Over the years, I’ve gone through countless articles, videos, blogs, and even people and I noticed something that has only become more and more prominent over the years. The notion of “being fit” and “getting ripped” seems to be something that goes in and out of “style” each year, rather than being treated as a way of life.
Let me explain…
In my experience so many people today seem to be short-sighted. In May, they want that dream body and they want it tomorrow, but once October hits, they don’t think about it again until next May. I take that back, they think about it again in January, forget by March, then start up again in May trying to achieve that all too elusive “beach bod.”
Now you may be wondering why this is a problem. Afterall, it’s every person’s right to live their life however they want. True, except that it’s starting to have an effect on the fitness industry as a whole.
Whether it’s bodybuilding, powerlifting, burning fat, or performance related, it all takes a ridiculous amount of time, energy, and commitment. You can’t expect to start exercising and eating right in May and expect to look amazing by the end of June. And when people do, they end up getting frustrating, thinking “this isn’t working” and usually give up.
Even for those who do fully commit and give it their all, a month is simply not enough! You see, too many people, myself included at one point in my life, try to go from 0-100 mph all at once and wonder why they blow their engine and burnout.
The problem is that they have not made fitness and health part of their lifestyle. They only hop on the bandwagon when it’s convenient and top of mind since the rest of the world is doing the same thing each spring. They get committed for a short burst of time, don’t reach their goals (which are usually unrealistic given the time they give themselves) and give up only to start all over again the following year.
So what’s the solution?
I was recently watching a video of a very successful entrepreneur by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk and he introduced a concept that I immediately related to bodybuilding.
He brought up the concept that so many people try to go 100 mph to get where they’re going when they can get there going 65 mph, with less mistakes and probably with an even better outcome. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a sense of urgency, but you also don’t want to seek short-cuts.
If you want that dream body that you’ve had in your head for as long as you can remember, you have to first understand that it’s going to take time, a lot of it.You need to have a mindset of a champion. Once you understand that, you enable yourself to be dedicated for the long haul. You stop yourself from trying to take short-cuts that end up delaying your goals in the long-run. So many people skip over this step and are destined to fail before they even start.
Pro bodybuilders do not start lifting for the first time and start winning Olympias after a few months. They spend 10, 15, even 20+ years training day in and day out, working to perfect their physiques as best as they can. This goes for any professional athlete and professionals in any field, really.
Think about it.
If you’re in a corporate job, it takes time to climb the ladder and get promotions. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that it takes years and years and years to “make it.”
So why would it be any different in fitness?
The main point here is that if you want to become a professional athlete of any kind, or even if you simply want to live a healthier lifestyle, you have to do just that: create a healthy lifestyle that aligns with your goals and is sustainable. If you do not first understand that it’s going to be a lifetime commitment of continuous progress and obstacles, you will be setting yourself up for failure.
Falling for quick fixes and magic pills won’t work. Sure, supplements are always useful to aid in a healthy lifestyle, but people need to first change their mindset.
So how would you go about starting your fitness journey? How do you create a winning mindset? How do you someday achieve that body you’ve always wanted?
Here are some actionable tips to get you on your way!
Yes, I’m mentioning it again! The very first thing you need to do is look yourself in the mirror and understand that tomorrow after your first workout, you’re going to look in the mirror and see the same physical person, and that’s okay! Overtime, as long as you stay consistent, you will start to see results. Now listen, there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals. In fact, I’m a huge proponent of setting ridiculously unrealistic goals. If you think about it, every super successful person who accomplished something great for the first time, was said to be “unrealistic” in their goals. The issue arises when you try to go from where you are now, to that end goal overnight. It’s just not going to happen.
So first put yourself in a long-term mindset. Play the long game, not the short game. If you play the long game, you’re guaranteed to win the short-game. Read that sentence again. If you do it in the reverse, you may never achieve your ultimate goal.
Once you truly understand you are in it for the long haul, break your long-term goal up into smaller, more achievable milestones. Think of these milestones as stepping stones to your ultimate goal. You can’t get to the top of the stairs in one jump. Many times people get it in their heads that “ok, I’ll sacrifice everything and do things I don’t enjoy so I can look great, then go back to doing all of things I enjoy (but aren’t good for me) later.” That mindset will cause you to be in the same situation every single year. You have to create milestones and progress towards your goals in a way that is sustainable.
Now all of this is not to say that you won’t hit setbacks. Even if you have a strong mindset, there will certainly be times when you consider giving up. Even the best athletes have self-doubt, it’s just the way in which they deal with it that sets them apart. Let yourself have doubt. Don’t be upset when it happens, just acknowledge it, understand you’re experiencing it because you’re outside your comfort zone, know that it’s a good thing, and continue pushing through!
There are absolutely ways to get in shape on your own. Sites like bodybuilding.com provide invaluable content including training and nutrition plans to help guide people in the right direction. If you’re looking to kick it up a notch and really become a professional, it’s important to find a trainer either online or in person. Having another person, presumably with more experience than you have, will help you stay accountable, keep you making consistent progress, and cut your learning curve dramatically because they can create custom programs for your own body and situation.
Yup, I said it! I am a firm believer in counting macros if you’re trying to transform your body. If you truly want to get ripped or gain more lean muscle, it’s critical to know and understand exactly what and how much you’re putting in your body. If you don’t arm yourself with this information, you’ll be leaving your goals to a certain degree of chance. The best way to start is by downloading MyFitnessPal and spend the next two weeks tracking everything you eat. You’ll need to do this until your weight starts staying the same and you reach a maintenance level. At that point, you can start adjusting your macros based on your goals (gain weight or lose weight). It’s also a good time to find a reputable coach/trainer to help you figure out how to move forward.
Train Like There’s No Tomorrow
When you’re trying to transform your body, that goal has to be reflected in your training every single time, which is a champion’s mindset. Just simply making it to the gym and going through the motions will not cut it. You have to go in with a specific plan on what exercises you’re going to do, what sets/reps you’re going to perform, and what your goal is. For example, are you going in to train for strength or hypertrophy? Is your goal to become a pro bodybuilder or powerlifter? Those can be two very different training routines and it’s vital for you to understand the difference to ensure you are doing what you need to do to achieve your specific goal.
Love the Journey
This is what is the mindset of a champion.At the end of the day, you have to love what you do. You have to love bettering yourself everyday. You have to find that intrinsic motivation to hit the gym early before work or late after work and you have to have the discipline to eat correctly. Whether it’s impressing a girl/guy, wanting to be proud of your own body when you see it in the mirror, seeing fitness as an art form, or something else, you have to find a reason as to why you are doing what you’re doing. That is what will keep you going when you have self-doubt or are tired or sore and don’t want to stay on track. If you don’t enjoy the journey and celebrate your incremental wins, it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to achieve your ultimate goal. The truth is, the destination is only a small portion of success. The true success you will experience is the daily wins that happen when you stay consistent and become better than you were yesterday. If you’re continuously better than you were yesterday, achieving your ultimate goal is only a matter of time.
If you’re sick of hitting the gym or feel lethargic all the time, try switching up your gym routine or adjusting your macros. Just because you feel sore or hit a plateau doesn’t mean fitness/bodybuilding/or whatever it is isn’t for you, it just means you’ve reached a sticking point and need to find a new approach to bust through it. Every pro has been here and once again, it’s just a matter of if you let the wall stop you or if you find a way to climb over it.
When you try to take shortcuts all you’re actually doing is creating a way to make short-term progress, and then lose it faster than you achieved it. If you want to truly be healthier, you have to commit long-term. I challenge you to play the long-game. People get so caught up on how they look right now and after a week of trying a certain method of training decide that “it’s not working.” A week of training is not nearly enough time to know if it’s working or not. The key is to be consistent in whatever you do and have an incredible amount of tenacity.
Putting It Together
If you take one thing away from this article please remember that time will pass whether you decide to better yourself and become healthy or not. For most, leading a healthier lifestyle will lead to more time on this earth, but it still goes by just as fast for everyone.
When you run into setbacks, just remember you have two choices. You can give up or keep pushing. Since time keeps going, you might as well spend it making yourself better and creating a body, mind, and life that you can be proud of. Be a champion and have the mindset of a champion.