I once had a conversation with a particularly dense friend of mine. I tried to tell him that consistency was the key to a good physique and that his body was a reflection of his daily habits. He disagreed, he thought he could work out, get fit and then coast indefinitely. Needless to say, he is still out of shape.
Fitness doesn’t work like that. Not even close.
Like anything, it has to be maintained or it will begin to fall apart.
The reason a nice body is so sought after is because:
- It is difficult to obtain
- It can’t be bought
- It’s sexy
What the out-of-shape masses don’t understand is that it is not simply about looking good. It is more about health and well-being. Good food, regular exercise, proper hydration and quality sleep are all part of a lifestyle that feels good and as a result you look good. However, it is very hard to master these things in a world filled processed garbage, more and more computer-based work, anything-but-water drinking habits and a ‘sleep when I’m dead’ attitude.
I always ate pretty healthy, but when I committed to working out a lot of bullshit food went out the window – automatically. It simply wasn’t the fuel I needed. I proceeded from there, slowly tweaking my diet towards things I liked more, made me feel better and ultimately were easier to make. I didn’t just one day transform into “superfit” guy. To this day, I don’t really think about it – it is just is who I am.
Slowly, you stack habits and eventually what you do looks damn near impossible to others.
When you build a habit and ingrain it into your routine – it becomes easy. At one time, I had to think about going to the gym. I’m not going to lie, it took a lot of effort to get going some days. But it was my number one priority and the only thing that I was truly focused on. After doing that for a little over 2 years, the momentum built it became easier to go than to not.
Think about when you first started driving. There was so much to pay attention to, to learn and experiences not yet had. You were checking your mirrors every 3 seconds. Making sure you signaled and stopped correctly. If you were anything like me, you couldn’t even hold a conversation or have the radio on in the beginning! Fast forward to today, you do 10 other things while you are driving and half the time you don’t even remember the trip!
Going to the gym is exactly the same. Now that lifting is on autopilot, I am able to concentrate on nutrition, supplementation and other aspects of my life. Most bite off more than they can chew and buy 99 supplements, gym clothes, memberships and trainers they ultimately end up not using. My out of shape coworker told me he was doing two-a-days – if he just focused on completing the one-a-days, he would be much better for it.
Adding little things here and there eventually turns into big things.
The following are things I do EVERY DAY
I always eat 3 square (home cooked) meals and at least one protein shake.
I drink at least one gallon of water.
I take fish oil at meal times.
I take a multivitamin with breakfast.
Currently, I go to the gym Monday-Thursday and I am active (swimming, hiking, mountain biking) on my ‘off’ days
Each one of those habits were built months apart from each other, but combined, they result in a rather impressive (read: above average) physique.
I recently bought a bike mainly to get around my area (too short to drive, too time-consuming to walk)
Now I ride to and from the gym. Boom – fun cardio and an integrated warm up and cool down that gets me fresh air and sunshine. This is just one example of how to design a lifestyle that serves your goals.
If I tried to turn from a couch potato into this overnight, I would most likely be discouraged, overwhelmed and probably injure my self.
I’m constantly asked for ‘fitness advice’ Usually, I’ll tell them to switch out soda for water. My advice falls on deaf ears and they continue along their path. What they don’t know is that that one simple change would snowball into a series of good habits. Your habits either serve you or they do not. If you are having trouble developing new habits or breaking old ones read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg It will help you understand what is going on and just how deep habits are embedded in our psyche.
Start committing to things for the long run and slowly building up to big things.
When a child is learning to walk, he first has to learn how to stand. In just learning how to stand he may fall 1000 times. Eventually, he gets it right and he keeps repeating that success. He doesn’t sit back and say ‘I’ve done it.’ He keeps pushing – he goes for that first step and again, he fails. After some time he is running, jumping, swimming, falling and getting back up like it’s nothing.
First you crawl, then you walk, then you run. Don’t try to run first just because you see others doing it. Start slow, learn your lessons, make sure that you grow every day and you will be just fine.