Maybe you just suck?
There’s nothing “wrong” with you. You’re not genetically inferior or “metabolically damaged.” You can’t even claim ignorance or old school stupidity.
Perhaps you’re not getting results because you have no standards?
But I think you’re better than that.
My friend Barry is one of those Awaken the Giant Within types. He’s always in the middle of the latest personal improvement book, on a nonstop quest to step up his entrepreneurial game.
And it’s worked. His businesses are successful. He’s successful. Which he attributes to learning how to be very disciplined and set very high personal standards.
He spends the first two hours of every day working on his side business. Even weekends. Once he starts work at his “real” job, he doesn’t check email until he’s made at least one sale. And he limits his social media time to just 15 minutes a day, no exceptions. Take that Facebook.
Like I said, disciplined.
The problem is, he’s fat (his words and mine). He has a pretty good idea what to eat and what not to — really, most smart people do — but when the rubber hits the road, he makes bad choices.
“Was super busy,” he’ll say. “I needed to eat but had three deals on the fire. So I grabbed a burrito.
“Time is money dude.”
Then he forgets about it. Ancient history. He doesn’t beat himself up about what he ate. Most would argue that’s a good thing. A “healthy” thing.
It’s not. Cause as disciplined as Barry is about business, in the care of his body, no one is holding him to a higher standard.
My personal standards for many things could be better.
A lot better. I could certainly benefit by hanging around Barry more, to see how he approaches money.
Barry sets a sales goal for each day and won’t sign off at night until he’s reached it. I consider a day where I matched my socks and didn’t argue on the internet a win.
Where I do have high standards, however — really high standards — is how I take care of my body. How I feed and hydrate myself, the amount of rest I get, and how much and how hard I train.
So why the difference between Barry and me?
Part of it is our jobs. Barry’s a sales and marketing wiz. Financially, he’s supposed to be a baller. People want to do business with him because he’s so successful. So he does what it takes to be that way. It’s his standard.
Me, I’m supposed to be a fitness pro. How the hell can I be overweight and call myself that? Ditto smoking, eating poorly, being sedentary, weak, skinny fat, or otherwise physically shitty. I think it’s uninspiring to those looking to make a change themselves. That’s my standard.
The other is passion. Barry’s passion is money. He gets a boner watching Bloomberg TV (his words, not mine). He has a financial plan mapped out that ends with “retire rich at 50.” And considering the standards he lives by, he’ll get there.
My passion is, well, this. So it’s “easy” for me to do what it takes to be in shape. It doesn’t feel like work.
But money management? Talk about a salt mine. I went so far as to install an app on my phone to help control my spending. I deleted it after three days — it kept sending me cheery messages like, “I see you’re at Starbucks, again. Did you know you can brew coffee at home and save thousands of dollars a year?” Yeah, well, go fuck a rock.
There are a lot of meatheads like me. But there are also a lot of successful yet out of shape guys like Barry. So how can we reach them?
It starts by being honest.
Guys like Barry got to where they are in life through hard work and perseverance. Their “path to success” wasn’t the one of least resistance. So why play down the effort and sacrifice required to get in shape?
No, they won’t need two hours a day in the gym a day, every day. But they will need at least an hour, most days. They’ll need commitment and focus, and execution.
And they’ll need to bust their ass. But most can do it, if they know that’s what’s required ahead of time. They’re used to it — they’ve done the same thing already, just in other areas.
As for nutrition, maybe the old school “good food, bad food, follow this diet every day” approach I came up on was overkill. But for as many screwed up relationships with food that it created (ask me about peanut butter) at least there was an element of decisiveness to it that can be appreciated.
Back in the day a guy watching his diet would say: “Sorry dude, can’t eat shit tonight, I’m cutting. Sucks but, you know, over soon enough.”
“Well, I can have 78 grams of Doritos now but only if I’m good the rest of the night, and then limit myself to just one slice of pizza tomorrow at lunch for Cindy’s birthday. Oh but what if it’s extra cheese? I’ll just have a smaller slice and do bear crawls to the bathroom instead of walk.
“And what if they serve cake? Got to be strong!”
I’m not saying one approach is “better” than the other or even “more sustainable.” I am saying that one approach is clear, actionable, and to the point — which many guys like Barry can relate to — while the other sounds like a dickless, fumbling TV dad who plays “friend” to his bratty teenaged kids.
Who even wants to relate to that?
So here’s basically what I said to Barry:
You’re a champion in so many areas of your life. You work hard, make money, support a family, and squirrel away for retirement. You’re winning at the hard stuff. This fitness shit is comparatively simple.
You can do this.
You don’t need a low bar. You don’t need 10 minute workouts. You don’t need to learn how to make large amounts of junk food part of “a healthy lifestyle.” And you certainly don’t need some dipshit doctor telling you how “you can be obese and healthy too.”
Who the fuck wants to be obese? Not you.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, even when he was the greatest bodybuilder of all time, still found dieting difficult. And when he’d cheat on his diet, or at least was tempted to, he’d talk to himself in the mirror. But not exactly your feel good self talk:
You’re a pussy. You can’t even follow a fucking diet. How can you expect to be a champion?
Then he’d refocus and work that much harder, And the rest is, well, history.
In the end, building a great body is like anything else of any significance that you accomplished:
- Decide what you want.
- Determine what you need to do to get it.
- Determine what you must NOT do.
- Establish your priorities.
- Get to work.
And when you slip up — and you will slip up — take ownership. Look at the standards you’ve set for yourself in other areas.
Then we can both agree — you’re better than this.
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