So why was this guy created?
As if that weren’t evident enough already, here goes: to help the non-athlete (that being a guy who doesn’t exercise at all or does so infrequently/inconsistently).
I am one of those guys.
For most of the year, I’m pretty good about keeping up with exercising.
It’s not always easy to do in such a fast-paced life.
What you’re about to read in this guide is not the wisdom of some trained fitness guru.
You’re going to see how a regular guy makes time to work out.
You’ll also see how I challenge my bad habits and overcome them for the most part (it goes completely against what the so-called experts preach).
That’s why you should read this guide before investing in that next expensive program or hiring a personal trainer…
…because I’m coming at you from the same position you’re in now.
With all that being said, I find it best that we kick things off with the factor that matters most in all this…
…The Power of Habit
Does that title sound familiar? “The Power of Habit“?
Let’s call it out like is, shall we?
Most books hitting the market are little more than piles of pulpy fluff bound together with the sole intention of milking a temporary blast of excitement.
Once everyone’s done riding the flake train and pouring their ducats down the hatch, these pulpy piles of fluff are retired to the abyss of obscurity, never to be spoken about again…not even at the most un-sexed book club meeting.
The Power of Habit, written by Charles Duhigg, is one of those oeuvres that will give humanity a fighting chance in its battle against mediocrity.
Of course, reading it is one thing.
Embracing the underlying message – that humans can program themselves (or be programmed by others) to accomplish incredible feats does take some effort.
I’ll shine a light on my own personal feats to give an example of how small changes, implemented one at a time and gradually ramped up, make a massive difference:
1) I never (ever) have a solid breakfast anymore. Smoothies only and over time, I’ve added many rich and nourishing ingredients to make it as potent as possible, with the lastest ingredient being coconut oil.
2) I’ve gone from hitting the gym three times a week to visiting it every day, TWICE a day.
3) My gut, like so many other men, is the trouble area that isn’t budging much, even at two visits a day to the gym. But the thing is, I just put my head down and ignore the gut.
End result – while it’s taking a while for it to shrink, the rest of my body is getting as cut as a diamond. (That’s to say, make a habit of observing the positives and not dwelling on the negs).
4) When starting a new project related to business, I set a big goal (example: huge cash payout), but got into the habit of breaking the steps to that big reward into small, highly-achievable benchmarks (make the first $100 on new project).
5) Relates to point #4 in a big way –>> “[…] Accept the things you cannot change and the courage to change the things you can, and develop the wisdom to know the difference”
6) Doing the same tasks at the same time each day.
7) Constructive “torture” – when I was learning the art of copywriting, I discovered a word of advice from a master of the craft, Eugene Schwartz: set a timer for 33 minutes and work relentlessly for that time.
When the timer’s done, go walk around the house/office and then do another 33 minutes.
Point being that we can all do things we consider laborious or unpleasant if it’s for a short enough time.
Listen, if an ADHD baby like me with my hair-trigger temper can embrace the power of habit…ANYONE can.
Thinking Of Changing Your Diet?
Baby steps, baby steps
Instead of radically altering the way you eat, kick things off by taking the sample diet below and eating what’s on that list for two days of the week (Sunday / Thursday).
Just see how you react to eating that sample diet once or twice a week.
Brain juice smoothie (consists of):
- Assorted frozen berries
- Teaspoon coconut oil
- Almond milk
- All-natural peanut butter (two spoonfuls)
- Vega Protein Powder
- Teaspoon tumeric powder
The rest of the day should see you ‘noshin on the following:
- Two chia granola Kashi bars
- Roasted chicken thighs with brown rice
- About 100 grams of mixed nuts
- 16 brown rice crackers with inch-long slivers of low-fat cheddar
Why I ditched P90X & Just Made Smarter Changes
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve no doubt heard about the P90X workout system.
I’ve owned the original one for several years now, and when you mix it up with Insanity, I don’t think any other system gives you a quicker jolt after stopping cold with the physical activity for a little while.
For my yearly pre-summer cut-up, I decided to change things up and if you’re still in the process of getting ready for the season, here are some ideas for you:
1) Been vegetarian since about October of last year – Digestion levels are way up, I’m ready for post-meal action far sooner than when I had just downed a big-ass burger.
2) I drink close to a gallon of water per day
3) Stopped drinking alcohol – pretty much same effect as meat: feel less heavy/sluggish
4) This time around, instead of busting out the P90X, I decided to hit the gym two times daily for a month with stairmaster action for four days of the week and select exercises from Mike Geary’s system on the two remaining other days.
5) I swallow two melatonin tabs per night to ensure a good sleep to recover from all this work
End result so far: 3.5 Inches lost from the belly and now closing in on the pesky “lower paunch” that haunts us all when we undertake this venture.
Other results: 7 pound gain in muscle.
WARNING: If you do not work out on a semi-regular basis like I do on my off-times, DON’T suddenly start going to the gym twice a day.
Seriously, you will f*ck youself up and in all likelihood, injure yourself to the point where you can’t work out.
How I made several health changes at the same time without fail
When I originally shared with you the methods I used to get in shape not just in time for another summer, but also to get in the best possible shape on a permanent basis.
A friend of mine saw my link on Facebook.
Her and I used to party hard back in the day, but we’ve both turned the corner, but for different reasons.
She just gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
That fact, plus a diagnosis of a fatty liver a couple of years beforehand, forced her into lifestyle changes.
So she told me that since I wasn’t forced into change to way she was, yet made so many changes in such quick succession while so many fail when they make too many changes too fast, that I should share how I did it.
So, piece by piece, here’s how I pulled off each change listed in the previous missive:
1) Becoming vegetarian – I used to be vegetarian when I was a punk rawk teen. Then of course, came back.
What turned me back again? Watch the movie Vegucated (It’s on Netflix). Seriously, in this modern day, vegetarians have every tool they need to lead a life of optimum health and nutrition.
2) Drinking a gallon of water a day – I’ve been drinking a lot of water for a couple of years now, but over the past six months, I’ve forced myself to count how many times I refill my Camelbak bottle.
Rule of thumb: if your urine isn’t completely transluscent, you need more water.
3) Stopped drinking alcohol. Many reasons here, but here’s the biggest one: both of my younger uncles lost their livers due to alchohol.
In fact, one of them almost died in February, but got a transplant just in time. He will recover, but he’ll never be the same.
So really, WTF would I pay to (maybe) end up that same way?
4) Ditching P90X and doing what I felt was right. To trim the fat, I did research on the most intense exercise I can do that doesn’t include having to do a whole bunch of different moves.
I did some research and found out that hitting a stairmaster at level 10 to 12 for 30 minutes at a time and combining it with some weight exercises is most efffective for thinning down.
My schedule allows for me to hit the gym twice a day. So four days out of the week, I’d hit the stairmaster at 7:00 am and again at 3:00 pm for a total of 1 hour a day.
The two days I do weight training, I went with this program to replace P90X – BUT – I did not force myself to follow everything in the program.
I picked out the exercises I knew were most effective for me, and of those, the ones I knew I wouldn’t mind repeating over and over.
It’s really just that – I had very solid reasons to change consumption habits and when it came to the exercise, I listened to what my body was telling me, not what a fitness guru told me.
I believe a lot of people who try to change believe that just because they paid money for a program they absolutely must follow each directive.
Let’s Talk Testicles
Time to get a
little VERY personal.
Let’s talk about balls.
Your balls too.
As you’ve seen over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking charge and putting health front and center.
Part of that has much to do with listening to the signals my body emits…
…and it should be no different with you.
Honest disclosure: Of all the signals I’ve been getting, feeling a dull ache in one of my testicles is one that I pay ultra-close attention to.
When these kinds of things happen, I tend to give it a day or two to go away and then I consider a visit to the quack.
Actually, I shouldn’t say that about my doctor, he’s far from a quack, he’s a very kind individual.
This time, things went on longer than I cared to let it and I booked an appointment very quickly to see my family practitioner and get myself checked.
When I got to the doctor’s office I was made to wait over half-an-hour longer than I should have.
Was I annoyed?
Finally the moment of truth came.
I dropped my pants.
The doc strapped on the latex gloves.
I took in a deep breath hoping for the best.
“OK, that’s good, nothing out of the ordinary here,” he said as he examined the first one.
“And it seems like all’s good with this one too”
My shoulders floated to the air and a huge wave of relief took hold.
With there being cancer in my family, I can’t afford to take any chances and dropping my plans for an urgent exam is totally worth it.
Why am I writing you something so personal?
To goad you into acting to preserve your own health.
If you have someone in your family with a history of cancer, you cannot take chances.
This is why Angelina Jolie opted to have her breasts removed.
Maintaining Lifestyle Changes
A funny thing happens when you choose to take a bit of time off the gym…nothing.
Nothing is in, one day of non-activity lapses into the next, until before you know it, you just paid for an entire month of gym membership and not used a day of it.
Who can blame you?
You lead a busy life, you’ve got some serious shit to take care of, it’s bound to happen.
The longer the absence from the gym goes on, the longer the list of reasons to stay away gets.
That’s when you know it’s time to embrace Brian Tracy’s philosophy and just eat that frog (get it over with)?
If it’s been longer than two weeks since you visited the gym, here are a few shortcuts to help you get back into that groove like you never stopped in the first place.
1) Start with strecthing – this helps in a number of ways. The first being that you don’t need equipment, so you can do it in the privacy of your home.
After you’ve gotten into the habit of stretching, you’ll start seeing the results of your previous workouts more clearly, which will encourage you to get back to more.
That’s because stretching helps your muscles heal faster, which will also help you get past the soreness that typically discourages you from hitting the gym.
2) Feeling tired? – chances are your sleep will not be anywhere as sweet as when you workout regularly. Use this fact as incentive. Best bet – try waking up early and making your workout the first activity of your day.
Your overall productivity will shoot right up and you’ll start to feel tired enough to fall asleep at exactly the right time.
3) Coffee. I already feel guilty speaking ill about the nectar of the gods, but without the rush you feel from the gym, you’re likely hitting coffee (or other caffeinated beverages) harder than usual to compensate for the shortfall in physical activity.
This of course becomes a negative self-fulfilling prophecy, especially when the caffeine consumption goes on past 4pm.
If you’re not a natural athlete (read: someone who has an ingrained love for physical activity), but someone who acknowledges that you must maintain a certain degree of exercise for the sake of your health, little breaks here and there are part of the deal, so don’t beat yourself up.
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