Updated: Jun 11
So every journey begins with just one step. But the journey into health has so many options where do you begin? Well, it is likely different for almost every one depending on where they find themselves mentally, physically and simply in "life". So many people are overwhelmed by the volumes of information and so much of it in stark contradiction to the rest. What is right, who do you trust, how do you know...? The good news is you can really ignore 99.99% of the "noise" to simply get started. We all know the first step and it's the hardest to admit. We need to get our s#!t together! Okay, don't get pissed and leave just yet. Just like the first step of the journey, you don't sail the high seas on a two by four. It takes a lot of wood and craftsmanship to build that boat before you're off sailing. But truthfully, building the boat is as invigorating as sailing on it. Really! Once you begin you will start to feed off of the results, very slowly at first but over time they will build upon themselves exponentially and that will keep you going. Oh yeah, I just said time... Most likely if you find yourself in the shape I was in, it's going to take time. Everyone wishes for the Quick Fix. It's bull. There is no quick fix. There are a few "hacks" that I've found to get better results and/or to feel better along the way, but the process is just that, a process that takes time.
Now that I have you feeling a bit frustrated that you're not going to be 100% for that pool party at the end of the month, don't despair, you'll be on your way and that's what really counts. It took me a while to see results and find my way but I could feel it working before I saw it. Going from 5 push ups to 10 and so on... That was motivating!
So where to start? Start where you can truly hold yourself accountable and maintain the momentum. If I were to say that you have to strip your pantry of all the shitty foods, buy all the latest workout gadgets, fill a cupboard with supplements and workout hours every day you may be able to at first but you would likely burn out. Using my boat analogy from above; if you need a major change to get into shape you're more like an aircraft carrier than a speedboat. It's going to take a while to get you headed in the opposite direction but both start with applying pressure on the rudder.
Step one: Make yourself a little uncomfortable at first.
If you make one small commitment that you can really stick to and hold that in a place that you will not compromise it, it's the place to start. In my journey I simply couldn't imagine how I was going to find the time to workout. First off, I was tired all the time because of poor diet, lack of exercise, running a business, family life and "enjoying" the weekends too much. If you follow my Instagram @thehealthfulguide, I encourage you to look at the people I follow. These are the people, companies and organizations that I follow and study. One person you will find in that group is Jocko Willink, @jockowillink. Now Jocko is not for the fainthearted. He's was a Seal Team Commander who was in the thick of the thick in the middle east. Saw more than most people could ever handle and has used his Seal training to in turn motivate people and help companies create great teams. I found him when I was looking for ways to improve my business team. What I really found was personal accountability. One of Jocko's main mantras is "Discipline equals Freedom". If you have thick skin I encourage you to listen or read his books and give his podcast a listen. Where I'm going with this is Jocko helped me realize that I needed apply some discipline in my life to give me any kind of result I was longing for. So, I looked at my day to figure out where and when I could get in a workout. So my typical day starts really early as I'm in the contracting industry (in Arizona!) so we start at or before sun up, so mornings were going to be tough. Running a business should give me the flexibility to squeeze in a workout at some point during the day, right? Wrong! My schedule was too unpredictable and complicated to make a committed routine. ...oh yeah, this is important. Make it a routine. No compromises. This helps the habitual part of our psyche to kick in. It makes it "sticky" and much easier to do. Okay, Mornings - tough, Days - out... Afternoons or evenings? I was in horrible shape! Bad diet, no physical energy, I've been at work since daylight and I was going to have the gumption to workout...? Nope.
Of the three options only mornings looked like any option at all. MORNINGS!!?? Get up earlier? Yes, and it was the best move I ever made and here's why. I pushed myself to get up one hour earlier 3 days a week (at first) and drag my sorry ass to the gym. I joined a gym with a locker room where I could shower and head straight to work from there to streamline the process. It was hard, at first. But after a few weeks it got easier. Why? Well, I think for a couple of reasons. First, because I got up so early, I started to go to bed a bit earlier - No more late nights watching reruns of old TV shows I had already seen a million times (why the hell do we do this to ourselves!? Serves NO purpose). Also, when you just busted your ass in the gym at the crack of dawn, you're no likely to swing through McDonald's for a McCrapola sandwich & greasy hash browns. I began to drink protein shakes & make healthier eating choices. Hell, I'm putting in this ridiculous effort (so I thought at the time) at the beginning of the day and piss it away by eating a handful of those candies on the receptionist desk or cookies in the break room? NO THANKS. This also led to how I looked at my other "life choices". It was really common back in those days to entertain clients and over indulge in a libation or two (or more) on a regular basis. A couple of mornings waking up early and going to the gym even with the slightest of hangover will really make you question your better judgement. So, I committed to no more drinking during the week. Guess what? My clients didn't mind & my business didn't suffer. Was this really just a ruse or an excuse for me to tip a few back more regularly than necessary? Probably!
So there we have it. Step One. Which actually forced a couple of additional steps to happen organically due to the process.
This exact recipe may not be for everyone but finding something that you can fit into your routine and really commit to is key. This initial process will continue to snowball into the lifestyle and/or fitness regimen you wish for.
So to conclude this message, and begin a whole new platform for ongoing dialogue, I want to thank you for your interest. I really hope my message reaches somebody, anybody, and God willing, many people that are interested in healthful living and learning about the best practices in this arena. I encourage you to engage. Leave a comment or ask a question. I look forward to sharing what I've found or sending you to those that I've come to trust over the years.