How to Defeat Your Worst Enemy

Frank Zane Is Just AwesomeNot much time ago I wrote a post called “Your Worst Enemy”. You can find it here. So this article is sequel. Or better to say work on mistakes. I was talking with one of my clients recently and he pointed out that it would be cool if I write more articles on psychological aspects of training and dieting. So aforementioned article came up to my mind right away. But after chatting for a little bit longer I realized the biggest flaw of that post. I touched the problem and defined it well but forgot the most obvious thing: ways to solve it. And today my goal is to fix my mistake and concentrate on possible solutions. Time to defeat your worst enemy.

So Who’s Your Worst Enemy Again?

You. Your worst enemy is nobody else but you. You may disagree. You may deny. You may get angry and pissed off. But this won’t change the fact that your worst enemy is you. Not me, not that guy in the gym, not lunar phase, not government, not genetics, not anything else. It’s all you. I can go on and on but you can check out the previous article for that. Why you? Well, if you think long enough on subject you will inevitably find out that your poor strength/performance/look/insert your weak area is the consequence of your bad decisions. They are poor habits, poor diet choices, lack of sleep etc.

So what’s now? Let’s try to solve the problem. First of all we’ll need to explore why do we make bad decisions?

Why Do We Make Bad Decisions?

It’s impossible for me to analyze everyone on planet Earth so I will use my own example. Why do I make bad decisions? In my experience there can be several answers for this question. To be clear they are:

  • Lack of discipline;
  • Lack of planning;
  • Bad circumstances;
  • High life pressure.

I think that most of the people make bad decisions due to the same reasons. Let’s take a look at all of them more closely.

Lack of Discipline

I already wrote about lack of discipline in this article. But, anyway, let’s recap. This is the most widespread reason of bad decisions, in my opinion. People today live comfortable lives. We have access to anything we want. Just look at stores, it seems that there is a special gadget for anything. Machines wash dishes, machines wash clothes, machines slice bread etc. You can find any food you want in the supermarket. We become so lazy that we order food home. We live in the age of ultra-high comfort. What’s bad about it? All that comfort makes us weaker. People now can’t even open the bottle of beer without special gadget. I miss the times when people just put that bottle next to the table and hit hard to open it. Fuck, I can open a bottle of beer in at least 5 different ways without any gadget. It is considered awesome here in Ukraine if  person can open bottle of beer only with his/her eye. But I digress. Of course, it’s not true for everybody but I see the trend. What’s my point? This weakness because of “overcomfort” leads exactly to lack of discipline. In old times if you wanted something you needed to work hard and long for it. You required discipline to get something. Now people are used to instant access to what they want. They want everything and now. Well, this clearly leads to poor decisions in life. As experience shows instant approach doesn’t work in real life. If you want something valuable (strength/performance/look) you need discipline. You need to work hard and long. Just like in old days.

Lack of Planning

Again, I wrote about this before. It seems that when people don’t have a clear plan they are more likely make wrong decisions. For example, if you don’t have solid training program you’ll be doing everything you like (bench press, curls and abz, right?) every training session (possibly everyday). Obviously such approach won’t give you results other than frustration. Why this problem appears? Because very few people realize that plan is one of the biggest requirements for success.

Bad Circumstances

Ah, bad circumstances. Before you rant how bad your circumstances are I’d like to define what can be considered as bad circumstances. It can be death, some huge accident, bad injury, for some people break-up with boyfriend/girlfriend, stuff like this. In other words, some event that can break you easily. Anyway, bad circumstances tend to not last long. So it’s important to get back on track as soon as possible. Arnold told in “Pumping Iron” that he hadn’t flew to his father’s funeral because he was preparing for some bodybuilding contest. Of course, he acted and that was part of the script (not real life) but it was taken from real story of some boxer. I respect such dedication (not saying that it’s right thing to do) and this example just confirms that your worst enemy is you. That boxer overcame bad circumstances to be successful in what he did. Talking about necessary sacrifice.

High Life Pressure

Again, what is high life pressure? Kids, high-demanding work, high-stress work, some chronic disease etc. It’s easy to understand bad decisions made by people with high life pressure but it would be wrong to justify them. Well, yes, you have hard life, so what? There are plenty of stories about old-time strongmen that worked 12-hour shifts and worked out for 2 hours afterwards. Almost everyday. And had families and kids. So deal with it.

So How to Defeat Your Worst Enemy?

My best advice would be: defeat your worst enemy one battle at a time. Of course, it’s hard to be consistent with training and diet if you have lots of other stress in life. But you can always divide and conquer. Any problem can be broken down into several manageable parts. And your goal should be to deal with them one step at a time.

What should you do? Firstly, deal with the reasons of your bad decisions. Work on your discipline, get a good plan, prioritize your goals. It all starts in your head. Training and diet don’t need to take much time. 3 workouts per week is within access of anybody. All you need are 3 hours per week. You can train at home. Read Rough Strength Blog on how to do it. Read these articles for more info:

Progressive Resistance. Protein. Patience

Rough Strength Basics: How to Gain Strength

Rough Strength Basics: How to Build Muscle?

If you need more routines check out these articles:

Top 3 Strength Routines for Beginners

5 x 5 Strength Training Template: How to Do It Right

As for diet it doesn’t have to be complicated to work (at least before you get to extreme stage (when you’ll have visible abs but will need to lose some more fat to become shredded)). Read this stuff:

High-Protein Diet on a Budget

6 Biggest Diet Flaws

As for sleep, my advice would be to get as much as possible. As you can see from my articles training and nutrition shouldn’t be complicated to work. It shouldn’t take much of your time but on the other hand it SHOULD take lots of effort and hard work.

What you must clearly understand is that your decisions today affect how long will be the distance to your goals tomorrow. The more right decisions you’ll make the closer you’ll be to your goal. There’s one good habit I’d like to share with you. If you care about something then do at least one thing everyday to get closer to your goal. Start slow. Start with putting one spoon of sugar into your tea instead of two. Start with 1 workset per exercise but workout 3 times per week. Start with drinking 1 glass of water per day. And then gradually work your way up from that point. This way chances that you will stay in the game will be much higher. And stop watching TV or surfing the internet till 3 AM. Sleep is essential.

Learn some time management skills if you need. You know, Einstein and Arnold also had 24 hours in the day. So there are no excuses for you not to get results. Yes, it can be very hard but it is possible. One problem at a time.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, only you are responsible for your strength, performance, look, endurance etc., as well as your life. If some people stop you from making progress (your boss that thinks that you are lazy piece of shit that should get much less money, your retarded friend who gives you cigarette when you are trying to quit smoking, your colleague or spouse that doesn’t understand why do you want to improve) kick their ass, leave them behind and NEVER look back. There will be people that will grow and improve with you. You can always find such people reading this blog.

So you got it. The only way to defeat your worst enemy is one battle at a time. And time for battle is now. Thanks for reading. Use the knowledge. And don’t forget to share with friends.

Play rough!

Alex

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I’m always ready to help you.

P.S. What is your experience with fighting that dude/dudette in the mirror?


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13 thoughts on “How to Defeat Your Worst Enemy

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Thanks, Gabri. Actually time management skills are quite easy to attain. Firstly, you need to analyze your typical day. How much time do you spend on different activities. Then shave off activities that don’t bring you results and add more beneficial ones. It all can be done in numbers. Such analysis should be done at least once per month (twice per month may be even better).

      There are lots of other techniques. Maybe I should write an article on this.

      - Alex

      Reply
      1. Gabri

        I think you should!

        We could all benefit from having more time to train, sleep, relax, be happy, and avoid wasting time.

        Thank you Alex!

        Reply
  1. joker

    fitness is like holistic learning
    manage your emotion, your time, set your goal for leaning and act as if everything is related

    Reply
  2. Pingback: "One Skill a Day" Training Program | Alex Zinchenko's Rough Strength

  3. Jack

    ive been working on planche, front lever, and ive been diligent as of now (6 weeks is the longest
    ive ever followed a strict regimen and im getting good results so far), but you mentioned diet here. does it matter what you specifically eat?

    Reply

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