this number up slightly if you’re having issues with feeling full – I’d rather have you get slightly more protein than too little.
  • Carbohydrates – Eat 1 gram per pound of body weight (adjust this number down if you have a significant amount of weight to lose) on training days, and for the sake of simplicity cut them down to as low as you can handle on your off days. Play around with this number and adjust according to your results.
  • Fat – Fill the remainder of your calories with this delicious macronutrient. A general rule of thumb to start by is consume less on the days that you train (because of increased carbs) and more on the days that you don’t (because of decreased carbs)

For those following the 48 hour fast, maintain protein levels for sure, but you can be a bit more flexible what you’re taking in, increasing protein, fats and carbs as long as you don’t let your overall caloric intake get out of control.

What about muscle loss?

I haven’t found this to be an issue at all as long as you’re training progressively with a combination of the big lifts (squat, bench variations, chin ups, dips, deadlift variations, overhead press, leg press). Cover your bases with these exercises, training in the 4-8 rep range. Make sure to include some fun pump work as well with your accessory work – lunges, curls, rows, dumbbell bench variations, and machine work has its place, just get your heavy stuff out of the way first.

If you find your strength levels dropping, increase your calories slightly and reassess as necessary.

From a general standpoint, the leaner you are, the more that you have to worry about muscle loss during extended periods of fasting. The more fat you have to lose, the less at risk you are for muscle loss with your fat acting as essentially the sacrificial preferred energy source before the body starts looking to break down lean body mass.

With that said, if you lose a little bit of muscle along the way and you look amazingly awesome as an end result, would you be upset? As long as you’re following the above advice most of the time, muscle loss is a bit over exaggerated and doesn’t happen all at once at any rate. Don’t let optimal stand in the way of good enough.

For more fasting myths, check this in-depth post out.

How do I deal with hunger?

  • Stay busy. Go for a walk, hang out with friends, dance like a foolish mortal while listening to music. Pretty much do anything you can to distract yourself from a hunger spike. Hunger is like a bully – it pops up and demands your attention momentarily, but if you confront it proactively it goes away quick, fast and in a hurry. They usually last for 15-20 minutes in duration.
  • Supplement. Caffeine has an appetite suppressing properties  which goes a long way towards quieting the hunger beast – coffee & tea fiends, rejoice! I’ve also found that 5-10g of BCAAs taken during a hunger spike does a very good job of telling your stomach rumblings to “shhhhhh”.
  • Sleep. If you can just make it to bed and go to sleep (or even a nap whenever you can fit one in), it acts as a bit of a reset button for your hunger.
  • Eat. Sometimes you’ve just gotta eat, and the good thing is that rarely do you need as much food as your brain may try to convince you in order to take the edge off your hunger and return your sanity. Try to have on hand an “in case of emergency” scenario. This could be a protein bar in your car, a few pieces of fruit, or just a cooked meal waiting in your fridge. If you’e finding that your hunger is mainly from not eating enough prior to ending your fast, experiment with making your last meal of the day the largest and made largely of protein.

What happens if I mess up?

It’s all good! There is no “messing up”. Some days you’ll fast for long periods of time and on other days barely at all. This isn’t something that you have to do on a daily basis, although the longer that you do, the better you get at it, recognizing and dealing with patterns that may act as road blocks.

Don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself to extend the fast beyond the point where you feel comfortable, especially if it begins to interfere with your life and defeats the purpose of this being more or less a relaxed way of eating. Remember, at the end of the day fasting is just another tool in your Batman utility belt to get the job done – no more and no less.

 

Don’t associate any magical properties with fasting or any other protocol. Demystify it as much as possible. If it helps with compliance then use it to your advantage, but the moment it becomes a hindrance to your success, abandon it without a second thought for something more appropriate for your circumstances.

Above all else, I hope that you’re open to experimenting with your body. You’re a lot less fragile than many have convince you to believe.