Mentality Matters Pt. II: Fitness is a Journey

Speaking of mentality

There is a mountain range on the Eastern side of the world known as the Himalayas. Altogether they’re comprised of over 50 different peaks, including Mount Everest.

But the Himalayas are also home to over 50 million people. Among them are the Sherpa people, an ethnic group native to the region.

The Sherpa people are widely regarded as being an expert at their craft: mountaineering (specifically in guiding explorers up and down Everest).

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Mentality Matters

“Just do your best.” This mentality is what helps us succeed in health & fitness.

But isn’t that just an excuse? Do your best is something that your parents say to you when you’re a child and you’re terrible at something.

But your best is all that you have. It doesn’t mean perfection. And doing your best only includes what you are willing to do, not everything that you are necessarily capable of.

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Stop Calling It A Lifestyle Change

The ‘lifestyle change’ is simply the all-or-nothing mentality, the six-week program, the short-term diet in disguise.

Short-term diet and exercise programs work when applied correctly. But if you’re contending with large scale long-term problems with weight, movement, energy, capability, pain, or overall health, they’re probably not the solution you’re looking for.

But the ‘lifestyle change’ is what we get when we take that six-week program and just tell you to do it forever.

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It’s Your Genetics

You can’t lose weight because of your genetics. (Warning: satire ahead.)

Genetics play an important role in our health. Our DNA determines how we react to certain environmental influences (both individually and as a species).

Our DNA as human beings is mostly to blame for all of the health issues that we are experiencing.

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The Best Way to Burn Calories

One of the most common requests we hear in the gym is to ‘burn calories.’ Folks often want to sweat it out and feel like they’ve really ‘done something’ at the end of their workout. And while there’s value to hard work, the best way to burn calories throughout the day might surprise you.

But this isn’t to say that sweating in the gym is bad.

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The Secret to Better Results

For many years it has been thought that to build muscle, we must demolish our muscles in a very isolated manner through hundreds of repetitions and then let them rest for a week.

But what we’ve found is that despite the ‘science’ supporting this approach, newer science has shown something much different.

In fact, all of the data points in the opposite direction. Increased frequency (versus massive volume just once per week) is actually the key to muscle growth. 

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Three Ways to Feel Better Instantly

Ok almost** instantly.

But what does feeling better even mean? There are a zillion ways to define feeling better, but we’re going to focus on feeling physically better.

So let’s say that feeling physically better means moving more fluidly, being relatively free of pain and discomfort, and having the energy to do things like walk around or do some spur-of-the-moment athletic thing.

Of course working out, sleeping for at least 7-9 hours, and destressing regularly will all help you in your quest to feel better physically, but for now let’s focus on a few things that you can do on a daily basis that will make you feel better (almost) instantly.

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Everyday Fitness Standards

Folks love standards, mostly because we love to compare ourselves to other people and see where we lie on the continuum. It validates us. It gives our ego this little tiny boost that makes us feel good for a minute.

And usually, I’d write a post telling you to forget about standards. Forget what other people are doing. Get off of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Stop watching other people live life and giving yourself massive FOMO while you sit on your couch with re-runs of The Office in the background.

But I think standards can be helpful now and then. They give us metrics to compare ourselves to ourselves, to see how we’re doing. We can pit our strengths against our weaknesses and uncover the areas of our health & fitness that we need to work on.

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Why is America so overweight?

First, I’ll tell you why not. It’s not gluten. It’s not fat or carbs or sugar. No, it’s not animal products. Or dairy. Or because there aren’t enough gyms. It’s not because you don’t workout enough. 

So then, by this logic, none of the following are going to help: more diets, more diet foods, more gyms, more obstacle course races and 5ks, or more trainers crafting clever blog posts about making sensible lifestyle choices.

There are three main reasons why America is so overweight and they all stem from the fact that we’ve spent hundreds of years attempting to create the most luxurious, convenient, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey lifestyle of any human beings in history, ever. 

I mean, it makes sense, why would we make food less accessible if we don’t have to? Why use manual labor when we have machines that can do twice the work in half the time?

We live in this age of technology and information. But unfortunately, half of the information on the internet is outright wrong and we’ve forgotten that human beings are actually just gorillas that can drive to Starbucks and order a latte.

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Fitness Purity Part II: The Battle Rope

Ah, the battle rope: a staple in “metabolic conditioning” workouts across the country and the world. There are hundreds of ways in which you can swing the rope up and down, side to side, and slam it to the ground in an effort to raise your body temperature high enough that you start sweating.

Here’s a quick alternative: try eating extra spicy garlic beef jerky and slicing an onion at the same time. You’ll sweat way faster (and cry, too).

Large enough to tie up a yacht with, these ropes come in all sorts of colors and sizes. Different lengths mean different weights and different levels of challenge.

They’re usually associated with calorie-burning, fat-torching, butt & gut workouts designed to counteract those seventeen glasses of wine that you downed last week.

But if you ask many strength coaches, they’ll call them the dumbest thing in the gym. They’ll call them useless and ineffective at burning fat, building strength, or developing cardiovascular capacity.

So here we go again with another blogisode (that’s a blog episode) of Fitness Purity.

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