What a beautiful day here in Springfield, Missouri. I know many of my friends and family have struggled with seasonal allergies this spring and I have been fortunate enough to NOT have that problem. I suppose I better not brag … Continue reading →
Today I want to share the content of a poster a close friend gave me several years ago. This poster hangs in my office and I read it weekly. I always seem to find inspiration when I take the time to absorb every word.
The Foundation of Excellence
“Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast…and one day you will build something that endures; something worthy of your potential.”
Roman Teacher, Philosopher
Wow, that says it all. Are you achieving something worthy of your potential? Let me share an experience in my life. In 2005, I had been preparing for 2 years to compete in an event in California. This event was a proqualifier for the WNBF. I was working hard to achieve a huge dream of becoming a WNBF Pro. I dieted for 10 months shedding about 50 pounds of body fat. We traveled all the way to California only to get my butt kicked. I placed last in my class and wasn’t even close to achieving pro status.
On the plane ride home I realized I wasn’t working hard enough to reach my potential. Sure, I had dieted hard and trained hard up to that point, however I still fell way short. I realized I must change my plan if I was ever to achieve my goal of becoming a pro. My program needed to be radically changed. I turned my major disappointment into action. I read about successful natural bodybuilders like, Skip LaCour and Jeff Willet and realized I was not putting in the effort necessary to be my best. My intensity in the weight room completely changed. My attention to detail on my diet and cardio was completely reset to match my goal of not just winning but leaving no question in the judges minds as to who was the winner. I visualized success and believed in my efforts and listened to no one who told me different. My next competition was planned for October of that same year. I was to compete in Chicago at the USA and Great Lakes Championships, giving me another opportunity for the WNBF Pro Card.
I worked my butt off for 14 weeks. Those 14 weeks were the hardest 14 weeks of training I have ever experienced. Performing cardio twice a day on some days along with a session of strength training. I arrived in Chicago at least 15 pounds leaner, and much more muscular. I went on to win my class and overall at both events. My dream of become a WNBF Pro was now a reality.
What I want you to understand is that you never know how close you are to achieving your dreams. If you would have asked me in July after that huge loss that I would have went on to win the overall at this event I would have probably not believed you. There was a time during the few days after that loss I wanted to retire from competition. But deep down I felt I had not given it my best and wasn’t achieving “something worthy of my potential.” I also want you to understand that if you have BIG DREAMS the amount of effort needed will be BIG. I promise you,that anything in life worth having will require Amazingly Hard Work for an EXTENDED PERIOD, often longer than you originally expect. I dieted and trained hard for 1 year to win. I remember getting up at 4 am to get in extra cardio to lose bodyfat. Stop looking for the easy path to victory. Usually the easy road won’t get it done. If your goals are big there will be a lot of discomfort and hard work. That discomfort is the cost of victory. The sacrifice and hard work will be well worth it when you achieve your goal. Set your goals, set your standards of performance high and take action NOW.
Have a Great Day,
Today I want to discuss 3 keys to a successful workout.
1) Make absolute certain you have a game plan on paper. Write down your workout before you get to the gym. Go over the weight and reps you will be using. Make sure you have all the exercises listed in the order you will perform them. Go over your last workout similar to this one and have your plan reflect a progressive approach (more weight, more reps, more sets, less rest between sets etc). Within this game plan have some wiggle room. If you get to the gym and someone else is camping on your equipment have a back up exercise planned.
2) Effort, Intensity, Sweat Equity… Give each workout your best effort. Focus on the task at hand. Focus on recruiting the desired muscle group. Staying in the moment.
3) Form and controlling reps. I definitely believe in the value of performing all your repetitions with control on both phases (concentric,eccentric). Of course all this control within a balanced approach. I am not advocating super slow training, just control the reps. I like to tell clients to keep rep speed at about a 2 second cadence on both phases.
So there you have it 3 vital components to a great workout. Have a detailed gameplan with a backup plan. Work at high levels of effort which hopefully would be an improvement in performance through evidence of your journal. Finally, control your reps in a way that you would recruit the desired muscle group not moving weights from point A to point B.
Having great friends to hold you accountable during your journey is a huge element in achieving your goals. In a world where everything around us is centered around overeating and lack of exercise you must have a good support system. Even if its just one good friend to share your goals with. Seek out a good support system and find things that will keep you motivated. I know for me I like to read motivational books or blogs. Stories of achievement despite the odds being stacked heavily against that person. Some movies can be very inspirational. My wife makes fun of me but you just can’t beat the Rocky movies.
Find friends, books, movies,websites and other sources of information that will keep you going when the going gets tough. Getting through those tough times are much easier with this support.
Don’t think about things too much, it will get you in trouble. Over thinking your strategy will often confuse you. Develop a logical plan and take action. Keep your plan balanced and get busy. Acquiring more knowledge is often not the problem. Taking action is. Get to it.
As I approach this year of training for WNBF shows I am reminded that to achieve huge goals it will take a HUGE Effort. I can remember a tshirt I read once that said,”All It Takes Is Everything You Got!” Isn’t that so true. Stop looking for the easy way. Big goals are going to take a big effort and often times that big effort is much larger that anticipated. When you get there you will be the only one left standing and that will be worth the Huge Effort.
I have mentioned this many times but deserves mentioning again. Writing down everything relating to your exercise and nutrition program is key to achieving your goals. As I work with clients through my online coaching program I stress with them the importance of journaling. Especially, nutritionally when we are concerned with getting really lean. You must know what is in the foods you are eating. You must record foods, protein, carbs, and fats in those foods. After several days of journaling you will find that journaling gets much easier and suddenly you are much more aware of what you are putting in your body.
Today, get a notebook and write down everything you consume. When you get to a computer look up all those foods in an online database. Record protein, carbs, and fats for all those foods. Do this for a month. I promise you will lose weight. Do your best to consume foods that are low in saturated fats, low in sugars,and consume small portions of protein with each small meal. Preferably 5-6 small meals per day. If you get hungry eat more clean food.
Just do it no matter how painful it is to write things down. DO IT!!
Often we don’t set big goals due to our fear of failing. Just yesterday I was thinking about my big goal this year of returning to the WNBF Pro stage and my specific goal of placing in the top 5. Immediately, I started having some fear and doubt enter my thoughts. I started making excuses about my knee rehab and that no one has ever came back from this type of surgery to compete at this level of bodybuilding. I started doubting my actions and doubting my potential. Soon I was contemplating not competing at all.
Later in the day I realized that my fear should not stop me. The fear should drive me to not only compete but to be my absolute best. The knee is fine and ready to go. I must focus on powerful actions daily and use fear to work harder with more attention to detail.
Don’t use fear as an excuse to not achieve. You will succeed, friends. But you must be willing to battle through those times when fear does paralyze you. You must press on toward the goal.
As I start my preparations for this falls WNBF shows I am reminded there are no shortcuts. Successful, fat loss and muscle gain is not easy and takes consistent hard work. Bottom line: you must strength train, follow a precise diet, and adequate cardio to get it done. Yesterday, during my own training session about 1/2 way through I considered cutting my workout short. I immediately realized that the opportunity for that workout would not happen again. I had to attack that workout and not lose that opportunity. I ended up having a great workout. One of my best upper body workouts in years.
Effort and intensity during your workouts are the most important factors that will determine you success. Regardless of the perfect routine you have designed if you slack in the weight room you can’t expect outstanding results. You must push your body to higher and higher levels. Trust me you are capable of much more than you could ever imagine. I have seen achievement in clients and in my own life through outstanding effort, intensity and consistency.