Life Is a Battle – Stay Strong and Prepared

If you haven’t seen Cinderella Man starring Russell Crowe, put it on your list immediately.

When I talk about staying mentally strong, this is one movie I love to reference.

There is a fine line between being a positive person and preparing for adversity. James Braddock finds himself down on his luck after being a successful boxer and needs to fight through the hard times for his family.

This doesn’t require just physical endurance (he’s a boxer and also does physical labor on the docks), but mental endurance as well. To wake up every day, put on his outfit, and keep fighting for every single scrap he can get.

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This requires a different kind of endurance than just being able to put weights up and down.

On your journey to a better body, do not overlook developing your mental strength as well. There are a ton of people out there with rock-hard abs and zero ability to actually handle stress.

There will always be unforeseen circumstances that come your way, things that happen that you have no control over. Assuming that you’ll just “deal with it” when it comes is nonsense. You have to mentally prepare yourself for things around the corner that you don’t see coming.

Muscles grow with resistance, and the mind is no different.

There are tons of people who can’t handle an ounce of resistance. They crumble to the smallest amounts of adversity.

There will always be times in life where we must find that tough warrior within and battle our way through life. Something will happen to our families, our loved ones, or our own lives, and we must fight to pull ourselves out of the situation.

Instead of building the fundamental habits for a better life, people waste their time playing video games, smoking weed (I live in Denver, so this is incredibly common), scrolling through Facebook, drinking their savings away at bars, watching football,  watching reality TV… It’s all a waste of time, especially if you aren’t where you want to be in life.

If you aren’t making as much money as you want, don’t have your dream body, aren’t learning anything new, or progressing toward any goal you want, why would you waste a second flushing your time down the toilet instead of taking the action steps needed to move your life forward?

This is something I constantly battle, and so do most of the people I know. Time vampires are everywhere, waiting to suck the life out of you.

Of course, breaks are good, but at the sacrifice of your goals, any breaks should be destroyed.

Build your body. Build your mind.

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Before You Quit Your Fitness Plan, Read This

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The hardest part of any fitness plan isn’t the lifting and the diets.

The hardest part is staying consistent. Actually following through with your plan until the end.

We all start out with high hopes. We go grocery shopping to prep, we get out our favorite fitness outfits, maybe even splurge on new shoes…. but two weeks in we’re stuck.

This is where the excitement falls off, the pounds aren’t falling off as fast as they were, you’re sore often, and you’d rather go back to your old habits.

This is when you need to call in the reinforcements.

This process will help you analyze what you’re doing and get extra help where you need it.

Do you even like it?

I have always been a strong believer in doing workouts that bring people joy. I love lifting weights. It’s where I excel, it makes my body feel good, and it’s something I can stick with.

If I had to run, however, I would quit all the time. Running doesn’t bring me any joy and I would avoid it at all costs.

Look at your current plan. Is there something about it that you hate doing? Something that you find boring? Something that you dread doing? Then simply stop doing it.

Now, this doesn’t mean you get to just stop working out. For everything you take off, you have to find a replacement. If you don’t run, then do you like hiking? Or swimming?

What is your end goal?

Just working out for the sake of working out is not something most people can do. Yes, once you’ve gotten in the habit, it’s so much easier to keep it going, but building the habit requires more than that to keep you going.

You need to spend the time to find your greater WHY.

I’m not saying you need to find your life’s purpose (although it’s never a bad idea to spend time reflecting on that), but you need to find a reason to stay active.

Maybe you have an upcoming vacation that requires you to be active.
Maybe you’re trying to get off some medication.
Maybe you have an age milestone coming up.

There are a lot of reasons, but just going to the gym to “feel good” is rarely a good enough reason for most people. I trained a lot of people when I worked at a gym, and although it sounds nice to have that as a reason, it’s rarely enough.

Going to the gym and your diet is no easy feat. You need a stronger purpose to pull you through those hard times when you want to throw in the towel.

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Put a carrot at the end of the stick

The problem most people fall into is that they reward themselves before they finish a program. They buy new shoes, new workout gear, a fancy watch that calculates their calories.

Instead, you need to start putting these things after you finish.

Humans are simple creatures. We love rewards after hard work.

If your boss is going to give you a raise after a project, you’ll work hard on that project. If he gives it to you beforehand, you’re not going to work as hard on the project as you would if you got it at the end.

This is why trophies are given at the end of games. You need to prove yourself first, then get your reward.

Pick something you want really bad (whether it’s fitness related or not). Make that your reward by following through with your current goals.

If you don’t hit your goals, you don’t get the prize, it’s that simple.

I have found through the years that combining a deeper why with a fun gift is a great combination to keep people focused, motivated, and excited to workout. With some of my clients, if they were low on motivation or feeling extra tired one day, I’d make them visualize the thing they wanted. What it would be like to own it, use it, look at it. Really picture it.

It sounds materialistic, yes, but sometimes, when motivation is low, it’s hard to feel connected to that deeper “why”. Visualizing yourself playing a video game you want is much easier for our brains to imagine than something like climbing a mountain when you’re still 100 lbs. overweight.

Fighting the external forces

This part is hard to write, but it needs to be addressed.

Sometimes the hardest part of sticking with a fitness routine is the forces around you pushing you to quit.

Sometimes this looks like an unsupportive friend, family member, partner, spouse, co-workers, or someone else you’re close to.

And frankly? I don’t have any answers for this. All I can do is share my experience.

In my early 20’s, when I first fell in love with the gym during college, I used to work out at midnight. I’d go to 24-Hour Fitness, lift for an hour, and then soak in the hot tub/sauna for about 30 minutes. That means I’d be done and sleeping by about 2:30 am. My mother hated this. It’s not even like I kept coming home at that time and would wake her up (a valid reason to be annoyed), she just thought it was unhealthy.

She’d repeatedly tell me for months about how bad it was to work out at night. It took years and research for her to finally stop bringing it up.

The only thing I could do was power through and keep going. I had a gym buddy at the time who was always waiting for me, which was a huge reason I was able to make it. I had someone to be accountable to.

This is me extending my sympathy to people who have someone like a spouse who doesn’t support their new healthy lifestyle.

Just keep in mind, that a lot of these fears stem from the fact that they’re worried you’re going to get more attractive and leave them or find someone else.

If you’ve been in one habit or routine for years, switching it up out of nowhere is making them nervous.

I do have one huge tip though: NEVER TELL YOUR PARTNER THEY SHOULD JOIN YOU.

Nothing sets off arguments like a spouse telling the other one they could lose some weight or that they “should” go to the gym. DO NOT BE THIS DUMB.

If they want to join on their own, great! But never ever suggest it. Instead, encourage them to start putting time into a hobby they want to do and commit to helping them make time for it.

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Track your progress in multiple ways

Just tracking your progress by the number on the scale is a horrible way to get a bigger picture.

There are a million reasons that your body could have a different scale number than what you think it should.

Instead, keep track in a variety of ways. Maybe you get a calendar and put a big X through the days you drink enough water or stretch. That way you create a nice long chain throughout the month you don’t want to break.

Take pictures of your body. Pictures are SO helpful. Even if the scale doesn’t seem to be moving, you can visually see how your body is changing.

Measure parts of your body. This way you know what’s growing and what’s shrinking. Even if you can’t see the gains, measurements don’t lie. For me, it helps a lot to see that I’m gaining size on my little chicken legs, and that’s something the scale can’t tell me.

Try all these things before you throw in the towel on your new fitness plan. Never forget that the mental strength is the most important strength of all.

What helps YOU stay on track? I’d love to know in the comments!

Wonder Woman – Gal Gadot Workout (And A Bonus Amazons Workout)

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Ah, Wonder Woman.

The movie that changed the lives of millions.

Every time I think of the scene of Wonder Woman putting on the crown from Antiope and marching into No Man’s Land… My body feels something very real.

I’m currently reading Women Who Run With The Wolves, and in it the author discusses the idea of the Wild Woman archetype. It’s something inside every woman that we’ve lost touch with through the years.

It’s a lot deeper than just a woman out in nature. It’s the basis of who we are when we’re allowed to get in touch with our deepest feelings.

“The archetype of the Wild Woman and all that stands behind her is a patroness to all painters, writers, sculptors, dancers, thinkers, prayermakers, seekers, finders–for they are all busy with the work of invention, and that is the instinctive nature’s main occupation. As in all art, she resides in the guts, not in the head. She can track and run and summon and repel. She can sense, camouflage, and love deeply. She is intuitive, typical, and normative. She is utterly essential to women’s mental and soul health.” – Women who Run With The Wolves

This is something I believe Wonder Woman touches on. That gut feeling. That story that we all feel within our bones but we’re unable to articulate. The reason we feel restless most days.

I’ve seen a lot of movies with women kicking ass. They’re tough, they can shoot guns really well, they are great with stunts… but Wonder Woman was something different in a way I’ve never seen in film.

While you read through this article, feel free to listen to the theme music. (Warning: It will make you want to run around and start jumping on top of every piece of furniture in your home.)

If you’ve followed any of my character workouts, you know I like to break these workouts down into different parts:

  1. What the actor said about getting in shape for the role
  2. My take on the workout (I worked as a personal trainer for years, so I combine that knowledge with what the actor said… also because finding the actual workouts always seems impossible)
  3. The diet
  4. The mentality behind their characters, so you can use it to become mentally stronger
  5. The gear you’d need if you wanted to become the superhero

Gal Gadot’s Workout

If you want to cut right to the chase, this is what her trainer said about the workout and here are two women going through that workout so you can see how it worked.

Gal worked out for six hours a day for six months. But keep in mind, that also included sword training, horseback riding, and other skills she needed for the movie. So although 6 hours sounds intimidating, you could easily do it in less.

Overall, it looks like a lot of high-intensity whole-body training. Every exercise had about 6-to-8 weight training and metabolic exercises.

Each day, you could pick between the following (but be sure to balance each exercise out throughout the week):

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Burpees
  • Bear crawls
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tricep dips
  • Calf raises
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Overhead press
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Goblet squat
  • Hanging leg raise
  • Bent-over rows
  • Bench press
  • Rope crunches
  • Pull ups (substitute with lat pulldowns if you can’t do them)
  • Overhead squat
  • Crab walk
  • Burpee broad jump

Gal said she works out with two minutes of exercise and two minutes of rest. (Be sure to warm up, too! Gal warmed up with rows, mainly to keep herself safe so there were no injuries before filming.)

So, theoretically, it would look like:

Monday: Squats, mountain climbers, overhead squat, tricep dips, planks

Tuesday: Bear crawls, burpees, tricep dips, overhead press, hanging leg raise, burpee broad jump

Wednesday: Bent-over rows, calf raises, donkey kicks, lat pulldowns (or pull ups if you can do them)

Thursday: Deadlifts, planks, goblet squat, rope crunches, crab walk

Friday: Push-ups, Romanian deadlifts, hanging leg raise, bench press

Then add more exercises as you become stronger. It’s up to you if you want to do things in circuits or one at a time. Doing them in circuits increases your endurance and usually helps with weight loss (depending on your diet), or do them in sets.

(Circuit means you do one exercise, pause for a few seconds, then go right into the next exercise and when you’re done you start at the first exercise again. Sets means you do something like deadlift, then wait about 30-60 seconds, then deadlift again for about three sets.)

The Amazons Workout

Between all of the characters, the Amazons are a little more #swole than Wonder Woman herself. Now, to be fair, Wonder Woman is an actual super hero. She’s given superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods.

Also, to keep it real, Gal Gadot would have needed a lot, a lot, a lot of time to get as big as the other women on set (spoilers: not everyone in the movie industry is on steroids, even though that’s the common narrative that people say because it makes them feel better for not working out).

Don’t get me wrong. Gal is in incredible shape, but you can see a lot of the Amazon women had been training for years before they were in the movie. They’re #swolegoals for me.

Overall, the women trained for about four months together. (That video breaks down a good overall idea how their workouts looked. ALSO WARNER BROTHERS PLEASE LET ME COME WORKOUT WITH ALL OF YOU FOR THE NEXT ONE. They’ll never see this but COULD YOU IMAGINE? Okay, nerd moment over.)

A few of the actresses who are fellow Amazonians in the film talked about their past experiences in the fitness world. (The workouts are toward the end.) A lot of them were professional athletes, cops, and fighters before they came on set, which gave them an advantage.

To look like the Amazons vs. Gal Gadot in the movie, you’d train in a completely different style. If you want that look, your best bet is Crossfit or Olympic/powerlifting-style training. Basically, lots of heavy weights and lots of food. You’d follow something much closer to the Emily Blunt – Edge of Tomorrow workout I posted or Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size.

The Diet

When sites break down food for actresses, it always kills me. They almost never take into account someone’s height or muscle mass.

Gal Gadot is 5’10” and every website pegs her around 128 lbs. There’s just no. way. she’s only 128 lbs for this role. It creates an unrealistic expectation for women when they step on the scale. Gal herself said she gained about 17 lbs for this role, so she was closer to 145, so keep that in your mind.

Gal also said she focused on three main things: meals based on green veggies and protein, drinking 1 gallon of water each day, and reminding herself that food is fuel.

I love this approach.

Before you eat something, really analyze how something is going to make you feel.

Those cookies are not going to make you feel well in a few hours no matter how good they sound in the moment (I’m writing this while I’m on a cookie hangover and feeling horrible today, so it’s more of a personal reminder).

Food IS fuel. It’s the basis of everything. Start eating healthy and then have a day of binging and see how you feel the next day.

The water tip is genius, too. Most people do not drink as much water as they should. Period. I thought I drank a lot of water until I started measuring and realized it’s barely even 1/3 of a gallon.

If you want a run-down on different diets from the Amazon warriors: here’s a good overview. Basically, lots of protein, don’t be scared of fats (seriously, ladies, fats are just fine), and timing carbs around workouts.

The Mentality

Wonder Woman is an extremely complex character while at the same time being an extremely simple character. This is going to dive into the complexity of our world, and if you’re just here for the workout and diet, you don’t need to read any further. However, if you’re like me and you love to dive into the complexity of embodying a character you want to workout like and become, keep reading.

To get into Wonder Woman’s state of mind, you have to pursue truth, honesty, love, justice, and compassion before anything else. There’s a reason she struck such a cord with so many people: because we see these values as something lacking around us and within us.

This sounds like an easy idea, but to apply it at every given moment is not always easy. For example, in the movie we see her in a state of panic when she sees men injured from battle, a horse struggling to get through mud while is owner whips him hard (something she struggles to understand), and a mother and baby crying.

She’s overwhelmed.

This is so far from the world she came from where everyone took care of one another.

Look, I’ll keep this from getting too political, but it is politics/greed/fear/anger/etc that has made the world the one she wouldn’t recognize compared to her home. She loves everyone who is struggling and shares that love with the world and those around her. You can’t love Wonder Woman and consider her a role model without at least attempting to embody the traits she believes in the most.

Wonder Woman is ready at any given moment to give everything for the sake of helping someone.

When Steve lies to his bosses, she’s complexed. There is no lying where she comes from. They say what they feel and believe. Although he is a spy and uses it for the greater good, as you go throughout your life, simply think about the times you want to use a white lie to make something easier instead of speaking your truth.

Wonder Woman never backs down from a fight. She will always stand in her truth, no matter the consequences. She walks onto No Man’s Land because she sees no other option. It’s what she must do.

You can use the Wonder Woman mentality in your every day life.

Every day you can choose love over fear.

Every day you can get yourself to the gym because it’s what you must do.

Granted, going to the gym doesn’t feel as life-and-death as saving the world, but it’s also important.

The Gear

The Lasso of Truth. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can buy at the corner store (could you IMAGINE if there was a real lasso of truth?). However, it’s something you can mentally create by learning how to tell when people are lying. An interesting fact about the lasso is that it only breaks when Wonder Woman won’t accept the truth she’s been told. Accepting the truth when you’re told it is important when it comes to embodying everything Wonder Woman stands for.

Bracelets – Technically called the Bracelets of Submission, these bracelets are used to absorb incoming attacks, which is why she can use them to deflect bullets and anything else that intends to harm her. According to Wikipedia, “They were an original creation by William Moulton Marston as an allegory for his philosophy on loving submission and the emotional control associated with it in order to balance out the strength of the human ego.” Meaning, you have the power inside of you to absorb any attacks that come your way. (Okay, it can’t stop bullets, but emotional/verbal attacks aimed at you.)

Tiara – In the movie, the tiara is given to her by her aunt, Antiope. Diana only puts it on before walking into No Man’s Land. Meaning, she only puts it on when she’s ready to embrace who she really is and to pursue her mission in life. There are a million ways you could apply this lesson to your own life, but if you truly want joy, you must find your purpose and pursue it relentlessly.

 

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(Generic disclaimer: *As always with any fitness program, talk to your doctor first / see a trainer / it’s not my fault if you hurt yourself / please don’t sue me / you assume all risk / etc etc. Also, if any exercise ever hurts in a bad way, stop doing it immediately.)

What superhero workout do you want to see next? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list!

Lessons From The Gym – Why I Train

Today marks the five year anniversary since I started to turn my health around.

Five years ago, just before my 21st birthday, I discovered I had an ulcer that was basically trying to kill me. My habits were a mess, and that was the result of that. I hadn’t discovered any of my food allergies yet, I thought coffee was a complete meal, I had fast food every single day, I was running on about 4 hours of sleep for a year, my stress levels were through the roof, I was a full-time student with a full-time job, and I had the occasional cigarette to deal with the stress. My health was waiting to implode and I was doing all this way too young.

Blacking out from stomach pain in the middle of a park in Denver was my wake-up call.

I immediately went to the doctor and she said I had to reduce all my stress ASAP. I went home, e-mailed my boss, and quit. I also decided to not take summer classes that year.

Of course, I still had to make an income, I just couldn’t do it as an editor at a paper any longer.

I marched into my local gym, and due to a really nice girl at the front desk (who ended up being a really good friend all these years later), I was able to get a meeting with the head boss of the gym. He didn’t really have any other positions available, but I told him I really needed this job and I’d even clean the whole gym from top to bottom every single night. This got his attention, and I went right to work starting the next day.

Most people would think that going from hot-shot editor to cleaning a gym at night would be some kind of low-point, but it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I had never really been in a full-blown gym yet with all kinds of squat racks, machines, and all kinds of new equipment I had never seen before. I could blast the music, close the doors, and get to work. Some nights I wouldn’t even play music, I would just think. It was incredibly relaxing to have some silence with no phones, no one bothering me, and just time to go through each machine and clean it while also learning what it did.

I quickly worked my way up to being a personal trainer during the day while cleaning the gym at night. I’d walk home around 10 PM through the streets of downtown Denver, but instead of being completely stressed, I always felt better.

This was the first time I drew a connection between working out, spending time in silence, and overall life happiness.

These habits have stuck with me through the years until now. Fitness has always pulled me through no matter what was going on in my life. I didn’t start training seriously until about a year and a half ago, but I spent so much time studying and taking baby steps that I have spent very little time on any injuries or setbacks.

Now that my 26th birthday is tomorrow (the 24th), I thought I’d reflect on all the ways fitness has changed my life and the reasons I will continue to train until I die.

1. Being strong bleeds into all areas of life.

I have never worked out just to look good. I work out so I can handle everything else going on in my life. When I’m strong, I feel confident in asking new clients to hire me, making new friends, and sticking to the decisions I make. When I feel weak, I can feel myself shrink away from life and wallow in self-pity.

2. It brought supportive people my way.

Most of the people I meet through fitness are extremely positive and encouraging. I know it’s overrated to use the word “fitfam”, but there truly is an element of a fitness family when you start lifting. Sure, there’s a lot of rude people who think they know everything because they lifted a weight once, but thankfully they rarely cross my path.

3. I know how to fix my health problems.

When I wake up feeling groggy, have sore muscles, am tired throughout the day, or anything else that comes my way, it all has a solution. I diligently track everything I do, so I can go back to the past few days and see where the mistakes happened. Most people wander through life completely exhausted, aching all over, and then go to the doctors and get medication and surgery. Preventative care > everything.

4. Self-reliance.

I’ve noticed a surge in my thoughts on self-reliance ever since starting to lift. It started with being able to move things around all by myself. I’ve moved plenty of times and most of those times I wasn’t in a position to hire movers, so it wound up being me trekking up and down flights of stairs for a few days to get everything moved myself. It was never a fun experience, but I could do it on my own. I have no doubts this evolved into me starting my own business.

There is also something to be said for having relationships out of mutual respect instead of neediness. In the past, I had friendships and relationships because I felt like I needed the other person. This, of course, always ended horribly. When you’re needy, people can walk all over you, lie to you, cheat on you, and you take it. Two self-reliant people who come together out of mutual respect, friendship, and love always end up in a healthier place.

5. Studying the deeper parts of life.

Health is not everything, but without it, life is miserable. It’s a building block to build the rest of your life upon. When I felt better, I was able to think better. When I was able to think better, I realized an internal shift from less selfish thoughts to thinking about other subjects that interest me. Now, I spend a lot of time reading philosophy, trying to understand this life.

There is so much wisdom to be learned from our ancestors. Emerson, Seneca, Thoreau, Aristotle… You don’t need a mentor if you have the timeless wisdom from the greats. Understand your own mortality; embrace it. There is so much more to life than I originally knew. This also leads to the next point.

6. The desire for less.

Feeling content with life is the ultimate happiness. Knowing you have everything you need to life a fulfilling life, ridding yourself of the desire for “more”, brings peace. There are still huge goals I am pursuing, but I have stripped myself of my materialistic cravings and feel so much peace within caring for the things I currently have.

This also applies to my fitness. While every company out there tries to sell you on all kinds of supplements, equipment, workout plans, or whatever else, 99% of it is simply frivolous.

I say this as a recovering consumer addict. I wound up with more bullshit than I ever needed in an entire lifetime. Debt is slavery, and it’s something I’m currently at war with. I WILL win, but I would definitely go back in time to change that habit if I could. The only things I have purchased all year are protein powders, books, pens, and notebooks. No clothes, no household stuff, nothing. It’s all bullshit.

7. All of life has a greater meaning.

We’re here to help each other. We are not here to have the most toys or the most money. When I worked as a personal trainer, the best gift I ever gave my clients was the gift of reclaiming their health. By reclaiming their health, they also received the gift of life. Even as a professional writer now, I help people claim their voice. I only find joy in work by helping other people make their lives better.

8. “The more you bleed here, the less you bleed in battle.”

This is what King Leonidas says to his son in the movie 300. There are many variations of this quote, but the point is if you put in the hard work NOW, when you are truly tested in life you will win.

I meet a ton of people who completely crumble with any amount of stress because they never push their own limits. They hide behind their problems with drinking, partying, weed, vacations, buying things, or whatever else their weak souls need. Sure, there is a time and a place for celebration, but not as a crutch to deal with the things life throws at you. I love a good drink, but one of my rules is that I only drink for celebrations. I don’t ever drink because I’m stressed out. Sometimes it is an annoying rule, but when life punches me in the face, I handle it better and better with each passing year.

The same applies to everything I pursue. The harder I work, the more I practice, the more I train, the better I handle everything that comes my way.

9. Pursue the best version of myself.

This is a direct influence from Elliott Hulse (you can watch the actual video, HERE), but it’s basically the idea of growing as a person and becoming the best YOU that you could possibly be.

Another way to think of this: “Someone once told me the definition of hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became, meets the person you could have become.”

Younger me was always full of excuses. There were a few things I was excellent at, but those excuses ate me alive. There were so many times I held myself back from my potential because I had all these bullshit reasons as to why I couldn’t achieve them.

The real problem is that I was personally identified with certain character traits, and that was really what held me back. For example, I never defined myself as being “smart” throughout most of my schooling, so I avoided harder classes (except for Physics, which I took as a Sophomore because that sounded fun when everyone else in my class was a Senior), because I didn’t put in the work. I didn’t put in the work, because I didn’t think I was too bright. I’m definitely not a genius, but with a little extra effort and care I could have ended high school with a much better GPA.

10. Realizing I can reach for higher goals.

Once you break personal records you didn’t think were possible before, a whole world of possibilities opens up. You realize that you are absolutely capable of more. Life truly is what you make it. I moved to Denver with absolutely nothing, I put myself through college, I built a business, I added muscle, I changed my diet, I broke a ton of habits I thought were “just part of me”, I released people from my past… I never would have thought any of those would have been possible just a few years ago before I began this journey.

I’m realizing the boundaries of what I consider possible in my own life and I’m finding ways to challenge them. This is the top thing I hope to pursue throughout the age of 26: I want to challenge everything and see what is really possible.

I’d love to hear what YOU have learned on your journey of strength. Leave a comment below!

What to Ignore on Your Fitness Journey

Everyone will have an opinion about your life and your journey.

While it’s great to get feedback, many people start to think everyone else is “right” and ultimately get off track.

The fastest way to success is picking one path and sticking to it for a while before you decide to possibly change what you’re doing.

This problem plagued me for years. I would chase the new study, research, blog post, or expert’s opinion and get off track. I’d start with a goal, like gaining size, and start lifting, but then I’d see some new research about optimal eating time after a workout and think all of my work was going to waste because of this new information.

I’d get off track, and actually stop what I was doing because it wasn’t “perfect” yet.

It was ludicrous and got more off track than if I had just stayed with what I was already doing. There is no such thing as perfect and any progress is better than NO progress. There will always be new research, but if Arnold Schwarzenegger could be in shape all those years ago without 80% of the research we have today, there is no excuse.

So, that leads me to all the things you should ignore on your fitness journey:

1. New research

While you’re starting out, stay far away from all new information until you have formed the habit. Don’t we all know that out of shape friend who is a walking encyclopedia of information? Yeah, except they don’t actually apply what they know, and if they are it clearly isn’t working. This flows into #2.

2. Only take advice from people who have what you want

I want this quote on my tombstone I love it so much. Everyone I meet has an opinion on fitness. I post a status about going to the gym and I get a boatload of comments about what I should be doing from people who clearly are struggling with their own health. This is why I don’t have a relationship blog or a “how to work in corporate America” blog: because I am horrible at both those things.

3. Any opinions about your journey

Everyone will have an opinion about your diet, body, or routine. They’ll say you’re gaining too much muscle/losing too much weight/not eating enough/eating too much/having too much sodium, blah blah blah.

Get your information from someone credible and follow their advice for a few months, then look at your results and see what you want to change. As you know, I love Jim Stoppani’s work, programs, and supplements. He allows quite a bit of caffeine in the daily diet, yet half the people I know have a panic attack about drinking more than a cup. Let me do me, and you do you.

4. Anyone who says you have to buy something to reach your goals

No, you don’t need:

  • New shoes
  • A food scale
  • A new outfit
  • A program
  • Any fitness equipment
  • Any kitchen materials
  • Pretty much anything else outside your own determination

Sure, those things can help, but are they essential? No.

You already have everything you need to start living the life you want. It might not marketable, but it’s the truth.