The Case for Becoming A Superhero

After seeing Captain America: Civil War, my love for superheroes has grown even more.

(Side note: Just so we’re clear I’m Team Cap from now until forever. If you’re interested, you can read these blogs and determine your stance: Team Cap vs. Team Iron Man.)

It isn’t even a nerd thing, okay it’s a little bit of a nerd thing, but it’s also a realization about all the attributes our world so desperately needs: honor, commitment, hard work, dedication to a cause, putting everything on the line for what’s right, and everything else we love about superheroes.

More than ever before, we need superhero virtues.

And yes, fitness plays a huge part in all of this.

Look, I understand this isn’t a “sexy” thing to talk about.

It’s easier to get some half-naked pictures and sell you on some superficial “magical” secret to get the abs you’ve always wanted.

Abs are great.
But an empty life is not.

I’ve seen the people who chase the bullshit, and I’ve seen the people who chase the real fulfillment.

The real deal is what this blog is for and what I’m going to talk about from now until forever.

There are a lot of people out there who think that fitness is a superficial endeavor. There are also quite a few people who think that fitness isn’t “deep” and it’s simply just exercise and nothing else.

However, after you’ve worked as a trainer and seen the joy in someone’s face when they realize they can walk up the stairs on their own after not being able to for years, you realize that health is so much deeper than just how you look.

Fitness is simply a tool for a better life.

Superheroes know they need to stay in shape so they can complete all their missions.

Of course, most of us aren’t out there doing daring missions every single day, but continuing to stay in shape for anything life throws at you is one decision you will not regret.

Stop being passive

I’ve met too many real-life villains and people that fell into what Hannah Ardent called The Banality of Evil. Basically, it means being passive in the face of evil and continuing to go along with the program. Actually, that’s an incredibly simplified version of it but roll with it.

I’ll bet you’ve met similar people. The kind of people who don’t care about anything but their own selfish gain. They pay no mind to their communities, families, the businesses they give their money to, or anything else.

Too many people are more invested in the Game of Thrones than in their own lives.

If you truly care about something, act like it.

The world already has enough people who don’t care about anything at all or only care about things at a superficial level.

You know what you care about. You know what matters to you. Stop pretending like it doesn’t matter.

Get your health in order

Few superheroes are out of shape. Of course, they are mostly perfected and enhanced versions of what humans look like, but that doesn’t matter.

Losers sit around and debate which superhero actors did or did not take steroids, but smart people realize those debates don’t matter.

What matters is the inspiration to reach for more.
To do better.
To be a better person.
To serve the world in a positive, helpful way.

Get in the gym, get on a program, don’t eat your way into an early grave, and stretch once in awhile (something I’m constantly working on).

Do it so you have the energy and vitality to accomplish all the goals you want in your life.

Find something to fight for

Although this was mentioned above, there is something to be said for not only acknowledging what matters to you, but also acting on it every single day.

I recently took some time off of work to really sit and think about what mattered to me.

During that time, I realized that the career I was working so hard toward didn’t matter to me any longer and that I wanted other things out of life now.

Once you know what matters, it’s essential to not only acknowledge it, but to work toward what matters every single day.

Every single superhero has a cause they believe in so hard that they’re willing to die for it at any moment.

I’m not saying you need to sacrifice your life for something, but you need to ignite that passion inside of you again.

That’s what I realized I lost over the last few years: that burning desire to continue to fight for the things I want day in and day out. Especially once you’re crystal clear on what those things are.

Embrace failure

Every superhero fails. You’ll also fail on any journey, but it’s worth every single second of failure because if you are relentlessly persistent, you’ll win.

There will be times that will test you, where it will all seem ridiculous and you’ll debate quitting, turning back, and never attempting this goal again. That’s when it is even more important to get back on the horse and get back to work.

Failure is a part of the struggle, and the sooner you embrace that the greater the chance of winning.

You’ll miss gym days, you’ll binge too hard on food, you’ll fail that test, you’ll get injured, you’ll feel like quitting… Every single champion has those moments, too.

It’s cheesy, I know, but it’s truly the getting back up that separates the winners and the whiners.

Suit up and get it done.

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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.

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?

The ONLY Key to Success

It’s easy to beat yourself up when you fall off the wagon.

You fail on that diet because pizza is delicious.
You skip the gym because it’s cold.
You declare “Next Monday!”

The answer must be within the newest, shiniest thing you want, right? Nope.

The best plans and gear in the world don’t count for anything if you can’t follow through.

The problem is, there’s no new plan or diet that will give you what you really need to succeed: Consistency.

Yes, excitement is important and doing something you actually enjoy doing is important. However, if you don’t stay consistent all the bells and whistles in the world won’t matter.

As of today, there are only 73 days left in the year.

Some people use that as an excuse to wait until 2016 to start working toward the things they want.

If you really want something, the time to start is now. 73 days is a long time. It’s enough to change your body, change your finances, change your career, or change your entire life. That’s 1,168 hours (assuming you sleep 8 hours every night) to work with.

The reason I preach so much about habit and character development is because I saw that my clients who simply showed up every single day were the ones to crush their goals.

One of the best things I was ever told is:

Only take advice from people who have what you want.

This is why I’ve been studying people who are successful in all the areas I want to have.

So what’s the one trait they all have?

They show up every single day, whether they feel like it or not.

That’s it. It isn’t the shoes, the cars, the money, or any other circumstance. They simply commit to doing the one thing that matters the most every single day.

I’m currently reading Ronda Rousey’s book, and quote hit home:

My mom always says that to be the best in the world, you have to be good enough to win on a bad day because you never know if the Olympics are going to fall on a bad day. (pg. 71)

Most of us will never compete in the Olympics, but the message still applies. Even on our worst days, we need to be able to get the important things done.

That’s what separates the winners from everyone else. That’s what puts people in the category from just dreaming about something to making it happen.

The only way to make sure you smash 2016 is to start to build the habits now so they’re automatic by the time the clock strikes midnight.

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. – Tony Robbins

Now is not the time to cry over 2015, to wish you had done something different, to quit before the year is over.

Plan for your bad days so you can smash through them.

That’s how you become a champion.

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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