I was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast yesterday and he started talking about the importance of doing things you are not good at. He said it was crucial to become a beginner at something again.
That seems like a rough way to treat yourself, but I completely agree. It is good for you brain and your body to try things that are out of your comfort zone.
Never was this more alive to me than when I went sky diving for the first time last weekend. Check out that picture! Here is another one:
It was definitely out of my comfort zone, considering I don’t like heights or flying. But when your wife surprises you with the opportunity on your 40th birthday, you jump at the chance. No pun intended.
And it was amazing! That first picture is from the free fall, where you are flying through the air like Superman. An unreal feeling that I wish everyone could experience.
Was it comfortable? No. Was I nervous? My palms still sweat thinking about it. But I am so glad I did it. My life was literally in someone else’s hands and that someone was a stranger!
Stretching and growing isn’t easy, but it is worth it to get better. I had a speaking engagement a few days later and my wife asked me if I was nervous and I said, “I just jumped out of an airplane, this does not worry me now.”
What are you afraid to do because it is not in your comfort zone? Are you afraid to try something because you are afraid to fail? Don’t be! Look at it as a win, win. If you succeed, awesome! If you don’t, you learn from it.
Your homework for the weekend is take some time and figure out what you need to do to stretch and grow. Lift heavier weights? Try your first 5k? Learn how to swim as an adult? Take up kayaking?
Find something you are a beginner at, stick to it, and continue to challenge yourself! The hardest part is the beginning when you are not good at something. Persevere and you will so glad that you did.
Like all riveting stories, this one starts with me trying to open a door. It’s good to hook the reader right away with an exciting premise.
This is a huge, heavy door that does not have a doorknob to turn. All it has is a latch where you could insert a padlock to keep the building secure.
I am pulling on this latch and it is not budging, so I come to the conclusion that this door is locked and won’t be opening without a key. This is one of the dangers of not getting enough sleep, you come to silly conclusions. After a few minutes of hard thinking I realized it would be awfully hard to lock a door that does not have a knob or deadbolt.
So I gave the latch another pull and the door magically swung open! The big difference this time is that I was pulling with intention and belief. I knew this door could be opened I just needed to try a little harder.
Using intention and belief will serve you well in whatever you do. Self-doubt can cripple you and keep you from being who you want to be in life. “I won’t be able to accomplish this, so I’m not going to give this my full effort”. Does that sound familiar?
It sounds familiar to me because I’ve been there before several times. When I began to do things with 100% belief that I could make it happen, my actions became much more intentional and the results started to happen.
Look at the past few things you have “failed” at. Did you believe you could do it? Did you intentionally go after your goal with the time, effort, and passion it required?
Put this to the test and you can start even small. It could be your goal is to be able to do one pushup from your toes with perfect form. The physical part is important of course, but the crucial portion starts in your head. Whatever your goal is, combine the mental preparation with the physical preparation and the sky is the limit.
We are wrapping up our Lean and Clean Challenge this week and I wanted to share something with you. It is about how to keep perspective when you "mess up".
The object of the Lean and Clean Challenge was to eat whole, natural foods with no additives all day, every day. As you can imagine that is very hard, so people would sometimes find themselves feeling like a failure. That is not the case at all! It is about progress not perfection.
See if the Popped Tire Image can help you keep some perspective next time you aren't feeling so perfect.
Imagine you are riding down the road, you lose control of the car, hit a curb, and pop a tire. You get out, inspect the damage, and then pull out a knife and pop the remaining tires. I mean one got popped, why not pop the rest of them???
That sounds really silly doesn't it? But what about when you find yourself eating a fast food meal that was nowhere near your eating plan. Then you tell yourself you screwed that up, so what's the use? I might as well just eat terrible the rest of the day.
Don't slip into that mindset. If you have one bad meal, one bad day, one bad week even, it is not the end of the world. Assess why it happened (usually a like of time and/or planning), make a plan to prevent it in the future, and get on with your life. This does not mean beating up on yourself and feeling bad. It means you are human and still a work in progress like the rest of us.
This will be a life long journey where you will make tons of mistakes, that is a given. The important part is how you respond. Skip the pity party, have a planning party, and enjoy the "bad" foods that cause us to think we are messing up.
Just make sure those "bad" foods are something you truly enjoy, not just the "last person at the bar at last call" kind of foods that hang around until you have a weak moment. Food is meant to be enjoyed and healthy foods are not meant to be punishment.
Find the healthy balance that works for you and keep on keeping on.
Sometimes all it takes is one little spark to ignite a flame. It's the same way with getting started on a healthy lifestyle. One action step at a time. Picking out a specific action and making it a habit. Think about what you would like to change the most. -Your weight? -Your endurance? -Your strength? -Your eating habits? -Your energy level? What is one thing you can do this week to ignite that fire and start conquering your struggles? Here are 20 examples of what that one thing could be:
1. Get the junk food out of your house 2. Set an alarm and stand up for 5 minutes every hour 3. Avoid fast food this week 4. Eat one healthy meal today 5. Take a 10-minute walk 6. Use a foam roller for 10 minutes 7. Floss (it adds 6 years to your life) 8. Stretch for 10 minutes 9. No liquid calories today (soft drinks, alcohol, coffees, etc…) 10. Commit to one workout
11. Turn the TV off and go to bed an hour earlier 12. Take 10 minutes of absolute quiet by yourself to de-stress 13. Find someone who will keep you accountable (friend, trainer, group) 14. Go buy some new workout clothes or shoes 15. Write down your goals where you will see them daily 16. Rather than creating excuses for not getting healthy, create a plan 17. Start a sleep routine you will do every night 18. Eat a vegetable you've never tried this week 19. Take a picture of yourself and do your measurements so you can track the amazing results you are about to achieve 20. Cut ties with a negative person (AKA energy vampire) in your life The list could be thousands of things, but I want you to think of one specific thing you will commit to TODAY to take action on. Pick something you know you can do, keep at it until it becomes a habit, and then target your next goal.
Let's get this fire started.
I was listening to author A.J. Jacobs talk about his creative process when he is writing. He is a really interesting guy and goes all in with his book projects. One of his books is his saga of trying to follow every rule in the Bible for a year and another one where he read all 33 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
You would think a guy like that would have no trouble with writer’s block, but it happens to him quite frequently. He has a simple, but effective technique he uses to combat writer’s block.
He just sits down and starts writing.
The writing could be complete nonsense, but the physical act of writing gets the creative juices flowing. The old fake it until you make it technique.
He based his actions on this quote by Habitat For Humanity Founder Millard Fuller:
“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”
That is a great point! Your mind will eventually catch up to your actions, but you have to start first.
Science has proven that if you are upset, but if you can force your face into a smile it will trick your brain into becoming happier. Or if you are feeling insecure in a situation, ask yourself “What would a confident person do?” Then do whatever you come up with!
This all sounds crazy, but I have seen it come true over and over with exercise. It’s been proven both with myself and with my boot campers. I tell my clients, to just show up and the magic will happen. If you make it to the workout, you will make it happen.
Try asking yourself questions that are framed by your goals. Questions like “What would someone who loves to exercise do here?” or “What meals would a really fit person prepare today?”
It's only crazy if it doesn't work.
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I was reading an article about why Japanese children do so well in math compared to other countries. The reason was not what I thought it would be.
The kids do so well in math because their teachers allow them to struggle the longest with problems.
That sounds kind of counter productive at first, but it makes sense. It is hard to watch kids struggle! Have you ever watched a small child “help” with dinner, tie shoes, dress themselves, or learn how to walk? Your first instinct is to help them out and do it for them. You don’t want them to suffer through the process.
But the struggle is vital to make change and progress. Otherwise they will never learn to do things on their own.
We need to struggle to move forward. And that is especially true in exercise.
You have to continually struggle to get better, the workouts should not be a breeze every time, and some days you may even wonder why you try. Those feelings are natural and happen to everybody.
The one thing you must avoid is comparison to others. No one knows what all you have going on and vice versa you knowing about them. We all struggle in different ways and handle the struggles in our own personal manner.
Next time you are struggling, embrace it and don't give in. The struggle is helping you reach your goals, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
This past weekend was awesome! Sunshine and 50-60s temperatures in February are ok by me.
My son and I were planning to go for a hike when I got a text from dad asking if he could come along too. Hiking was his passion years ago, but he had not been able to hike in awhile. Of course we picked him up and the three generations headed out to Monte Sano.
Due to multiple surgeries, injuries, and health problems my dad hasn’t been able to walk for very long at all. His plan was to read a book and enjoy a nice day in the woods while we hiked.
But when we got there his plan changed a little. He decided to hike for a few minutes and then come back. Then he wanted to go a little further. Next thing you know he had completed a 3 hour hike!
It was amazing and my son and I were both extremely proud of him. My dad just kept plugging on, resting when he needed to, and hanging in there. It was truly a gift to be out there with him and my son on a perfect day on the trails.
Your heart and passion can take you further than your body tells you it can.
There is absolutely no way he could have walked 3 miles on a treadmill. That would have been cruel and unusual punishment. But get him out in the woods, spending time with family, and telling stories he hung in there like a champ.
When you find some form of movement you truly enjoy you will push yourself further, you will be much more consistent, and those will lead you to much better results. And you also get to have fun! Win, win. Have you found your form of movement yet? If so, keep doing it! If you quit, get back to it.
If you have not found a form of exercise you enjoy, keep searching. I promise you it is out there. Every human was made to move, we just aren’t all wired the same. Once you find it let me know what is, I might like to try it too.
In my last message I talked a little about how this week is when people really start to drop off in their resolutions. How things started off so good and ended so bad.
You tried really hard for a few days and just could not get a year's worth of results in 10 days. You do good for the first few days. Workout went good, that broccoli and chicken breast at lunch wasn't that bad, and you didn't have one sip of alcohol or soda, etc...
Fast forward to now and life has set in. The hectic schedule is back, stress is back in full force, and everything has gone out the window. Workouts make you sore and cranky, you wish broccoli and chicken had a face so you could punch it, you are mixing alcohol with soda now, etc...
The main thing that happens though, is that the big picture has overwhelmed you. I can't continue to workout 4 days a week and eat right for the rest of my life, so why even try?
The book Lone Survivor offers some good advice that can help you get some perspective. The book is about a Navy SEAL who is the only one from his team to survive a mission gone bad in Afghanistan. There is a part where it talks about the insane amount of mental and physical training you have to go through to become a Navy SEAL.
During part of the training a man named Joe Maguire, who is a highly respected SEAL legend came into to give the prospective SEALs advice on how to make it through this enormous task ahead of them.
Here is part of his speech:
"Whenever you're hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day."
And another part:
"Don't let your thoughts run away with you, don't start planning to bail out because you're worried about the future and how much you can take. Don't look ahead to the pain."
That's great advice for whatever your goals are.
Trying to lose weight? Don't think about the 50 you have to get rid of, it's the first pound you worry about first.
Want to run a 5K for the first time? Don't think about the 3.1 miles you have to cover, just worry about the next step your foot is taking.
Signed up for a 4 week boot camp and you can't imagine getting through the whole thing? Get through the next repetition of the exercise you are doing right now.
Doing a 6 week nutrition challenge and you are struggling on day one? Stay in the moment and do one thing at a time.
Break that huge goal down into what you are doing that second and take care of it in the moment. You can't do anything about the future until you get there anyway. It will just intimidate you when you think of how much pain (mental and physical) you will have to go through to get there.
Don't give in, finish the day.
Chances are you saw Lady Gaga’s halftime show at the Super Bowl. It was the second most viewed half time show ever with 117.5 million viewers. Katy Perry’s performance has the most views of all time (120.7 million) if you are curious.
It was an amazing performance! Although I did get a little embarrassed when I looked down and I had the same outfit on that Gaga did. Faux pas for sure.
Through all that I kept hearing a similar comment from social media and other “news” outlets. “Yeah it was a nice performance, but what’s up with her jelly roll?”
I thought I was crazy because I hadn’t noticed. I was too busy being blown away with her cardiovascular fitness! She did not breathe hard one bit or even stammer despite being all over the place and jumping off of high places.
First off, this didn’t hurt Lady Gaga one bit. She sold 150,000 albums and singles on Super Bowl Sunday. Can’t imagine what that number is now.
But onto a bigger point. You never know what that person you are criticizing has been through.
That lady you admire in the gym that seems to have the perfect body, the guy who likes to flex in front of the mirror, or Lady Gaga. Exercise is a coping mechanism for a lot of other problems people face. Lady Gaga has been vocal about her struggles with eating disorders and body image issues.
I’m no Lady Gaga fan, despite all these Gaga facts I’m throwing out here. I am a fan of people who are bold and focus on their strengths, despite what others think.
Focus on getting stronger, not skinnier. Focus on getting healthier rather than getting into that old pair of pants from college. Focus on changing your lifestyle, rather than getting ready for that event you have coming up.
When you change your focus something weird will happen. You will still fit into smaller clothes and you will still look better but hurtful comments will not derail you as easily.
You do you, baby you were born this way.
PS- I realize this has cost me my man card, but I don’t care. I’m too busy trying to get my cardio to Gaga level.