Can You Know TOO Much?

Now that I’ve finished Jim Stoppani’s Superman program (final blog post, thoughts, review coming!), I’ve been looking at the rest of the year.

I know most people in the fitness industry spend time focusing on bulking during the winter months, so they don’t have to stay lean, I’ve been looking at what I want to do.

Bulking is easy. You lift incredibly heavy and you eat everything in sight. Especially if you’re fine with dirty bulking.

However, I’ve been on a mission to detox.

My body, my mind, my spirit. It all needs a good cleanse.

Elliott Hulse had a great video on this recently, about information constipation. Essentially, the keeping of information without letting it flow out of you.

This can be in many forms: learning without sharing, keeping too many books, too many bookmarked websites, and so on.

I dig it because that’s something I’ve been feeling recently. Even with this site and my multiple creative endeavors.

It’s not that I’m doing too many things, it’s that I’m not letting the information flow at a fast enough rate.

Simply put: I know too much. I’ve read too much. I’ve learned too much.

And in that learning, everything has had a hard time formulating into thoughts.

Pumping out content for this blog should be so easy. Fitness has been my life for years. I’ve learned so so so much about it. I’ve put my body through trial and error and although I still have a long way to go, there’s still something to be said for all that knowledge.

Yet, for quite some time I’ve struggled with taking all of that knowledge, compressing it into something to share, and getting it out there. I now understand that it’s because I am keeping too much coming in.

This is also where I believe negative people who know “everything” online come from. They’re so constipated with mental information, but they create nothing, so they hate everyone who can break past it and create something.

My only focus right now is moving to California. That’s it. There’s nothing else that is as important as that. I’ve got to get out of Denver.

What has come with that is laser focus. The ability to see what is helping me achieve that goal and what’s getting me away from that goal.

Learning more is not the answer. Keeping more books is not the answer. Sharing what I know will absolutely get me closer to my goal.

If you’re feeling stuck too, start by giving more away. Sometimes this means sharing knowledge, sometimes this means literally giving your things away, or just start by consuming less.

This election cycle here in America has everyone in a complete emotional and mental messy state, and I can tell it’s making people across the country exhausted and burned out. Taking a break from the 24/7 fear-mongering will do wonders for your brain. (Still vote, though.)

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My Favorite Fitness Resources

On your fitness journey, you’ll come across a LOT of people who want to give you advice.

Some of this advice will be wonderful, some will be horrible. The secret is to find sources that are reliable so you

1. JimStoppani.com

As my absolute favorite resource, Jim Stoppani has his doctorate in exercise physiology along with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut. (More of his credentials.)

Basically, he knows what he’s talking about. You can join his membership site for a small monthly fee or follow his free programs and advice all over the internet (primarily Bodybuilding.com). Not only did I see insane results from his Shortcut to Size program, but his supplement line is top-notch.

He’s fighting hard to end the lies that the supplement industry tells all of us, so we can demand better.

If you want the truth about reaching your fitness goals backed by real science, Jim is your guy.

2. Bodybuilding.com

Next in line, Bodybuilding.com. I LOVE this site and it’s where I refer most people who have questions about the fitness world. They give free programs, have articles on almost everything possible, and have the free Bodyspace community where you can meet like-minded people and track everything related to your personal fitness stats.

3. Elliott Hulse’s YouTube channels: Strength Camp and Life

I’ve written posts in the past about the impact Elliott had on my life, but almost any question you have about fitness, life, strength, how to eat for your goals, stretching, meditation, or anything else is on his channels.

4. ChadHowseFitness.com

While Chad’s site is primarily for men, it’s one of the few sites where I read the articles religiously. He focuses not only on health, but what it means to live a legendary life. The philosophy and purpose of your life is just as important as the physical side.

You can have all the physical strength in the world, but if you are mentally weak life will chew you up and spit you out eventually.

5. JazzyThings on Instagram

Jazzy has singlehandedly changed how I cook. There are not enough websites out there that show you how to cook food with VERY few ingredients. The brilliance of Jazzy is that most of her recipes only require a few items and BOOM. Delicious meals. They usually consist of ingredients you probably already have around your house.

Those are my top 5 sources I can’t get enough of so far in 2015. What are YOURS?

Why Everyone Needs to Pursue Strength

With 2015 quickly approaching, everyone is talking about new fitness plans, what they want to do, and setting New Year resolutions.

While I love goal setting, the problem with most fitness goals is that they are completely shallow with no real meaning behind them.

Some of the biggest feats accomplished throughout all of history were on the heels of an emotional cause.

I signed up for the Bodybuilding.com 200K Giveaway challenge. It is basically a body transformation challenge where everyone participating tries to change their body in about 12 weeks. (It’s also free to sign up for anyone interested!)

As I was writing out my plans, thinking up fitness routines and diet strategies, I was thinking about why strength in general is so important.

While most of our society talks about bodies in general, from pushing the “perfect” body image or the acceptance of all shapes and sizes, there is rarely a discussion about the internal strength needed to handle life in general.

Life is always there to knock you around, give you new challenges, and generally beat you up. This is what I mean when I talk about the importance of strength.

My definition of strength is entirely different.

We lack strength in America. Our leaders are weak-minded. School only teaches us to shut up and obey. Everyone is scared for their jobs. No one has time for fun. Breaks consist of substances and couch time with hours of endless Netflix.

The smallest stress breaks their spirit.

I can only be so harsh because I’ve been there. My own weaknesses in my life brought about the worst times. I saw myself as the victim instead of understanding I was simply a coward.

I needed internal strength to leave my last long-term relationship a lot sooner.
I needed internal strength to get better grades.
I needed internal strength to stick with a fitness program.

I didn’t learn about the multiple layers of strength until I read Elliott Hulse’s Four Layers of Strength ebook. (for free on his site!)

Strength. Resiliency. Character. Virtues.

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s important to develop them to their fullest.

I needed strength of mind, body, and spirit.

Compassion without strength makes you gullible.
Empathy without strength makes you weak.
It’s a ying and yang type of thing.

Strength comes in many forms. It comes in resiliency. It comes in having the strength to know you deserve better.

The world needs the strongest YOU that you can be.

So, while you go through and set goals for 2015, don’t forget to throw in some goals that make you a stronger person for your goals, your family, your community, and ultimately the world.

10 Things You Must Accept on Your Journey of Strength

1. You must dedicate yourself to your own journey.

For many of you, it will only be you on your path. Sure, it’s nice to have a friend along on your journey, but you can’t rely on other people to guarantee your success.

It’s hard to be alone, doing your own things, but understand you are the only one who wants their own dreams to come true. No one else wants it as bad as you do.

2. Consistency is more important than the details. People want to argue with me about protein and cardio but they haven’t even gone to the gym in the past two weeks.

Shut up and hustle. Then focus on the details, but never focus on the details before the hustle.

3. Getting your body in peak condition might make you hungry for other goals in your life.

Starting to change my body has made me aware of the other limitations I have in my head. It has forced me to set my goals even higher and in turn make me hungry for new horizons.

I don’t view it as a bad thing, but just be ready for possibly wanting to change your entire life once you realize what you are truly capable of.

4. You must trust in the process.

You can’t go from out of shape to ripped with abs in a weekend. There is a process that you must follow. Trust in this. Put in the work and show up, even if the results are slow.

You’re still lapping everyone on the couch.

5. Commit to the lifelong process.

This requires finding your deep “why”. What really gets you in the gym? Why do you really want this goal?

When I was going to the gym for aesthetic purposes, it never lasted long. A few weeks at best.

When I found myself at rock bottom, I realized that changing my body had more to do with creating a stronger foundation to rebuild the foundation for my entire life, well, I haven’t missed a gym day yet. Each rep now stood for a better future instead of just doing it because I felt like I “should”.

There will be times when the gym hurts. When you don’t want to be there. There will be times when you’re exhausted. What will keep you going back?

I want to find out what my body is truly capable of. I want to push it as far as it can go.

No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable” – Socrates

6. Setbacks are normal.

You only fail when you quit forever. If you keep starting again, you are never truly a failure. If you get injured, skip a week, cheat on your diet, who cares?

I know, I know, I just said consistency is important and to burn all the bridges on your way to your goal, but we are just humans. We will always have setbacks.

Just a few weeks ago, I was on a diet, but I allowed myself a girls night out and while I was only supposed to have a small meal and two drinks, I instead had all kinds of food and eight drinks.

It wasn’t in the plan, but the next day I just got back right on the horse with my diet and exercise. It was worth the break, and considering I only go big or go home a few times a year with my diet, why not?

I’m committed to the long-term process and know that this is a lifetime journey.

Always just get back on the horse.

7. Take advice from people who walk the walk.

There is a quote I heard a long time ago that I never forgot:

Only take advice from people who have what you want.

There are thousands of people out there who want to tell you what to do when it comes to diet and exercise. Only about 1% of them actually follow their own advice.

I follow programs from Jim Stoppani because he has his PhD in this and is ridiculously fit.
I absorb all the articles from Chad Howse because he’s walking the walk every day not just in fitness but in life. He just went on a spontaneous trip to Italy, a great reminder of how important it is to take action and to not just dream.
I follow Elliott Hulse (and his strengthcamp channel) because not only is he fit, but his blending of the body with psychology is exactly what I want in life.

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I don’t have what you want, don’t listen to me. Find someone who is living a life you want and has the body you want.

8. Real food matters.

Learn how to cook a good meal. Cook all your meals on the weekend. Be prepared! Stop being weak to your food cravings. Sure, a cheat meal can be great for your mind and for a break, but if you find yourself having a cheat meal three or four times a week, you’re not preparing well.

Learn where your food comes from. Grow a garden if you can. Stop eating so much processed crap.

9. This journey is about who you become.

Fitness will build your character in ways you never expected. The commitment and dedication will pour into all areas of your life.

You are becoming a stronger person internally every time you go to the gym. Keep going.

10. It will hurt.

Sore muscles, exhaustion, that last rep that burns… None of it is easy.

This isn’t a fact that most people want to accept, but life is pain. Life is about being uncomfortable, but everyone is searching for comfort.

A couch is comfortable, but it won’t get you closer to your goals.

It’s uncomfortable to pitch a new client, to ask someone out, to ask for a raise, to get in shape, to try a new diet, to learn a new hobby… The best things in life are surrounded by pain and discomfort. You have to cut through it to get to the good part.

Embrace the pain and discomfort and you will have all those things you always wanted.

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A Tribute to Elliott Hulse

November 2013 was the lowest of the low.

I had no money, I just went through a ridiculous break up, I was sick, my living situation wasn’t working out, and I was constantly quitting at everything hard.

Essentially, I had pretty much nothing left.
Rock bottom.
Drowning.
Whatever you want to call it.

I stayed in this sad state for a few weeks. Not really feeling anything, and just floating along, sinking deeper into depression with each passing week. It got to the point where I just didn’t even want to get out of bed, then eventually where I just wanted it all to stop.

Desperately looking for some kind of answers, I went to YouTube.

I had been subscribed to this guy, Elliott Hulse, for a while but none of his messages had really sunk in to my head yet.

One of his newly updated videos was in my feed, and I clicked on it. Then I clicked on the next one. Then the next one after that. I didn’t stop until I watched every single last one because something about these ideas resonated in my brain.

All of these new ideas were too much to absorb at once, so I just kept watching them over and over. For Christmas all I ordered were the books he recommended. I couldn’t get enough.

His first recommendation that hit me was to just simply pick one thing and stick with it so you could build the virtue of discipline. He swore that was one of the things that got him on the path to success. This simple idea seemed almost too simple, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I decided on finishing my work out program (Shortcut to Size) because after two embarrassing years, I never made it through all twelve weeks of the program. It was one of the biggest things that haunted me and reminded me how much I sucked. I never thought I’d make it past week seven (the point I always failed).

One of his biggest lessons is that it is not WHAT you get by doing things but instead who you become.

That lesson changed everything as I grew to understand it.

Now when I was at the gym every rep no longer stood for a better body, but it stood for building a better life. Changing my character structure. Making myself stronger as a person.

I learned that it mattered far less what it was that I did, and far more that I actually did the thing I said I was going to do.

This gave meaning to my work in the gym every single time I was in there. Even on the days where I accomplished absolutely nothing else, I made sure I went to the gym. Even if it was 11 pm and I was exhausted and craving my bed. Fitness become my lifeline and my hope to a better future because I knew if I could get past this hurdle, I could maybe create a better life.

As the weeks went on, I couldn’t believe how everything started changing so quickly.

The weeks, started piling on and I had no desire to quit. This consistency started drifting to other areas of my life without me trying so hard. I started to believe in myself again. I started slowly introducing some of his other ideas (like The Bow and bioenergetic releases), which you can find on his fitness channel: Strengthcamp.

Now, here I am. The farthest I have ever made it in this program and the end is just around the corner. I have never, ever made it this far. Outside of high school athletics, I never stuck with anything for nine straight weeks.

Through this journey, I can also finally hear my intuition that had been silenced after years of college and years of being told what I SHOULD be doing.

I woke up one day and felt like the negative feelings had finally left and I had once again regained clarity and purpose. That weaker side had been laid to rest and I can finally move on to bigger and better things. Things from my past have been left there and the weight off my shoulders is incredibly freeing.

I hear my inner calling; my Hero’s Journey, and with this realization comes a shift in how I will be living my life. I could not be more excited.

I also know I can finally finish the goals I set for myself. That I can start something and see it through. That I am finally on the path to becoming the strongest version of myself.

I am forever grateful that I discovered Elliott Hulse and his work. It saved my life.