Focus on the Big Wins to Dominate Fitness and Life

 

There are two ways to succeed with your fitness goals.

  1. Focus on every single little detail.
  2. Focus on the one or two most important factors and let the rest take care of itself.

The concept of the Big Wins was first introduced to me by Ramit Sethi and it’s one of the best approaches to every area of life I’ve ever come across.

Let’s look at two different people who are trying to lose weight.

Sarah wants to lose weight after having her two kids. She tracks every single calorie she eats, every single rep she does, makes sure she weighs all of her food… She quickly burns out from living such a rigid live and falls off the wagon. Then, like clockwork, she’s back on her schedule and falling off again two weeks later. She’s completely stressed and her fitness goals make her feel guilty instead of inspired.

Rebecca wants to lose some weight after she realized she put on extra weight while finishing her Master’s degree. She tracks her food for a week to get a ballpark of where she is. She writes out an average daily diet to carry with her so she knows if she’s generally on track or not. She doesn’t stress too much when she has extra food but she makes sure to get in every workout throughout the week and get enough sleep at night. She knows she could lose the weight faster if she tracked every little detail, but she’s inspired by her goals and can see the weight coming off. She doesn’t start and stop again because she’s not stressing herself out.

These are simple examples, but these are completely different approaches to goals that yield completely different results.

The purpose of the Big Wins is to identify the main areas that bring the biggest results and make sure you do them. It frees you from having to focus on the little details that drive you crazy.

Now, if you are competing in a fitness competition, it’s important to focus on the little details as well. In that case, you could use the Big Wins in the other areas of your life: relationships, finances, career, etc.

With fitness, the biggest pillars to your success are:

  • Working out most days of the week
  • Having a general idea of your current calorie intake
  • Getting enough sleep

That’s it.

The fitness world is a billion dollar industry that tries to convince people that it’s somehow more complicated than that, and it’s not.

Sure, there’s a million ways to approach each of those pillars (counting macros, Crossfit, paleo, and so on), but the basics stay the same.

When you keep your pillars consistent, that’s when you can focus on mixing it up.

If you skip 50% of your workouts, no program in the world (good or bad) will get you in shape.

If you only sleep a few hours a night, your results will suffer.

If you don’t have a diet that supports your goals, you can work out hard every day in the gym but you won’t see the results you want.

Being consistent with the Big Wins will change everything.

Now that doesn’t mean you have to change them all overnight if you’re just starting. You can simply pick one area and build the habit before moving on to the next one.

In other areas of your life, the Big Win approach looks like this:

  • With your career, you focus on meeting the right people who can get you in a position you want. You’re active when it comes to knowing if you’re in the right career at all and you rarely end up in a position or job you don’t want.
  • With your finances, you automate as much as possible: your savings, paying down debt, your 401K, etc., and you focus on bringing in more than worrying about buying a latte every few days. That means you are prepped for your conversation with your boss asking for a raise and maybe you even start a side hustle to bring in extra money.
  • With your relationship, you make sure you find the right partner in the first place. A lot of relationship stress comes from trying to make it work with someone who you shouldn’t be with at all. Once you do that, you focus on the big things that make them happy. Maybe that’s spending quality time together, maybe it’s putting your phone away when you talk to them, maybe that means a date night out… Identify the big wins and be consistent.
  • With your productivity, that means every day making a list of the three biggest things you could do to progress in life and doing them. It doesn’t mean a million tactics to become more productive, it just means getting the essential things done.
  • With your home, that means you declutter and only have the things around you that make you happy. Finally organizing a whole bunch of stuff you don’t even want in the first place makes no sense. Then, you focus on cleaning the “Hot Spots” – the areas where you’re around the most often.

Of course, with all of these once you master the Big Wins you can focus on the little details. You can tweak your productivity system, you can invest your money in the stock market, you can try different approaches at your job, but no little tactic will get the same results as focusing on the biggest pillars.

None of this is sexy.

Tactics, hacks, new equipment/gear… all of that feels sexier.

Focusing on getting enough sleep doesn’t feel as fun as getting a new pair of running shoes. Setting up a new productivity system at work instead of having that uncomfortable feeling of asking your boss for a raise seems sexier. Hooking up with someone new sounds way more fun than doing the work and thinking about what you need in a relationship.

I totally, totally get it.

Believe me, I am a tactic addict.

I probably have thousands of bookmarks of websites with little hacks here and there, most of which I’ve tried. Even with all of that testing, nothing beats focusing on the big pillars.

Take some time this week to sit and think about your big pillars in your life. What are the essential things that hold your life together? Are you giving them the right amount of focus? If not, what do you want to focus on first?

Focus on the big wins and watch how it all comes together.

 

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Best Goal Setting Tips to Dominate 2018

2018 is going to be a big year. I’m beyond excited and although I’ve covered goal setting on this blog before, I thought I’d share some of my favorite resources and articles for goal setting so you can get a find the right approach for you.

 

How to Plan and Dominate 2016

If You Don’t Believe In Setting Goals, It’s Because You Don’t Know How To Do It

What’s Your 20 Mile March? – from artofmanliness.com

Establishing Goals for Life – from artofmanliness.com

Truth Behind Your Goals (Career Building Habits) – Elliott Hulse video

5 Simple Steps to Staying Focused on Your Goals – from earlytorise.com

Stop Multi-Tasking and You May Reach Your Goals – from John Doe Bodybuilding

Fighting Mediocrity: Mindset and Goal Setting – from average2alpha.com

Use This 7-Column Goals Planner gSheet to Achieve Your Passions

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Goal Setting

 

Do you have a favorite blog for goal setting? I’d LOVE to read it! Leave a link in the comments!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Ah, fall time. Pumpkin everything is in full force at every store across America. (Full disclosure: I love everything fall-flavored.)

However, a lot of it is not good for our fitness goals.

Did you know the grande pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks has 49 g of sugar and 380 calories?

I’m not saying they’re “bad”, because that’s a big blanket statement I rarely like to put on foods. However, there’s lot of ingredients in one from Starbucks, and not a single one of them is even pumpkin. I mean, come on.

Cut the calories and the extra BS by simply making one from home.

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That’s my recipe! P.S. I’ve been sharing more recipes on Instagram, so you should follow me there.

In case you can’t see the picture, you simply brew coffee, then add:

  • 1 tsp of raw (preferably organic) pumpkin
  • Nutmeg (season to taste)
  • Cinnamon (season to taste)
  • Cream (as much as you prefer)
  • Sugar (as much as you prefer)

That’s it. You can adjust and add as much as you like depending on how strong you like certain spices or how much sugar you want.

Even if you add quite a bit of all the ingredients above, it would still be hard to come close to the sugar and calorie content in one from Starbucks.

Update: Jim Stoppani’s No Limits Challenge

If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know I’m a big fan of challenges.

There’s something to staying accountable, sending in pictures every week, and staying on schedule. That’s also why a lot of people hire trainers, so they can have that kind of accountability.

This isn’t going to be a long post, just an update. Some people have messaged me like “R U ALIVE?” and to be honest, some says I’m not sure. I quit coffee for a day last week (lololol, I know, a day) and regretted it immediately. (If you do want to stay updated, come say hi on Instagram!)

If you have a problem staying consistent (a problem most people have), few things beat a challenge to stay focused.

Fitness is the things that keeps my entire life on track. When I’m lifting, things are going well. When I’m not, I’ve noticed I seem to struggle to stay organized and focused. I’m not sure if it’s the consistency or the stress relief that comes from lifting every morning, but it’s just one of the to-do’s that’s part of the foundation of a happy life for me.

I’m not sure if I’ll be updating the challenge weekly or just do a wrap-up at the end, but either way, you’re welcome to join me!

What You Need to Know About Fish Oil

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Most of us are aware that fish oil is good. It helps your joints, your brain, reducing risks of diabetes, arthritis, it can help your mood… the list goes on.

However, in my never-ending quest to call out the supplement industry on the amount of BS they sell consumers, there are so many horrible fish oil supplements out there.

Right off the bat, according to Labdoor, most fish oils are not even accurate in their labeling. Take a look: here. I’m not a fan of wasting money, and I’m sure you aren’t either. If one of the supplements you take is at the bottom of the list, don’t buy that brand again.

Keep in mind, Labdoor mainly tests for label accuracy and chemicals that hurt your body in the supplement. That DOESN’T mean the ones at the top of the list provide enough omega-3’s, it just simply testing if you are getting what the label says you are.

So, don’t just go to the top of the list and assume those are the best there is.

Why you need omega-3’s

Your body can’t produce omega-3’s. It’s something you need to get in a supplement. Of course, ideally you’d be getting it from your food each day, but not everyone can afford eating quality fish each day. Not to mention, a lot of fish is farmed (which can be good or bad depending on the fish), has mercury, or the label is lying. (Source #1, Source #2.)

^ Seriously, though. You should read those articles. As a passionate sushi-eater, it makes me livid. I haven’t figured out how to guarantee that your fish is what it says it is, but the day I do I’ll be blogging about it.

The benefits of omega-3’s

“University of Pittsburgh researchers recently reported that in adults age 35-54, the higher their blood levels of DHA, the better their performance on tests of nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary.” Source.

Fish oil can also help your body fight against air pollution. Source. For me, this is huge. I live in Denver and am moving to Los Angeles within the next year. Both cities have horrible air pollution, basically where the recommended level is “Don’t go outside” every single day. (Yeah, you won’t find that on a travel guide.)

For lifters, fish oil has also been shown to help with muscle-building. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why or how, but they believe it has something to do with assisting muscle protein synthesis.

How much you need

Generally, you need 1,500 mg of DHA and 1,500 of EPA per day.

Now, when you look at most fish oils, they barely have ~100-150 DHA per pill. So yes, you’d need to take a lot of pills to get your daily amount. Also, most brands will make claims like, “Doctors only recommend 300 DHA and EPA a day,” which is not true. They just want to claim their amount is right.

How can they do that? “The FDA does not regulate omega-3 dosages, and the manufacturer is responsible for determining that the serving sizes recommended are safe for the public. FDA approval is not needed to sell any dietary supplements containing omega-3, provided these ingredients were approved for use before 1994.” (Source.) THIS is exactly why I eye-roll at so much of the supplement industry.

However, there are also rarely any pills with an equal amount of DHA and EPA, so you basically are stuck either overdosing or underdosing for each.

In case you’re like, “WHAT DO I TAKE?”, I take Jim Stoppani’s Omega Jym. I’m not linking it because I don’t want anyone to think I’m getting some kind of monetary kick back for writing this. That’s truly what I take. In 4 pills I get everything I need daily and on days where I go on a sushi binge or eat fish, I cut back.

What else you need to know

You can also take your fish oil in liquid form. Not everyone can or likes to swallow pills daily. Here’s some info on liquid vs pill fish oil.

There are also vegetarian options out there for omega-3’s, but that would require additional research depending on what you’re looking for.

Be sure to read the entire label. Most companies include other BS into their supplements.

For example, a quick google search of algae omega-3’s as an alternative brought up a pill that has carrageenan and caramel color as additional ingredients. You just want a fish oil, why do they feel the need to add an essay of other ingredients?

My goal is always to arm you with the information, research, and studies you need to know so you can make the best decision for you and your health.