This is a classic and if you’ve ever done this workout before you know that at each round it will become more and more difficult to keep up with the clock. With performing the snatches, you must be able to perform them properly.
THE 10 RULES OF HEALTHY LIVING
Years ago, I used to start planning my New Year’s resolutions almost a little too early. At the time, I was either too young or too naïve to realize what I was really doing: Procrastinating. I may have seemed ambitious, but I was spending so much time looking toward the future that I completely ignored the present. As a result, I was taking two unnecessary steps back before beginning my journey forward.
New Year’s resolutions are a great tradition. It’s one of the few times when you make a concentrated effort to write down your goals and become better. It’s something that we should all do more often, and not just once a year.
But in looking forward you oftentimes forget two important things: To live in the present and try to become better, and to look back and reflect on what you’ve learned. The past is a great indicator of what you’ve achieved, where you’ve failed, and how you can become better.
Here are the 10 things I learned or was reminded of in 2011. Hopefully they can help your journey for self-improvement in 2012.
STICK TO THE BASICS
I’ve spent my life trying to figure out the best ways to help people get in better shape. And the more exercises I perform, the more programs I experiment with, the more I become convinced that a simplified approach provides the best results. Every year people are trying to reinvent the wheel. And while some of those exercises are fun and challenging, and many diets actually work (more on that soon), making change starts with learning and mastering the basics.
Eat well. Move more. Sleep. Repeat.
It sounds almost too simple to be true, but good health begins and ends with those ingredients. That’s not to say there aren’t other important factors—hormones, stress, and inflammation—are three examples of “hidden” elements that play an important influence on how you look and feel. But before you can begin worrying about the minutiae, you need to establish a healthy foundation. Once you’re consistent in those three areas, I promise you’ll be amazed by the changes that will occur to your body.
MORE PLANNING, MORE RESULTS
This past year I developed a habit of writing down my goals before each day. And you know what happened? I became more productive than ever. The truth is, everything we do in our lives is dictated by our minds. Whether we roll out of bed and go to the gym, select healthy food or the unhealthy choice, and even pushing yourself to do more at your job or be a better husband/wife/son/daughter/parent/friend—everything is a mind game.
Listen, it’s easy to lose sight of what we want to accomplish and what we actually achieve. So I remind myself daily. I don’t beat myself up when I fall short of my goals, but writing down expectations is a great way to stay accountable. Maybe you do it once a week, or once a month. But if you focus on the psychology of success rather than the end goal, you’ll probably end up achieving more than you thought you could.
STUBBORNNESS IS STILL STUPIDITY
As much as I have learned about fitness, I still make some big mistakes. This year I ran a Tough Mudde
r. It was a great race, lots of fun, challenging, and something I’d recommend for everyone. What I wouldn’t recommend? Going from running 0 miles to tackling 12 miles. Sure I had good intentions and wanted to prepare, but I didn’t. As a result, my feet are still angry at me.
As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Be patient with your body and you will be rewarded. Be impatient, and you’ll always fall short of your true potential. (or hurt yourself repeatedly )
I know that most people hate the word “diet.” As I’ve explained before, people need to understand that it’s just a word to describe eating habits. But more importantly, it’s essential that you understand that many different diets work very well. While some are admittedly terrible (see: Cookie Diet), there are many ways to eat healthy, lose weight, and feel great.
Here’s the problem: Diets are filled with too much dogma. Paleo dieters are upset with people who eat grains. People who eat grain are upset with low-carbers. The low-carbers are mad at those who don’t eat fat. On and on it goes. It’s a constant shouting match that drowns out a simple reality—the best diet is the one that works for your lifestyle. And to figure out your lifestyle, you need to develop increased self-awareness.
If you have food sensitivities or allergies, you might need to cut back on certain foods (wheat, dairy, and grains are common problems).
If you love fatty foods, you might want to pick a diet that allows them.
If you can’t live without carbs, well, don’t live without carbs. Take a more balanced approach and see if you lose weight on the plan. If you don’t, then adjust.
The point is this: I’ve gone high fat, high protein, 3 meals a day, 6 meals a day, a cheat meal per week, and even fasted. I’ve experienced success with each variation, and you can probably find research to support all of them, as well. So don’t worry about finding the best solution; only focus on what works for you. The dieting process is fairly simple:
1) Find a plan that is rooted in science. You want some basis of legitimacy. For instance, we know that the calories-in vs. calories-out is a foundational element of weight loss/weight gain. Use that as a baseline and I’d try tracking your calorie
s—at least in the short term—so you can learn portion sizes and understand how much you’re actually consuming.
2) Learn the details and rules of a specific diet approach and see if you think it’d work for your lifestyle.
3) Try it out and see if it works.
If I had a better solution, I’d give it to you. And we can talk all day about macronutritents (proteins, carbs, and fats are important), but you have to find something that works for your preferences and your lifestyle. If it’s not sustainable for you, it’s probably not worth doing.
MENTORS ARE INVALUABLE AND NECESSARY
I would not be where I am today without the help and guidance of many people. And I wouldn’t have the knowledge to share with you if it wasn’t for the lessons I’ve learned from others. I truly do stand on the shoulders of others, and it’s their information that allows me to help so many people. I am a student first and a teacher second, and that mentality allows me to learn more, constantly improve, and fix my errors and mistakes.
So many special thanks go out to the following people. Your contributions and lessons are invaluable:
John “Roman” Romaniello, Alan Aragon, Mike Roussell, Martin Rooney, Jim “Smitty” Smith, Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove, Joe Dowdell, Bill Hartman, Mike Robertson, Eric Cressey, Jason Ferruggia, Valerie Waters, Martin Berkhan, Mike Boyle, Robert Dos Remedios, and David Jack.
I can’t possibly thank everyone, but these “experts” are a notch above the rest. And a special thanks to Ted Spiker
. You are Legen- (wait for it…) DARY.
My advice: Find someone who is doing what you want, reach out to them, and do all that you can to learn from their model and adjust it to your life and your own style.
ANYONE CAN CHANGE THEIR DESTINY
I’ve always believed in the amazing capabilities of the human body. But since I’ve joined the LIVESTRONG.COM team, I’ve read more than 100 success stories, which details the amazing transformations of many different people, all of who overcame incredible hurdles. Starting in 2012, we will be featuring all of these stories more prominently, and I encourage you to share your story as well.
LIFTING WEIGHTS IS (STILL) THE BEST WAY TO LOSE FAT
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just like dieting, there are many ways that you can drop fat and lose weight. But if you’re looking for the best, most efficient way, there’s no doubt resistance training is the answer. Whether you’re a man or woman, hit the weights and your body will change for the better.
TRUE HEALTH IS BALANCED HEATLH
I’m more convinced than ever that a rigid approach to health is unhealthy. Listen, I live, eat, and sleep health and fitness. I love the gym, enjoy cooking healthy meals, and read scientific journals for fun. (don’t judge me) But fitness and nutrition shouldn’t be a pain. It should be an enjoyable part of your life. So that means taking some days off, enjoying food (and desserts or alcohol, if that’s your preference), and finding balance. I make more time for indulgences than I ever did, and I’m still staying in great condition.
Your health should be one of the biggest priorities in your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to control every aspect of your day. Push yourself hard, set high standards and don’t settle for less, but make sure you laugh, smile, enjoy and share your experiences with others. Battling your weight or other health demons is tough enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself. The more mentally relaxed you are, the easier it will be to stay consistent and fight your way to the goals you want to achieve.
Bonus lesson: PAY IT FORWARD
You’ll be surprised how many people genuinely want to help inspire people to become healthier. And your willingness to be a mentor or provide assistance can be the change that makes a difference in this world. I’m as committed as ever to help you in any way that I can, and I hope that inspires you to do the same for others.
To everyone: Happy holidays and thank you for a memorable 2011. I am continually humbled by all of you. Thank you for your support, criticism, and feedback. If there’s one thing I can promise it’s this: We won’t quit, we won’t overlook the present, and we’ll keep listening and doing all we can to help you live strong.