Carbs, proteins and fats (macros) are one thing. Portion control is another, but timing is just as important to your diet.
Over the years I’ve learned all the different styles of exercise training, partly because competitiveness is part of an athlete’s DNA. So I challenged myself to try different things, and when pushing the body into great shape, weights never disappoint.
Granted you have a solid trainer or training program and you endured years—not months, but years of training, you would agree that resistance is the best assistance. Nothing matters more to muscle than stress, and whether it’s your bodyweight, or and external force, the body will respond to how much it’s loaded against.
Maybe once you’ve shown your lack of fitness saavy by downplaying the benefits of hitting the weights. In my teenage years I was somehow convinced that weightlifting would stunt my growth, damage my joints and leave me with nothing but a little muscle and a lot of regret. I’ve heard women say that they don’t want to look bulky like a professional bodybuilder, so they wouldn’t lift (truth be told, a lot of guys try, but still can’t look bulky like pros). Although weightlifting isn’t for everyone, if you want to see the most immediate and sustainable results in your physique or athleticism, weights is the way.
We all have to begin from somewhere, and everyone’s somewhere is different. Some of us begin with calisthenics (body weight exercises) or with sports (tennis, swimming, cycling, etc.) For those of us who aren’t satisfied with our skinny legs, or our flat booty, or our bird chest, we look at those barbells, dumbbells and machines somehow knowing the sweat that the last person just left on it was how that person has a little more of what we may want. I’m not saying that we want to look like anyone else, even though some of us do admire features of another person’s physique, I am saying that we know we’d feel more confident with our own bodies with a little more curvature and size.
I remember lifting what was at the time, heavy. Now I can warm-up with that weight because I’ve matured into a more developed athlete. When I couldn’t do a pull-up to now being able to do multiple sets of fifteen made me appreciate the patience that went into that process.
Just like someone might see a nice luxury car and think of how good it must be to roll-up in that, or we may see a jacket that would be nice to wear, we all have elements of our bodies that we would like to change.
For me, it was because I was battling a life-threatening disease that encouraged my change of heart about my lifestyle and learned the science of human health. Along the way I learned that I could do some amazing things (amazing to me) when I really prepared myself for it. I learned to sprint and be the fastest player on the soccer field (almost every time). I’ve learned to dunk a basketball, I’d even shown endurance that I never imagined years ago if I hadn’t changed my body’s capabilities. Much of it is will, persistence, focus and internal elements, but a huge proponent of it is weightlifting.
Of the many styles of resistance training, I can’t say that I’ve tried something that I didn’t like or respect. From athletic training (plyometrics, anaerobics, resistance training) to crossfit, to powerlifting, bodybuilding, and the others, there is an appreciation for these sciences because of the effect they each have on one’s physique. Not only the physique, but the mentality that is required to achieving your one rep max, or becoming more competitive than the field unto winning first place is a by-product of hitting the weights.
If not for the quality of one’s aesthetic appearance, if not for the confidence in one’s measure of physical strength, then for the moments when a stronger, more decisive and effective version of ourselves is required for survival, there is a way to be prepared more than you would be if you didn’t weightlift. Being able to move an extremely heavy object out of the way to save a life happens daily, but there are two sides to this coin. Sometimes we don’t have what it takes to survive and we suffer those consequences. We may not always be able to survive, but we ought to give ourselves the best chance we can.
If you are content with your body and its boundaries, if you don’t even lift, if or when you decide to push past your current physical bounds unto new territory whether that’s just around the corner, if it’s in a new county or to completely different region of your world, the weights is the way.
Motivation is temporary; it gives a short burst of energy but it doesn't last. Positivity can hide the raw reality of a matter and reduce accountability. Positive motivation can be just the kick we need to help us, but after we are in-flight, we must have what it takes to go all the way.
Sometimes a change of scenery like a new relationship, new house or a new year can be positive motivation, but after a short while, it's still us having to deal with reality.
That's why resolutions die, because they aren't revolutions, a sustained change, a lifestyle change, an continuum no matter the circumstances.
Truth be told, we may the problem. We choose to get off the wagon when the ride slows down or when we don't lose the inches that we tried for.
As a trainer, I have to reiterate the message that it will require a lifestyle for clients to see the changes they desire. Plans and programs are like positive motivation, they get us along so far, but it's up to us to use what we've learned, make adjustments, and proceed.
We second-guess ourselves when it doesn't turn-out to be what we expected.
Though we may be the problem, we are also the solution.
We can decide that no matter how tough it gets, we are going to get better at getting better.
One of the hardest things I've ever done was learning to be cool when things didn't happen as I wished, whether or not I could control them.
I started by ignoring gas prices and just filled the tank without complaint. When my soccer team lost, I learned to continue being the comical and confident person I am when we win. When I make mistakes, I hold myself accountable and reassure those affected that I am working on the resolution. That, and doing so with an ease of heart so that I don't shut-down or sap the energy is how I had to change.
If your new year's resolution didn't last, it's not because of the money it costs, or the time it takes to get to the gym, it's because we didn't expect it to be a never-ending journey. We underestimated the goal. If our resolution wasn't a health goal, the same message applies.
We will always struggle when we don't hold ourselves accountable to adapting.
In many of my errors, I can recall a moment when my parents or my partner warned me, but I didn't listen. That's not the issue, the problem is when I don't listen the next time and failed because I didn't change or adjust.
When it comes to these fitnessers who buy a new membership or training program only to last one month then go along spotty until it's tossed aside for good, the only difference between them and those who succeed is accountability and adaptability. Knowing that life happens, but you still have to train, even on long and hard work days, even when family issues arise; that's the only way you'll see the results.
To think a new year resolution is the answer is to think just because a calendar changes it's supposed to change you.
Some college graduates may have thought that with a degree, the world would yield to them as their income & respect would increase, and their problems subside. It only proved that in order to be in a better state of well-being you have to do more than get the degree, you have to persist until you have achieved what you envisioned. You only persist when you adapt and accept that it may take much longer than you expected.
You have each and every day to make a better difference in your life. It will be tough, but we will break-through if we persist.
When we commit to changing, no matter the scenery, no matter the time of year, no matter who's with or against us is when we experience growth.
Blessed is the day that you can endure beyond your limits or imagination unto success, unto a greater peace and a deepened enlightenment. When you can, you will realize that you are in a lifestyle of change, a revolution of your self. You will realize that nothing can stop you, and that you're only going to adapt to getting better no matter what.
Twelve cups of water a day? For who? I’m six-feet tall and weight one-hundred and seventy-four pounds, plus I’m an athlete and live an incredibly active lifestyle AND I’m a Sickle Cell carrier; i know I need more water than just twelve cups.
Too many of these health hacks and tips leave-out too much information. This is one of them. So, I made this chart based on some research and personal experience to help us keep in mind how much water we need to drink each day.
As you’ll see, I’ve noted on the side that the lifestyle is a factor, which is what the twelve cup rule leave’s out. Twelve cups is really for someone who weights about 190 lbs and has an inactive lifestyle. If you’re a 180 pound professional athlete, training about four to five days a week and requiring lots of sleep, then you’d need about two cups more each day.
Take a look at this chart below to see what you require each day . . .
There’s a huge and obvious difference between, say, Kevin Hart the comedian and JJ Watt the pro football player. Although they both may workout, they’re both completely different sizes and each require at least a certain amount of water per their lifestyle.
The more energy you exert, the more you need to hydrate. The bigger and stronger you are, the more water you need to drink. The more active you are, you who are reading this, the more water you’re going to need!
In a sales training meeting some years ago, we were instructed to cite within one minute our most recent mistakes and errors. Then, we were instructed to cite our most recent accomplishments except we were given two minutes. To mine and a nearly all of our surprise, even with less time, there were more things on the list of errs than the list of wins.
What we learned is that it’s easier to find fault than to find validity in things, but the deeper meaning behind the exercise is that we do this outwardly because we do this to ourselves. This is undergirding a mentality that could be crippling if we’re trying to achieve something simple or something monumental. When our minds easily find our faults, we can lose track of what’s happening now in that, this time may be a great chance for something better for me.
Have you found yourself going about your day-to-day life and suddenly think about a past mistake you made, not recently, but maybe months or years ago? Have those thoughts of your blunders ever altered your mood? Maybe you think of a person involved and get upset with them and they’ve not even present; they’re probably not thinking of it at all anymore.
Think about a time when the opposite occurred and you were suddenly ecstatic about something amazing that happened in the past. Aside from wedding anniversaries, your child’s birth or those kinds of events, when was the last time you became elated just thinking about something you did that made you proud?
We all have these thoughts, but like I’ve learned in meditation, how we respond to them is key to our conditioning. I’ve had to tell myself corny affirmations like, “You’re getting better,” or, “There’s nothing you can do about it, move on,” and those don’t always work. In fact, when I didn’t consciously work on those thoughts I found myself troubled by things that were not happening now, even polluting moments that could have been pleasant ones.
Did you know that the mind is so powerful that we can think thoughts and our bodies can react as if it’s actually happenin? I’ve read Dr. Irving Oyle expound upon this in his book The Healing Mind, when patients of his are told to meditate on certain thoughts while wired to machines that detect physical activity in the body. They may think of an accident or some traumatic event and then they begin to sweat, their blood pressure rises to a dangerous level, and they may even feel pains in their bodies as a response to these thoughts. If our bodies can suffer fatigue, depression, dehydration and a list of other dis-ease because of our thoughts, then how can we ever get over these things?
One practice I’ve used over the years is a coupling method. This isn’t a technical term, but it is used especially during meditation. When a negative thought arises, we say in our minds, “I acknowledge you, but you’re no longer part of me,” then continue to think of breathing or whatever works for you in meditation.
So, while I’m working on a project, I may be reminded of some past errors, but not without acknowledging those errors by accepting that they happened so that I can do better with the chances I’ve earned.
Part of my passion of sharing my experiences is combined with my philosophical and romantic ways of thinking. My love for the arts, music, health and sports all intertwine because they are all relatively connected on this single thread of life, and when I explain things to my wife or with clients, I sometimes use sports analogies. In this case, baseball comes to mind.
As I’ve said, no matter how many times we’ve gotten into foul trouble, we still have chances to swing and make progress. Life throws curveballs, changeups and as many pitches as you can name, yet we still have a chance. No kind of hit is impossible with a mind focused on this pitch, not the ones of past or the next one. Great possibilities are available only when we make ourselves available to them.
About that Lifestyle
Gym bag over my shoulder, drying my hands with a paper towel in the locker room, I asked the man next to me what his secret is. Vascular and pumped, he looked great even when compared to a younger guy likely because he was himself a trainer. His answer was simple, “It’s all about the lifestyle.”
He had been training for twenty-five years, he said, “You can’t fake it!” As a trainer with great attention to detail, I can spot a lifer from afar, someone who eats, sleeps and breathes good health. Even ones who are in the gym as often as me, I can tell if they are on a program or not, if they’re on a strict diet plan or not. It just can’t be hidden, and the truth was written all over this trainer’s physique.
As we walked and talked while leaving the gym, the sincerity of his testimony was voluminous. His day job is at the hospital nearby, and he talked about the epidemic of obesity and the various diseases associated with it that he sees every day. Just as the result of constant exercise and activity is obvious, as is the result of neglecting one’s health.
For those times I would spend a week or two hospitalized because of a Sickle Cell crisis, I took the chance to learn from those loathsome episodes to make better choices. When something worked to benefit my health, I would keep it in rotation until I had a cycle of behaviors that kept me from suffering the effects of this disease.
You may have heard the saying, “Take it one day at a time,” and you may have also heard, “Fail to plan or plan to fail.” Sometimes I’d wonder, well, which one? The true answer, as proven by my lifestyle, is both.
Staying hydrated is the foundation to my health, which is done with the thought of what I’ll need to be hydrated for. Our football (soccer) team is scrimmaging weekly leading up to our season, and in Houston, Texas, it isn’t hot, it’s just August. Passing-out isn’t a useful skill on the pitch, so I practice the opposite; high energy.
I also know what to eat every day to make the most of my workouts, and those workouts need to be designed for specific results down to the finest detail. Doing this over the years has become a lifestyle, one that I am passionately loving every moment of.
Throughout the work week you may see me in business casual attire because at some point in the day, I’m training someone else or training myself. My duffle bag usually has everything required for a fantastic workout no matter the setting or time.
How many people have started a training or fat loss program and never followed through? Far too many. I don’t know the difference between one’s reasons or excuses, so I don’t try and guess. Instead I encourage them to keep their priorities first, whatever they are. But for those who know deep down inside that they haven’t garnered the confidence or willingness to stay the course, I can say that they simply haven’t grasped the concept of the lifestyle.
It’s much like credit. It takes good financial principles and sound decisions to achieve. Every chance you have to swipe your card, every payment you receive, you have the chance to make a choice that leads to financial security or to more risk. Simple as that. Neglecting to budget, not protecting your security and you can squander all that you’ve accomplished having to start over, but not after you have a mess to clean up.
Single parents, parents with multiple children, full-time students and people with multiple jobs and businesses to run are as common as there are people in the world. When you live the life of eating healthy, being active, these other responsibilities fall in place. Having one foot inor straddling the fence gets people to make progress and then lose that progress eventually. There’s no way around it. You have to be completely committed in order to sustain those results.
Living the life, there are always sacrifices to make, but there is always consistency in the effort. Even with disease, mental health issues and ailments of many kind, I speak for every one of us when I say therapy is in the lifestyle of optimal health.
Seeing good health through one’s muscularity, vitality, euphoria, even a pep in one’s step tells me that they are definitely living with the verve. Even as someone with a congenital disease, there’s always something you can do to improve your health, and the results won’t come to stay unless you are all about the lifestyle.
How can one live in a city for thirty-one years and never get used to the heat? Short of going outside naked or not going out at all, it's a great time of year, and with that comes a great responsibility.
When you can walk outside in the morning before the sun rises and sweat within five minutes, you're not in hell, at least that isn't yet confirmed. It's hard to be fly and sexy when you're sweating thru your clothes. I was with one of my older brothers recently, and his car has a key-start, so he can get the a/c blowing before hopping-in. It's all worth it living down here, you need any advantage you can get.
We have curtains on every window in our home. It brings good vibes to open windows and let the daylight in, but when you let-in daylight, it brings its friends namely heat and humidity, those unwelcome guests.
Good thing in this city there are several utility companies that compete in this market because people are always looking for the best deal. We've changed providers as often as we learn about a great new offer, not loyal to any one in particular, especially when you can save thirty, maybe fifty dollars every month. You don't want to overpay to stay cool, especially if your home is two floors or you live on a higher floor in your building.
Call me nuts, but I've survived three years without a/c in my last truck I owned. I spared no expense fixing everything else on my truck (when I could). You can call this part of my training program, when you burn calories even while driving, and get burned in the process. I recommend this only to my enemies.
Having to stay hydrated with a little more urgency than those without Sickle Cell disease, I've probably drank more water than I've swam in over my lifetime, and I love swimming in lakes, pools, bathtubs, anywhere. Some folks reach for the coldest water they can take which isn't the best idea, as the cold temperature, they think, cools them down. What really happens when you drink cold water is a few things.
First, your body has a difficult time breaking down fats. Cold slows down the flow of molecules, and when molecules are immobile, it's usually because they're at a temperature that limits their ability to be broken down. So, if you're hot, you need your blood to flow and you need your body to process any excess inflammation and fluid as to keep your organs functioning at their best. That's why our bodies run at about 98.6 degrees (Fahrenheit), so that our blood vessels can remain open allowing more cells, fluids and oxygen to flow with ease. These are a few details on the matter, more can be found here.
So, as you get ready to go camping, traveling outdoors, or just doing you and exercising outdoors, there are several things to keep in mind to combat this heat. If you have pets, it's best to keep them indoors, not just in the shade, because the heat will evaporate any water you leave out, and it will draw on the energies and fluids within the body leading to an array of problems we have to make sure don't befall any of us.
By all means, enjoy the summer. Just make sure that you're ready for battle when it comes to this heat.
At least four times each year we can all see nature's changes. We can all witness how nature reforms itself consistently offering us conditions that allows for life to exist. Yet, as this is nature's duty do this, the need for us to cleanse and detoxify our bodily system is just as important.
Down south, by February it was already 'springter' . . . when it's winter-springish, with some cold days but mostly warm days. While each year may render a more or less snow, rain, or drought, nature changes and does this as a natural process to keep itself vibrant. We call this planet Mother Earth because she nurtures all creation, and springtime is when she shows her beauty.
A complete bodily cleanse could help you in so many amazing ways. Your mental, emotional as well as your physical state needs this most, a replenishment of nutrients replacing anything that doesn't serve you. You deserve to feel refreshed and as invigorated as you can feel. As hard as you work, and with as much as you put your body through, it's time to take care of it.
I've been sharing detox methods, simple recipe's, guidelines and nutrition and exercise tips throughout this spring. I want for you to participate, actually perform a cleanse, at best, do it with a homie or someone you are closest to.
What I'm sure you're going to feel is uneasiness, at first, but a clarity in your five-senses and a flow of energy waiting to be unleashed from within you. Your spirit needs this most, as you prepare for the random or even expected changes that will effect your life and your family soon. Go forward with a clear conscious and achieve your destiny. It starts with you, and your temple.
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