Three truths, no lies.

Buffet Quote

The worst lies are to yourself.

The truth, the uncomfortable, damning truths we need to tell ourselves are the ones that question our true motivations. In any field or on any issue in any era, we need people to speak on the uncomfortable things hindering progress.  Though I do not feel the immediate need  to comment on injustices, poor practices, and corruption in all aspects of society, I do feel the need to comment on such occurrences in fitness.  When people see the three-fold failure of a system, one where individuals are being manipulated by a system, the individuals blindly crave the manipulation, and individuals who are successful share in none of these cravings but can not help the unfortunate, they act quickly, they form groups, they raise money to fight the machine.

This is where fitness has gone.

I am no expert, and good for that! There are enough experts.  There are enough trainers and doctors and physical therapists and gurus and yoga/crossfit/spin/barre/dance instructors and nutritionists and coaches trying to make a buck who will sell the idea that they know more than you do.  Here’s the first truth you need to understand before you’re a fit person:

They do know more than you…about their thing, and they’ll talk you to death about their thing until you vow that their thing is the only way and you fill their pockets.

Admitting this should be no problem, but it’s a huge one.  Here’s why-people think they are avoiding commitment to one method (and person or place) by say, joining a gym.  But then the gym becomes the method, or the combination of many methods.  It becomes the place to go to “get fit” which to us really means “look fit” literally and figuratively.  One might be better off choosing a method and mastering it, even if it fills the pockets of some clever businessperson.  At least you might learn something along the way.

Learning is important to independence.  Independent people have philosophies that set the groundwork for all that they do and their successes depend greatly on them.  The more extensive their education, the more access to independence they have because they have more framework for personal philosophies.  I teach children now for this reason.  I don’t want to implement a fitness philosophy in their minds, I want to educate them to a level of independence so that they are constantly reforming their own.  It is something that is successful at the primary school level and simply doesn’t pay the bills when you’re training adults.  Adults think that fitness is a service, something to be sold.  Obviously.  They are paying for it.  Here’s the second truth you need to understand before you’re a fit person:

Fitness is free, like all of the other best things in life, so treat it just like those things.  

Things like love, and nature, and determination and all of the free things we know come from within we treat with reverence and we attach them to everything we truly want.  Then we say “I want a six-pack” and instead of pursuing a practice that gets you the strongest, leanest, most elastic abdominal wall for life, you think “who or what can I pay to get me a six-pack by THAT date.”  We wouldn’t treat the other important things in our lives this way, so third truth:

Fitness isn’t really important to you.

This is fine too. I don’t hate you.  I love the entire world.  Only, don’t ask me how to help you lose your belly, or fix your butt, or help you look better in a swimsuit.  If you don’t want to take your background, resources, abilities, weaknesses, and mostly your core beliefs and build personal philosophies around fitness then it isn’t important.  You absolutely can not do any important thing in your life any other way and be successful.  I know because like most people I’ve failed at this in so many areas of my life.  When you attempt to do important things in other ways, people around you question your motivation.  Right now, I am questioning your motivation.  Looking great is not motivation, it is a true afterthought in the bigger picture of accomplishment. Important goals with superficial aims aren’t actually important.

Even if all your goals are superficial, can you create core beliefs around those and stick to them for life?  Who can?  Or, who can do that without being a completely obnoxious person?  Trust me, when I talk of “fit people” I’m not talking about this person, because their obsession, given any subtle shift in their lives, could be sent in the opposite direction.  Fit people are people who would seek physical activity and higher levels of physical activity even if gyms and fancy sneakers and elliptical machines didn’t exist.  Fitness is important to these people in the way money is important to Warren Buffet-it is there, it is in abundance, it is the source of envy, most of it has been made, there is really no reason to stop making it, there is no one way to make it but only one way to make it work for you long term.

That’s more powerful than losing 10 pounds.

 

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Selling Success

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Finding your fitness success is about understanding yourself. What makes you successful, at anything, starts with the things that come most natural to you. We all obtain success either by exploring our natural abilities,  or having the techniques we wanted to become natural drilled into our minds. With fitness, it is no different, and because most of the world comes to understand this split at an early age, individuals tend to classify themselves before the age of ten as people who either have the natural ability to be fit, or people who must try as hard as possible to get there and may never be satisfied.

But my personal thinking goes against what the world wants to think. We are not a society of “haves and have-nots” and more a society of equals, especially when it comes to how we treat our bodies. I believe that all bodies, in terms of excess body fat stored, could look the same.  I think that our caloric intake as a society compared to the level of overall exercise is way too high and could single-handedly destroy us.

Since fitness is personal, I believe that finding fitness success is a personal process.  I’m always puzzled as to why people treat fitness differently from the other personal things in their lives. After all, the way you approach (not the systems but the PHILOSOPHY) things like earning and saving money, family, marriage and raising children, is that you don’t want to talk to just anyone, and if you’re getting advice you go to the most trusted source available to you. That person usually tells you how to sustain that thing on your own, in some easy ways, because the thing you’re discussing is a “long haul” type of issue, one that lasts a lifetime.

Why is fitness different? Why do people trust any new source, instead of sources that lead them back to themselves, and independence? I am not condemning the fitness industry, because individuals who are licensed to do what they do in this industry generally abide by what they’ve learned, and try hard for the consumer. My question is, why is the base of consumers so large? They are incredibly easy to market to, and there is a great deal of money to be made in various venues. I see traps for fitness consumers all the time. Here are some things we all should remember:

  • Superficiality is the enemy. Nice clothes and cars don’t send your kids to college, it actually costs a lot more than it costs to buy clothes and cars, so you wouldn’t save for your kids’ future by buying worthless assets. In that same way, you can’t see “getting a six-pack” as success when pushing your body to its limits means you’ll end up with that lean rectus abdominus forever. Always focus on the bigger picture.

 

  • Be weary of people things you need to be dependent on. Those people and things know you need to depend on them, it is how they make their money. Seek INDEPENDENCE at all times.

 

  • In that same way, be weary of shortcuts. Making something sustainable for you is not making it easier, it is doing a tough thing in YOUR way so that it always happens.

These are just a few of those traps that are set – things that help fitness business owners and equipment manufacturers make money, but do not help consumers see their goals.  It is a two-fold problem. Fitness results can not be sold, only the promise of them, just as fitness results can not be purchased, only the promise of them.  Still, I doubt that someone trying to “sell” you fitness would make any money saying “we only provide you the resources to get fit.” They will probably promise you results, stimulating the consumer in you.  Really, when we pay money as consumers, we have expectations of the product. With fitness though we should be building expectations of ourselves, a process which deep down, costs no money.

Fitting a Year into a Day

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Before you make your resolutions, think about why we make them.  Why do new years weigh down upon us so greatly?  What is different about us on January first?  We are a day older than we were on December thirty first, and will have stepped into a new year.  Our proverbial slate is clean.  If for one second in December we could vow to not repeat any of 2014’s mistakes in 2015, we make our resolutions not with the hopes of holding to them, people rarely do, but having acknowledged to ourselves that this particular area of your life you’ve chosen needs immediate, harsh attention and has become, regardless of your willingness to admit it, completely unacceptable.

My curiosity focuses on projecting your problem, through a resolution, onto others who are doing the same at this time.  They are all trying to fit a past year’s guilt and a future year’s hope into one day.  For a week we will be a network of supporters, hearing each other’s problems and stating our own. We outline our plans to change and the others in the conversation say “right, right, that sounds like a great strategy.”  They will probably ask you on Super Bowl Sunday how you’re doing with the goal.  You will either have a bunch of excuses or a good report.  Really though, with the uncertainty of human emotions, human schedules, and peer pressure, how valuable is a resolution actually?

Resolutions really to me indicate that the person deep down realizes that this area of their life has become completely unacceptable.  What bothers me is that people, instead of choosing a resolution, don’t simply take their resolution and set it as the new standard in their lives, especially if the opposite has become unacceptable.  Building a great fitness year goes this way. The successful things in your life are all built around your personal standards.

Instead of making resolutions, figure out how that thing you resolve to do can become an easy and smooth part of your life.  If you have to work up to it, then do that, but after you’ve set that standard, set a new one.  If you can turn the will and resolve to do something into the guilt and internal shame of not doing it daily, then you are now dedicated to that thing, that thing is positive and yours.  Things that you feel are unacceptable should bring you shame.  That is a natural emotion that motivates us to do anything from brushing our teeth and showering to dragging our bodies into work every day.  The shame of not doing it, the internal shame, the unwillingness to go against our basic principles is what drives us.  To make that positive change you’re looking for, your thing must be treated this way.  If your resolution is to do anything that might make you more fit, then you need to find out how fitness can become a sustainable part of your life, that you’ve built basic principles around, and that leaves you feeling successful daily.  That’s not just in 2015, but forever.  Resolve, resolutions, and the ability to make them is a daily process, not a yearly one.  If fitness is important to you, then you’re coming up with mini-resolutions every day, not just when the support system is around at the end of the year.

Creating Your Own Speed Limit

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Your body is a machine like a car. It runs on food like gasoline. Put cheap gas into it, it doesn’t run as well. Push it past the speed limit, and you become a better driver for other times (not condoning reckless driving). Loading it up with a lot of extra cargo will keep you under the speed limit.

To our bodies, intensity is our “mph.” Most of the world is driving between 0mph and 10mph, whether they are choosing to carry excess cargo or not. Most people who exercise regularly are driving between the 25mph residential street limit and the 65mph highway speed limit and still struggle with either keeping the excess cargo or learning how to drive faster with it.  You might say that attempts at formal home workouts (videos and the like) are the street (the dependence attached to this method is what limits a person or “confines them to their street”), and gyms are places where everyone has accepted the 65mph norm as a way to accelerate progress, better known as highways. Some people are attempting to show greater effort at gyms and going over the speed limit. They are either ridiculed by others- “watch that guy get into an accident,” tailed by the cops or concerned citizens (trainers, gym staff, and other gym patrons), or followed by people who want to also get to their destination faster.

Then there’s me, and all the people the world might consider “fit” or “not overwieght” or “in decent shape” or active enough to mostly eat what they’d like. We live above the speed limit. We carry no excess cargo regularly. We drive everywhere, on any terrain, at any speed we choose, but that speed is mostly above the speed limit.

Personally, I’ve experienced all speeds at all levels, and in the last seven or so years, I’ve tried to have more days above the limit than below. I still have days when I don’t drive, but I have learned to truly hate them. I’ve been to gyms to go the highway limit. I’ve done a home yoga practice every day at 70mph for a short strecth. I’ve done daily running when I first started to run at 80mph a day for a while. I’ve trained for road races at 90mph and even longer road races at 100mph. I’ve done extreme calisthenics (or what was extreme to me at the time) like 3,000 sit ups in a weekend at 110mph, This is when you’re sore  in places for weeks after not days.  I’ve done ninety straight days of Bikram Yoga at 120mph. I’ve trained for a marathon, and failed, at 130mph. I’ve even been to 160mph, doing hot vinyasa yoga and running on the same ninety-five degree day, leading to extreme dehydration and my first true near death experience.

My point in sharing my own history? You can do more, and embrace doing more. It can get dangerous, but danger that you come back from can be affirming, even make you brave enough forever.  Our goal is not to park our car forever, it is to race our car against others, or find out our car’s limits on our own. These two goals encompass all of the trivial things most people want like a sexy body and that mental clarity that comes from rigorous physical activity, even if you never make it to the goal. Do not be afraid to push yourself. Do not be afraid to do that without dependence on a system or facility. Drive on whichever road you like, feel free to speed, finding out how much faster you can go every day is the key to getting there on time.

Welcome

Quickly, think about everyone who has ever judged you.  Everyone who has ever called you fat, in public or private.  Think of everyone you’ve ever wanted to be with but you weren’t on their radar because of your body.  Or the person who left you, or the person you’re with who doesn’t appreciate you.  Think about people who judge other people in front of you, making you wonder what they say when you are not around.  Think about all of them at once.

Now think about where they are in life.  Do they meet their goals?  Are they successful?  Not with fitness but simply in their life.  The answer is probably not.  If you really felt they were successful, you’d steal their techniques (and they’d be selling their techniques!), and that’s what we will be discussing here:

  • No one may judge you.  I will never judge what you do, just how you approach it.  Fitness success is all in the approach.
  • We may not say that fitness comes naturally to some and not others. Humans learn and grow like humans, but today they eat like maniacs and don’t exercise.  Instead, we must learn to make fitness as natural as possible to us.  

These two concepts will be repeated many times through a number of methods on this site.  My hopes are to change the way we view fitness in today’s society by helping the people who follow this site to develop their own strong fitness philosophies.  If executed well, these philosophies will provide the framework for decades of lasting fitness in their lives.

The Five Things Wrong with Personal Training

Personal training is a broken industry that fails the consumer purposely.  Instead of giving clients what they need, clients are given what they want, making the entire industry about the things the novices think and not what the professionals know.  This is great for business, but even better for business is the notion that personal training could be structured to not exist in fifteen years if approached properly.  Our current industry feeds the potential client’s ignorance and hence, assures that there will always be a client.  I say, change these five things and strike out obesity as a health problem altogether.

 

1. The “Market”

If you’re looking for a new landscaper or housekeeper, it isn’t because you know exactly what you need to do but you need someone to come by and fix things up.  It is because you’re in over your head and have no idea how to maintain the appearances you desire.  Wealth is measured in out society by one’s ability to pay for services that we should do ourselves but lack the discipline to execute.  Today, personal fitness is treated like home or vehicle maintenance.  Most want a nice looking home or a reputable make of vehicle but the maintenance of that home or vehicle is far too much work especially since they’ve all already done so much work to obtain these material possessions.  A body is not a material possession that a person can come into your life and fix for you, but the fitness industry is built around this thinking.

 

2. Money

Mostly, the wealthy get access to effective personal training, or training where all the thinking is done for the client.  Those without money are simply trying to spend less to say they have a trainer, to say they are trying to maintain things.  Not unlike the example of the home and vehicle, most envy the wealthy and own things not because they genuinely should have them but because they put on an air of wealth.  Personal training is a useful business, for people with real dedication looking to learn the physical and mental tools they need to see their goals.  For most though it is the way those with discretionary income justify destroying their bodies.

 

3. Myths

Guess what?  All of the stupid things people think and say about this business have roots in this business.  Things that require real dedication and commitment like say, exercise, religion and parenting break down easily in the average person’s mind.  So cliches, myths, fads, quick fixes, wives tales, they’re things people hide behind instead of obtaining real knowledge on the subject, taking risks because they’re evaluated the current times, or best of all, setting personal goals based on personal need.  Out of fear of the unknown, people will group themselves with the rest of the world instead of intelligently evaluating their situation.  The fitness industry makes its money creating catch phrases, fad diets, and planting the seeds of superficial passiveness in order to keep people from doing real thinking the ways fit people do.

3. Sex and Superficiality

There are a lot of different clients out there, and here, I’m not discussing smart clients who have real needs, work with good trainers, and approach this correctly.  This is something like half the paying population.  Personal training’s problem is that good clients love to point out overweight, lazy, potential clients for their trainers, and all the trainer can do is shrug and say “that person has to want it.”  The problem is that the person will only “want it” when their sexual emotions have been impacted, they can’t do something they once did (We aren’t talking climb the rope in gym class.  More like “he won’t let me get on top anymore”), or the doctor says they will die early.  In a way, all of these things are superficial.  Real fitness maintenance brings on lust and envy from others naturally, it keeps you sexy for loved ones, and keeps the doctor off your back before its too late.  Only we use sex to sell fitness way before we’d use health or accomplishment to sell fitness.

 

4.  Respect

People don’t respect personal training as a profession.  Again, people don’t respect personal training as a profession.  Most choose a trainer because of looks, their energy (yes, yes I know, you just need someone to get you motivated, you’ve got it from there), or their rate, because sometimes simply saying they have a trainer to others gives them enough satisfaction.  Can a trainer get a client in bed, ruin their own meal ticket, destroy a person’s psyche and view of this industry?  If the client made their choice based on looks, then HELL YEAH.  If I’m ugly and fat, I get no clients.  If I’m handsome and muscular I get a bunch of female clients who think “of course a guy like him can motivate me to get fit.”  Understanding this dynamic must be even tougher for female trainers-The attractive ones trying to act professional with snide male clients and catty and jealous female clients.  The unattractive ones always pushing knowledge and credentials to keep the clients’ respect.

 

5.  “I know my body”

No you don’t.  You know how to get your body fatter.  Most who say this have never seen their bodies healthy, or at minimum body weight and haven’t exercised since they got graded in school for it.  Since that time their bodies have settled, broken down, grown abnormally, and internally, ugh.  A huge problem in this is that so many trainers, especially ones with a specific background, train all clients one way, turning some clients off.  The potential client would rather take the power back by saying they know what they need (I wonder how this particular fitness self-evaluation looks) instead of giving the power to a person who may not take these FEELINGS into account.  The bold and intelligent trainer must leave no room for feelings: I evaluate you, I tell you what is wrong with you as a human, you tell me your goal, I tell you how to first live as an effective human and then how we will  get your goal.  This is personal training.

 

Change these things, and personal training might be real, and relevant for the first time ever.

 

Wanting it All, Always.

Roger Federer’s consistency, work ethic, and love for his profession are something to admire, especially when these qualities are difficult to generate for yourself.

In life, being elite is about trust.  You must trust yourself and ability.  Others must trust you to perform regularly so that they will always acknowledge you as elite.  In this quest to be an elite athlete, I do trust my ability, I do trust my body, but I don’t see myself as consistent in completing tasks and reaching goals.  Yes, my goals are higher-reaching than most out there, but I’ve got a vision of myself with an unmatched consistency and work ethic.  In short, I dream and have always dreamed of being a “Type-A” personality.

That’s because unfortunately I was raised a Type-C personality; a person who has always dreamed big, showed promise, but handled life incorrectly.  I was passive, ignorant, angry, pleasure-seeking, and lost.  Then I became a Type-B personality, where I had goals, dreams and a focus, I just didn’t understand why being ultra-serious about those things was a way to live.  Now, I want to be elite.  I agree that some are better than others simply because they want certain things more and will die to have them.  When you’ve never admired yourself, and always quietly admired these individuals, there seems to be only one thing to do: Figure out what you love and live for it.

The first step to this is frequency.  In 2012 I’ve been truly burned out, dehydrated, fatigued, or ill because of excessive exercise a few times, and every time I’ve come out of it wondering it I could ever be the sort of individual who does the extremely high volume of exercise I’ve always dreamed of.  I’ve never thought about quitting or slowing down.  Ten years ago I’d have done something else.  Five years ago I’d have blamed something else.  Today I understand fully that I get what I put into this.

Only those who operate under that mentality are trusted in this world.  They trust themselves and everyone trusts them.  The first step to being elite is building a rock-solid consistency that promotes trust from every direction.  Once you gain this resounding trust, goals become realistic and it is difficult to hold yourself back.