I successfully completed high school without having stepped into a gym. I never lifted a weight, or swung a kettlebell. I didn’t even know what a kettlebell was. I had never done a high-intensity interval workout (HIIT). I had never used a piece of gym equipment. And I had never pulled up my shirt and looked in the mirror to see if my abs were coming in….
Ok, I did this on the regular. I was a tool.
The only exercise I got in high school was from playing baseball. I don’t even know if that counts. Considering most of my time was spent standing in Centerfield, spitting, and scratching my junk.
I would do “cardio” every once in a while. Maybe go for a run, do some stairs, or hop on my bike. That stuff was comfortable and familiar to me. I didn’t have to learn anything new. I didn’t risk embarrassing myself in the gym because I had no idea what I was doing. Plus, I was about a 120-pound noodle armed, bleach blonde, Backstreet Boy looking fool.
Then I got out of high school and stopped playing sports. I started working more and doing less – Mostly because I was exhausted at the end of the day from work. I started putting on some weight. Nothing crazy, maybe 15 pounds or so but it wasn’t the good kind of weight. No lean muscle to speak of. No gunz were growing. No butts were being sculpted. No pecs were popping.
At 20 I decided to start working out. I did what most people do. I bought some fitness magazines, read the routines, and copied the diets I saw in there. It all seemed simple enough. Do this workout, follow this diet, and in 12-weeks I’d be one fit and sexy beast getting all the ladies, making all the other guys jealous, and having more confidence and better energy walking around in my schmedium shirts….. but more importantly the first two things.
* Ladies lets re-write that as if I was a woman. In 12-weeks I would be one fit and sexy siren getting all the men, making all the other girls jealous, and having more confidence and better energy as I strutted around in my black dress, yoga pants, or whatever it is you girls are wearing these days.
I had it all figured out. All I had to do was to just do it – That’s just science talking. I got a membership to a Gold’s Gym by my house in Herndon, Virginia. I was ready to start working out on Monday. Because everyone knows that’s the only day you can start something.
The ONLY day…
Monday rolls around and it’s time for my first gym sesh – Chest and Tri’s. I walk in and to my surprise, Gold’s Gym also doubled as a club. There were hundreds of people in there moving, sweating, and lifting stuff. Some people were just sitting on stuff not doing anything.
Everyone in there looked like they knew what they were doing, had a workout partner, or were in some sort of fitness click. I felt like the new kid in high school walking into the lunch room for the first time. Except instead of sitting by myself and eating a bag lunch mom prepared for me. I’d be flipping through my fitness magazine, trying to work out, and drinking a nasty protein shake alone.
I change clothes and headed to the gym floor. I’m totally lost. I have no idea what equipment does what and I’m too embarrassed to walk up to one and read the description. I don’t want to be “that guy.” I see the dumbbells and know what to do with them but they’re not a part of my workout for that day. I go over there anyhow but most of them are already being used. I pick up some 10 pounders and start to curl them. The guy next to me has arms the size of my thigh and is grunting like an animal in heat.
I proceed to put down my 10’s down and walk away.
I beeline straight to the cardio area. I jump on a treadmill and start to run because I know how to do that. It’s safe, comfortable, and I can’t possibly fuck it up. I run 3 miles and leave the gym.
I think to myself I could have done that outside.
Tuesday rolls around and I don’t go to the gym. I didn’t really want to deal with all that gym stuff two days in a row. Wednesday comes and I intend to go but I don’t I’m too exhausted from work. It’s Thursday and I go to the gym again. The same story, I run 3 miles and leave. It’s Friday and I don’t go. I have plans that night. Saturday and Sunday…. well, Saturday and Sunday. Everyone knows those are rest days.
A few months pass and I’ve probably been to the gym 4 times. Curled some dumbbells, bench pressed a bar with what appear to be weighted for ants (although ants are super strong so I don’t think that makes sense here), and ran some miles.
I finally realize I have no idea what I’m doing and there is no way I’m going to start working out consistently on my own. I call my buddy Matt. He’s a personal trainer. You may be wondering why I didn’t just call him in the first place. Well, it’s because I’m a guy and we don’t ask or need help ever. Because our egos are huge, we can do ALL the things, but mostly because we’re dumb.
Three things happened after I called my personal trainer friend Matt.
1 – I STARTED WORKING OUT CONSISTENTLY
This happened because I had someone to hold me accountable. Working out is what Matt did for a living. He never missed a workout. I didn’t want to let him down or look like a pansy canceling workouts – and believe me the first couple months I wanted to all the time. I hated it, I was sore all the time, and it was hard.
2 – I BUILT CONFIDENCE
I had no idea what I was doing inside a gym before training with Matt. But when we started working out together my confidence skyrocketed. I trusted him to show me good form and what to do to get results. Matt didn’t measure my body fat, take before and after photos, or have me log my food (all which would have been great).
Instead, he just wanted me to be consistent. To show up every day and put in the work. Because I was consistent the results started to come. There was no more working out 2 days and missing 5. Training 1 day and missing 3. Working out for a week and then missing a month.
3 – I DIDN”T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT TO DO AND WHEN TO DO IT
Matt had all of the workouts planned for me. All I had to do was show up and make it happen. This removed a HUGE limiting factor for me. Trying to figure out what to do, the best exercises for me, and how to do them properly was a headache and confusing. But I didn’t just shut down and do them mindlessly. I took the opportunity to ask questions and learn from Matt.
I’M SHARING THIS STORY BECAUSE YOU AND I HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON
We started in the same place. Two people trying to navigate all the fitness mumbo jumbo so that we can build a body we’re proud of.
18 years later and I still don’t have it all figured out. But I have improved. I’ve built better habits, overcome injuries, and followed stupid diets. I’ve bulked, I’ve cut, and I’ve done 30-day challenges. I’ve been Paleo, vegan, keto, and counted macros.
I’ve tried it all.
This health and fitness thing is more than a 30-day challenge, 6-week transformation, or 90-day fat loss program. It’s a lifelong practice… and practice is the keyword. Practice is hard. It’s often boring, tedious, and repetitive. When you practice you make mistakes but more importantly you learn.
From today forward start viewing your health and fitness journey as practice. As an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.
HOW TO LOSE FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE… SUSTAINABLY
When it comes to losing body fat and building a strong, lean, and toned* body there are really only 5 factors you need to worry about.
*When people say toned what they really mean is, lose a little fat and build a little muscle without looking huge.
- Moving your body in meaningful ways
- Eating better more consistently
- Getting quality sleep
- De-stressing regularly
- Getting help when you need it
These 5 factors are the very same methods I use with my coaching clients – So whether you want to lose 10, 20, or 60 pounds, have more energy to play with your kids and be more productive at work, or improve your body and health so that you have more confidence to live a life that you’re proud of. These are the factors I guarantee will work for you.
Keep an eye on your inbox because over the next few days I’ll be sharing these 5 factors with you so that you can start burning fat and building muscle. You’ll get one step closer to building a body and life that you’re proud of without the gym or kitchen taking it over.
PS: Here’s what you can expect to see over the next few days.
Monday: What to eat – Your nutrition plan.
I cover 5 simple nutrition practice you can implement immediately to help you lose body fat and keep it off. Because who wants to do another 30 or 90-day challenge just to put all the weight back on.
Tuesday: How to train – Your exercise plan.
I’m a firm believer that most people over-train in the gym. They end up doing too much, too fast and buring themselves out. They neglect their nutrition and fall into the trap of doing more equals doing better. I’ll share my minimalist approach to fitness that when combined with the eating strategies you’ll learn will have you making progress and actually enjoying fitness again.
Wednesday: Which supplements to take that will actually help you
There are so many nutritional supplements out there and it can be extremely confusing trying to navigate which ones you should bother with and which ones you should ignore. I’ll show you the only 3 supplements you probably should be taking.
Thursdays: How not to fail
Every single year millions of people set out to lose weight and get fit. And the majority of these people fail miserably. I’m going to tell you exactly why this is – but more importantly how you can avoid becoming one of these millions of people.
Friday: Getting help when you need it
If you feel like your doing everything you need to be doing but still struggling to get results. Extra help can go a long way. I’ll discuss some mistakes you still may be making in your training and nutrition, why you should hire a coach, and why that coach should be me 🙂
Photo by Justyn Warner on Unsplash
Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash