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!

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Can You Balance Fitness and A Fun Life?

Americans are obsessed with a “balanced” life.

Recently I was browsing through the new books section at my local bookstore and almost every single self-help title was along the lines of:

  • “Work-life balance for the busy professional”
  • “How to balance it all as a mom”
  • “Work hard and have fun”
  • “How to balance it all”

While work-life balance is a great goal, the problem is that most people feel incredibly guilty all the time for not balancing everything.

They feel bad they don’t have enough time to meditate in the morning, that they skip breakfast, that they missed a night out with their friends due to a project needing to be finished, or any other guilt that sits in the back of their minds.

Everyone is stressed out. Look at any single day time television show: it’s about balance and how stressed we all are.

Sure, it’s important to make time for what matters, but understand that we’re all simply doing the best we can at any given moment.

My 27th birthday was this past Friday and instead of feeling bad about not having some “exciting” night out, I decided to finally say: Fuck it.

For years I went out with friends, whether I was in the mood for it or not, because of some idealistic reality-TV-driven standard of go big or go home. Instead, I just read some books, watched some movies, and got in some quality family time. I ate an entire pizza and tub of ice cream because fuck. it.

I don’t have time to meditate right now (that can also be read as: It’s not a priority right now), and I’m going to stop feeling bad about that. I skip breakfast often and I’m not going to feel bad about that either.

I don’t have it all balanced, and I’m going to keep trying to instill better habits but the guilt has to go. I’m done with it.

I’ve decided to stop feeling bad about not being able to balance it all.

Life is a spectrum. Sometimes you’re 100% all-in and dedicated to a goal. Sometimes everything is thrown off balance. Sometimes you just need to put in 14+ hour days on a project to hit your deadline and you miss your workouts.

Fuck. It.

You’ll catch up later.

You’ll put in extra cardio next week.

To be honest, I don’t know anyone who has it all balanced.

Even celebrities with hired help still operate in different levels of the spectrum.

If you’re feeling guilt over not having everything perfectly balanced, please take a deep breath. Right now.

Keep trying to balance everything, but if you miss something, STOP FEELING BAD.

Sometimes I’ve forced myself into the idea of “balance” and hung out with friends but the whole time I’m thinking about the work I need to stay up all night to finish.

I’m in a period of my life where I need to work harder than I ever have before and I am simply not going to feel bad about it.

When I worked at my old gym, not balancing everything was the top guilt-inducing feeling.

When a client was clearly plagued with guilt about missing a workout, bingeing over the weekend, or thoughts about not spending enough time with their family: their workout suffered every single time.

They were slower, less enthusiastic, and wanted to be done way earlier than they should have.

People walk around with these feelings all the time.

Sometimes you don’t even realize how pervasive guilt is until you stop and realize how often you beat yourself up over it.

Take a deep breath, know you’re trying your best, decide on your top three priorities, and don’t feel guilty about anything outside of those priorities.

Also, I’m going to start posting more videos on YouTube, so come subscribe: Here.

How to Set Goals for Fitness and Life

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Someone recently e-mailed me about goal setting and I thought I’d take the time to go a little more in depth about how to set goals and if you even should set goals.

This post gets a little personal, but goals are a part of who I am so that’s the only way to show you how I do it.

First and foremost,

Goals are not always necessary.

If you’re happy with your life, keep living it. There are a million different paths to a happy life, and for some people working hard and living in the moment is what fulfills them.

Most of the time on this site, I’m talking to the people who are unhappy and want to change their lives, their health, their mentality, or something else, and need that guidance to get there.

I wasn’t always a “goals” person. It wasn’t until I hit the age of 19 where I started to articulate the things I wanted out of life and the goals I needed to achieve in order to live that life. I was always ambitious, but I didn’t know how to map them out until I came across the book Wishcraft by Barbara Sher.

Actually, to be honest sometimes I deeply admire people who are perfectly content with their lives in every aspect. Goals are a double edged sword: Accomplishing them is one of the best feelings in the world, but having that gnawing in your stomach because you want to conquer them so bad takes away from so much of the present moment.

However, if you decide to set goals, need some new goals, or want to adjust the ones you already have, here’s how I set them.

What goals to pursue?

There is no one size fits all goal out there.

Goals are individual and no one should ever set them for you.

Of course, there are millions of ideas to pull from in the world as inspiration for your own list, but that doesn’t mean you have to do them.

One source I scroll through every now and then is on Nerd Fitness: here. (Also, note the comments as well. It’s fascinating how many people come to help you when you openly declare what you want.)

The biggest thing I’ve learned about pursuing goals is that sometimes you just have to start on a path to a goal to find your real goal.

We have all been inundated by the world on the things we “should” want, and the only way you can remove these from your mind is to pursue it and see how it makes you feel.

For example, you might think that you want abs (the most common goal I hear), but on your journey you fall in love with powerlifting and instead decide to pursue competitions instead of the abs, but you wouldn’t have ever known that unless you started.

Taking action is the fastest way to find clarity in any single goal.

What do you want out of life?

This is a deep question that requires a bit of self-reflection. Many experts start you out with imagining your funeral and what you want people to say at your funeral and work backward from there.

That doesn’t work for me, even though I’ve tried it a bunch of times, but I have a clearer vision on where I want to be in 10 years. Anything past that is a blur.

If you can only think to the end of the month, that’s fine too. That was always how my brain was during college: surviving through finals. Developing a vision for your life can already be clear or it can take time.

I’m in love with feeling alive, and the thing that makes me feel alive is to fill my body with fear every once in awhile. This is why I pursue and set goals that make me wildly uncomfortable.

Another note on goal setting: They don’t have to be fulfilling and meaningful. Feel free to set completely shallow goals because sometimes you need to get them out of your system.

Some personal examples:

  • I felt academically dumb for a long, long time. I never gave school 100% and barely squeaked out of high school with a decent GPA. So, in college for one semester I gave it my all, got a 3.9, laughed, and went back to scraping by. I needed to get that great GPA out of my system to prove I could do it so I could move on.
  • I want an Aston Martin. I’m not materialistic by any measure, but that car is a sexy ass car and I want it. Will I be fine if I don’t buy that car? Absolutely. However, thinking about driving it along the California coast on a gorgeous day makes my brain emotional, so it’s on the list. It brings no deep meaning to my life, but not all goals have to be life-altering.

If you want to buy fancy cars, date a supermodel, and have a six-pack all year., why not? Pursue what makes you happy.

I personally find joy in the balance of both service goals and selfish goals, but do what works for you.

There is no right or wrong way to pursue things in your life, no matter what anyone says.

Abandoning and adjusting goals

This is the biggest thing I want to discuss: It’s perfectly okay to abandon goals once you’re positive they’re not for you.

Here the #1 thing to know about goals: They should work for you and your life instead of you always working for them.

Don’t become a slave to your goals. I’ve fallen many times into the trap of continuing to pursue a goal that no longer brings meaning to my life. That is the quickest way to burn out and become exhausted.

You have to analyze if you’re abandoning a goal because you’re scared of achieving it (fear of success is real), or if it’s really not something you want. I have no answers for you on how to decide between the two, that takes quiet meditation on your end, but listen to your body because the fear will come up immediately if you’re afraid of it. Otherwise, you’ll think about the goal and have zero emotion about pursuing or abandoning it.

The biggest obstacle

I wrote a whole post on this topic when it comes to running your own business (here), but the bottom line is that the biggest things that will get in the way of any goal are the people around you and your own mental resistance.

With my birthday at the end of this month, a few friends have already invited me out for drinks and it’s hard to explain to people that I’m currently in a summer shredding competition and I can’t really have any cheat meals much less drink for eight weeks.

It’s up to you whether you share your goals publicly or not. I don’t often share mine on Facebook or to people who don’t get it.

It’s hard to explain why I wake up at the crack of dawn, work out, have a bland diet, write for five hours a day, and party very little these days.

Mapping out your plan

I wrote a huge post on goal setting and mapping: here. I stand by that as my total way to take a goal and break it down to the actions you need to perform today.

That’s all the advice I have for deciding what goals are right for you, but I thought I’d write this out since I know there are a ton of people who want to change the direction of their lives. I’m also going through this myself to decide on a new direction for my life. (See? Abandoning old goals can be great.)

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Priority Shifts, No More Off Seasons, And Working Like The Rock

“When you don’t know what to do, get still. Get very still until you do know what to do.” – Oprah Winfrey

That quote has been the epitome of the past few years for me.

Also, to be noted, this post is more of me writing to flesh out all the ideas I currently have in my head. If you’re going through a career change or another big change this might be helpful. This one is less about fitness and more about life. Continuing on.

Recently, a huge work project wrapped up and I thought about moving on to hunt for a new one. Instead, I stepped back and took a week off from any work at all. At the end of that week, I realized I still didn’t want to get back into hunting mode.

Sometimes, priorities shift internally before your brain catches on. New goals start formulating in your mind, and when you’re working so much it’s hard to step back and realize the priorities you have and the things you want have completely shifted.

That’s why I love Oprah’s quote so much. I’ve stepped back since the start of 2016 from everything to see what I really want to continue with and how many of my goals were me “shoulding” all over myself (<– A highly recommended post to read, BTW.)

My dreams of waking up in the morning, writing all day, and working on copywriting projects was over. I lived it, it was fun for the time being, and now I want something else.

My dreams and goals have shifted, but it took a long time to admit. Sometimes abandoning a dream feels like a break up. You’ve loved something for so long, you worked hard at it, but it just doesn’t want to continue, and that’s tough.

When you know something is over, but you’re not sure of the next steps, it’s important to quiet your mind as much as possible from all the thoughts that don’t help.

Worries about failing, goals you “should” want, superficial things, that writing degree you paid tens of thousands of dollars for…. All those thoughts.

However, do not think about it too much. It’s easy to think too much about life and in turn make yourself stuck with analysis paralysis. As I’ve been trying to figure it out, I’ve been active with ideas and really testing them out to see how they feel.

I want to get back into the health and wellness industry, move out of Denver, get to Europe, work on incredibly creative projects, live well, 5% less body fat, and above all create way more superhero workouts for people to use. (Actually, can I just create superhero workouts all day every day? That is all I want to do at this point.)

The second step for me, in this giant brain-dump of a post, is to dedicate all resources to making these newfound goals come to life.

This is a quick video from Elliott Hulse to watch on the importance of this next step:

 

If you can’t watch videos right now, essentially he says it’s important to mull over a decision, play with ideas, and think about your next steps. However, once you’ve made your decision, THAT’S IT. The decision is made, now you must follow through.

Now that you’ve made your decision, you have to stand in that decision. You have to become the person who deserves to have the results of that decision.

I have only half-assed my own personal commitment to fitness. This really stemmed from a place of not deciding what I wanted, not only in the gym, but in my entire life.

wanted to be lean, but I wasn’t becoming the person who deserved a lean body. The person with a lean body works incredibly hard in the gym, fits in the extra cardio, refuses to be lazy on any day except rest day,

Look at your goal. Who is the person you need to become to achieve those goals?

That’s the question I have overlooked on this new life path. The person I need to become to achieve my new goals is different than the person I was before.

Note: I’m not saying you need to be inauthentic and change your personality, I’m saying the virtues in line with your new goal are different, and you need to develop them.

Only losers complain about the results they have from doing the same thing they’ve always done. I can say that because I’ve been there. I’ve wondered why I wasn’t getting results when I wasn’t making the sacrifices and building the character associated with achieving those goals.

The work needs to be done. The effort needs to be put in. Nothing short of 100% will do.

I already achieved so many of the goals I set for myself at 18, and now at 26 and with a whole new set of goals, I’m realizing I’m back at the bottom and have a long way to go.

That’s why I’m going to set much harder rules on myself for the next few months.

I am eliminating any cheat meals, “off” days, and extra sleep from my habits until my birthday in June. It’s extreme, but I prefer to go all-in instead of half-in.

Not to mention, these new goals are much tougher than any previous goals I’ve set for myself before, so it requires much harder work than ever before.

Lately, I’ve been looking around at people who are living a life I want. Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, is one of those people that has the work ethic that I admire.

I’ll write more about this in the future, especially after I try a few things out, but his work ethic in unparalleled.

That’s it for now. This post is not so important to most people, but everything to me and my life moving forward.

The Rock is also worth a follow on Instagram for morning inspiration like:

 

 

Funny how things come back full circle. When I was 14 me and family were evicted from our 1 bedroom efficiency and forced to leave the state of Hawaii. At that time I made a promise to myself to do everything I could to work extremely hard to make sure we never see another eviction notice again. The only action I could take as a 14yr old punk kid was go straight to the YMCA and hit the iron. At that time all my heroes were big strong dudes who were successful – Eastwood, Arnold, NFL players and Pro Wrestling icons. That's why it was so cool for me to go back to the YMCA this past week, train like an animal and remember where it all started for me. Funny thing I realized as I was training that I still wake up every morning at 4am to train with the mindset that "the wolf is always scratchin' at my door" and that f*cker is delivering another eviction notice. One day I'll get the proper psychiatric therapy I need ;), but until then let's always be hungry, humble and always be the hardest workers in the room. #WolfIsAlwaysScratchin #ButNotAt4am

A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Mar 20, 2016 at 5:31am PDT

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Stop Being A Spectator In Your Own Life

Social media has made us all spectators in our own lives.

“Is this share-worthy?”
“Will this get likes?”
“I need a picture of everything I ever do.”

Look, I totally understand taking pictures for memories but there is a line where it becomes obsessive.

This is why I love social media, but I’m horrible at documenting my own life. I don’t feel the need to whip out my camera during every single moment and capture every single thing. I know I need to work on this so I can put out more content that helps people, but I also need to work on reducing the amount of negative content that is out there.

This also happens at every single concert I’ve ever been to. People are so busy taking pictures and videos that they spend all their time looking at their phones instead of the band on the stage.

They will have pictures forever, but you probably won’t see that band more than once or twice their lives. Instead of looking at the band, we’re looking at our entire lives through our phones.

I see this with people on dates, with friends, with parents and children… We’ve all become mindless to the world around us.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet. It’s the best blessing to humanity in years. We are able to communicate ideas and thoughts, create communities, and establish relationships that were never possible before.

Some of the best things in my life have come from the internet, actually.

However, there’s another side where so many people are so busy with their phones, they’re ignoring their own lives.

Instead of working toward their goals every day, they’re too wrapped up in what’s happening in the world. Whether it’s celebrities fighting, politicians being politicians, internet drama (because everyone is always outraged about something), your friends’ new baby picture… whatever, it all takes away from winning in your own life.

After any week where I spend way too much time online or on my phone, I’ve noticed this insane amount of irritation with the people in my life, no ability to focus, and less progress toward my goals. None of those are acceptable.

Instead of actually enjoying life every single day, we seem to have become spectators to our own lives.

Instead of being in the arena and getting our hands dirty with winning, we’re consuming life through a little screen and comparing our lives to everyone else’s in the process.

In case you haven’t read the famous “in the arena quote”, you need to:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

The point is, life is not a rehearsal.

There are no do-overs, we can’t go back in time, and we never know when it all ends. Maybe that’s too morbid for most people, but it’s a fact.

I have no hard conclusion for this post, just a reminder that life is short and we should actually have memories that doesn’t involve documentation or technology. Record what matters, help other people, and don’t worry about the other things.