The modern world is set up for you to fail. Disappointment, rejection, and fear are everywhere. Our lives are constantly being filled with distractions that keep us from doing what is truly necessary. How depressing is that? Well, it’s only depressing if you let it win. By it, I mean failure.
If you don’t know me or have never read any of my articles before then you should know that I’m about 2 things – getting fit and living a fulfilling life on your own terms.
One of the secrets to success in any aspect of your life is to simply condense the nonsense. In the book Essentialism, Greg McKeown repeatedly makes reference to how we need to develop the ability to “decipher the trivial many from the essential few.”
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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Are you an average Joe? Are you someone that just goes through the motions just to get shit over with? Do you think you have more to offer but don’t know how to get out of your funk? Not to worry, you’re not alone. Only a very small percentage of people wake up in the morning excited to start their day. It’s time to be one of those people.
You can break out of your shell and live life by your own means by changing your habits and the way you think. It’s time for you to become a leader, someone who exudes confidence, someone who never gives up until they achieve success. To quote Eric Thomas “it’s time to be allergic to average!”
Here are 97 ways to step your game up and become an alpha dog.
1. Pay your bills ON TIME and IN FULL – Life is way less stressful without debt.
2. Do something that scares you – Facing your fears builds character.
3. Stop hitting the snooze button – It screws up more than your sleep cycle.
4. Eat more vegetables – Even if they’re not organic it’s a step in the right direction.
5. Sweat – Do this regularly, it’s what your body was meant to do.
6. Cut back on sugar – Fresh fruit is cool but anything you can buy at 7/11 has gotta go. Besides the taste, the stuff is basically poison.
7. Stop buying stupid shit – “Too many people are buying things they can’t afford, with money that they don’t have… to impress people that they don’t like!” – Will Smith
8. Lift weights – Muscle breeds confidence.
9. Run uphill – Do you want to be strong and powerful or weak and slow?
10. Set goals – It’s OK to have ambition.
11. Set smaller goals – Small victories lead to HUGE victories.
12. Believe in yourself – Believing is seeing. You can only be successful once you allow yourself to be successful.
13. Learn how to cook – It’s healthier, cheaper and the ladies will love you!
14. “Eat meat, veggies, nuts seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar” – Greg Glassman
15. Be on time – Punctuality shows you’re organized and that you care.
16. Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave – Dedication and hard work always beat natural talent in the long run.
17. Don’t be a hater – Criticizing other people’s goals and achievements is a waste of energy and makes you look like a fool.
18. Dress to impress – You can never look too good for the occasion. Look professional. Feel professional. Be professional.
19. Study successful people – The easiest way to be successful is to model the habits and character traits of those more successful than you.
20. Read books – Not magazines or the newspaper. Books.
21. Go to bed early – 10-11pm at the latest. You’ll feel better and be more productive.
22. Take naps – One of the best ways to maximize recovery and get more out of your day.
23. Save money – You never know when that “rainy day” will come but when it does you better have an umbrella!
24. Everything in moderation – Live life and have fun, just know your limits.
25. Learn an Olympic lift – A power clean at the very least. It will work wonders for your fitness.
26. Sprint – Anyone can jog, sprinting takes real effort.
27. Keep a clean home – It’s true, cleanliness is next to godliness.
28. Don’t believe the hype – Take everything with a grain of salt. Mass media prides itself in telling you what you want to hear.
29. Challenge the status quo – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” or going with the flow.
30. Uplift others – Make it your mission to better yourself as well as make others better and the world will be your oyster.
31. Pursue your passion – Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
32. Build a legacy – Do you want to be remembered for something? We all have talents worth sharing.
33. Learn how to communicate -Life is about building valuable relationships.
34. Be realistic not delusional – It’s OK to dream but don’t get your head stuck in the clouds.
35. Think outside the box – Traditional thinking is what keeps you stuck in your same old routine.
36. Take responsibility for your current station in life – Take credit when credit is due but have the balls to take the blame when things don’t go your way.
37. Wake up early – No one ever got shit done waking up at 11am.
38. Be competitive – Find something you care enough about that you want to fight for it.
39. Be a student of the game – The learning never stops. Become a master of your craft. Eat, sleep, and breathe what you do best.
40. Eliminate unnecessary stress – Separate yourself from negative people that will only bring you down.
41. Don’t let other people’s opinions influence you – People will always tell you can’t do something. Mostly because they’re too scared to try themselves or because they just don’t want to see you succeed.
42. Squat regularly – There isn’t a sport or activity that squatting can’t help.
43. Deadlift regularly – Lifting heavy shit is gratifying.
44. Stay lean all year round – There is something to be said for having a six pack in the dead of winter.
45. Interval train – It hurts way more but it’s totally worth it.
46. Take supplements – Only if you’re not eating like shit then they might have some value.
47. Speak your mind – Get your point across and don’t always be so worried about offending people.
48. Stop and smell the roses – You can’t hustle 24/7. Every now and then you have to stop and appreciate everything you have.
49. Work for happiness not money – Money, benefits and “security” sometimes aren’t worth it if it’s sapping your energy and making you miserable.
50. Trying puts you ahead of 90% of people.
51. Do shit that matters – You’re too busy playing video games, watching TV, or dickin’ around on social media. Find a way to improve your life and the life of someone else.
52. Be confident – Know your strengths and know your weaknesses. Leverage your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.
53. Be humble – Be grateful for everything you achieve and never forget the struggle to get there.
54. Be content not complacent – Don’t be greedy but don’t be lazy either.
55. Have an opinion – But don’t be opinionated. There is more than one way to get shit done.
56. There is no off-season – The hustle is year round. Training, nutrition, business, life. It’s a lifetime commitment.
57. You can’t please everyone so don’t bother trying.
58. Take risks – They’re opportunities dressed up in disguise.
59. Get rid of useless junk – Declutter your mind and your surroundings.
60. Learn how to dance or play an instrument – Tap into your artistic side, the ladies also love this.
61. Focus on what’s important – Start each day with your most productive tasks first.
62. Visualize – Every success starts with an idea.
63. Don’t gossip – “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
64. Don’t hold grudges – Living well is the best revenge.
65. Live within your means but slightly outside of your comfort zone – Be conservative with your spending but liberal with your ambitions.
66. Become an expert listener.
67. Don’t be too proud to get your hands dirty – Everyone’s got to start somewhere and for most of us that’s the bottom.
68. Take action – Most people love talking about what they “hope” to achieve. It’s the few that actually do something that are remembered.
69. Laugh – Man, I definitely love a good laugh. It’s one of life’s greatest medicines. Find the humor in things especially yourself.
70. Have only one fear – The fear of being average.
71. Be loyal to your family and friends – Without them you have nothing.
72. Invest in yourself – You are your greatest asset, make it as valuable as possible.
73. Play a sport – Be athletic, build comradery, and learn how to trash talk!
74. Walk the walk – Take your own advice, nobody likes a hypocrite.
75. Start a business – Even if it’s small and doesn’t make a lot of money it will empower you.
76. Reduce your dairy intake – Like an 80″ TV, it’s not a necessity.
77. Cut the grains – Unless you like feeling bloated all the time.
79. Be in touch with pop culture – Don’t let it consume your life though. Kim and Kanye’s life isn’t that amazing.
80. Learn how to create value – Having the ability to solve people’s problems and improving their lives is the name of the game.
81. Travel – See the world and all it has to offer so you can realize how lucky you really are.
82. Stand up for what you believe in – Have principles and don’t be afraid to stick to them. There’s already too many yes men in the world.
83. Don’t discuss religion in public – Controversial.
84. Don’t discuss politics in public – Highly controversial.
85. Don’t discuss Crossfit in public – You’re better off discussing religion or politics…
86. Eat breakfast – Give yourself a fighting chance to have a productive day.
87. Listen to your body – Train hard when you feel good and take your foot off the gas when you’re feeling beat up. You can’t PR everyday.
88. Eat less snacks – You’re not that hungry, you’re just bored.
89. Find a good soft tissue specialist(s) – The fitter you get, the more important maintenance becomes. Even a Ferrari needs regular oil changes.
90. Work on your mobility – It’s not glamorous but it needs to be done if you want to train hard and pain free.
91. Try a Crossfit workout – Even if it’s only once, it’s something every fitness enthusiast should experience.
92. Listen to old school hip hop – It’s just great, feel-good music.
93. Wear Air Jordan’s – They’re timeless and they’re comfy.
94. Never give up – Failure is almost inevitable but that’s what makes the journey so rewarding.
95. Don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses “ – Stay in your lane and run your own race. Your achievements happen on your schedule not someone else’s.
96. Read this blog regularly.
97. Share this with your family and friends.
That’s my rant for today. I hope these few tidbits help you rise up and get more out of life.
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I’ve been doing this a long time. Working out and training people that is. For over 13 years, I’ve been putting myself and others through rigorous workouts and finding great success with many and little to no progress with others. That’s right, not every person who’s crossed my path has transformed their body into a picture of chiseled granite. Not everyone will. That’s the hard truth that me and every other passionate trainer out there are going to have to swallow. Having said that, there are definitely some common characteristics I’ve observed with those who have achieved their goals and gotten into great shape.
Obviously, great programming followed consistently will pay huge dividends. For now let’s put aside sets, reps, intensity and all the other “fitness ideologies” that are so heavily debated these days and take a look at the more intangible side of becoming a physical specimen. Let’s take a look at what REALLY separates the STRONG, LEAN, and CONDITIONED from those that are too scared and/or lazy to even break a sweat. I’m talking about the most powerful tissue in your body and it sits right between your ears….
A BULLETPROOF MIND
It seems the proper mindset is the driving force behind reaching any type of fitness goal. I’m not talking about some fleeting motivation that comes around every January and evaporates like morning dew in mid February. I’m talking about a mindset that is built to last, fortified with an indomitable foundation, and impervious to futile distractions. This is the cloth that champions are cut from. These are the doers, the people you read about, the alpha dogs if you will..
A bulletproof mindset is comprised of many things including but not limited to the following:
1. ENTHUSIASM – Ralph Waldo Emerson once said ” Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” When was the last time you saw someone that was in great shape that dreaded going to the gym? How often do you see that shredded guy lollygagging his way through a workout just to get it over with? The hard truth is if you don’t wake up excited to hit your next workout you might as well refill your bowl of Doritos, loosen the drawstring in your pants and just bask in your mediocrity.
2. BELIEVING IS SEEING – That’s right, I didn’t write it backwards. It sounds sounds simple enough but this may be one of the biggest roadblocks to people’s success. The hard truth is most of you wish you were in better shape but very few of you BELIEVE you can really take your fitness to the next level. Stop and ask yourself “Do you really think you can get a six pack?” “Do you really think you can do 10 unassisted chinups?” If you don’t think you can succeed why even bother starting an exercise program? Your wishful thinking has to be turned into concrete confidence. Your determination and will has to be greater than any other external force. Middle class thinking won’t get you a first class body.
3. THREAD IT INTO YOUR DNA – The strongest, fittest, and leanest don’t get that way by casually working out here and there. They get there because its a part of who they are; their character, well-being, and happiness are directly intertwined with how well they take care of their bodies. Make looking and feeling the best you can a purpose in your life. When a day you haven’t trained feels like a day you haven’t lived, then you have armed yourself with the weapons you need to build a better you.
4. THE JOURNEY IS THE REWARD – Most of us train to achieve some desired goal or result (i.e. get a six pack, lose 10lbs, deadlift twice your bodyweight, etc.) and this is a great way to stay motivated and consistent with your training. However, the reality is good habits implemented on a daily basis are what separate the good from the great. Waking up on time, staying hydrated, and treating every rep like it’s your last are just a few of the little things that lead to huge success. I wake up every morning excited about the PROCESS of becoming better. The hard truth is there is no destination! ” The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” If you think you’ve arrived, you’ve only made a pit stop. Every squat, every pullup, every burpee is your reward for not taking the easy way out. ENJOY THE RIDE!!
5. GO THE EXTRA MILE – This can be taken both figuratively and literally. For some of you, getting to the gym and running an extra mile may be exactly what you need to do to step your game up. The hard truth is you need to go above and beyond the call of duty. This could mean getting to the gym early, working on your mobility, a few extra sets of cleans, whatever the case may be it’s not enough to just “show up” or “punch your time card.” Hold yourself to a higher standard. Ask yourself “Am I doing everything I can to be the best I can?” Nobody ever got to the top just by doing the bare minimum. I challenge you to push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of and see where it takes you.
Remember, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” so rise above the average Joe and do what others are unwilling to do. Then, and only will you stand a chance.
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