I’m a stubborn human. Ask my parents, or anyone close to me for that matter, and they’ll tell you that it can take me a lot longer than it should take to learn a lesson. Example: I have a great barber. Every time I get my haircut, I walk out with a smile on my face. However, it used to not be so. The other day I went to the old one. I saved a few bucks, but got butchered. I was given “The Mo” (3 Stooges). Then, I tucked tail and went back to my current barber to fix up the mess. And she did.
I’ve had to learn financial lessons many times over. I’ve had to learn that pride can be a good thing, but also a hindrance. I’ve had to learn that just because the opportunity is there, doesn’t mean you have to fight for something. And I’ve learned many a time over, that drinking too much doesn’t feel good the next day. I’m flawed. A work in progress. But progress I shall.
Today, I had an epiphany that I’ve had many times. The difference is, today’s is going to stick.
Focus on one thing at a time. Do it well and to completion. Only then can you move on to the next task, goal, or expectation.
As a result of that lesson I’ve learned many times over, I had one of the best work days I’ve had in a long time today, simply because I focused on one thing. I cut out all distractions. Answered no phone calls, texts, or emails until a task was finished. It’s a simple premise.
This rule of focusing on one thing at a time applies to everything.
If you want to build muscle, focus only on building muscle.
Don’t change your mind and try to lose fat if you’ve gained a bit of chub. Stay the course. Pack on mass and keep packing it on until you’ve reached your goal.
Can you gain lean mass? Yes. You just have to be more disciplined about your meal timing and what you consume. It’s a lot more fun to bulk, because you can eat a wide array of scrumptious and decadent foods, as long as you eat a lot of them. If you want to gain lean muscle, keep your carb intake to before and after your workout.
As a rule, have carbs within 1 hour before your workout, then again within 4 hours after you’ve finished.
- 60 minute before your workout (pre workout meal): oatmeal with fruit (mixed berries is what I have) accompanied with a fast absorbing and lean protein source such as fish. Chicken or protein powder will also do. You can also blend raw oatmeal, frozen berries, and protein powder to make a tasty, and quick, pre-workout shake.
- Within 15 minutes of completing your workout (post workout shake): this is when you want fruit, fruit juice (ideal apple juice), and a lean protein source (protein powder – I like this one). Have your carbs double your protein source if you’re trying to gain muscle.
- 60-90 minutes after training (post workout meal): have a meal similar to your pre workout meal, but you can be a bit more loose with its contents. I like having a fast absorbing carbohydrate – like white pasta or white rice – along with some pork, chicken, or fish. Mix up your protein sources as much as possible. So don’t always have the same kind of fish.
- 120 minutes after that meal (if you’re still hungry): have a snack. Something with protein and carbs. The bigger the snack the better if your goal is muscle. Keep your carbs source “slow”. Oatmeal, yams, sweat potatoes are my favorite. And keep the protein source lean.
If you lift in the afternoon, your breakfast shouldn’t have a whole lot of carbohydrates. Take the Man’s Breakfast as a good example. Vegetables should be consumed with every meal, and fruits can be held in the same regard. Make sure you have your fats upon rising and before bed to naturally raise your testosterone levels, and you’re good to go.
Where most of us fall off and never reach our goals with building muscle, is that we lose focus.
We quit the program we’re on prematurely, and start doing whatever in the gym.
We don’t eat enough. We start worrying about gaining fat. And while we might be putting on a bit of chub, we’re putting on a lot of muscle. But this fear of fat holds us back. We don’t eat enough, and we stay skinny, or even worse, skinny fat, for the rest of our lives.
Lift hard. Eat a lot.
The following holds true for any goal.
Stay the course.
Whatever your goal, pick a program, and finish it to completion. Don’t let life take you on another path. Don’t let the ebbs and flows of enthusiasm dictate whether you train or lounge. Set your goal. Find a plan of attack, a map, a program, and follow it to a tee until you’re finished.
If your goal isn’t reached after the program has been completed, take 1-2 weeks off (no more). Go on vacation. Reward yourself for work well done. Then start a new program with that same goal in mind when you’re back.
NEVER wait until you’re ready.
More is lost due to indecision, than wrong decision. We put our goals on layaway until we’re “ready”. Are we every really ready?
Steven Pressfield brilliantly coins that thing that holds us back, separates us from our work, goal, and dream, as The Resistance. The Resistance exists in fitness, in entrepreneurship, in any ambitious endeavor, there is something standing between us and our work. It can be procrastination – and its many, many forms. It can be laziness, greed, or fear – it’s often fear.
Know that it exists. See it as an enemy. But whatever you do, start. Start right now. Begin a meal plan, an online business, a book, a new way of life right now.
When you give way to one tomorrow, you’ll allow yourself another until your life is filled with tomorrows, no accomplishments, and unfulfilled dreams. The greatest tragedy in life, is wasted talent. It’s a tragedy that is played out daily in the majority of lives on this planet.
Do you want to be one of the few that actually realizes your potential, or one of the billions of men and women on this planet who dream, but never take a step toward that dream?
Take courage. Take action.
Plan your life.
Know what you’re going to do even before you do it.
Focus is important. To maintain focus, we need to plan. In fitness, this means a program that shows us what to eat, how to train, and what to do with our training. In business – and life – this means setting goals and planning our days.
Set weekly expectations that are focused on the process. Things like: I’m going to get 4 workouts done this week. 3 blog posts written. 50 pages written in my book. These are things you need to do to make your expectations realities, and your dreams come true. They’re tasks, acts, that make up your routine.
Set monthly or quarterly goals and expectations. How many pounds of fat do you want to lose? How many viewers do you want to your site? How many cold calls do you want to have made – or thing you need to make to reach your goal? How much money do you want to make this quarter?
Set yearly goals and expectations. These are similar to the quarterly goals, just bigger. These are visions of where you want to be in a year. They’re personal. They’re about life, business, fitness.
Side note: when setting goals and thinking about your future, never lose track of who you are. You can evolve. You can become a better person, a kinder person, a more successful, harder working, more ambitious person. But you HAVE TO remain YOU.
You’re you for a reason. Get in touch with that laughing kid you were growing up. Be the man you are, don’t think that to be a real man you have to change who you are at your core, just be MORE of who you are. Evolve. Improve. Don’t change.
Set 5 year goals and expectations. These are big. Where do you want your business, family, life to be? Where do you want to live, ideally. DON’T SET SMALL DREAMS. If these aren’t the most audacious, ambitious dreams you can put to paper, you’re wasting your time.
These HAVE TO be massive. They have to have imagination. They have to excite you. If they don’t excite you, what’s going to get you training 5, 6 days a week? Working 18 hours a day? If you want to rule the world, write it down.
Find a mentor.
Last but not least, find someone who is where you want to be. Spark a relationship. Help them in any way you can. Be their pal. Ask if they can mentor you.
This is an area that I need work in. Finding a mentor isn’t easy. Sometimes it just happens. Other times you need to do some work to find one. Do what you gotta do to get a mentor. But find one. It’s what will separate you from other hard working, ambitious people. We all ned guidance, this is how we often get it. If you want success, find a mentor.