Two Questions Answered (Long But Worth It).

March 2014
Sept 2014
August 2015

I had a lot of really positive feedback yesterday from my progress pics on Reddit. By the way in the 3rd picture I actually have pinkeye, it’s not my Rock impersonation. I also got some of the same questions that I get from people in and around my life when they notice the changes in my appearance and I wanted to post the progress pics here and also the response for the age old questions of “How do I start” and “I’m scared, how do I do this”

First, the pictures are above. They are in chronological order and although I was heavier in the middle picture I believed I had made progress because I was so much stronger and working out regularly on route to my 1000lb club goal. The last picture is recent and although I am still a handful of pounds away from my goal and a few % points above where I would like to be I thought the 50lb loss deserved celebrating. The facts for the first and last pictures is as follows:

274 vs 224 lbs
30% fat vs 18% fat
415lbs bench vs 325lbs bench
Fat vs Fit 🙂

I have posted this content in posts before. How Do I Start is a favourite post in the sidebar as is Stop Listening To Yourself, Do The Work but since many people only ever read the main page here it is again.

How do I start?

The first thing that you have to do is make a decision. Not a decision that you can go back on but a final decision to change.
Second you need to set your larger goal. Your larger goal is nothing to do with losing weight or any of the challenges you have, your larger goal is to be honest, true and faithful to yourself. If you can commit to being honest with yourself and not accepting the old excuses then you are on your way.
Third, stop listening to yourself, you are only confusing the issue.
There is a voice inside your head that wants to derail you. You can either try to change the voice then change your life or you can simply stop paying attention to it until it starts to help you not hurt you. You are smart enough to know the right thing to do but that voice always finds a way around it.
What is better? Food you make at home from simple ingredients or fast food? You already know the answer. What is better, spending an hour watching a tv show or 30 minutes working out and 30 minutes making your food for tomorrow? Same hour, different results. What would you think of someone feeding a can of coke to a baby? Why would you treat your body with any less importance? Six months from now you will be 6 months older, but will you be different? That’s the big question. If you really want your life to change then you have to make some changes in your life. Here they are:
1. Find 30 minutes every day to exercise. Walking is not exercise. If you want to count walking it had better be up and down a flight of stairs.
2. Drink only water and if you have to, coffee.
3. Eat food with one ingredient. If it has more than one ingredient, you don’t need to go near it.
4. That means lean protein, fruits and veg, nuts and seeds (in moderation) and if you want to, a little dairy.

Understand that when it comes to fat loss everyone wants a magic pill or fix. That’s why the diet pill industry is doing so well. Well, here it is. Your body creates a substance that forces your body to store calories as body fat. How would you like to turn that process off? It’s not magic, it’s insulin. Eat less sugar and grains and your weight will come off.

Lead by example for your child. What you do will mould who she becomes. Kids learn directly from their parents in EVERY aspect. Be a good role model for yourself, for her and for the people around you who will eventually come to you and ask how you did it.

But do it now. You didn’t start six months ago, if you had, you wouldn’t be reading this.

I am scared (performance or execution / life or athletics) what do I need to do?

Back to the voices. The problem with most people (as Tony Horton expounds during P90X Chest and Back) is that they stop what exercise they are doing before they should because something inside them tells them they can’t do any more, or it’s too painful to do more. The fact is that you need to use that voice not as an absolute but as a starting point. Exercise is funny like that, when your mind tells you that you have done enough, that is the point at which the real work and the real benefit begins. Failure to go beyond that point means you may as well just kick back with a can of coke and watch your DVDs from the couch. That tipping point is the gateway to fitness and health and in order to breach the beachhead you need to shut up and get to work.

This is something I wish someone had told me in simple terms when I was younger. Instead I learned it from coaches who drove us into the ground on the rugby pitch, drilling us with merciless laps, sprints and piggybacks up tall grassy hills. It was those experiences and the results gained that drove into me the importance of doing what you are told, no matter how hard, no matter how painful it is, you will always succeed if you just do the work. There is a whole industry built around this theory, shirts, advertising campaigns, soft drinks, power drinks, protein bars, and almost everything else that can benefit from being tied to being healthy promotes pushing yourself to the limit. But it’s not the limit that you need to worry about, it’s your brain that you should be wary of.

For those who are not fortunate enough to have competed in athletics when younger, or sadly, those kids nowadays who get “participation trophies” won’t get to understand the requirement to going beyond the pain (read: discomfort) barrier in order to get their reward. Sports nowadays have been reduced to participation events with no winners and (god forbid) no losers. Unfortunately in a world where everyone is treated that way, everyone loses. Call me competitive, I don’t consider it an insult, in fact I think a competitive nature should be fostered and worn like a badge of pride. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has the ability to compete, but only if they are encouraged to and shown the rewards of success and are allowed to feel the sting of defeat.

The sting that for most people comes from seeing themselves in the mirror after years of neglect, even months in the gym failing to pass that point of improvement, giving up because it’s just too hard. The frustration of plateau, which for most people comes after a few weeks of going from zero to something but never pushing beyond. They are the people who have learned to “listen to their body” which they translate as a get out of jail free card for their efforts. So what do you do?

Get someone to push you. Get someone to yell at you for once. Have someone tell you that you aren’t trying hard enough. Get someone to force you beyond your comfort zone and do something you can actually be proud of. Stop listening to that whining lazy voice in your head and just do the work.

Just do the work. Give yourself something to achieve and don’t give up. Set a goal that scares you and then achieve it. Then set another unbelievable goal and hit that too. Find out where your total exhaustion lies. Discover where your absolute boundary is, when your body, not your mind gives up. Spend time there, enjoy the journey and be amazed at the destination. It doesn’t matter if it is 10 chinups or 500 pushups, it doesn’t matter if it is running a mile without stopping or doing a sub 3 minute Fran pick something, write it down, take it with you to the gym, to the park, to your basement and don’t stop until you finish. I promise you from the bottom of my heart you won’t regret it. Then, do it again tomorrow.

Maybe you find this a little too out there… Maybe it’s too “hardcore”. Let me be honest, you probably wouldn’t know hardcore if it ran you over with it’s car. This isn’t hardcore, this is self improvement. It’s something I wish I could teach everyone, and it’s something I strive to teach my girls at gym because it’s not just about fitness, pushing past that limit will improve every aspect of your life and every aspect of your future. But don’t take my word for it, give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you. But remember, don’t listen to that voice in your head, it’s just trying to hold you back.

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