Yet, the way I’ve been able to successfully sustain dramatic weight loss is due to three primary concepts that are less to do with brute strength, and more to do with perspective.
In my experience, aesthetically fit, mobile, strong, or any other adjective that is synonymous with healthy doesn’t always necessarily mean authentic, happy, passionate, or alive.
It took many years to narrow this list down to what it is today. Many years of feeling like my whole life needed to revolve around fitness. I suspect as time continues to go by and I become even more efficient with my own training, the list will undergo more fine tuning depending on where I am in life or what my current priorities and responsibilities are. However, I believe these three words have allowed me the ability to cut the fat (pun intended) by de-cluttering my focus, condensing over-information and over-stimulation, and regaining a sense of movement and nutrition freedom.
I live an active life, and physical culture is something I value as much as life itself. Not only is it my intention to be this way forever, but it’s also my intention to share these values with you in a way that would make training and movement less burdensome, and it’s effects more sustainable.
What my big three really mean
The likelihood of consistency depends on:
You don’t know what you like until you know what you don’t like. Exposing yourself to different modalities, movements, protocols, and intensities will help sharpen your training palette. When you expose yourself to these areas, you’ll be able to find common foundational principles that govern the way the body functions regardless of the specific exercises you’re currently doing. This will be the compass you use to guide your training direction. You’ll be able to switch from Bench press, to dumbbell press, to standard push-ups with no anxiety about which is best because exposure breeds experimentation and experimentation breeds preference.
Your training direction will always be governed by your preference. If you’re not a program person, don’t follow one. If you are, find one that speaks to you. If you like long distance running, do it. If you don’t like high intensity but find yourself listening to a podcast while doing your basic strength moves, do it. Do whatever it is that’s going to keep you consistent. Would it help if you then furthered your education in the specific modality you like? Absolutely. Would it serve you to have the best running form, to supplement your running with strength work, and to make sure you don’t run injured? Absolutely. Would doing accessory exercises for your big lifts help increase your strength? Sure. My point is, if it’s built around what makes you thrive as a person, then you’ll thrive. Period.
But be flexible. Flexibility will test you when life gets in the way. You may find yourself uninspired, desiring less time spent training. You may want to take more walks. You may want to do more traditional cardio to blow off steam. Or, you may have the best “workout” planned, and upon arriving, realize it’s the busiest day at the gym. Whether it’s situational or something inside you that starts to crave change, allow it. It can be challenging when you think that the way you’ve always done something is the only way something can be done.
A) Less polarity
B) Less numbers and data
It is emotionally draining and exhausting trying to constantly beat your very best every single day. It’s equally as exhausting to only start something when you feel like you can give it 100 percent. I’m a firm believer in doing the best you can with what you have, and your tank may not always be full. I like to do at least something every single day. Where that falls on my success / effort spectrum is determined my many factors outside of my control. That doesn’t mean you have to phone it in either if you’re someone who’s committed, diligent, and purposeful, but you have to learn how to loosen the reigns on your own ambitions. It does you no good living in extremes because everything looks too far down from the very top and too high up from the very bottom.
There have been plenty of times I’ve ran way faster than I expected, and the faster pace became my all the time expectation. There’s been other times where my intensity soared, and that too became my new all the time expectation. Aside from ensuring yourself an injury, that takes the fun out of anything you do. Meticulously tracking macro nutrient ratios may be robbing you of the experiences that can help cultivate your intuitiveness. Chances are your personal and professional life are already filled with numerical expectations, quotas, stats, budgets, kids (plural), report cards, status meetings, or anything and everything in between. Training is supposed to be a break from that. It’s supposed to be time for you. It’s supposed to be a time where you connect with yourself and a time to harness your physicality in a way that transfers over to the life you lead when you’re not training. Being mindful of numbers is one thing, but being controlled and imprisoned by them makes you inanimate.
A) You vs Others
B) You vs You
This is the most challenging of the three because it hinges completely on the ability to find perspective in the storm of emotions. It’s also the one area you can’t always find tangible measurements of progress. We live in a society where we have to see proof of growth in order to feel validated that we actually grew, but growth isn’t always a visceral thing.
If you had your eyes closed in a moving car, you would not be able to tell precisely how fast you were going. Why? You have no point of reference.
We don’t realize how much our point of references dictate desires and how much that puts a ceiling on the amount of fun we can have.
I’m willing to bet, sometimes, people are happier than they think they are. I’m willing to bet people are a lot more satisfied with their activity levels or choices than they think they are. But, it’s easy to convince ourselves that what we are doing isn’t the right thing because it doesn’t look like what others are doing. When the focus is always on what other people are doing “instead” of us, it’s completely impossible to keep up.
There was a time where I felt like I needed abs. Then there was a time where I felt like those who had them were vane. I realized some people who have abs are vane, and some people who have abs aren’t. I realized it’s okay to want them, and it’s okay not to want them. Ask yourself honestly if your rigid aesthetic goals are as important to you as you think they are, or are they a manifestation of your own projections and expectations. Only you can answer that, but the answer can change over time At the end of the day, this is working out and health, not political policy responsible for ensuring the safety of a population.
If we think some fitness marketing is geared towards inciting insecurities, then why do we uphold ourselves to the same things we say aren’t “real?”
Self-comparisons are just as detrimental. So often, I would compare myself to where I used to be either before an acute injury that had me take some time off, or what I did when I have unlimited amounts of time. So often, I’d be tempted to say “that’s just what happens when you get older.” Are there physiological changes that happen when one ages? Of course. But, if we attribute every aspect of difference to age, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we attribute every deviation from prior roads you traveled as a setback, it will permeate anything and everything you try to do moving forward. Just show up today.
These three principles require a level of self-awareness that men aren’t thought to readily have available.
But it’s not always about aggression, intensity, and muscle.
Men aren’t made in a gym.
But a gym can be an already made man’s playground for life.
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