The War is on! Not overseas but rather a personal battle raging in your own mind. The one that proclaimed, “I’m doing it in 2010 - for real!” is here! And here we are nary into the second week and you’ve barely stepped back into the gym (if at all) since the accursed year that was 2009. In this seemingly eternal conflict on bodyfat, I’m sorry to say, many of you will enter combat (training + nutrition + cardio), yet few of you will return, to equal (results.)
January 1, 2010 fell on a Friday and while I myself am human and enjoyed December 31, 2009 in perhaps a myriad of interesting ways, the 1st rolled around and it was indeed on.
As I downed my frothy protein shake mixed with my pre-workout adrenal supplement and cranked up Pantera (decibel loud); of all things to train that morning - it was legs! And while the gym was near vacant save for a few permanent fixtures and the usual cruising along with those sporting jaundiced eyes from exciting year-end excursions, I executed the exact workout that I had visualized in my head on the drive over with the same precision and care as if performing in front of an Olympic Committee itself!
Indeed, no-one has ever said it better than Nike with their “Just Do it!” campaign and those that act as if, do indeed receive for life. Actually one Yoda may have said it better when he ushered, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
While it may prove difficult to curtail one’s holiday festivities and head back to the gym in the hopes of adopting a clean lifestyle, it is our mental preparations that prepare us for physical success. Arduous words such as “diet” and “skinny” may be the first indicators that a change is in the works but in my opinion are simply set ups for failure. “Lean” and “lifestyle” are two such words that promote longevity and positive feelings for changing one’s body over the long distance, not merely the sprint.
In my first full week in the gym of this, our year 2010, I’ve seen a gross amount of overtraining and continued habitual practices of yesteryear. For example, there’s the guy on the leg press with 10 plates loaded per side and a range of motion 10 inches on a good day. Or the woman who literally did a marathon stair master session and this was directly following an hour of spin. Wanna know how much sugar she ate, (and replaced), somewhere after the last bead of sweat fell and the catch-up gossip with her buddy took place? Then of course there was the 135 pound guy who already looked to be a size zero doing what else, box jumps. I suppose his New Year’s Resolution was to lose more weight. Oy Vey!
Perhaps an example that will put it all into perspective went down as follows: A few years ago a friend from New York visited. It was good to see her no doubt but I couldn’t help but notice that her dimensions had changed. She basically went from a mom and pop shop to a super Wal- Mart. We were off to see a movie and I opted for the escalator. After all, it was a long way up and with all of the stair master I had done that week, the “human lifter” was indeed a heaven sent from above. To my right I noted my friend was climbing, rather running up the stairs. To this I thought, she just doesn’t get it. Had she opted to lay down a brick everyday, she would have by now had a house,(or in her case, not been as big as one) instead of attempting to erect one in a day. Don’t ask what goodies she vacuumed down during the screening, but the concession stand made a killing.
So the real issue at hand here is simply one thing; commitment which implies long-term and ongoing. Resolution, as is popular for a few weeks in January, implies just that, short term. I choose to resolve to changing my cat’s litter every so often but I commit to keeping my body running efficiently and looking aesthetically pleasing - for life.
In my own experiences, competing at a young age and culminating with a big win at the 1995 Teenage Heavyweight National Bodybuilding Championships set me up for the duration in terms of sheer commitment; but the bones or backstory can quite possibly be linked to three things:
1. The time my mother cleared out the chicken breast section as they went on sale for an unheard of 1.99 per pound to feed her son’s growing muscles. When a man arrived on the scene expecting to find chicken and found none, my mother simply pointed to her wagon and said take what you want - and he did.
2. The time my mother slept in her car the night before my first bodybuilding show so that her son could get a decent night’s sleep prior to taking the stage for the first time due to her volcanic snoring. Never mind the fact that she paid for the room, (and my chicken breasts)! The lesson learned was next time, bring ear plugs.
3. The simple fact that I would be standing in front of hundreds of people in basically my underwear and oil made it very easy to stay on my contest nutritional protocol so as to come in ripped and avoid embarrassment. Now then, onto 2010. Behold my first top 10 list of 2010 designed for you to look beyond resolutions and into the realm of commitment and results, LONG-TERM RESULTS.
1. VERNACULAR - Omit the following words from your mind such as “diet”, “resolution”, “skinny”, “low calories”, “the scale” and replace with “lifestyle”, “commitment”, “lean”, “low glycemic carbs” and “the mirror.”
2. THE GOAL - What are you looking to achieve? Sorry boys, more size one week and heavily defined abs the next doesn’t work. Pick one, stick with, work it and achieve. And then, next goal.
3. TIME MANAGEMENT - I once helped a friend move and he was more concerned with, (what appeared to me), wasting time, whereas I arrived, (as usual), ready to work. Rather than appear rude, I explained he had my help for X amount of time and we went to work.
4. CHANNELING OF ENERGIES - Put your all into weight training, maintenance into cardio, (anything performed for 20 minutes or longer to raise one’s metabolism), and exercise proper choices nutritionally in this simple, yet synergistic relationship.
5. OBSERVE ONCE DAILY - If you’re making a return trip to the gym in the evening after having been there in the morning, you’re overtraining - less is more! Furthermore, if you’re training a particular bodypart more than once per week in an effort to bring up a lagging muscle, (barring full body workouts which touch upon the body as a whole and promote a different goal and look), you’re overtraining AND most probably under- eating (the right foods.)
6. TRAVELING PROTOCOL - I always have a 5 pound jug of casein protein powder, (slow releasing vs. whey which is fast-acting), in my car lest I go too far in between meals and risk a low-blood sugar state and what’s worse - giving into sudden dietary temptation. Having said that, there exists not one place whereby one can order a healthier alternative - even in the fast food realm.
7. THE PHOTO - Immediately affix the photo of whom you wish to emulate, (physically), onto your fridge. Do it now!
8. THE CLAIRVOYANT - That dress, those jeans, the shirt that no longer fits should be removed from that drawer and hung at the forefront of your closet seemingly like a paratrooper, for it is said garment set next to jump.
9. BLINDERS - When in the checkout line, look not at the tabloids showcasing a fabulously “skinny” young starlet who miraculously lost it all in 2 weeks, for that same starlet blew up into a house shortly after those photos were taken. Stick to the truisms that remain in your shopping cart - the clean foods that both run and lean you.
10. SEE THE PROFESSIONAL - No not the movie starring a very young Natalie Portman, but rather your friendly neighborhood trainer. Even if it’s one session, pay attention, ask questions and welcome that knowledge into your arsenal. After all, we all need help sometimes. I was lucky in my physique endeavors to study with the best in the world and I gladly pass that knowledge onto you.
FREE SESSION for NEWBIES! Take advantage through January. Learn, sweat, set and achieve goals and hear a few bad jokes. Remember people, commitment, like diamonds, is forever.