What Is Showing Up In The Gym Is Showing Up In Your Life

Before we move on with this post, you need to watch this:

Pretty heavy stuff, huh?

2013 was a terrible year for me. Professionally, I never had a surplus of clients. My bills were trying to kill me. My relationship ended. I never finished all twelve weeks of my training program. Of all the websites I own, only one gained any traction. I got sick a lot. I ate like shit throughout most of the year. I started and stopped countless things that would have made my life better.

And you know who is to blame for all of that?

Me.

Sure, it would be easy to point my finger at everything else and make excuses, but I can’t justify any of them.

Hesitating, quitting, being a sissy… It showed up in every area of my life in 2013, especially in the gym.

Being real and taking personal responsibility is incredibly freeing, although it feels shitty in the beginning. Once you take personal responsibility and accept your situation, then you can see where you also have the power to change it.

If you get yourself in a bad situation, you can get yourself out of it, and that is incredibly freeing. I’m also throwing this post out there so I can look back on it when 2015 rolls around and I realize that my life is completely different, and it all started right here, right now.

No magical fairy will ever drop in out of the sky, giving you all of the things you want. You have to get out there and make them happen.

Here’s to dominating the gym and then life in 2014.

Motivation Doesn’t Matter? Of COURSE It Does

Consistency and habits are the building blocks to success.

BUT building those traits requires motivation to start. Let me explain:

Willpower is a depleting force. The more decisions in your day, the less strength you have for the better decisions. (You can read the fascinating research: here.)

Essentially, with each decision you make throughout your day, a percentage of your willpower goes does down so by the time you get home after work, you don’t have enough willpower to fight against those cookies and binging on Netflix.

This is why building healthy habits is so essential to a healthy life.

Once you’re in the habit of health, you don’t have to give as much effort to the decision. They just become automatic.

Building habits

But let’s talk about the stages before something becomes a habit.

Others may disagree, but I rank motivation as the #1 spot when trying to build a habit. Why? Because when I’m feeling lazy, my own internal willpower won’t get me to make a good decision, especially if I’m tired.

So, when I’m in the beginning stages of building a new habit, motivation is what gets me through those first 30 days before it becomes automatic.

If I just relied on my own willpower, I would fail. Guaranteed.

I’ll also bet that you haven’t stuck to various programs throughout the year. What usually happens is that people get motivated once, swear to start working out, keep the motivation for about a week maybe two, then quit.

Finding YOUR motivation

Finding your type of motivation is also extremely important.

Ask yourself: “What gets me up and going after watching/reading/thinking _____?”

Some people get motivated by looking at pictures on Pinterest.
Some people think about their kids and wanting to stay around for them.
Some people get motivated after having a horrible health event.
Some people need a friend to do it with them.
Some people need to join a team to have that competitive aspect.

For myself, I perform above and beyond when I have a tough coach on my ass pushing me to go to the next level, reminding me that one day I’ll be dead so it’s now or never.

Not everyone gets motivated like I do, and that’s fine, but you HAVE to prepare.

I know, I know. You just got off of work and you’re exhausted. The last thing you want to do is think about fitness and going to the gym, but I promise you that if you just start watching/listening to/thinking about your deepest motivation, you’ll find the energy where there wasn’t any before.

One way I used to hack my motivation during a really tough time when I couldn’t find it in me to get to the gym was to leave something ridiculously important to my work in my gym locker, so I had to go to the gym.

Whatever gets you going, you need it to keep the gas in the tank while you build the foundations of your new habits. DON’T just rely on your own willpower to get you through it.

What gets YOU motivated? Leave a comment below!

Shortcut to Size: Week 3

Week 3 was definitely an interesting time!

This week began the drop sets on the last sets of each exercise. Well, RIP muscles is really all I have to say about that.

This was was my first slip week where I didn’t track my food as closely and I think I was under the calorie mark some days. Eating 1,800+ calories is no joke for sure. I literally had to buy bacon (turkey bacon!) to try and get as much protein and as many calories that I need.

But, I sat down and realized that by not keeping my food diary out in the open, I just simply haven’t formed the habit of doing it all the time yet. So, it is now safely out on my desk ready to fill in at any given moment!

Also, this week I took body measurements so by the end of this week, I can talk about any gains that happen.

I’m really pumped for week 4 because it’s serious heavy lifting (3-5 reps) which I just love… except for the next day when I’m too sore to even blink. Ha!

I had to actually add in forearm exercises throughout the week because my grip strength can’t keep up with how much weight I’m lifting. On many of my muscle groups I am up 20+ lbs in my sets… seriously, this program is that good.

I’m hoping to actually do a video update soon and bring some pictures into the mix to show you the results so far.

For all of my friends out there still doing Shortcut to Size, how is it going for you and what phase are you in?

Shortcut to Size: Week 2

Week 2 of Shortcut to Size has been absolutely no joke.

Let’s just say this week I have been limping around my house like a grandma… but I won’t lie that I’d do it all again to get the results that I have seen this week!

This one is going to be a short update compared to my update about Week 1 which you can read here.

What I learned from this week was that on the days I didn’t eat my full total number of calories, I was so much more sore than I was on the days that I did hit my goal.

Plus, thanks to Jim Stoppani, the creator of the program, my lower crossed syndrome (a forward hip tilt), is starting to come back to normal for the first time in years due to the strengthening of my abs and my hamstrings. Simply incredible. My lower back pain is starting to fade and I can’t begin to explain how much of a gift this is.

I’m hoping at the end of week three to take some pictures because I really want to document this process since the results are absolutely insane.

Not to mention, this week I had a blast lifting stronger weights than half of the boys in the gym.

Like I said, the results are no joke! If you want a real program with real results, this is the program to try.

Shortcut to Size: Week 1

Starting Jim Stoppani’s program, Shortcut to Size, has been the absolute best fitness program I have ever been on.

For those of you who don’t know who Jim Stoppani is, let me give you the short summary: He has his doctorate in exercise physiology, and when you finally realize that all the workout ideas you get from Pinterest don’t work, you follow his proven system to get the results you want.

The Program:

The best part about this program, is that it is free to download (See: Here). There are absolutely zero tricks or gimmicks to this plan, and you can sign up for his free weekly newsletter, but only if you actually choose to. I would recommend signing up for the free newsletter from Jim only because: 1. It’s not spammy, you actually only get the e-mail once a week. 2. The videos in the newsletter help you understand what he’s asking you to do.

I won’t go into too much detail about the program, he can explain it better than I can.

My Personal Considerations:

For myself, I have upper crossed syndrome and lower crossed syndrome which is from years and years of writing and studying to get my college degree while sitting at a desk. Basically, my neck leans forward, which created a rounding out in my upper back and for my chest muscles to be shortened and tighter, and my lower back has an arch in it from my hips tilting forward.

Thankfully, this is all reversible, it’s just a matter of tightening and loosening some muscles.

So, I had to take this all into account with this program. I was determined to start this program, since I had seen on Jim Stoppani’s Twitter  how many people were seeing results, but I went through to make small tweaks here and there to get the program to work with my weak muscles. Essentially, for me it was important to not do as many chest exercises as the program has and include some mid-trapezious work along with lots and lots and lots of stretching for those tight muscles.

What works:

The biggest problem for so many females I meet when it comes to gaining muscle is simply this: They don’t eat enough.

I’ll be honest that for myself when I was younger (and ever before working as a trainer) I had the mindset of: If I only eat once, I will lose weight. At the time, I had no idea this would get me all of the exact opposite results I was looking for. It’s such a shame this is the biggest message that goes out to young girls (and boys) everywhere.

For my weight and height, my daily goal range of calories is between 1,800 and 2,000. If you’re a female new to building muscle, I know the first thought you have is that you’ll gain a ton of weight, but let me tell you, you won’t. All of the calories have gone right into my muscles and I have seen tremendous growth after just the first week alone. It’s also fun to be able to eat huge meals and not feel that sinking guilt that so many females have issues with.

The best part about this program is that when it’s shoulders day, Dr. Stoppani has you work every muscle in your shoulders. There are no major muscles that get away with being passed over, let me tell you.

The Results After Week 1:

I don’t know any other words besides: holy crap. I have never gained so many results in such a short amount of time.

Between eating enough calories and the rest-pause on the last set of each exercise, it has been amazing. My quads are starting to pop out (which is a huge deal for me because I have the tiniest upper legs compared to my calves… Thank you all those years of lacrosse), my triceps are definitely showing, my biceps are getting some little definition, and overall I just feel strong and healthy.

I’ve only wrapped up Week 1 and I can’t wait to see what next week will bring!

(Updated! I included a video!)

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