I don’t need to tell you that exercise is a good thing and everybody should do it in some way, shape or form. I also don’t need to tell you that if you exercise, you’ll probably start to look and feel better. What isn’t so obvious though, (or at least to 90% of people who don’t get the results they want) are the habits and character traits of those who achieve their goals.
In Part 1, I only scratched the surface with the 7 habits of highly fit people. I’m going to dig a little deeper and give you some more insight into what separates the really fit from those who just “want to be really fit.” I’m a firm believer that both your attitude and performance in the gym are highly correlated to how you conduct yourself in everyday life. Are you always late? Do you do things to the best of your ability or simply to get it over with? Do you look for ways to be more efficient or do you just cut corners? It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about training, work, or any other part of your life, these are questions you should always be asking yourself.
It has been said that with the proper mindset, anything can be achieved. The problem is, most people are too preoccupied with irrelevant bullshit, put unrealistic expectations on themselves, and make working out more dramatic than a reality TV show! Waiting for the “perfect” time, trying to find the “perfect” program, or expecting huge results before you’ve put in any real work are just a few surefire ways to be back on the couch with a beer in one hand and a bag of Doritos in the other. It’s time to wake up and smell the organic, black, freshly brewed, no cream, no whip coffee. If you want to be successful, you need to model yourself after successful people who are already where you want to be. Here are 7 MORE habits that will help you get your shit together and get some real results:
1. Willing to make sacrifices – It’s funny how hard it is for people to just buckle down and make a commitment to something. I’m not sure if it’s fear, laziness or a deadly combination of the two, but people can find any excuse not to face reality. We can talk ourselves into or out of pretty much anything. The people that are in the best shape have no problem taking action and making the necessary sacrifices until they have achieved their goal. Work, school, kids, TV and partying on the weekends are all secondary to getting the results they want. Unless you win the lottery, you’re probably going to be working for a little while so you might as well throw that excuse out the window. At the end of the day, when you can accept that the only thing standing in your way of success is you, then you’ll do what is necessary to become a powerhouse.
“My PVR is way too full to get to the gym today.”
2. Don’t compare themselves to others – “Man, that guy is huge!” “Did you see how much he was squatting?!” “I’m never gonna be that strong.” These are some of the things we all say to ourselves when we see someone who is just killin’ it at the gym. Even worse, social media has made it extremely easy to see what every Tom, Dick, and Harry is doing which, at times, can be motivating but also make you question every aspect of your training. There’s always going to be someone bigger, stronger, and faster than you but that shouldn’t deter you from putting your head down giving your best effort. Even the fittest people, despite being extremely fit, are simply trying to be the “best version of themselves” as Elliott Hulse would put it. Knowing and accepting that 100% is all you can give and all you should expect will make training not only more enjoyable but also more sustainable. Turn your phone off and get to work!
there will always be someone bigger, stronger, and faster than you!
3. Focus on the process rather than the outcome – It is a well known fact in sports psychology that the best athletes are more process oriented than outcome oriented. What this basically means is that the best athletes focus on the task at hand and let the results take care of themselves. They focus on each workout, each exercise, each set, and each rep until eventually they’ve created a masterpiece. They’re not checking their abs in the mirror after every set of ab wheel rollouts, they’re not weighing themselves 3 times a day, and they’re not testing their max deadlift every week. To be great at anything you have to understand and have faith in the steps/process it takes to achieve greatness. Worrying too much about the end result only creates stress which hinders your training altogether. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day and deep down inside YOU know that it’s going to take more than just a few workouts before you become a true physical specimen. So stop acting like a 6 year old kid on a road trip to Disneyland asking “Are we there yet?” and just enjoy the ride.
4. Work through and around injuries – I’ve talked about injuries before and how they can be an inevitable part of training – training hard that is. It’s been said that the highest performing athletes train at such high volume and intensity that they are always on the cusp of injury. Pushing the envelope day in and day out has its’ risks as well as its’ rewards. Although inconvenient and frustrating, injuries don’t stop the highly fit from getting what they want. Injuries are simply a bump in the road, not an excuse to give up altogether. The highly fit take injuries as an opportunity to learn more about their bodies, address weaknesses and imbalances and recuperate stronger than they were before. Learning new exercises, deloading, and soft tissue treatment are a few ways to stay in the game. Click here to learn more about how to deal with injuries.
the best athletes are always on the verge of injury
5. Understand that failure is a part of the process – Much like being injured, from time to time you won’t always have the greatest workout. Every now and then, for whatever reason, your energy might not be the best and you won’t be able to push yourself as hard. You might only squeeze out 8 reps on the bench when you would normally do 10 or you have to run at a slower pace on the treadmill to get through your intervals. It happens. World records and PRs can’t be set everyday. The fittest people know that training isn’t an exact linear progression where every workout will be better than the last. If it was, I would have an 800lb squat and be able to run a 4 minute mile but that simply is not the case. There will be ups and downs but as long as you keep moving forward and not dwell on missed lifts or some random cheat meal your chances of success will be much greater.
6. Work through plateaus – “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” If you’ve been training long enough, there always comes a point where it becomes harder and harder to make gains. You feel like you’ve been lifting the same weight for the same number of reps for an eternity. You’ve hit your ceiling. This is as good as it’s going to get so you might as well hang your jersey in the rafters and retire, right? Wrong. Plateaus are an opportunity to reassess your training and mix things up a bit. The fittest people know that sometimes the smallest little tweaks to their programming can make a world of difference. If you’ve been doing the same routine for more than 6 weeks, then it’s probably time to switch things up a little. Anything from changing your training split, the order of exercises or how many sets/reps you do can be enough to shock your body and break through.
7. Open-minded – We all have our favorite exercises that we like do on a regular basis, myself included. That doesn’t mean that they are in our best interest or are moving us any closer to our goals. The fittest people understand that to get the best results you have to be open to new methods and new ways of thinking. Crossfit, as controversial as it is, incorporates some of the most effective training methods from powerlifting, olympic weightlifting, and track and field to get the best results possible. If you asked to see the training programs of the top 10 Crossfit Games athletes, the top 10 bodybuilders, and the top 10 sprinters in the world, you would get 10 different Crossfit programs, 10 different bodybuilding programs, and 10 different sprinting programs. Taking your blinders off and accepting that there is more than one way to do things will go a long way in your training. Whether you want to build muscle, get stronger, or even run a marathon, there is something that can be learned from various training methods. Don’t be a fitness Nazi. Listen. Learn. Evolve. Apply. Repeat.
nobody likes a Nazi.
To summarize, make the necessary sacrifices to make training a part of your life, focus on yourself, have faith in the training process, don’t let injuries get you down, don’t be afraid to fail, find a way to work through plateaus, and remember there’s more than one way to get great results.
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