Should You Count Macros? A Beginner’s Guide to IIFYM

If you’ve been around the fitness side of the internet for any length of time, you’ve heard of macro counting, also called IIFYM (if it fits your macros).

Once you know how it works, it’s not too hard to follow. The biggest thing is finding the right numbers for your body and your goals, which we’ll cover.

What are macros?

Macros are:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Protein

These are the three major macronutrients (“macros”) your body needs.

Every food label has these counted on the package, and the general premise of IIFYM is that you have a daily allowance of carbs, fats, and proteins that you must hit every single day.

1 gram of carbs = 4 calories.
1 gram of fat = 9 calories.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories.

When you have the right number of macros for your body, it equals the right number of calories for your current goal (weight loss, maintenance, muscle gain).

Let’s just cut right to the chase:

Does macro counting work?

Yes and no. (Helpful answer, I know.) I’ll explain.

We’ll talk about the problems first:

  1. Labels aren’t always correct.
    Calorie counts on food can be off by 20%. 20%! The FDA also doesn’t check the accuracy of food labels before they are sold to you. You could be consuming two hundred extra calories (or more) that you didn’t even know you were eating. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that on average, packaged food contained 8% more calories than their label claimed, and restaurant meals were closer to 18% more (You can read more: here). So, this means you could count your macros perfectly every day and still be baffled on why you aren’t getting the results you want.
  2. The apps that track macros can be wrong.
    I’ve tried MyFitnessPal a lot and it doesn’t want to play nice. If you make your own food and don’t eat packaged foods for every meal, expect it to be slightly off compared to if you figured it out yourself.
    Plus, if you have any food allergies (I do), the data on these apps for substitutions will drive you nuts.
  3. People quit too early.
    If you want to try macro counting, you need to stick with it for at least two weeks if not longer. Too many people try it for a week, don’t lose weight, and quit. Plus, sometimes you picked macro numbers that aren’t right.
  4. Macro counting does not consider other health factors.
    This is the biggest personal problem I have with IIFYM. People eat fast food because “It’s in my macros, bro!”, but here’s an article from a professor at Harvard University about why processed food makes us fatter. Yes, of course it’s mostly calories in vs. calories out, but I’m not going to pretend like all processed foods are just wonderful.
    There may not be enough studies for the internet science nerds who barely even lift, but I’ll continue eating organic forever even if other people find it a waste of money.
    If you have thyroid issues, metabolism problems, needing to avoid salt, prefer to eat less sugar, or just don’t want to eat a bunch of processed shit food, you can still count macros but just know you have to figure those other things out yourself.
    Also, if you’re a 24/7 ball of stress (like I can be with a huge deadline for work), that absolutely throws everything to shit. Stress/anxiety/depression/sleep deprivation all completely throw off important factors in your body that can negatively impact your results.
  5. Macro counting does not account for micronutrients.
    I always have used the analogy that macros are like a car: it’s the whole shell, the seats, the great color, basically the whole external part. Then, micronutrients are like the gas and the oil in that car. You can drive on almost empty for both of those, but the damage will catch up with you.
    Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to thrive.
    These are not counted in a macro-counting diet. That’s why I think so many of these “fitness professionals” suffer endlessly from fatigue, soreness, bad moods, inflammation, and a long list of other issues, because their cars are running on empty.

Now that you know some of the major problems, here are some reasons you might want to try macro counting:

Balanced dieting

When we just count calories (the common weight-loss approach), there’s no determination on where we specifically get those calories. Getting all your calories from carbs in a day is much, much different than getting a balance from protein, fats, and carbs.

So, macro counting helps you get those calories from the three most essential areas.

I know, I know, everyone always says it’s simply calories in vs calories out, but if you want a much longer post on why that’s not always accurate, here you go.

Essentially, your lifestyle has more to do with your calories than you think. This is why Michael Phelps eats thousands and thousands of calories a day but he’s not morbidly obese whereas the rest of us eat a few extra hundred calories here and there and see it in our bodies.

However, most of us sit for the entire day (whether we want to admit it or not), so we’ll assume that our macros fit within the average recommendation.

How many macros do you need?

This is a complicated answer. Through years of testing, the best thing I have found is to simply experiment with your own diet.

I know, that’s a super frustrating answer, but every time I’ve tried someone’s “set” macros, they don’t work well and I wouldn’t want to just tell you some numbers and you take them as the only possible numbers.

Macros can change depending on your activity level, metabolic type, body fat percentage, goals, and personal preference.

Mentioning metabolic type, there’s a book called the Metabolic Typing Diet that’s absolutely fascinating around the idea that our diet today is heavily influenced by where our ancestors came from. In today’s modern world, we can eat food from a grocery store that comes from anywhere on the planet whereas our ancestors could only eat locally. Depending on where they lived, his claim is that we have a certain preference toward certain diets.

That’s just a side note, and not something you need to know to count macros, but if you’re determined to learn, it’s worth a read.

But generally this is a decent macro break down, or at least somewhere to start:

1 gram of protein per pound (although I gained size eating less than that).
0.5 gram of fat per pound.
0.5 – 2 grams of carbs per pound.

Of course, there’s so many people out there who get shredded and look great on a completely different set of numbers.

Some people go completely zero carb, some have high carb, some have low or high fat, etc.

If something isn’t working for a week or two, change the numbers, especially in the fat or carb section (going low protein isn’t really helpful), but be sure to do one at a time. Don’t just drop both fats and carbs from your diet.

The BIGGEST Tip

It’s not sexy or fun like a cool app, but I highly, highly highly recommend keeping a food journal.

Just go to the store and get one of those cheap, big notebooks like you used in school.

It’s annoying at first, but after a few days you’ll be able to see your health from a larger picture.

Instead of just writing what you ate and your macros each day, also track things such as:

  • How you feel
  • How much sleep you had
  • How each meal makes you feel (your mood, your digestion, etc)
  • Your focus
  • Your productivity and energy
  • How stressed you feel throughout the day

Of course, you don’t have to track all of those categories, but I do and it’s been the biggest lightbulb.

For example, I thought I functioned better with higher carbs, but I realized through my tracking that I was always much happier and way more productive with a protein and veggie lunch. I’m also not such a raging bitch when I actually make the time to have a huge breakfast, not just a light meal or skipping it all together. It seems obvious when I write it out, but when you’re so focused on other things it’s not always that obvious.

I learned my natural flow of energy and what my body preferred to eat at certain times of the day, what foods were not working, what foods were working, how much sleep I needed each day, and I’m sure there’s still so much to learn as I keep this up.

I just quit my macro counting apps and switched to paper a few months ago, but it’s been the best tool yet.

If you have any macro counting tips or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Also, SUBSCRIBE, because I share tips and give free downloads for making your fitness journey easier.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Getting in shape doesn’t just happen.

No one wakes up one day and realizes all of their fat dropped off, they’re incredibly strong, and their body added muscle in all the right places.

It takes serious work, dedication, and planning.

It takes a lot of effort to go to the gym day after day after day. However, most people who do aren’t actually following a plan. They show up, throw some weights around, and call it a day. (Or even worse, they go, get on a treadmill, and think that’s good enough.)

Every time I fuck around in the gym, I rarely see any results. Sure, it feels good. Sure, it reduces stress, but anyone who wants results needs some kind of plan.

I have people ask me all the time, “How do I get abs / bigger arms / bigger booty?!” And I ask them what plan they’re following. Then they come back with, “I don’t know, I just go and do a few moves I saw on Instagram a few times a week.”

Well, that’s not a plan.

Today is Tuesday and I would bet most people have already thrown in the towel for the week. Their Monday was busier than planned so they swear, “NEXT WEEK!”

(Pro tip: Monday is always busy as shit. Prepare for this.)

Here’s how I plan my weeks for domination even though life is a never-ending shit-storm most of the time:

1. Look at your whole week.

Scripting my week has been one of the fundamental habits that changed my results in both the gym and in life.

Every Sunday, I sit down and put in what Stephen Covey calls, the big rocks.

The big rocks are essentially the MOST important thing to your life, not the little things that get in the way of your goals.

You need to own a planner of some kind, period. I prefer paper planners instead of digital planners, but do what works for you. Even if you use something as simple as a sheet of blank paper for your planning, it’s better than nothing.

2. Plan out your exercise schedule for the week.

Write out what days and at what times you are going to go to the gym.

I used to write down that I wanted to work out four or five times the week. Except days would tick by and I still didn’t stay consistent.

When I put in dates and times I will be in the gym, I rarely ever miss. Commit to a time and put it in your planner. Treat it like a doctor’s appointment. SHOW UP.

If you have a workout buddy, agree on a set schedule or time. If not, pretend you did. Pretend someone important to you is waiting at the gym and you need to show up.

3. Plan out meals and supplements.

This was really the game changer for results. It’s easy to forget your diet, when you’re supposed to eat, when you’re supposed to take your supplements… but if you have dedicated time to each one, you need to put it down.

I have a cork board right behind my computer with my supplement schedule clearly written out for each week. It’s the only way I could manage it all.

4. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

Cook meals ahead of time. Clean your gym clothes. Leave your workout shoes in your car. Make sure you have an extra pair of headphones in your car.

People who want to win at life are always prepared ahead of time. They don’t mess around because they want results.

When you have a plan, you know you’ll need to skip those cookies in the middle of the day because you already brought yourself a much healthier snack.

Preparing in advance ruins any excuses for failure. People love failure, they love excuses, they love to blame everything else but themselves for their problems.

“Oops, I forgot my workout shoes! I guess I’ll work out next month instead.”

You’re going to be better than that.

Don’t fall into the blame game, take responsibility for your success.

The path to success isn’t sexy. It’s not glamorous. It’s hard fucking work day in and day out and day in and day out.

Preparing your life in advance gives you all the room in the world to make your goals come true. When you’re prepared, you’re going to win. You think all the athletes who just played in the Super Bowl just fell into that situation? Hell no. They prepared and trained for years. They do the hard work without thinking about it.

Planning in advance removes all the stressful thoughts about, “What do I do now?” Instead, do the thinking ahead of time so you can move into autopilot mode.

Studies show time and time again that we only have so much willpower in any given day, when you reduce decisions, you increase the amount of willpower you have.

What do YOU do to plan and dominate the week?

5 Tips for Eating Healthy on A Budget

lessons

 

“Healthy food is so expensive!”

We’ve all heard that or been guilty of saying that, haven’t we?

The thing is, it’s not always true.

People look at stores like Whole Foods, a store that recently got in trouble for overcharging customers, and think they can’t afford to eat well.

Sure, Ramen is insanely cheap, but have you seen the price of things like McDonald’s recently? In 2005, a Big Mac was $3.06 and in 2012 it was $4.45. Are they insane?

(Also, I know, I know, economics/inflation, etc., but roll with my point.)

That doesn’t mean eating healthy is always cheap, either. However, there are tricks here and there to eating well and also saving money.

Here are 5 of my favorite tips right now:

  1. Ripe vegetables and fruit.

There are quite a few stores here in my city that offer discounted fruits and veggies (even organic!) when they’re fully ripe and only have a limited amount of shelf days left.

Instead of throwing them away, there are a few stores that discount them to get rid of them. People are so weird when they hear this because they think it means it’s like moldy and full of bugs or something. It’s just ripe. Chill, weirdos.

2. Specialty stores.

I just discovered this secret recently, but I am OBSESSED with small, specialty grocery stores. I have spent a ridiculous amount of money at this Asian market just a few blocks from my house.

Compared to the bigger stores, this small store has rice for a FOURTH of the price. I eat an insane amount of rice, so I am in all kinds of heaven. They also have boxes that contain hundreds of tea bags for just $3. IT IS HEAVEN.

Don’t be scared to try stores that you haven’t been in before.

3. Buying in bulk.

When most people think of bulk, they only think of stores like Costco. While I’m wildly in love with Costco, I also have learned that a lot of stores sell items in HUGE quantities through their online options. Which leads to point #4:

4. Online shopping.

You guys, there is SO MUCH cheap, healthy food online. There are so many stores that want to get customers hooked on their online shopping option that discounts are basically everywhere. Plus, having food delivered is awesome, let’s keep it real.

5. Meals that make a lot of servings.

Going back to my earlier point, I love rice. I have a rice cooker that pretty much makes everything heaven. Cooking a whole batch makes about five meals for the next few days.

Any healthy meal options that are just single serving is a quick way to blow through your food budget if you need to save money.

 

Excuses are for suckers. Don’t let expensive food get in the way of your goals. Hack the system and make it happen.

The Edge of Tomorrow – Emily Blunt Workout

November 2016 Edit: I’m going to put myself through this program. I’m going to be adjusting it a bit and leaving it up for anyone who wants to do this for fun. (Also insert the usual disclaimer: talk to your doctor, don’t trust strangers on the internet, don’t hurt yourself and sue me, etc etc.) If I’m going to write this, I want to be sure it actually, you know, works.

I’ll provide links to that as soon as I finish it and either determine that I’m a dumb-dumb and missed the mark or that I was close-ish.

Also, scroll about halfway down the page to get to the actual workout. I go on a bit about how great it is to have women with guns being badasses in movies.

If you have any questions, you can message me on: Twitter, Instagram, or email (writerslifttoo@gmail.com)

Let’s begin:

Another movie starring Tom Cruise fighting aliens?

You might be eye-rolling, and to be honest I did too. However, after just finishing the movie I have to say it far exceeded my expectations. Let me explain why.

First off, Tom Cruise is not the main badass role.

Emily Blunt is.

She plays Rita Vrataski, or who everyone in their world calls both “The Angel of Verdun” and “Full Metal Bitch”.

This is her:

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 2.11.19 PM

Yeah, that’s her suit.

Instead of just a tank top and short-shorts like 99% of female-lead action movies, she actually has serious armor.

I won’t go into too many spoilers, but we learn that she is quite the tough ass.

For once, it was nice to see the woman be the badass who had a no-apologies approach to everything. She sacrifices at every turn and takes constant risks.

What really got my attention was that Emily Blunt actually looks believable as a warrior.

Most movies with a female-lead are always running around with not a single ounce of muscle to their frames.

They climb walls with ease and supposedly are strong enough to take down really buff dudes? Please. They rarely have any muscle, so it’s hard to believe they just overhead pressed 150 lbs. and threw that guy across the room.

Emily Blunt clearly worked insanely hard to add some size to her frame. I actually believe she is the badass character, Rita Vrataski. She has the physical frame to lift heavy weights, run through alien-infested fields, and throw around the huge sword she carries.

She looked pretty ripped, but there’s one scene where we really see her impressive size:

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 3.44.26 PM

Shout out to Emily Blunt for putting in that much hard work. I rarely ever see women with actual built traps or shoulders in movies. Ever.

The suits they wore could weigh anywhere between 85 to 125 lbs. That’s a serious amount of weight to be carrying around.

According to Emily Blunt, she trained 6 days a week for 2 and a half hours every day doing everything from yoga, Krav Maga, gymnastics, weight training, to sprinting. She was able to accomplish her transformation in 3 months. Even Tom Cruise said he never had worked with anyone else who came to set that prepared and in shape.

“I wanted her to look lethal,” she said about her character Rita.

She mentioned that she also wore a weight vest to prepare for the giant suit she was going to wear in her action scenes.

The best part about Rita is that she doesn’t need anyone to “save” her like we all see in most movies. She can hold her own. She doesn’t spend any time feeling sorry for herself or whining over her circumstances. I have to applaud Emily for bringing such a real soldier spirit to Rita and making her a warrior to her core. We don’t see her have any emotional breakdowns or need approval from anyone. She does her job and fights like hell to the end, and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice at any moment.

There’s no time for romance and there’s none of that “Oh let me assist you because you might not be strong” element. She is the strong one and she is using her gun more than anyone else in the movie. (Emily also said she laughed every time she shot Tom Cruise, which is funny to imagine.)

Of course, I don’t know her actual workout, but here would be my closest guess to her weight training routine. (Keep in mind, she worked out for over 2 hours every single day. This would not be a easy workout by any stretch of the imagination.) The workout I’m creating will not be that intense since most of us do not have that kind of time.

Also, I couldn’t find the actual workout online, just what people assume it is.. The trainer is hush hush so he can keep his business going. 100% understandable. I’ve heard that it’s a three-part circuit workout, but I’ve heard a few conflicting articles out there about the specifics, but we do know she trained for two and a half months. She also did all of her own stunts.

We do know her cardiovascular endurance was impressive, but so are her muscles, so we’ll look at a combination of both.

FYI: “sets” mean do the exercise three times. “reps” means how many you do.
So, 3 sets 12 reps mean do the exercise 12 times, then rest, then do it 12 times, then rest, then do it 12 times.

Also, if you want to burn fat, keep the rest times between workouts short. If you want to build muscle, keep the rest times a little longer. It’s been said that Emily’s trainer kept her at around 60 seconds of rest, so you can use that if you want.

The workout:

Monday: Chest, Lats, and Back

Dumbbell Bench press – 3 sets 12 reps

Reverse-grip bent-over row – 3 sets 12 reps

Dumbbell flyes – 3 sets 10 reps

Wide-grip lat pulldown – 3 sets 12 reps

Push-up variations particularly the dive bomber/Hindu push-up – 3 sets of however many you can do. If you’re not strong, do them on your knees until you build up the strength.

Seated Cable Row – 3 sets 12 reps

Planks – hold them as long as you can or up to a minute. Keep your back straight and clench your butt (that’ll help keep your back straight). If you feel any part of your head, back, or hips start to get out of alignment, stop.

Prone cobra – Hold for 10 seconds, relax for five seconds, and repeat four more times.

End the workout with HIIT – high intensity interval training. This means you work out really hard for a length of time, then go slow, then push yourself, then go slow. It’s up to your current endurance on what you can handle. Ideally, you do between 15 and 30 seconds of intensity and between 30 to 60 seconds of rest, then rinse and repeat. Push yourself, but don’t hurt yourself. Do it for just a few minutes and leave the gym like a champion.

(You can read why HIIT is better than long-form cardio: click here.)

Tuesday: Shoulders, Trapezius, Abs, Booty

Dumbbell arnold press – 4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell bent-over lateral raise – 3 sets 10 reps

Dumbbell shrug (Do not skip these, these are the magic behind Emily’s shoulders looking so good in her famous push-up scene) – 4 sets 10 reps

Hanging leg raise – 3 sets to failure. (Meaning, for every set do it until you can’t any longer.)

Incline sit-up – 3 sets 15 reps

Single-leg glute bridge (or do regular bridge if it’s too hard) – 3 sets of 10 reps

Glute kickbacks (you can do these with or without cables. It’s up to you and what’s available) – 3 sets 10 reps

P.S. if you’re not a fan of either of the above two exercises, here is a list of more glute exercises and the rating for how well they work.

End the workout with HIIT

Wednesday: Quads and Calves

Squats (I prefer front squats, but do what you like) – 4 sets of 12

Walking lunges (you can do regular standing lunges if you don’t have space) – 3 sets 8 reps

Standing calf raise – 3 sets of 10

Bonus calf exercise (I have chicken legs so I add on extras for the people out there in the same position): Donkey calf raise – 3 sets of 12

Leg Extensions (if you don’t have this machine, switch it for a rear foot elevated split squat or a natural standing leg extension) – 3 sets of 10

I don’t end leg days with any HIIT because normally my legs are jello and they’re like “pls stop”. However, I absolutely make sure to foam roll and stretch after leg day. Actually, you should do that every day, but especially on leg day. Get to know the foam rollers at your gym, they will be your best friend to combat any soreness.

Thursday: Biceps, Triceps, Forearms

Wide grip dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 10

Tricep rope pulldown – 3 sets of 12

Hammer curls – 3 sets of 10

Dumbbell tricep extension (you can do lying, seated, or standing) – 3 sets of 10

Bonus tricep exercise (Emily’s are great and you can see that in her famous yoga pose) Reverse-grip cable pressdown – 3 sets of 10

Wrist curls – 2 sets of 10

Reverse wrist curls – 2 sets of 10

End the workout with HIIT

Friday: Hamstrings, Abs, Obliques

Step ups (be sure to do it like: this so it targets your hamstrings and butt better) – 3 sets for each leg, 10 reps

Romanian deadlifts – 4 sets 12 reps

Oblique cable crunch – 3 sets 15 reps

Dumbbell hamstring curl (or, lying leg curl on a machine) – 3 sets of 10

Sumo deadlift – 3 sets of 8

Weighted cable crunch (or planks) – 3 sets of 15

End the workout with HIIT

 

Saturday: Optional

Anything you want. If you like yoga, do that. If you want to sign up for Krav Maga (we’ll cover it below), do that. This is her famous pose, which is a result of strength training and flexibility:

giphy

Alternatively, you can work on your speed and agility. Running up hills, ladder work, anything that works your speed, basically.

Bonus: wear a weight vest while you do so.

The Ultimate Move:

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If you want a video how to do this, this will help: click here. Every time I’ve tried to do it my face smooshes into the mat, so I can’t provide a lot of help there. And yes, Emily said for the longer shots she needed foot wires to hold it, but she can absolutely do the pose.

The Diet:

You can read details on her diet: click here.

That might work for you, that might not. Just off ballpark without looking it up that sample meal plan would come out to 1,400-ish calories, which simply isn’t enough.

Knowing that Emily Blunt is around 5’7″ and around 120(ish) lbs, it appears she did a mini bulk for this program. That might have made her a little closer to 130 lbs with that lean muscle.

(I know because I’m 5’8″.)

Giving that she’s active and that she was adding a little size to her frame, she was maybe roughly around 1,800-2,100 calories. Maybe. Only because I hover around 2,200 when I’m bulking and she stayed pretty lean.

Plus, she’s incredibly active with her work/interviews/filming so I can imagine she needs more calories than someone who works a desk job (like I do) just to maintain her weight.

You can use my post: here to find your macros and why that’s a good approach.

Basically, find your maintenance calories/macros, then if you want to lose weight, subtract about 200-400 calories. If you want to build muscle, add about 200-400 calories.

 

Good job, Emily. You are definitely setting the bar high for action movies here on out.

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giphy (1)

LOOK AT THOSE TRAPS. (For those who aren’t aware, traps refer to the muscle – trapezius – that connects your neck to your shoulders.)

For my own nerdy mind, I also love to dive into the lifestyle and daily life of the characters I imagine workouts for. Not that you’re going to become Rita, but if you wanted to, this will get you closer.

So, let’s dive in.

Lifestyle

Mentality:

In the Edge of Tomorrow, Rita is a war hero. She single-handedly won the previously huge battle before we meet Tom Cruise, giving her the nickname of “Full Metal Bitch”. She’s been hardened by the years of war before her and the years of war ahead. She’s lost loved ones and you can see that in her overall attitude because she doesn’t get too close to people.

At the same time, her reputation is much tougher than we find out she is as a person. Although she’s tough, she’s not completely heartless. She just wants to win the war.

Like a true warrior, she also is mentally prepared to sacrifice her life at any given moment. She trains hard, but knows if it comes down to it, she’ll do what she has to do.

Every day, she focuses solely on how she can improve herself. She focuses on the tasks at hand and what she can do to survive.

Anyone can apply this to their own life: focusing on what needs to be done today and getting on with it. There’s no need to overanalyze or plan everything out perfectly. Focus on dominating the day and finishing what you need to do.

As Emily said about preparing for her role, “Put your head down and do your work.”

Gear:

Weighted vest. In most of the scenes, we see Rita walking around with a weighted vest, probably to prepare for all the gear she wears in every battle.

Helicopter blade for a sword. Apparently real helicopter blades run in the $4,000.00 ballpark, but you could possibly find some in a junkyard or government sale (if you’re lucky). Keep in mind, they might be hard to swing around, but if you do it I need to see a video of this.

Badass suit. I unfortunately can’t find much about the suit she was wearing, but give technology a few more years and I might have to come back and update this post.

Tactical outfits. This is a pretty thorough breakdown of her pants, gear, clothing, guns, and other accessories.

Skills:

Hand-to-hand combat. Although there are a lot of guns at her disposal, she also uses her quick combat skills to overpower a lot of enemies. Any local Krav Maga classes could get you started on this path. Here’s a good post to get you started.

Sword fighting. What she does is a little different than regular fencing, because her sword is insanely huge and heavy. She also swings it around while spinning and running through the field.

General war-time and tactical skills. To say Rita is extremely versatile is an understatement. She can fly planes, drive speeding cars, take down enemies with ease… These are not easily attainable skills, but I love all the articles the Art of Manliness has on tactical skills.

Endurance. She rarely gets tired or worn out and can handle hours and hours of combat. This requires years and years of training, but if you want to train like an athlete and keep your body in top shape, it’s important to build your endurance to the point where hours of strenuous activity won’t exhaust you for days.

Of course, this is a much deeper look than just a workout behind a movie role, but like I mentioned earlier, ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by fictional characters and how they operate. There will be a lot more posts to come like this, so if you’re interested, feel free to bookmark this site or sign up to receive e-mail updates when new posts are released.

(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!

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?

Be PREPARED For The Obstacles

Ah, Monday.

The day most people hate.

Monday should be an exciting day. The day you get back to work at the job you love to do. (If it’s not, something needs to change.) But that’s a post for another day.

Today we’re going to talk about obstacles and the reason you don’t have what you want out of life yet.

The biggest obstacle to any week is getting derailed off the goals that really matter. Not just the ones that everyone else wants you to accomplish, but the big goals, the legendary ones.

Starting Monday, most of us get straight to work on other people’s goals. We check our e-mail and respond to the chaos that has rolled in throughout the weekend.

My inbox currently sits at 126 e-mails. Many of them opportunities, some of them problems, most of them miscellaneous. But none of them are more important than the work I need to do this morning.

Once you get into your inbox, you’ll almost never get out of your inbox. You’ll start thinking about other people and their problems, their demands on your time. Everyone wants your time, but are you giving yourself enough of your own time?

This is what I mean by preparing for the obstacles of the week.

Distractions will come. You already know what 99% of them are! Why are you acting surprised when they come?

Only about 1% of the things that take away our time are true emergencies we didn’t see coming.

Everything else, you can prepare to win.

Oh, you cheated on your diet because you went to that same doughnut shop you seem to stop at every single Wednesday? Yeah. That wasn’t a surprise, you just didn’t plan to beat that obstacle. That’s your own fault.

I was a victim for a long time and would blame all these situations for derailing me off my goals, until I took responsibility and took charge of planning for my known weaknesses.

I knew that if I had the chance to watch a movie instead of going to the gym that I would take it.
I knew that if I had the chance to eat ice cream instead of eating within my meal plan, I would take it.
I knew that if I got into my inbox Monday morning instead of working on my own goals, Monday would somehow disappear to everyone else’s problems.

We encounter the same problems almost every single week. What are you going to do to beat them?

To combat movie watching, I got rid of my TV. I would only allow myself to check my Twitter when I was at the gym doing cardio. I love Twitter, so that was my reward and now that I’m at 84 consecutive nights in the gym, it clearly has worked.

To combat ice cream, I simply don’t fucking buy it. If the temptation isn’t there, I can’t cheat. I planned my meals out. I cooked them in advance. I prepared to win.

To combat my inbox, I only skim my inbox at noon and then only answer the urgent e-mails. Every other email can wait until the evening. I also stopped taking and making calls on Monday morning, because phone calls are always a time waster.

The most important thing on Monday is getting the week started on your terms. Even if you have a 9 to 5, stop being a sissy and get up early to work on something that matters to you.

It is completely my fault if this year doesn’t go the way I want it to. I know my distractions. I know my weaknesses. If I don’t have a plan to beat them, they will win every single time.

I had too many years of throwing my hands in the air and playing the victim card. Never again.

If you have a plan, you don’t even have to think about it. You just follow the fucking plan. Our willpower is limited, so the less decisions you have to make, the better. This is why a plan is essential.

You know what gets you off course. You know what gets you away from the gym. You know what meals you can’t fight a craving against. You know who distracts you the most.

Minus the true life emergencies, it is 100% your fault if you lose the week to something you already saw coming.

No warrior goes into battle without knowing the enemy.

Take a sheet of paper. List your top two priorities in your life.

What do you need to do in those two areas? What would really get you closer to your long-term goals? Write them down.

Now, what obstacles get in the way every single week that take you away from your goals?

List two, no fuck that, five ways you will beat those distractions.

Prepare to win.

Most people hate Monday because it’s spent on everyone else’s terms. Dominate Monday on your terms, and you’ll never hate Monday again.