Don't Lie To Yourself.
"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love." -Dostoevsky
The head of the most powerful country in the free world can attempt to espouse ‘alternative facts’ (and BTW if he ever took his shirt off in public a la Putin then the naked truth about his fitness would be revealed) but when it comes to you and your own body, you simply can’t hide from the truth. You carry the veracity, the authentic results of your daily actions, with you 24/7 for you and the rest of the world to bear witness to. Our brains are very good at facilitating lies to ourselves about myriad of aspects of our lives, but the one thing we have most control over – your body & health – are ultimately immune to the falsehoods our minds proliferate endlessly.
So in the face of this reality, what small changes can we make to elicit enhancements to our health? Remember, as you contemplate this question, taking no action will lead to a gradual decline in health given the natural aging process, so in effect making no changes is akin to deciding to worsen your health situation.
The good news is that even small changes over time can lead to dramatically positive results.
Here are some for your consideration that can be implemented immediately, in many cases with no additional cost or time spent (to the contrary, in most instances both time and money will ultimately be saved/gained):
At the end of your shoulder workout take 5 lb dumbbells and hold them out at shoulder height for as long as you can (I call this the ‘Jesus Christ That Hurts!’ burn out exercise). It’s harder than it sounds. For those who want to take it to the next level, once you can’t hold the weight up anymore, extend your hands out to your sides. Believe it or not, it will get to the point where you can’t even hold your own arm weight.
On your next run, a half mile or so from your end point, kick up the speed to as fast as you can. Having a great 3 – 4 minute song on your headphones will help here.
When performing an ab bridge, move your toes up and down as though you are doing calve raises. Squeeze your abs very hard while doing this.
Substitute just one non-water drink (juice, soda, alcohol, etc) a day with water. After this becomes habit, substitute another. In general drink more water.
During ab exercises (this works particularly well with crunches and reverse crunches), breath out as you are crunching up while simultaneously flexing your abs really, really hard. This one small change will make it such that you can go from doing endless crunches with virtually no effect, to doing 10 or 15 with your core feeling like an alien is trying to escape. A note that is applicable to all resistance exercises, it is about the quality of the reps, not the #. You can do 50 lame crunches and have no effect, or 15 quality ones where you blow air out over and over as you squeeze your abs (try it…) that will lead to muscle growth the following days. Less time, more results (I told you I was going to save you time).
Put away your phone while in the gym and between sets jump rope or do abs or stretch or pick another body part and do that. I don’t know any other way to say it other than to state that most people really suck at working out. Their technique is terrible, they don’t do full range of motion (they do go through the motions…), they sit around for minutes on end between sets... Most people could spend half the time in the gym and get twice the results if they just worked out intelligently. Other than if you are trying to gain massive amounts of muscle which is a very specific and uncommon goal, effective and efficient resistance training largely entails moving quickly from one exercise to the other while keeping intensity high. We are all busy people; who has time to sit around occupying a machine that others want to use? Instead substitute something else during that ‘down’ time. If you usually work out for 45 minutes, give yourself 35 minutes but tell yourself you need to keep moving the whole time and do more sets in 35 minutes than you used to do in 45. You will lift twice as much in less time and double your results (or more if you lift with intensity).
Once a week when you are at a restaurant (eat in or take out), ask for half your meal ‘to go’ and give it to a homeless person on the way home. You will not go hungry, you will help someone in need, you will be happier and leaner as a result of this simple step.
There are endless changes one can make to dramatically improve health and fitness results (if you are stuck and need ideas, email me).
The keys are:
Be honest with yourself as to where you are and where you want to be (your body doesn’t lie).
Accept the fact that without change, there will be no change.
Pick 1 or 2 things to modify this week and stick to them until they become natural to you.
Incorporate a couple of new changes, once those changes become habit (and thus no longer require discipline). This can be on the consumption (input) or expenditure (output) side. Just 250 calories more burned and 250 calories less consumed a day will lead to a pound of fat loss a week. That is HUUUGE. 2 small, imperceptible changes across a fairly short time frame can lead to material changes.