20+ Ways to Live a More Positive, Fulfilling and Happy Life

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I don’t have anywhere near all the answers, but here are a few lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life that’ve helped me live a more positive and fulfilling life.

1) Be the hero of your own story.

Whatever mistakes you’ve made up until now are off the table – the only thing that matters from this point on is how you move forward starting today.

Imagine you’re the main character in a video game, or you’re playing the starring role in the supremely megafantastic movie called YOUR LIFE – act accordingly.

What would they do? What choices would they make?

Don’t wait around or expect anyone else to create your own success or happiness – that’s entirely yours to make.

The princess is in another castle and nobody is gonna save her but you (high five if you get this reference).

“Be your own hero, it’s cheaper than a movie ticket.” – Douglas Horton

Action step: Watch your favorite movie montage, video game scene or TV moment. Find out what drew you to it (was it the character’s intensity, confidence, charisma? What about their ability to handle a tough situation or stand up for themselves?) then apply it to your own life in any situation that you can.

2) Fail often. Fail better.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

Action step: Pick back up (or start) something that failure, or fear of it, kept you from pursuing.

3) Empty your mind

Whether your goal is to look like Hugh JACKEDman or simply get rid of the extra fluff that has taken up residence on your body, odds are you’re holding on to some beliefs that do nothing more than hold you back.

It could be “knowing” that you have to eat x amount of meals a day, or “knowing” that if you eat certain foods you’ll never get the body that you want.

Open yourself to different possibilities. There are no absolutes, only options…and options are great because that means cake, and cake is AWESOME!

Action step: Identify at least one idea/belief that does nothing but hold you back or hinder your progress. Once you’ve done that, write down ways that you can act that run counter to those ideas. Give it time and do this for several weeks, taking note of any changes, positive or negative, that’ve occured.

Example: I must eat every 2 hours, despite it being a chore and my lifestyle beginning to suffer.
Action: For a month, increase the length of time between your meals and see how you respond.

4) Build momentum

Whatever your goal is, do whatever you have to do to get it, then do everything in your power to keep from losing it.

Unless of course you’re in a negative momentum spiral, then please feel free to stomp both feet into the ground Flinstone style to stop and get yourself on the right path.

Action step:  Identify one thing , small or large, that you really want to accomplish. Decide on a first step then do it, no matter what. If you want to write a book but haven’t written anything since you came up with the idea, shut off your phone, go to a place where you can write and sit there until you’ve made headway on the project. This could be on the weekend or you may even have to call in sick from work.

Extreme? Yup, but the “OH HELL YEAH!” feeling you get from finally making progress far outweighs any monetary or time sacrifice you made to make it happen.

After this, keep going on a daily, or at the very least weekly, basis. It doesn’t matter how small, just DO NOT lose the momentum you’ve gained. Small progression is better than no progression.

5) Do the simple things every day

Smile and laugh everyday.

Be positive and act positively as often as you can.

Pass up as many opportunities as possible to be a downer, asshat or general negative vibe bringer.

Action step: This one is easy – start with smiling and laughing and see where it takes you. Even if you don’ feel like it, this is one of those instances where faking it until you make it works wonders.

6) Death, defeat and life domination

36,816,413 minutes

840 months.

70 years.

The average life expectancy.

One of these days we’re going to die – and who knows then? This is the most empowering thing you will ever hear.

How many days, months or years have passed by without us having really lived them?

Doesn’t matter. Starting today, begin the process of doing more of what you love and what makes you happy vs what sucks and what drains you.

Tell the people close to you that you love ‘em.

Reach out to and old friend you haven’t talked to in awhile and see what’s up.

Start surrounding yourself with those who say “why not?” instead of only asking “why?”

Write down a list of big dreams and little dreams, no matter how lame they may seem, and start pursuing them ALL like a damn cheetah with a rocketpack attached to it.

One day you will wake up and there won’t be anymore time to do the things you’ve always wanted – do it now.

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

Action step: Whenever you screw up, take a step back and laugh. Seriously, laugh. Did you die? If you’re reading this then you’re still in the game. Revel in this fact and get back to being awesome because you never know when your time will come.

7) Find inspiration daily

Whatever you’re doing, a mega dose of inspiration can help keep you going, take it to the next level or transform it into something wild & completely different.

So find that inspiration.

The best part? It’s everywhere.

Read a book by your favorite author.

Get out and explore nature (watch out for rabid wildebeests).

Listen to a dope podcast or some awesome music.

Find someone who is doing great things and thank them, because if they can do it then it’s within your own powers of awesomeness to do it as well.

Do this and do it daily; first thing in the morning so that you set the awesome tone for your day.

Make yourself aware of what’s possible in this world and be surprised at how it starts to change your own life.“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Action step: Do one of the above things on a daily basis, preferably first thing in the morning, or create your own inspirational ritual. For some it’s horseback riding and jigsaw puzzles, and for others it’s daily meditation.

8) Learn from your past, then let go

Spaceships don’t have rear-view mirrors for a reason (ok, several reasons).Treat your past experiences as the best teacher of all, but once you’re done, you’re done. Don’t look back and expect to learn something new from constantly analyzing or “re-taking” that same class over and over and over again.The same issues tend to keep popping up in life until the lesson is learned. If that’s happening, learn it once and for all and stop the cycle so you can moonwalk forward into the rest of your life.

“Going over your past is like sitting in a crap film and watching it over and over and over and over again expecting the ending to change, when it’s not. It’s not going to.” - Jules Murphy Wyman

Action step: Identify a moment from your past that’s still haunting you. Set aside some time to really analyze why it’s bothering you and extract as many possible positive takeaways or lessons that you can (there is always something, no matter how it may seem). Use those to improve your life from that point forward and put the past to rest.

This could range from anything to diet mishaps to romantic relationship mistakes.

 9) Stop hiding

Be your unabashed self in all the best ways that you can. Take your own strengths and superpowers and amplify them.

By not doing it, you’re not only robbing the world of your awesomeness, but you’ll never be able to step out and realize your full potential.Don’t try to be someone else – they’ll always be better at it than you could ever dream of being. Life is way too short to be a half-ass version of something that’s already out there.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

Action step: Seriously, you’re theshit.com*, so start by surrounding yourself with people with whom you can really be yourself with, online or in person. Gain confidence from these interactions. Sneak bits and pieces that you feel comfortable with into your daily life. Identify what’s awesome about you (asking friends or those close to you can help if you don’t have the slightest clue) and start amplifying it.

*Disclaimer: Don’t go to that site haha. I can’t imagine anything good coming from it.

10) Be kind

Never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind gesture, sympathetic word or a listening ear – all of which are easy to give and cost you nothing. You never know what someone right next to you is going through, and if it will be the difference between a craptastic day and one filled with a little sunshine and hope.

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” – George Washington Carver

Action step: Be giving with your time, knowledge, money, kindness, connections or influence when you can. Give in such a way that the person who receives it can’t possibly return the favor.

 11) Be grateful

Practice gratitude daily.Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to chill and write down a small list of the things that made you smile, laugh, or that you’re glad are a part of your life. There’s ALWAYS something to be grateful about, especially when you look down at that list and realize that a lot of people out there have it worse off than you do and could use a few of those things.

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark

Action step: Make that list! I’ll know if you don’t ;)

12) Be positive and believe in yourself

Being an optimist won’t solve all your problems, but what’s the alternative? There isn’t much sense in being anything else.

If you’re constantly filling your head with negative thoughts, odds are they’ll lead you straight towards negative actions, self-doubt and increase the general suckitude of life by 10384398%.Suck City isn’t a cool place to live at all.

Think of each setback as a challenge to see the positive, spin the situation back around, making it better than it was before.

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

Action step: From now until the day you die, work on developing a positive mindset via positive thoughts and actions, and chase the defeatist and negative mindset out of your brain and life. Never say “it is what it is”.

13) Tell safety to suck it

Playing it safe is the riskiest thing that you can do.Do what everyone else does and your results will the same as theirs – average. And you’re better than average.

Be bold. Be yourself. Take a chance.

What’s the absolute worst that can happen? Death. Let’s be real though: what you want to do isn’t going to even come close to killing you, even though it may feel like it at times.

Use this to your advantage and run towards necessary risk instead of away from it. No failure is too large to recover from. No setback is too great to power through like a champ. Nothing hurts more than a death by 1,000 small cuts, letting each day that passes mark another day that you didn’t move closer, even if only a small way, towards your dreams.

“The world is full of people who want to play it safe, people who have tremendous potential but never use it. Somewhere deep inside them, they know that they could do more in life, be more, and have more — if only they were willing to take a few risks.” – George Foreman

Action step: Do something epic. Do something heroic. Do something awesome. Whatever you wanna call it, DO NOT settle for mediocrity. Do things that make the world better for you having been here.

Here are some resources to help:

The Flinch by Julien Smith

How To Be Legendary by Johnny B. Truant
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

14) Be present (thanks to reader Jordan Ayres)

With the humongous list of things to do and more ways to distract ourselves than ever, it’s easy to lose site of what’s important – RIGHT NOW; not sulking about the past or worrying about the future. The most important thing that we can get ourselves and others is our undivided attention.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

Action step: Be actively involved with what you’re doing. When you’re with friends/family, turn of your cell phone or leave it in the car if you have the habit of constantly checking it like you’re Superman on call (guilty as charged). Focus on one task while minimizing all other distraction that pull you away from it.

15) Treat money like a tool

Wads of flimsy, funny looking cash. Computer generated codes that tell us that those numbers in our online banking accounts are real. It’s wild how much meaning and emotion we attach to money. If I drop a penny, I won’t even blink, but if a $100 bill blows out my hand I might chase it through the streets until the end of time.

At the end of the day, money is just a means to an end. Nothing more.

If you’re grinding and struggling to make ends meet and buried under piles of debt, that’s pretty stressful. Once you have your basic needs met though, more money only makes you happier up to a certain point.

If you chase the dollar for no other reason than to make more of it, you’ll eventually slip and fall in a puddle of weaksauce and unhappiness.

“I can live without money, but I can’t live without love.” – Judy Garland

Action Step: Instead of buying more things, use it to create as many amazing experiences as you can for yourself and those you love. Happiness will surely follow.

16) Grow

Surround yourself with friends and people that are better than you in areas that you want to improve in. Learn from them, let them push you out of your comfort zone and it’s only a matter of time before you level up as well.

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” – William Butler Yeats

Action Step: Reach out to people that you want to learn from within your network or outside of it. Pay it forward and be ready to reciprocate when someone reaches out to you in the same way.

17) Quit the internet

Just kidding! But seriously.

The internet is one helluva drug, especially when you throw Facebook likes, retweets and all other forms of social media into the mix. It can, and will, consume more time then you’ll ever want to publicly admit., taking a large chunk of your emotions along for the ride.

On the flip side, I’ve made a ton of very good friends thanks to the power of the interwebz,  amazing people I otherwise would have never known. I’ve traveled to Ireland, released a product and will be hanging out with one of my favorite authors soon because of it.

Here’s how to maximize the good while minimizing the bad.

“Our brains are not wired to be made happy by the internet. Saying the web is important to your life is like saying that television is important. It might be social, sure, but it’s still media. It can help connect but it also divides in a very fundamental way.” – Julien Smith

Action Step: Use social media/the net to connect – and then take it offline as soon as possible. Talk with them on the phone. Send hilarious videos back and forth (hi, Kellie Davis). Video chat with them on Skype. Meet with them in the flesh whenever possible. Take it beyond the text.

18) Stomp out comparison

Think you’re strong (or good at anything)? Go on Youtube and prepare to be knocked down a few levels.

Someone will always be “better” than you at something, but it doesn’t matter. Be inspired by them, using it to push yourself further, and nothing more. If they can do it, it’s within your power as well while also applying your own unique spin on it.

DON’T compare your haves to their haves. It only leads a negative mindset. Rock your individual talents like a boss and let what makes you unique shine.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Action Step: Use that to light a fire under your own buttcheeks and to do things in your own unique way. You’re the only person you need to compare yourself to. Strive to make yourself just 0.001% more awesome than you were yesterday, and you’ve won in a big bad way.

19) Hug it out. Forgive quickly (thanks to Marianne Kane)

If you’re angry at someone or something, get over it – fast.

Either change the situation, change your outlook on the situation, or change yourself.

If you can the other person can talk it out and get over it together, even better. That ensuing feeling of relief and “ahhhhhhhh”ness feels amazing. Wrongs have been righted and balance has once again been restored to the force. It’s like make-up sex for your soul.

Regardless, let go of whatever anger or resentment you’re holding within yourself. If you don’t, you’re doing far more harm to yourself than anyone else ever could.

Forgiveness is for you, first and foremost.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Nelson Mandela

20) Be yourself

We all have something within us that no one else can duplicate.

Embrace it and let the confidence that you feel positively spread into other areas of your life.

The world needs more people who have come alive instead of wondering if they can.

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.” – Vincent Van Gogh

21) Rise

Sometimes you don’t win.
Sometimes things don’t turn out as planned.
Sometimes you don’t end up with who you want to be with.
Sometime you just don’t have feel like continuing on anymore.

So, what do you do?

Rise.

There’s a lesson to be learned in everything, and sometimes that lesson is to engage in the beautiful comeback. To refuse to be defeated and come back better than you were before.

“Why do we fall, sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred Pennyworth

22) Be the hero of someone’s story (thanks to Lou Schuler)

Husband. Wife. Friend. Employee. Writer.

We all have different roles that we play in the lives of people we love and care about. Our actions and how well we play our part has a direct influence on their life, so we better get in there and give our best performance. Wow them with how much you care in the capacity that you’re in.

Difficult? Yep. Worthwhile? Definitely.

Never underestimate your ability to be a positive influence on someone else.

23) Explore (thanks to Jen Sinkler)

We all have an itch inside, reminding us that we should be doing more with our brief time on this planet.

Most will ignore it for many reasons. Others will follow their curiosity and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Which sounds more fun?

You don’t have to make grand changes right off the bat. It could be as simple as trying new foods that you’ve been too scared to dig in to, or traveling to different part of your country. Gain confidence from these mini explorations. You owe it to yourself to explore and scratch away at the self-imposed boundaries of your own life, interests and passions and see where they take you.

And one day if your adventures take you far from your comfort zone, the possibility of what lies ahead scaring and exciting you at the same time, then you know you’re on the right path. Push forward.

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” -Alan Keightley

What ways do YOU bring positivity and happiness to your own life?

I want to have this as a resource for people going forward, so please add your ways in the comment section below and I’ll update this post with your suggestions. All props and recognition going to you.

The Most Important Life Lesson From Kill Bill

Whether you want to be a better lover, learn how to cook like a master chef or lose the extra fluff currently engulfing your sexy parts (like the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin), I know you want to improve your life in some way.What’s stopping you?Fear.How do I know? Because we’re the same, you and me. I’ve been there, too.From being petrified of getting on stage and trying to make a crowd of complete strangers pee their pants from laughter, not writing consistently and crying “writer’s block” to abandoning a diet early because I was too hungry, felt like I was losing too much muscle or a hodgepodge of excuses I used to cover up the fact that I was too scared to get it done.The worst part? I never admitted that I was afraid. I started to believe these excuses.To embody them.

To live them.

Each time that I fooled myself into thinking I was a fearless man who simply encountered insurmountable barriers, it became easier to fall into that paradigm the next time.

After years of this vicious cycle, I painfully realized that I wasn’t living the life of my dreams. Not because of anyone else or a lack of opportunities, but because of my own doing.

It broke me. Hard.

Here is the most important advice you’ll ever hear, regardless of what you apply it to:know your real edge and sharpen it relentlessly.

Your edge is the point where you start to back off, to rationalize, to bury yourself in the minutia, to buy into whatever bullshit story soothes your fears and gives you a reason to stop short of absolutely crushing a goal, leveling up your inner badass in the process.

In Kill Bill, Hattori Hanzō was the man. When you needed Japanese steel, a weapon capable of waging a roaring rampage of bloodshed and vengeance without losing stopping power, you called Hanzō. One does not simply create a Hanzō sword, however – such a creation is forged only through consistent, methodical effort and honesty.

Here is how to create your own Hattori Hanzō life blade.

1. Describe your current edge in detail. Example: I know I could be leaner, but I’m too lazy to consistently track my food intake.

2. OWN your current edge, committing to lean slightly into the discomfort each time you encounter it. Lean too far and the resistance encountered will be too great; lean too little and there will be no growth.
“A free man is free to acknowledge his fears, without hiding them, or hiding from them. Live with your lips pressed against your fears, kissing your fears, neither pulling back nor aggressively violating them.” – David Deida
Face your fears, hone your edge and create a life worth living. Don’t sell yourself short.
If you need any help identifying or finding your edge, I’m more than happy to help. Contact me via the contact form on this site.

Trutein Cinnabun Protein Powder: The 8th Wonder of the World

Back in the day, I was a protein powder fiend.

4 to 6 scoops was the norm, and I went through the stuff like the secret of life was at the bottom of those tubs.

And the worst part (aside from going BFP – broke from powder) was that I didn’t even like the taste after awhile. I drank it as fast as possible before my brain realized what sick things I was putting into my body and sent the eject signal to my stomach.

Long story short: low quality protein powder that tastes like dragon butt sucks, and I love y’all too much to not show you an alternative – high quality protein powder that tastes like hope, dreams, sunshine…and Cinnabons.

Enter Trutein.

If I told you how many times I’ve had the urge to stick several cinnamon rolls into the blender and create the world’s most delicious shake, you all would pool your resources to buy a spaceship and send me far away from normal people like yourselves, but now thanks to Trutein I can stay here on Earth and write fitness stuff – win!

Here’s what I like about it:

1) Taste – seriously…it tastes like a liquid cinnamon roll. A LIQUID CINNAMON ROLL! I can quit life now.

2) Triple  protein blend – casein (slower digesting), whey (faster digesting) and egg protein, making it a shake that you can have pre-workout, post-workout, breakfast, or post-sex if your sessions are that intense.

3) No proprietary blends – you know exactly how much of each protein source you’re getting.

4) Price – you get all of the above awesomeness for a low price, which says a lot with protein powders constantly jumping in price. Here is the best price I’ve found on the net and where I ended up ordering from as well: http://www.bestpricenutrition.com/trunutrition-sciences.html

5) Macros -
1 scoop = 120 calories
1g Fat
5g Carbs
2.5g Fiber
24g Protein

And now for the live taste test and review!

How To Pimp Your Programming


Your training split sucks. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. But training is the easy part. What’s difficult, however, is
recovering.

You wouldn’t know that though. You have no care for recovery. No care for logistics. No care for anything other than training.

What happens when you miss a day? Do you just skip it? Shift days around? Scream bloody murder?

Do you consider the effects of a workout done the day(s) prior to your current workout? Do you make sure a squat workout isn’t impacting your bench workout?

Don’t worry. We can fix it.

All of it.

Here’s how.

THIS AIN’T UPS

It’s all about logistics. The fine balance between stress and recovery. We pay taxes. We go to work. We do things that stress us out more than we probably should. But it’s all good because we relax on the weekends. We take vacations. We do things that help us recover, albeit less than we probably should.

Somehow, it all evens out. Somehow.

As long as it does, few of us care how.

Training is no different. We’re all relying on that somehow.

But it all comes back to logistics.

WHY YOU’RE VOLUNTARILY STRESSING OUT

Pretend public speaking curdles your pants, and you’re a businessman that’s forced to give presentations. Given the choice to schedule your presentations, would you: give one every day –or– batch them on one day.

The right choice here is getting them all done on one day. Otherwise, you’re laying a brick in your pants every morning during your commute.

Logistics.

On common training splits, the rage is to focus on one “big” exercise every session. The most common one is a four day split with one squatting day, one benching day, one deadlifting day, and one overhead pressing day.

But this is like presenting every day.

We don’t want to buy new pants frequently, so let’s rethink it.

WHY YOUR PROGRAM ISN’T IDEAL

Although we’re using the four day split as an example, this applies to three day templates too (although to a lesser degree).

In most programs, the “meat” is spread out. And by meat I mean the “big” lifts like squats, presses, and pulls. So every day you have to bring your “A” game.

This does two things.

First, it impairs your lifestyle. Who has time to date, mate, and get their hair cut when you gots to get your train on? Your life becomes a mix of “training days,” and “stuff needed taken care of that you don’t want to do on your training day because it throws your rituals out of whack.”

Second, it impairs recovery. Just like Mr. Presentation Man, batching makes for a less stressful life. After all, Goku took care of the Ginyu Force in one swoop. No rain checks.

It’s best to do damage when you’re prepared to do damage. If you’re up and ready, you might as well finish the job.

HOW TO DO DAMAGE WHEN IT COUNTS

Constructing a damage producing routine starts with opening your heart and choosing a few big lifts you love doing. This is very “Pareto,” in that we’re estimating 80% of your results to be determined by 20% of your lifts.

So limit yourself to four “big” lifts. For myself, a former skinny-fat dude, I’d go with the front squat, snatch grip deadlift, incline press, and chin-up. Although, if you’re a current skinny-fat dude without much experience, you’re better off with the conventional deadlift.

Whatever four you choose, they are your 20%. Most of your results will come from simply “practicing” these lifts regularly. Not always with gut busting, mind wrenching intensity either. Sometimes it will be hitting a few light sets. Other times it will be a spirit bomb of an effort, RPT style. The scheme you use doesn’t matter. Focus on progressively overloading them in some fashion over time. More weight. More reps. Less rest. Whatever.

HOW TO NOT PROGRAM HOP

80% of your results come from practicing the lifts chosen above. But the sad truth is that most people don’t even make it that far. They program hop before making consistent progress.

Face it. We, as a human race, have bad attention spans. Sentencing yourself to just four lifts for the rest of your existence, won’t end well. Most programs control every variable. Often times, trying “new things” leads to throwing “old things” away. But some of these “old things” could be one of your 20% lifts. We don’t want that.

Failure to plan for this, once again, comes down to logistics.

You’re going to try different exercises from time to time. Don’t ignore the urge. Just plan for it.

ENTER THE 242 METHOD

The 242 Method is a box of logistics. It originally stood for “2” lifts being done “for” “2” days of the week, after a look back at my training showed only two lifts being responsible for most of my progress.

The purpose of the 242 Method is to keep your focus on the lifts that matter most while condensing them into two days, which is unlike most templates that spread them over three or four.

Using the example already started, these exercises are the front squat, deadlift, incline press, and chin-up. So two days, every week, do these lifts with some semblance of structure with the goal being both practice and progressive overload.

Don’t worry. You can train more than two times per week. Three or four days if you want to, actually. Use these trips to the gym to have fun. Get caught up in bodybuilding pump work. Do your curls. Toy around with magazine exercises. Get jacked all around with low(er) intensity exercises, machine work, and isolation movements.

Don’t worry about training the same muscle on back to back days. You can actually increase your recovery as you’re flushing the damaged muscles with blood.

Here’s a template:

Monday: Damage Day / front squats, incline presses, deadlifts, chin-ups

Tuesday: Bodybuilding Day / arm exercises, back extensions, experiment with new things

Thursday: Damage Day / front squats, incline presses, deadlifts, chin-ups

Friday: Bodybuilding Day / arm exercises, back extensions, experiment with new things

Or if you’re a classic M-W-F person, use Wednesday as your bodybuilding and exploratory day.

WHY THE 242 METHOD IS SEXIFICATION INCARNATE

The 242 Method is fool proof. It’s pure sexification. You can try new exercises without program hopping. You can customize it with any popular progressive overload scheme. You can miss a day here and there, as bodybuilding days are easily sacrificed as. As long as you’re hitting your damage days consistently, you’re good to go. Compounded onto all of that, you only have to align the stars twice per week, not three or four.

And since you’re going to ask, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you want to alternate your damage day exercises, go ahead. So do rows one day and chins the other. Do incline presses one day and overheads the other. Deadlifts and squats can be swapped too.

STILL A LITTLE CONFUSED?

The entire structure of the 242 Method is exposed in an eBook so aptly titled “The 242 Method: The Anti-Program Hopping and Injury Reducing Strength Solution.” Since Rog was nice enough to let me violate his home, I’m going to give all of you sexy readers a direct link to download the eBook. It’s totally free. No strings attached. No e-mail bartering. Just the goods. To get to the download page, click this link. And make sure you shoot your questions below. Tell Rog thanks. And most of all, keep it sexy.

Anthony Mychal exists at the crossroad between fitness and athleticism. As a professional, he’s a writer appearing on the likes of T-Nation, LIVESTRONG.com, STACK, and Greatist. As a dude, he’s a self-proclaimed performance junkie that practices martial arts tricking. He splatters his ideas about building a body that matters on a weekly basis at his blog.

 

Intermittent Fasting Experiment: The Update

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been playing around with extended fasting periods (read the first post here). Here is the breakdown of how everything went down.

Fasting Breakdown

Here is my feeding window and below those are the total hours fasted from day to day.

7/11 – Eating window from 5pm – 10pm
7/13 – Eating window from 1pm – 9:30pm
7/14 – Eating window from 7pm – 10pm
7/16 – Eating window from 9am – 8pm
7/18 – Eating window from 1pm to 10pm
7/20 – Eating from 2pm to 9pm
7/22 – Eating from 3pm to 8pm
7/25 – 1 meal at 10am (non training day)
7/26 – Eating from 4pm to 11pm
 
7/11 to 7/13 = 39 hours
7/13 to 7/14 = 22.5 hours
7/14 – 7/16 = 35 hours
7/16 – 7/18 = 41 hours
7/18 to 7/20 = 4o hours
7/20 to 7/22 = 42 hours
7/22 to 7/25 = 62 hours
7/25 to 7/26 = 30 hours
 

Meals

The goal of this first 2 weeks was to just get through it successfully, so I also used it as a time to eat anything that I wanted, in unlimited quantities, for the sake of convenience and making the transition. This lead me to consuming lots of  of meat, some fruit and plenty of ice cream. For the next 6 weeks though, I’ll be moving into something more balanced now that I have everything locked down, which means lots more fruits and veggies.

Below are a large majority of all the meals I ate during this time, many of them ridiculous for the sake of ridiculousness. Not shown are a lot of bananas, a pint or two of ice cream, 4-5 mini tacos and a few pieces of steak that people gave me from a wedding that I went to.

Random Thoughts

Surprisingly, it’s much easier for me to not eat at all than it is to eat a reduced amount of food. When I go into the day knowing that I have to eat less than I want to, it’s a very different mindset entirely versus when I know I’m just not going to be eating at all, and that mental shift helps a lot. It makes everything very simple – I’m either eating or I’m not.

I’ve also become better at differentiating between mental hunger (for a certain type of food) and real “if I don’t get food now I’m gonna eat a chair” hunger. The latter kind of hunger is rare, and I’ve only experienced it during the 62 hour fast, and I suspect it had something to do with only getting 4-5 hours of sleep the second day into it.

This has also caused me to analyze a lot of my ingrained eating habits because I come face to face with them several times a week. Do I want to eat more when I’m stressed? Yes. What about tired? Yup. Bored? Definitely. Having this this “eating or not eating” dichotomy forces me to deal with these issues, and when I successfully come out on the other

Sleep is SUPER IMPORTANT during longer duration fasts. If I get anything less than 7 hours of sleep I find that my hunger is definitely more noticeable when it does pop up, and it also stays around a lot longer as well. Nothing that isn’t manageable, but  something to make note of. If I get 5 hours or less, I turn into a hungry rage monster and a nice dose of caffeine is the only thing that keeps huge hunger spikes from happening.

Controlling hunger during a fast for me is as simple as getting up and moving. If I sit around and think about food, I want food soon after – the body seems to follow the mind in this respect. Drinking a ton of water also helps (you can get freaky and add some sugar free crystal light or Hawaiian Punch to it if you want a sweet taste).

Energy is way up on days that I’m fasting, even during longer one and I find myself being able to focus and lock into tasks much easier. Libido and general all-around happiness is also up as well – high five! On the flip side, the lows are low, and if something manages to get to me during this time it seems to cause a deeper funk than normal and is harder to bounce back from as quickly.

My training is done with 10g of branch chain amino acids and 1-2 scoops of Tier 1 pre-workout powder, so all of my calories are consumed post workout. I’ve felt a noticeable increase in my recovery between sessions as well (at least for for my upper body). Even if I pump up the volume for upper body sessions, I’m good to go by the next time I train, but if I do the same with lower body lifts I’m usually still recovering for a few days later, depending on how much I killed myself.

I’ve managed to hit a PR so far during this phase with a 405 front squat, and I hit an easy 225 on the military press that same day. I’m not saying that the fasting protocol has made me stronger, but I haven’t lost any strength or muscle, and I’m happy with that.

On off days, I either sit around like a sloth or go out for an hour walk in the Massachusetts sun. Nothing else for cardio.

As far as meal composition goes, it ends up being a mix of moderate protein/high fat/low carb or high protein/high fat/high carb, all depending on how I feel that day after training. I estimate that I get anywhere between 160 and 250g of protein per day. Assuming I hit the high end 4 days a week (I don’t), that’s 1,000g per week, 400g less than I would usually be getting if I ate every day.

Social events are easy to navigate as well. If I’m going out to dinner or something, I usually know about it in advance and just adjust my fasting/training accordingly. Worst case scenario, I just go and enjoy the company of the people I’m with – the reason for getting together in the first place – and have a ton of water.

Pics/Stats

Weight – 189 lbs (down 7lbs)
Right Arm - 14 inches
Left Arm - 13.5 inches
Left Quad - 24 inches
Right Quad -  24.5 inches
Waist - 32.5 inches (down .5 inches)
Booty - 39.5  inches (up .5 inches

I’m going to continue this for the full 60 days because I like it so much. For the next 2 weeks I’ll continue keeping things super loose and not tracking my calories/intake other than with pictures, but for the final 30 days I’ll track macros just for the sake of comparison.

Any questions?

Anything you’d like to see me keep track of better in future updates?

Lemme know in the comment section below!

Zombie Survival Workout

This finale of the first season of I Must Break You is brought to you by my good friend and one of the most unique people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, Lady Leigh Peele.

When people want to lose fat, there are a variety of folks they can go to, but when they want to lose fat FOR-EV-ER, learning all about what goes into the whole process, they go see Leigh. While she’s technically brilliant, where Leigh offers the most value to the world is her expertise on the psychological/physiological factors and roadblocks that people run into during fat loss/maintenance.

Leigh knows I’m kinda sorta really obsessed with zombies, so she was kind enough to put together a challenge that would not only test me physically, but ensure that I would be one of the last fitness writers standing in the wake of the inevitable zombie uprising.

Here we go!


Sexification Note: You’re not gonna get me that easy, Leigh. I started with sexual intercourse. I’m sad to report that Stacey Dash didn’t have a chance once the horde broke through the door. She was left clueless.

First off, lets talk attire. Not having a shirt might be seen by some as a disadvantage, but I view it as a plus. Most chumps get grabbed by a zombie and in their struggle to break free end up falling on the ground only to get ganged up on by even more zombies. While a lack of shirt makes me more susceptible to scratches, the added mobility it allows me is more than worth the trade off. Plus it’s scientifically proven that zombies fear muscle, so increasing your jacktitude could very well save your life!

There wasn’t a chain link fence around, so I subbed in epic rope climbs, proving that if my life depended on climbing a rope to escape it would be game over for The Rog.

I also opted for head smashes over nut crunchers for the simple fact that zombies aren’t going around trying to fornicate with people. They’re trying eat their faces. In light of this mind blowing fact, it makes more sense to incapacitate their eating apparatus vs their sexy parts. As shown in the video, a series of rapid heel strikes in quick succession is the most effective way to curb stomp the undead into submission.

Do you know what else zombies hate? Getting punched in the face! In a world where guns mean attention and attention means death, you had best level up your melee skills if you want to stand a chance. Practice your kung fu kicks. Practice your hand to hand combat skills and DEFINITELY practice your Street Fighter uppercuts (AKA Shoryuken) – all of these will come in handy when going for the stealth kills.

After 3 rounds of this, there may have been  a few times that I contemplated laying on the ground, closing my eyes, and letting the horde of shuffling killers take me – who would’ve thought fighting for your life could be so exhausting?

Status: Broken

Intermittent Fasting: The Great Experiment

Courtesy of flickr4jazz

I’ve been all over the intermittent fasting lifestyle for almost 2 years now. After coming from a background where I ate 5-7 meals a day while trying to keep meticulous track of everything, it was a completely new and enlightening way of eating that completely meshed with my natural tendency for dietary hedonism and debauchery.

Recently though, I’ve felt stifled by both my training and eating. I was getting caught up in a rigid mindset regarding both, doing things because I felt that I had to, not necessarily because I enjoyed doing them. Should I train 3 or 4 days a week? Do I need to deadlift? What kind of feeding window should I adhere to? Should I eat higher fat or higher carb? What about muscle loss?

To bring some fun and excitement back into my training, I’ve  overhauled it completely, only doing exercises that I love or LOVE A TON, cutting everything else out of the picture (so pretty much booty, arms and upper back training all the time). Now I’ve decided it’s time to do the same for my nutrition, all for the sake of experimentation.

Gone are strictly timed feeding windows – I’ll eat whenever I want.

Gone are the days of keeping track of my calories and macros – I’ll eat whatever I want.

I love intermittent and how it fits into my life, so I want to do away with any self imposed rules and boundaries I’ve placed on myself, take it to the extreme in order to find out what really matters for my goals and reincorporate it in a less extreme manner once this is all over.

“Obey the principles without being bound by them.” – Bruce Lee

Objective: To fast for 3-4 days out of the week (only eating on training days) for the next 30-60 days without keeping track of calories (using only meal pics). I will also be monitoring the effects on my mood, body composition, strength and general well-being.

Updates will be posted every 2 weeks, including pics of myself, meals, workouts and detailed notes on all the above.

So, what’s the point of all this? Honestly, I just want to try something completely different and see what happens. If I lose a bunch of muscle and strength in the process I won’t be overly concerned since I know I can get it back later (and if I look like a badass despite that I DEFINITELY won’t care). I want to explore the role of true hunger, how I respond to it and the effect it has on me.

As much as I love science and all it has done for the advancement of this field, I feel that at times it can get in the way and make people frightened, myself included, to try different things just for the sake of seeing what will happen, so I’m just using my own body as an experiment to document & learn as much as I can along the way to pass on to you all, my Sexified readers.

Date - 7/11/2012

Weight - 196lbs
Right Arm - 14 inches
Left Arm - 13.5 inches
Left Quad - 24 inches
Right Quad -  24.5 inches
Waist - 33 inches
Booty - 39 inches

Front Squat 1 rep max – 385 lbs
Barbell Push Press 1 rep max – 215 lbs
Trap Bar Deadlift 1 rep max – 495  lbs (not sure if I’ll be including deadlifts in my lifting just yet)

What Do You Want Me To Explore?

If there’s anything you have questions about or want me to cover/look into during this experiment, leave it in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to include it if possible – this is your chance to live vicariously through me!

I Must Break You – Marianne Kane

For those new to the series, make sure to check out Nadine Brown and Nia Shanks attempt to send me to the great beyond.

In each release, I’ll be performing a new workout designed by some of the world’s best trainers and strength coaches in an attempt to…well, break me. This is just a way to add some variety and fun to my sessions (and give you something to laugh/cringe at) while giving all of you Sexified readers out there some ideas to inject into your own workouts every now and then.

Today’s entry is brought to you by the amazingly awesome Marianne “The Pain” Kane.

Marianne is the owner and creator of MyoMytv, a website that provides free workouts for time crunched humans using a variety of bodyweight and kettlebell exercises, with a hefty dose of inspiration from her own life sprinkled throughout. I went through the archives and chose this lovely gem of a workout to test drive, so peep it:

Complete 3 separate rounds of the following 10 exercises. After each round, complete the “Bridging Combo”. Use a 15 second on/45 second rest interval for all the exercises.

Thruster into Reverse Lunge (right)
Thruster into Reverse Lunge (left)
Double KB Suitcase Deadlift Burpee
Jump Rope
Super Plank Climber
Two-Handed Swing
Renegade Row
Stand-Kneel-Stand (right)
Stand-Kneel-Stand (left)
Roundabout Swings

Bridging Combo
Sub-Max Pull Ups
Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrusts x 20 (10 each leg)

This workout was made infinitely more enjoyable thanks to the help of my friends Nick Moore and Sohee Lee, who I somehow convinced to share in the pain for me Well, that and the short work interval. 

For the first two rounds, things went pretty well (aside from a falling over like a Goof Troop) on the Renegade Rows. During the 3rd round though, Nick and his sick, infinite wisdom decided to change the breakdown from 15/45 to 20/20 – a minor adjustment, but enough to cause me to hate life just a bit more.

My jump rope skills are pretty much non-existent to opted to use my invisible rope for this session since it would be more entertaining than watching me get 1 jump in 15 seconds while managing to snag Nick & Sohee up in my rope…actually that would’ve been much more entertaining – noted.

Like all good workouts should, this one ended in a lovely human front squat.

While this workout was a challenge, I scaled back on the weight I used (16kg & 20kg) since I rarely do kettlebell exercises and wanted to make sure I didn’t break myself prematurely. With that said, the rest intervals will make or break this one – had we bumped it up to 30/30 for all of the rounds, Marianne may ended up pouring out some liquor for her 3 fallen homies.

Status: Unbroken

Next week will conclude the first season of I Must Break You, featuring an apocalyptic workout from fat loss expert, Lady Leigh Peele.

I Must Break You – Nia Shanks

For those new to the series, make sure to check out last weeks entry where I nearly experienced the true death.

In each release, I’ll be performing a new workout designed by some of the world’s best trainers and strength coaches in an attempt to…well, break me. This is just a way to add some variety and fun to my sessions (and give you something to laugh/cringe at) while giving all of you Sexified readers out there some ideas to inject into your own workouts every now and then.

Today’s entry is brought to you by the one of a kind Nia Shanks.

Don’t let the smirk, amazing posture and incredibly cool t-shirt fool you, because somewhere out there in the world Nia is warming up with your max.  As a personal trainer, writer (check her out here) and author, Nia is committed to empowering women both mentally and physically through strength training, but she was kind enough to take time off from her noble cause to crush me.

Here’s the workout:

Squat 225lbs for as many reps as possible.

Rest 10 minutes

Deadlift 315 for as many reps as possible.

When Nia sent this to me I figured it wouldn’t be all that bad, but the smiley face at the end of her message should have tipped me off.  I actually liked this challenge…for the first 10 reps, and everything after that was just stupid mean.

The first thing that kicked in was my lack of conditioning, which I expected, then on the 11th rep my quads started to realize that they’d exceeded their 10 rep norm and start yelling at me to stop.  By rep 20 they were just rolling on the ground in gasoline soaked underwear on fire, and by 25 they were just dead.

I see why she said rest 10 minutes, because the quad pump was incredible, and as an added bonus my glutes decided to speak up and express their disdain for Nia about 5 minutes into the rest period, twitching like a psycho killer. Lovely.

The deadlifts sucked right from the first rep. My quads still hadn’t truly recovered from the squats, and each time I locked out my butt felt like it was being tazed. Eventually my grip started to give and I was finishing some reps without my glutes and started to feel some low back pain, so I called it before my form got too ugly.

The only good  thing about this challenge is that it was over in less than 2 minutes per exercise, but as any gift that keeps on giving I cursed Nia Shanks by shaking my fist angrily at the sky every time I tried to stand up for a few days afterwards.

I won’t feel truly Sexified until I get 30 reps on everything, so until then…

Status: Broken

Next week we’ll have a challenge from the illustrious Marianne Kane of MyoMytv and possibly a guest victim to suffer alongside me!

I Must Break You – Nadine Brown

Welcome to the first thrilling & action (or lack thereof) packed edition of “I Must Break You”

In each release, I’ll be performing a new workout designed by some of the world’s best trainers and strength coaches in an attempt to…well, break me. This is just a way to add some variety and fun to my sessions (and give you something to laugh/cringe at) while giving all of you Sexified readers out there some ideas to inject into your own workouts every now and then.

Today’s edition is brought to you by Nadine “The Queen of Mean” Brown

Nadine is a personal trainer out of Australia’s Matrix Boxing Gym and is the current Queensland professional champion in the lightweight division, so it goes without saying that she’s a beast and I clearly wasn’t in my right mind when accepting this challenge from her. Here is the workout:

Complete as many rounds of the following as you can in 30 minutes

20 Burpees
20 Bodyweight Squats
20 Pushups
40 Mountain Climbers (20 per foot)
20 Dumbbell Uppercuts

So, despite having the conditioning of a pregnant one legged elephant, I had several things going against me in this workout:

1 – I thought it would be a great idea to add this to the end of my workout, which consisted of heavy front squats, overhead presses, back squats and deadlifts. I ended up dropping the dumbbell uppercuts after the first round due to excessive shoulder fatigue.

2 – I’ve lived in the 1-8 rep range exclusively for the past few years, so doing anything over 10 reps causes my muscles to crouch in the corner in the fetal position wondering what they did to deserve such torture.

Combine all 3 of those factors and you have the Trifecta of Suck, which is what I did here! Despite sweating profusely and breathing like an awkward teenage Rog during the painting scene in Titanic, I managed to get 3 rounds in 25 minutes (had to get ready for a client) – not even close to good, but this sets the baseline for when I repeat this workout later on down the road.

Take not of the overall length of the video – that means I cut out close to 10 minutes of grunting and writhing on the ground. See how much I care about y’all?

Muscular endurance? Check!

Conditioning? Check!

Mental toughness? Check!

This workout had it all, and it broke me like a bad habit. Well done, Nadine – there is a small corner of my mind that will wince in pain whenever I hear the words burp, pee, or any combination of the two.

Status: BROKEN