30 Lessons (i.e. Random Musings) Learned About Life And Fitness

“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning…Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” – Miles Davis

30 Lessons (i.e. Random Musings) Learned About Life & Fitness- lessons learned about life and fitness

A few weeks ago, I turned 30. My first initial reaction was, “Where the hell has time went?”

I remember being a small child listening to Marvin Gaye, along with many other music legends, and immediately becoming enamored with their melodies and positive influence on people.

I remember being the little kid who was always the “unique” one and never meshed perfectly with the other kids.

I remember being the kid who was into comics and the arts but was afraid to show that because it wasn’t cool—so instead I tried to become a suburban thug who wore oversized clothing (that didn’t last too long).

suburban thug-lessons learned about life & fitness
This guy wasn’t fooling anyone…especially when he started to talk!

I remember being the college kid who arrived at 165 pounds and full of insecurities. I also remember being the college kid who left at 205 pounds and full of insecurities.

I remember being the young adult and receiving my acceptance letter to go to school in New York and embark upon a medical school education (the rest of that particular evening was a blur…blame it on the booze).

I remember being the young adult who arrived in New York and was punch drunk in love even though I immediately got cussed out by a feisty old lady.

I remember going to happy hours and eventually meeting the strangers who would eventually make the whispers that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing even more apparent.

I remember completing my first year of medical school courses and everyone was looking forward to the next year and deep down I knew there would be no next year.

I remember returning home and telling the world that I wanted to be a writer and eventually have a book, speak and spread my knowledge of health and fitness by working with individuals (this ended up in laughs and many other snarky remarks).

Throughout those years, I also remember being unsure of this thing called life. I remember writing in my college journal that I wasn’t going to be here much longer. Thirty wasn’t in the plans.

I remember throughout my late teens secretly feeling this eternal hollowness. I remember being in a world surrounded by people, but yet, never felt more alone.

I remember being at a coffee shop on a brisk and cool Saturday night and contemplating calling it a quits with life.

I remember going through 6 months of therapy and finally facing my demons. I remember losing almost everything and nearly ruining my business and life.

I also remember being at my lowest and using writing as a therapeutic tool. That tool eventually carved out my debut book ‘Body Architect’.

What’s all these random facts mean: life is a roller coaster and there will be plenty of bad, but there will also be plenty of good.

Here are 30 lessons (i.e. random musings) learned about life and fitness in my 30 uneven years.

1.Your health is the foundation to your life (never forget this)

It’s easy to get caught in the world of hustling our asses off for our jobs. It’s easy to procrastinate going to the gym. It’s tempting to place everyone before ourselves.

But a rich and remarkable life starts by placing your health at the core center.

Pretend your health is the head of an octopus and all the other facets of your life are the tentacles. Without that head operating, those tentacles aren’t doing anything.

No matter if you want a girlfriend, escape to a new city, new job, or more money—it starts with an emphasis placed on your health.

2. Sleep is the best drug to transforming your health

We live in a 24/7 world where hustling gets us a pat on the back. Working yourself into the ground is viewed as a necessity in order to make it in your particular industry.

Many people attempting to lose weight will go “beastmode” at the gym and train intensely five-six days a week and eat clean but will drop the ball on their sleep.

Sleep is where your body recovers from those intense workouts leading to lower body fat percentages. Before you start training intensely and complicating your nutrition, master your sleep practice.

3. Nearly every type of diet works

Paleo, intermittent fasting, carb backloading, vegan, and the other gazillion diets floating around—they all work.

Huh??

At the base of any diet is one that preaches eating whole foods, limiting processed foods, and not drinking your calories.

The confusion happens when certain ones start using fear mongering tactics to help sell their type of diet. Pay the fear messages no attention and pick a diet based off what is comfortable to you and complements your physique goals.

4. It’s never an issue of time, it’s an issue of priorities

Many people desire to change, but many people also don’t want, nor are they willing to take the necessary steps required for change.

These necessary steps often require a shift in one’s priorities, sacrifices and discomfort. It’s easier to play the role of a victim than to actually do something about your situation.

Next time you recite “I don’t have enough time” or “I can’t do something”—pause and think about that. Is it really time or that particular thing or are you just making an excuse, being lazy and unwilling to give up certain things.

Either avenue is fine, just don’t use time or other external tools as your shield for excuses.

5. Fitness has 4 pillars: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual

The majority of the world views fitness just from a physical standpoint. It’s all about the aesthetics and the amount of weight lifted. However, that’s only a fourth of the pie.

Fitness has a mental aspect that includes being a lifelong learner which encompasses focus and discipline, not just in the gym but throughout your life.

There’s a spiritual component which isn’t about religion but instead is about being in a positive and healthy state. It’s being able to give gratitude even if you want more.

Lastly, there’s an emotional state which encompasses the people that you hang around with and allow into your inner circle.

These may seem like separate entities, but in actuality, they play and feed off of each other. How can you perform your best physically if your emotions are filled with negativity and scattered?

6. Compound exercises trump isolation movements

Squats, deadlifts, and chin-ups will always trump leg extensions, hamstring curls, and bicep curls in terms of developing your body in the most efficient and effective manner.

The biggest benefit of compound movements is their capacity to transform your body in the shortest amount of time compared to the isolation movements. This happens because compound movements work multiple muscles per movement compared to isolation which focuses on one per movement.

7. Before you seek an external transformation, you must begin with your internal world

Many people put their hopes and dreams in gurus who promise to help them make six figures one month. Many people, unfortunately, fall prey to fitness charlatans who create fancy Facebook ads and promise rapid results with minimal sacrifices in record time.

While those results may happen (doubtful), they have a zero percent chance of manifesting until you venture into your internal world.

Getting your emotions and mental thought processes under control has to take place before you can even think about that six pack or six-figure payday.

Before you become a fitness superstar or millionaire, you must adopt the mindset and character traits of that type of person.

8. Loneliness is a quiet and underrated disease

Mother Teresa was once quoted as saying, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody.”

Woman-of-Inspiration-Mother-Teresa1

In the world of health and fitness, macros and debating over the optimal workout split take precedence over deeper issues, but at the core of most people’s struggles is an issue of feeling disconnected.

Lonely people are nearly as twice as likely to die prematurely as those who do not suffer from feelings of isolation.

Loneliness leads to decision making that is often times not in our best interest. Loneliness can lead to depression and other emotional issues (food, etc).

9. Pull more and push less

We live in a sedentary world where the majority of our jobs revolve around a computer screen. The motion that the majority of us are doing is extending forward which is a pushing motion.

Combine this with people’s love for working chest and muscles they can see in the mirror and you instantly create an imbalance.

Many of our muscular issues result from postural imbalances and neglecting to strengthen our back muscles.

As you approach your weekly workout volume, perform pulling exercises in a 3:2 ratio compared to pushing exercises.

10. Don’t be afraid nor have any shame in being a beginner

Everyone at one point in time was a beginner who lacked the skill set and confidence for whatever task they were doing (I’m just learning how to communicate both personally and professionally).

Before I was 200 pounds and proficient with my lifts, I was a 165-pound freshman in college who didn’t even know how to properly squat.

Before I was an author, I was just a dude who wrote daily and most of that material wasn’t any good. In salsa dancing, before I could even think about spinning or leading someone through a cross body lead, I needed to learn the basic steps (and I still have a longgggg ways to go).

11. Fitness can catapult you to success in many other facets of your life

Accomplishing a fitness goal for some means that anything else is possible because fitness has often been this nagging thorn in their lives. Accomplishing a fitness goal possess the power to chase after goals that were previously viewed as unattainable.

12. Everyone should read for at least 30 minutes daily

You’re either growing as a person and evolving to a higher consciousness or stagnating and letting times pass you by. Going back to the mental fitness component, books can serve as the driving force to enhancing your intelligence.

Books feed your brain. Books serve as a way for you to gain access to many experts for a fraction of what it would cost to meet them in person or hire them. By reading so many books, I have many mentors. What took them years to learn, will only take me a week to get the big takeaway points from their book (need some book recommendations, here’s my Goodreads profile).

13. It’s never too late to rewrite the script on your life

It’s only over when you stay down for the ten count. This game of life only draws to its conclusion when you wave the white flag.

No matter how crappy or dire your circumstances, you can always pull a reinvention and make a comeback for the ages.

This rewriting of the script starts with you believing that it’s possible to set a recourse for the direction of your life.

14. Food’s purpose goes beyond aesthetics

We live in a world where food is mostly showed as a way to perk someone’s ass up and give them abs and big biceps. Yet, food is way more than a tool to enhance your appearance.

Food is a social tool that can unite us, heal our sicknesses, and be used as a way to communicate across generations and cultures.

persian food
Not only was this Persian food good for my internal & external health, but it was also shared with my friends from different cultures & walks of life.

15. You’ll never be 100% ready

No matter how many business books you read or podcast you listen to—you’re still going to mess up. You can read a gazillion fitness books, but that doesn’t get you in shape.

You can read dozens of books on the craft of writing and how to beat writer’s block, but that doesn’t create your novel.

At the end of the day, wanting isn’t enough. 

Action will always remain undefeated compared to the alternative of “planning & planning”.

16. Your environment is vital to your success

Your environment either helps or prevents you from thriving. Who you hang out with and who you choose to give your attention and energy to is pivotal to determining who you’re becoming.

Do they have a fixed or a growth mentality?

Everyone doesn’t deserve a seat at the table for version 2.0 of yourself. Keep your inner circle small and only include people who add value to your life.

Your perspective is key and if your friends live in negativity and scarcity, don’t expect yourself to be much different. Just get the hell away from people who are consistently miserable, drain your energy or aren’t doing anything with their lives and don’t plan on changing.

17. Less consuming, more creating

Many of us (myself included) fall into the comparison trap and feel as if we’re not enough or our lives aren’t as compelling as others.

Facebook shows us that more people are having more fun on vacations, going on more dates, and generally living more exciting lives compared to ourselves. Celebrities are so much better than us and other people within our specific work industry are much more successful than we are—at least that what the internet tells us.

It’s all bullshit!

When we get caught up in other people’s lives, we lose track of our own and forget to live ours.

Doing this makes us depressed, resentful, and hopeless about our situations. Pay attention to your own life and focus on what you can control (and only that).

18. We’re capable of much more than we think we are

The way we treat and talk to ourselves at times would never be recited to our friends nor anyone else. You’re better, smarter, and more capable than you give yourself credit for. Show yourself some compassion.

19. Happiness and peace will never come from the outside

Marvin Gaye eloquently stated: “If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably said this at one point in time: “If only I’d had more money”, “If only I could lose these 10 pounds”, “If only I had more time”, and “If only I could find someone who loves me”…”I’d”…{fill in the blank}.

People (myself included) fixate about what they don’t have and never allow themselves to be content with what they currently have in life. Always having a mindset of “more and more” will eliminate any chances you have of happiness.

If you can’t find joy and contentment for what you have now, it doesn’t matter how hot your partner is, how much weight you lose, nor how much money you have—you’ll always feel empty and hollow.

20. Don’t be afraid to challenge old beliefs and ideas about the world

Most of what we believe, think, and perceive about the world isn’t necessarily what we truly believe in. Instead, it’s what society has engineered into us along with our friends and family.

Challenge yourself and think long and hard about some common beliefs that you never truly questioned. Are these your beliefs or are they your family, friends, or societies beliefs?

21. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The ego is a dangerous weapon that possesses the ability to fracture relationships and block potential ones from happening. The ego has the ability to handicap your business and your health because you’re afraid to ask for help (mainly talking to myself here).

Be the bigger and better person and ask for help or advice.

22. Your breakdowns & struggles can lead to your breakthroughs

Sometimes you have to lose it all to realize what’s important. Sometimes you need total chaos and despair to gain the utmost perspective on what truly matters.

Repeat after me: “You are not your struggles”.

Repeat it every day if you have to, “You. Are. Not. Your. Struggles.”

Bad moments, sad situations, or mistakes may arise in your life but this doesn’t define your identity. Recovering from breakdowns and low moments aren’t instantaneous, but they also aren’t life defining moments set in stone which will direct the rest of your life.

23. Stop lending your self-worth card out to the world

Your self-worth comes from the inside, not the outside.

How can someone treat you like the superstar you’re meant to be when you’re treating yourself like a 3rd-string player?

Comparing yourself and measuring yourself to others only devalues yourself and your accomplishments. Don’t be fooled into comparing someone’s outside world (their highlight reel) with your internal world.

24. Develop a gratitude practice

One of the best things in the last year I’ve implemented is to practice giving gratitude each and every day. It’s easy to take for granted what we have, become obsessed with getting the next achievement, and checking the next item on the list.

I recommend using a journal or using the five-minute journal app (that’s what I currently use: app or journal).

25. Reinventing yourself won’t be pretty the majority of the time

Creating change is hard, uncomfortable, and downright lonely at times.

You’re going to lose some friends and outgrow others. You’re going to ruffle some people’s feathers. Not because of what you’re doing, but because of what you represent by deciding to take action on something you want.

When you take action and prove otherwise to your friends, you end their excuses and put the focus 100% on them for why they can’t do whatever it is that they want. You changing will scare them because now what’s their excuse.

While you may lose some friends, outgrow others, and cause discomfort in a few, you’re going to meet some cool ass people along your new journey as you construct version 2.0 of yourself.

26. If you feel lost about what to do with your life, explore your childhood to unlock the potential mystery

Music, superheroes, creativity, and the arts were always appealing to me as a child and it’s no surprise that I ended up as an adult incorporating all those into my work.

I tried to ignore what was always calling me, but pursuing a medical career, advertising and marketing never felt like home. If you feel you just aren’t in the right career, take a trip back in time and explore what ignited your fire as a child.

going back to childhood
Go back to your younger & more imaginative self for the answers to today’s mysteries.

27. I hate today’s (especially online) dating culture

App after app promises love and convenience. Yet, instead, I believe they’re merely making us more distant from each other. Sure, there are some benefits such as being able to meet someone that you would have never had the opportunity to meet without the internet.

However, we’re also tempted with the allure of something better with the next swipe. If you find one mistake with the person you’re with, maybe the next person won’t have that problem and will be perfect.

Welcome to ‘The Age of FOMO (fear of missing out)’ culture (I’m guilty as well at times).

This is how we date and it’s super confusing.

Let’s start saying “no” to the ‘Netflix & chill‘ dating culture. Let’s start saying “no” to playing games and be open to how we really feel.

28. If you believe in your dreams, that’s enough—let no one take that from you

Often times, we have a vision or something that exists in our heads but this vision isn’t seen by anyone else. Sometimes, this vision and dream we have are so far out there that it seems ludicrous to the average person and that’s ok.

If you believe in something deeply, that’s more than enough of a reason for you to give it a try—no matter the result or chatter surrounding you.

If you fall short with your dreams, then at least these shortcomings are on your terms (not someone else’s).

It’s better to try and maybe fail than to look back 10 years later and wonder “what if I’d given that dream a try”.

29. I still believe in people (no matter how bad things seem)

If I relied on the news as the sole barometer for the human condition, then I would’ve given up on them a long time ago.

Despite how much violence and hatred it seems that is going on—I still believe in people. Despite how cruel people can treat each other at times in relationships and so forth—I still believe in people.

There’s a lot more good than bad going on. There’s a lot more light than there is darkness. There’s a lot more love than there is hate (Let love rule…sing it with me).

When people mistreat you, let you down, or show their true colors(which isn’t so bright)—forgive, but never forget. Most importantly, never stoop to their level.

If you lower yourself, then you’re just as bad as they are. Be better than that and take the high road.

30. Music has many superpowers

Music was the sibling I never had. Many nights while playing video games, I had the radio playing and rotated many CDs’ which would serve as the soundtrack to my life in the coming years and still to this day.

If you’re sad, lonely, ecstatic with joy or filled with love—there’s a song out there that perfectly depicts how you feel and understands you.

Music has the power to heal and unify groups of people just from a simple four-minute song.

Because this article is all over the place, let’s end with my theme song before I go out and dance or any social setting (Marvin Gaye- Got to Give it Up..the extended version of course).

Dietary Groundhog’s Day: How to Stop Chronic Dieting and Lose Weight

A well-worn path doesn’t mean that you’re on the right track.

Dietary Groundhog's Day How to Stop Chronic Dieting and Lose Weight- chronic dieting

Phil Connors is an arrogant weatherman sent out to cover the annual Groundhog Day event. Little did he know, his life was about to take an unexpected turn. Phil eventually discovers that he is in a continuous time loop, repeating the same day over and over.

At first, Phil takes advantage of this by indulging himself in pleasures such as: stealing money, seducing women, getting drunk with no repercussions, and learning all the town’s secrets.

Hold up, this name and story sound familiar.

That’s because it is.

In 1993, Phil Connors played by Bill Murray is introduced to us in the movie Groundhog Day. Besides teaching us valuable life lessons, this movie shares valuable nutritional lessons we still suffer with currently.

We live in a society where people spend plenty of money on fad diets, countless workout programs, and supplements promising us quick results.

Unfortunately, more information and money hasn’t saved our society from becoming more obese. In fact, there’s a recent research study that concluded that only 2.7 percent of Americans live a healthy lifestyle. A basic healthy lifestyle consists of moderate exercising, a good diet, not smoking, and having a recommended body fat percentage.

Phil’s problems are getting out of a rut, finding meaning and fulfillment, and instituting change. Weight-loss seeking enthusiasts problems are escaping from a dietary rut, making fitness and life co-exist, and creating lasting change.

While we’re not trapped in a time loop like Phil, many of us are trapped in our daily routines by our conditioning. These routines and current conditioning are the reason many of us fail with our diets, despite the plethora of knowledge available.

Many of us are on auto-pilot and never take the time to slow down and assess what’s working and what isn’t within our lives. While many people seeking weight-loss have the right intentions, their motives and methods are fleeting. The typical dieting cycle looks like this:

  1. Start a diet full of motivation supplied by adrenaline and the novelty of starting something new (albeit often too extreme and not tailored to your personal lifestyle)
  2. They start to feel restricted and deprived once motivation and the novelty of this diet wears off
  3. The hunger games commence (i.e. discomforting and annoying cravings from being restrictive)
  4. They give into these temptations
  5. They’re flooded with guilt and shame
  6. They quit
  7. Months later, they feel a spark of inspiration and start back at one

Day in and day out, year in and year out, many people rinse and repeat this cycle. This is the Groundhog Day effect people experience with dieting. Until you slow down and realize that all your thoughts, actions, and approaches determine your results, you’re going to experience the same result over and over.

To stop chronic dieting, you must begin to pay attention to the outcomes of your decisions, how your thought patterns and preconditioned responses determine the majority of the actions and behaviors you take on a daily basis.

Once you have this awareness, now you can break the chains and free yourself from this continuous cycle because you can start to recognize what’s working for you, your fears, and other preexisting beliefs you hold.

As you embark on this freeing journey, use these six strategies to head toward a path of lasting success by focusing on your health and longevity and stop chronic dieting.

1.Reframe your approach to goal setting

Basing your worth and judging if your dietary program is working solely on the number on the scale is setting yourself up for a potential disaster. The scale isn’t the best indicator of progress at times due to water weight from eating certain foods along with other hormonal fluctuations not being accounted for.

stop chronic dieting- Homemade Green Tea Cake
An indulgent meal of green tea cake may cause a little temporary water retention

 

Instead of relying on superficial metrics and numbers, set positive and realistic goals that promote positive outcomes. Base your goals on behavioral and action oriented metrics, not specific outcomes. In other words, become process oriented instead of result oriented.

“I’m going to get healthier”, “start working out”, and “lose some weight” aren’t good examples of setting concise, positive, and measurable goals.

Great examples would be reducing your consumption of sodas, decreasing your sugar intake, committing to the gym four times a week, eating vegetables with each meal, walking for 30 minutes daily, and eating one portion of protein with each meal.

2.Don’t trap yourself inside the box of sameness

What makes us special as humans are that as similar as we may seem, there are little intricacies that make each of us unique individuals.

Health and nutrition aren’t any different.

Sure, some principles such as eating plenty of vegetables and avoiding processed foods apply to each of us. But, the methods to go about eating those vegetables and healthy foods can be accomplished in many forms.

 Find what suits you personally and meshes seamlessly with your goals while not requiring a complete overhaul of your daily life.

There are many different avenues to the destination, but it’s up to you to discover and decide on which pathway works for you.

3.Let your body guide you

In today’s society, we’re terrible listeners. We’re mostly focused on ourselves and what we’re going to say next. So it’s no surprise that most people aren’t good at listening to their body and making adjustments.

You can have the best diet and exercise plan on paper, but at the end of the day, it’s not guaranteed to work exactly as planned. At the end of the day, predicting calories and macronutrients is mostly theory and provides a good starting point. While tracking your macros and determining an estimated calorie number is beneficial, the best indicator is always going to be your body.

Your body is constantly whispering and trying to guide you, but you have to listen and pay attention.

Are you noticing those intense hunger pangs or just writing them off as part of the normal process of dieting? Are you noticing your daily energy levels or just accepting that walking around cranky and tired is part of the dieting process? Are you paying attention to your body and those seemingly small aches and pains or just writing them off as an intense workout?

These are just a few examples of your body communicating with you.

An intelligent and sustainable diet doesn’t mean you have to starve or function day-to-day with low energy. An intelligent and sustainable diet provides enough macro and micronutrients that help repair your body against nagging joint pains and other common issues.

stop chronic dieting- smoothie for energy
Provide your body with ample amounts of nutrients.

 

Let go of the mentality that you have to suffer while dieting and start paying attention to the feedback your body provides.

4.Celebrate little wins

Us humans often times set ambitious goals that are daunting and placed under unrealistic timelines.

When it comes to our goals, we need to feel as if we’re making progress. But, focusing on the end goal often leaves us feeling as if we’re not making progress due to the scope of the goal.

However, this is a mute point when you start to reframe how you view success. Someone may want to lose 20lbs, but why delay celebrating until you reach 20lbs?

To increase your chances of succeeding, start setting micro-goals. These micro goals provide opportunities for little wins, which serve as your gasoline to continue along your fitness journey. If 20lbs is your main goal, why not celebrate at 3—every little bit counts.

When you focus on the little wins, you give awareness to the fact that you’re making positive changes within your life; thus guaranteeing momentum to continue along.

5.Embrace and commit to the long term

Whether it’s committing to a relationship or committing to a work assignment—us humans have trouble committing.

Let’s face it, commitment is scary because this forces us to leave our familiar conditions.

The same thing happens once we commit to truly changing the way we’re eating.

Fad diets, body resets, and cleanses will work in the short term. Sure, you’re going to lose some weight and start to feel good about yourself. But once you stop these types of programs, your weight is most likely going to return with no mercy.

People experience a rebound weight effect over the long term because they haven’t developed the proper habits and behaviors needed over the long-haul.

Fad diets and other short-term gimmicks place you in a state of temporary change. Short term diets allow you to avoid committing to new behaviors over the long-haul while adopting less than stellar behaviors and relationships with foods.

These short term diets tend to outcast one particular food group or they’re loaded with rules that leave you with a distorted perception toward healthy eating.

It’s a 7-day-24-hour affair that requires a commitment to the long term in order to truly experience lasting change instead of a mere illusion.

6.Never forget this: health goes beyond physical

It takes a lot more than eating baked chicken, steamed veggies, sweet potatoes, and a salad to achieve optimal health. Optimal health while maximizing your longevity requires a focus on your four pillars of fitness: emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical.

Often times, eating healthy is only preached as an avenue to get abs, tone our arms, and tighten up our glutes. Though it’s not nearly as sexy to focus on, our internal world is far more important than our external world.

stop chronic dieting- meditation
Start your day off with a brief meditation session to get your internal world started on the right track

 

What good is a lean athletic looking body if it’s internally comparable to a sickly and disease ridden 80-year-old’s body (no disrespect to senior citizens)?

Despite what the media and Instagram try to shove down our throats, fitness isn’t just a game consisting of superficial metrics and rigid rules.

Forcing yourself to eat bland and tasteless foods in the name of achieving an almighty six-pack isn’t worth it. Following a restrictive diet that doesn’t fit your particular lifestyle isn’t your only option.

Even though you may be eating healthy foods on this restricting plan, you’re simultaneously creating unnecessary stress on your internal world. Besides the unnecessary stress compounding and throwing some hormones off balance, you’re not going to be happy with this plan.

Healthy eating should be a nutritional choose your own adventure designed to build you up physically, nourish your soul with flavoring foods, emotionally satisfy your needs, and mentally allow you to thrive in life.

Diet is important, but remember you only get one body (treat it with love)

Sometimes when left unaddressed, our pursuit of a healthier body and lifestyle often becomes our biggest detriment.

When unaddressed, we view and only see our bodies for their imperfections, not for their gifts and unique abilities. The more you accept your body and treat it with love, the more motivated you become and easier it is to reach your goals.

In a hyper-sexualized world where looks are placed at a premium, keeping the big picture in mind is essential. When you start to focus on your energy, overall wellness, happiness, peace and approach your nutrition with love instead of approaching with an unhealthy obsession toward losing weight, your goals and life will level up (as well as your physique).

Yes, you may feel ashamed of how you look or feel you need to lose fifteen pounds. But remember, it’s not the size of your muscles nor how much you weigh that determines your worth as a person, your beauty, or your value to the world.

Focus on your general well-being and living the good life. The weight and body that you desire will follow suit (I promise).

How to Fall Back in Love With Fitness: A 5-Step Process to Get Back Into the Exercise Habit

“The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

– Socrates

how to fall back in love with fitness- fall back in love with fitness

I have a confession to make, 2015 was my worst year ever in fitness. 2015 was the year I also hit rock bottom as far as my personal everyday life goes. On the surface, it would seem that things were going smoothly while underneath behind closed doors—things were slowly, but gradually, crumbling right before my eyes.

What happened?

The inevitable game of life.

It’s the game that throws various obstacles and temptations your way. It’s the game that leaves you in a tailspin despite any willpower or any know how you might possess.

At some point along anyone’s health and fitness journey, passion withers, motivation vanishes,and complacency sets in. You forget why you even started to fall in love with your healthy lifestyle in the first place.

Falling back in love with fitness and recovering from the thunderous jabs that life delivers at times isn’t an instantaneous process. Instead, it’s a day-by-day process that requires a methodical focus on the present moment to build your fitness habits back to normalcy.

Here are five steps I used to slowly fall back in love with fitness.

How to fall back in love with fitness

1.Accept your current self and situation

What’s in the past is in the past.

Me pining and clamoring for the 2012 version of Julian isn’t serving me at this current moment. Clamoring for past glory isn’t serving your objective of getting back to your healthy habits—it’s merely distracting you from getting started back with your fitness.

While you may not be as happy as you were with your old physique, odds are those perceived happy moments floating in your head weren’t as sunny as you think. Those happy moments were most likely brief because you moved on to the next objective.

Why weren’t you as happy in the past as you think you were?

You most likely created a different story and character that glosses over the not-so-fun moments (we’re all guilty of this). You’re creating a story presently that fits what your beliefs are; thus, you’re idealizing your past while subconsciously torturing your present self.

Happiness is fleeting and as we accomplish fitness and physique goals, our default baseline and expectations grow as well.

Examples of the self-imposed expectations curse/syndrome

To many people, I look great. I appear to have above average muscularity, strength, and athletic abilities. However, I don’t see myself close to what the world sees me because I know at one point in time, I was leaner, stronger, faster, and more conditioned.

I see someone who is heavier, weaker and gets tired quicker than he used to. In my head, I remember the 165-pound kid who became a lean 200-pounds. Now that I’m not in this peak physical condition, I feel like a disappointment and a fraud because of the expectations from myself and the comments of others about how healthy I am.

Far too often, I’ll hear clients and random people talk in the gym about how they used to be this or that. Obsessing over the past and idealizing what you used to look like leads to feelings of despair, hopelessness, self-hate, worthlessness, and a defeaters attitude before even beginning your new fitness endeavor.

As the things in the past become more and more distant, our stories and perceptions of those events become more skewed.

This step of falling back in love with yourself starts with accepting your current circumstances and forgiving yourself for everything that has transpired.

2.Be rational, objective, & reframe your situation

During my tumultuous portion of 2015, I ate like shit and treated myself poorly without any remorse.

Did I gain weight? Absolutely.

Did I gain some fat? Absolutely.

The scale told me I was 15lbs heavier and at one point 20. Was all this fat? Absolutely not.

Why is that?

The scale is a liar and doesn’t consider your water weight a key contributor to the sudden flux of added weight. Don’t let the scale play games with your heart (embarrassingly, typing this brings back memories of the Backstreet Boys).

the scale- fall back in love with fitness
don’t place your value on an arbitrary number

Most of the excess calories and junk we consume is from carbohydrates. Knowing this, it’s imperative that you remember that carbs pull in twice the amount of water into our cells compared to the other macronutrients.

It takes an excess of 3500 calories to gain a pound of fat. Do you really think you ate that much(this doesn’t even factor in the calories you burn on a daily basis)?

Looking at the big picture, it’s doubtful that your excess weight in this time frame is all fat. Most of your excess weight consist of water. A few careless weeks isn’t going to significantly raise your body fat.

Everyone falls off the wagon & loses their way. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up for it. I tried this and it only leads to negative self-talk and beliefs that I couldn’t get back to where I used to be. Instead of criticizing & self-loathing, approach this fitness reset with some compassion. Look at the past objectively, view the present with optimism, and look to the future with endless possibilities.

3.Just focus on doing

Woody Allen, one of my favorite directors, once said: “half of life is showing up.”

When it comes to climbing back aboard with our fitness, let’s increase this number to 90%.

You can worry about toning your thighs, how much weight you have to lose, the amount you want to bench, or how big you want your arms—that shit is irrelevant. It’s about doing and being. The type of action or exercising performed isn’t the priority, it’s the simple act of exercising that should be the focus. You can always switch later, you just need to get back into the correct mindset of being active.

What does this mean?

Think about the habits and character traits that you desire more so than the results you seek. Those results only manifest through the implementation of those positive habits and character traits.

You can’t control the timetable for results and other outside metrics, but you can control the actions and habits necessary to give yourself the best chance of making those desires a reality.

4.Have an intro/re-load week

Your main mission in the first week back into your fitness routine is to complete the days and habits establish at the beginning of the week.

You’re going to equip and condition your mind back into the necessary routine for success while establishing a baseline for where you currently stand.

Focus on getting back into the groove (oh Madonna, I couldn’t help it).

Here’s a sample list for week one to get you back into the groove:

  • Create a mission list– this serves as your checklist to operate throughout the week
  • Front load your work– try to identify your 3 biggest obstacles before setting forth on your reload week. Doing this keeps you one step in front of potential obstacles and distractions along the way.
  • Sample objectives– hit calorie/diet goals with 80% compliance, workout three times this week, and walk 30 minutes 5 days this week
  • Leave nothing to chance– Pack your gym clothes in the morning & go immediately after work. Batch your meals if you need to.
  • Make it real– Put your gym time on a calendar and only cancel for true emergencies. If it’s on your schedule, it’s real and you avoid the excuse of something came up.
  • No need to get fancy– Commit to working out 15-25 minutes, doing a few exercises (think compound movements). Here’s a guide to building an efficient & effective routine beyond the intro week.
  • Don’t forget old faithful– Get quality sleep each and every night. (7 hours minimum). If you’re far from this number, take small steps in 15-30 minute increments to get closer.

Ok, you got through the first week, how tough was it? What are your strengths? What about your weaknesses? How far could you walk? How was your conditioning levels? How did your eating go?

These are your baseline parameters from which to operate from in the upcoming weeks. Your only objective is to improve upon the intro week metrics…nothing else

5.Show some gratitude

It’s not sexy, but appreciating yourself works wonders for your psyche. Take a moment and think about how you felt and what you were capable of before you ever started to workout. Think about what accomplishing those first few fitness goals felt like?

You probably felt on top of the world, like nothing  was impossible. But as we know by now, happiness is fleeting. With success comes raised expectations which are where you currently sit. You know what you can do and what you’ve accomplished in the past. Think about your mindset currently and realize what you expect now out of yourself is most likely something you didn’t expect ever out of yourself.

That’s a damn good feeling that you must never forget. So while you’re striving to fall back in love with fitness, think about what you initially wanted to do and accomplish.

For some, it was losing 20lbs, benching 200lbs, playing in the park with their kids without running out of breath, run a marathon, get off blood pressure medications and other various medications.

It’s about perspective. We can look back on our past fitness selves and accomplishments, but let’s also look back to square one before we accomplished anything and look where we are now.

Give thanks to what has been accomplished, but realize that the best is yet to happen. Version 2.0 of yourself is waiting. Crush your previous baseline numbers, take it slow, and go have some fun