Be Strong and Smart

Strength matters.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you that it doesn’t.  It matters in sports and it matters in life.  We use strength in our everyday lives.  You use leg strength to go up the stairs in your house.  You use back strength to pick up something off the floor.  You use grip strength to carry in your groceries from your car. You have some furniture to move.  What are you going to do?  Call someone strong to do it?  Or get it done?

Intelligence matters.  Only a few dumb people get lucky and end up rich and famous.  Think Teen Mom.  The rest end up struggling to make ends meet.  That nerd that got picked on and bullied during his childhood now is married to a beauty queen while going on exotic vacations around the world.  That bully ended up a loser who never amounted to anything.  In the words of my new favorite Netflix show Stranger Things, “Don’t be a mouth-breather.”  Be the nerd that lifts weights and takes care of him/herself.

Aging

The older you get the weaker you get.  Or that is what people constantly tell themselves.  Are you going to just accept your fate or change it?  As I like to say “Excuses are like a$$holes, everyone has one and they all stink.”

Lifting weights and strength training is not just for the young.  Having competed in powerlifting I witness a man of 70+ years of age set multiple state records.  It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.  The crowd went nuts and every fellow lifter cheered him on.

Not Making Excuses

Another awesome experience was during a strongman contest I competed in.  I watched a female amputee (leg) deadlift 500 lbs!  First off there are very few females that will ever deadlift 500 lbs, but to do it with a prosthetic leg was unbelievable.  When I got hip resurfacing surgery I had no excuse to avoid deadlifts and squats.

Busy Life…Not an Excuse

Oh you work 40+ hours a day and commute 1 to 2 hours a day on top of that?  Oh you have a spouse and kids?  There is no way you could possibly find a few hours a week to improve your body is there?  These are lame excuses.  According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches 28 hours of television per week.  That is 4 hours a day!  So tell me how you can’t go for a 30 minute walk or lift weights 3x a week?

I wake up at 5 a.m. 4 days per week to lift weights.  Not because I like getting up early, but because with a family it is the only time I have to invest in myself.  The other days I make it a point to go for a walk.  Really, a person can get results with only 2-3 strength sessions per week.  I would say the average person would do mighty fine on a 3-day schedule.  It provides enough time to rest and recover while making long-term progress.

All or Nothing!

To reach the highest levels of physical excellence a person most go ALL IN.  This applies to NFL prospects, Olympic athletes, etc.  However, for the average Joe or Jane that just wants to have a better body or improve their health and fitness this is not the case. You can have your cake and eat it too!  Or in my terms every December-January I can have my 3 homemade chocolate chip cookies every night without getting fat.

You can actually use basic math to improve your progress.  If I lifted 100 lbs for 10 reps (1000 total lbs) last week and today I lift 105 lbs for 10 reps (1050 total pounds) have I not gotten stronger?  That is a 50 lb increase in volume.  Imagine if you invested 1000 dollars in the Stock Market on week 1.  Each week you gain $5 by doing nothing.  By the end of the year you have $1255.  This is a 25.5% increase.  That is pretty damn good. Or you put that $1000 under your mattress and with inflation it decreases in value (See what I did there).

Now, if we go back to our lifting example.  You start at 100 lbs for 10 reps and if you add 5 lbs per week you end the year with 355 lbs x 10 reps.  This is very possible for a new lifter to achieve this level of success.  However, like the Stock Market this gains will not last forever.  There will be ups and downs as time goes on.  Or you sit on the couch watching TV for 4 hours a day while eating McDonalds.  Your strength won’t increase, but your waist size will (See what I did there).

Reader Beware

Reading about exercise on the Internet is a Catch-22 if there ever was one.  There are tons of great articles out there.  There is literally no excuse to not have health and fitness information in the year 2018.

However, there is also a ton of garbage out there.  This reigns true on many fitness forums.  While people could go on them for some help, it is usually the blind leading the deaf, dumb, and blind.  So if you are going on to ask if your workout program is good….save your fingers the keystrokes and just do it.  Believe it or not your body will tell you if your program is good or not.  If you keep getting stronger and/or improve your performance your program is awesome.  If you feel unmotivated and you hate your program, it sucks.

Be Smart With Your Money

I could write a book in this section, but I will limit it to being smart with your fitness money.  You don’t need to go to an $80 per month gym.  You don’t need to spend $300 a month on supplements (they don’t work).  You don’t need to buy every fitness book ever written to learn how to squat.  You don’t need to spend $200 per week on food to get bigger and stronger.

When I was younger I wasted more money than I needed to on supplements.  I bought preworkout, tubs of protein powder (whey and casein), creatine, glutamine, this vitamin, and that vitamin.  Most of it was a waste of money.  I would have been better served buying more food and investing the rest of the money.  This is what happens when you fall for the hype.  Supplement companies are awesome at advertising.

Lessons learned:  Coffee is cheaper and taste better than preworkout.  One scoop of protein powder a day works (instead of 5) and it is not even necessary.  Supplements are a waste of money (there is no miracle pill).  Creatine actually works and this is proven.  This is the one exception.  Still it is not a miracle.  I advise to take one serving (5 grams) before you lift or after.  I don’t think it really matters.

Learn

I would say that experience is the best teacher for fitness and nutrition.  However, that does not apply to about 90% of the population.  I am always dumbfounded by how most people don’t have a clue about what healthy eating is.  No those potato chips are not healthy because they have the word potato in them.

If what you are doing isn’t working the problem is most likely not the program…it is you.  You can’t do a workout program for 2 weeks and say it sucks because you didn’t increase your bench press 50 lbs.  Stick to the program!

Training ADD

I would assume that ADD and ADHD suck.  It makes it hard to concentrate.  Well the same applies to exercise.  If your program is different each week because you found a cooler one in a magazine or online, than how will you ever make progress (Guilty as charged).  Stick to the program!

Think…Don’t Overthink

Smart people think before they act.  People who over think never act and therefore never accomplish.  If Elon Musk just kept thinking about making electric cars and didn’t act on it you wouldn’t have Tesla.  If Jeff Bezos just thought about making an online retailer he wouldn’t be worth $116.60 billion and we wouldn’t have Amazon.

The point is pick a program.  Milk it for all it is worth.  When it stops working make adjustments.  Pick a smart eating plan.  Follow it 90% or more of the time and watch your body change for the better.  When you stop seeing improvement, make small adjustments.

 

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