Not 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.
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:
If you need more routines check out these articles:
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:
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.
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.
I'm always ready to help you.
P.S. What are your experience with fighting that dude/dudette in the mirror?
Why people fail to get results? Well, there could be several reasons for that but the most common are lack of plan and lack of discipline. I see this all the time and it's really frustrating. My intention here is to help you not repeating those mistakes.
Lack of Plan
Ask any serious businessman to help you start a new business. He'll most likely ask you for a business-plan. Why? If you have no plan then you have no predictable results. The same goes for training and nutrition. Yes, there are several other factors (like genetics that give you the unique opportunity to perform bullshit on your training sessions, eat total crap and still grow and lose fat) but no plan still transfers in lack of results. Well, you don't need to be TOO precise. Be prepared that some workouts will go wrong, some workouts will differ from plan, some days you won't have a chance not to eat crap. But general strategy should remain stable. Believe me or not, training log is the best thing you can do to your training, as well as food log is the best thing you can do to your nutrition. If you really want results you need a right program and nutrition plan that suits your individual needs, goals and restrictions. You may train spontaneously and get results but it's really a matter of luck. What will you rely on more: luck or plan? Well, I think that the answer is obvious.
Take-home point: if you've been training for some time and still get no measurable results maybe it's time to invest in training and food log. Get a plan!
Lack of Discipline
This is big. Even huge. I see this every day in others. I see it everywhere. Motivational pictures, motivational videos. Give me a break! While there are some videos that really motivate you to act, most of them are useless. You just need discipline to do something right on and on and on. If you want to be strong and/or look awesome you will need to follow some rules till the end of your days. Deal with it! Terrified? Well, then you're weak and you will remain weak forever. Discipline is strength. I'm sick and tired of people that want to get strong and muscular but don't have the discipline to train hard and especially eat right amounts of food and protein. I'm sick and tired of people that want to loose fat and don't have the discipline to stick to simple diet plan. Train for strength, eat a bit less if you want to loose fat, eat a bit more if you want to build muscle, eat high-protein, repeat. Is that so difficult?
Take a look around. Weak people are everywhere surrounding you. They all look for magic pill to solve their problems. The truth is that there is no such pill. Don't be one of them. Be strong. Have the plan of attack. Have the discipline to follow your plan till you die. And you will be strong and muscular forever. It is that simple. Thanks for reading.