So I love the fitness community that I’ve fallen into out here in Cali.
There are so many people to learn from.
There are so many people out here experimenting and trying new things.
And some of those new experiments are amazing…while others…well…not so much.
But the point isn’t whether or not their experiments are always right.
The point is that they are experimenting!
And many of these experiments aren’t ground-breaking. Many are with simple tools that have cycled in and out of the industry over the years.
Many of these experiments are simply a new SPIN on things.
Because let’s face it…there really aren’t that many NEW ideas – ideas that NO ONE ELSE out there have ever had before.
BUT there are a lot of different new takes on the same old ideas – there are a lot of people out there putting a new SPIN on things.
Because that new SPIN is what makes all the difference.
That SPIN is what creates the perfect diet/exercise/healthy lifestyle FOR YOU!
But it isn’t simply a question of arriving at your own spin.
There are clear steps you need to take to turn something someone else does into something perfect for you.
The first step is to LEARN.
Learn about a diet and exercise program that you think may be good for you. Research that program that made your friend super fit. Find out how they did it. Find out all the details. Read about other people’s experiences. LEARN ABOUT IT.
Then you must DO the diet/exercise/lifestyle program.
And when I say DO I mean do it EXACTLY the way it was laid out. If you want to know if something will work, you have to actually give it a chance to prove if it can work. And the only way a program can prove it works is if you actually do it the way it was laid out.
You can’t do a Primal diet and then eat pasta every day and then three weeks in claim it doesn’t work.
I’m all for making your own adaptations to things, BUT only after you’ve done an experiment following the rules exactly as they were laid out by the people who created, and achieved success!, by following the program.
If you DO a program the exact way it was laid out, you will find out if it is something that will bring you success. You will find out if it is something you enjoy. If it is something you could commit to on a long-term basis.
After you’ve done the program, you’ve got to decide.
Will you accept or reject the program? What parts did you like? What parts didn’t you like?
Did you see results?
After any experiment, after trying any program, you’ve got to ask yourself these questions.
You’ve got to DECIDE for yourself whether or not the program was a success.
You can’t listen to your friend tell you how great the program was. You can’t be swayed by all of the positive reviews. You can’t let Dr. Oz or Jillian Michaels or any of those famous people tell you what program is right for you.
After you’ve, RESEARCHED and TRIED something, you’ve got to make an educated decision based on your experience.
Are you going to stick with the program? And if you are going to keep doing it, then how are you going to make it perfect for you?
So now that you’ve learned, done and decided, what’s YOUR SPIN?
No one else can tell you exactly what will work for you. Others can guide you and make recommendations, but sorry…you should know yourself best.
And the more you experiment and do things other people’s ways, the more you actually WILL learn about yourself.
You will figure out what types of workouts you enjoy the most. You will figure out what time of day is easiest for you to workout at and stay committed to.
You will figure out if low carb/high carb/vegetarian/WHATEVER is right for you.
You will figure out if you stay more committed to a program if you can easily prep all meals for the week ahead of time or if it is easiest for you to cook single portions the day of.
Through doing things other people’s ways, you will figure out what works best for you.
Just remember though, it is up to you to put your spin on a program to make it completely personalized for you…No one else can do it for you!
So if you want the perfect healthy lifestyle for you – Learn, Do, Decide, and SPIN!
So I’ve found it interesting to both watch the evolution of Paleo, but also people’s resistance to any sort of change.
We now have Paleo breads and people who consider themselves Paleo but occasionally have dairy, potatoes or rice.
But then we have other people who RAIL against anything not TRADITIONALLY Paleo.
Can I just point out right now that NOTHING is actually traditionally Paleo!!!
Anyway, I find this “purist” mentality – or this resistance to change INCREDIBLY ANNOYING!
NOTHING STAYS THE SAME!
This is slightly extreme…but “adapt or die.”
If you get stuck in your ways and aren’t willing to change with the times, you will probably, at some point, fail.
Change is essential. Nothing ever stays the same.
So why would you ever believe that the diet you have currently couldn’t in some way become better?
I mean why not test out how a little rice or potatoes affects you? Why not eat a little bit of cheese if you love it?
If you never change, if you never experiment, you won’t ever know if there isn’t something better out there.
While sticking perfectly to a diet can help you see if it will work for you, being a purist in the long run probably will prevent you from finding something that works even better and is even more enjoyable.
So start thinking for yourself. Experiment!
Don’t just get stuck being a purist for a diet that you didn’t create FOR YOURSELF!
narrow-minded – lacking tolerance or flexibility or breadth of view; “a brilliant but narrow-minded judge”; “narrow opinions”
So in a comment a little bit ago, I was called narrow-minded.
It kind of made me laugh because that isn’t something I’d ever considered myself to be.
I mean yes…am I arguing in support of MY viewpoint on this site….OF COURSE!
Anyone writing anything is basically supporting THEIR VIEWPOINT.
But while I may support one very specific viewpoint in terms of what I believe to be the BEST diet and exercise programs on this site, I would argue that I’m not narrow-minded.
First and foremost I tell people to constantly learn, experiment and evolve their diet and workout program. As I’ve said before, one size doesn’t fit all!
You have to find out what works for YOU and you only do that through research or learning, self-experimentation and constantly being open to evolving your beliefs and programs.
I have clients that don’t hold near the same diet beliefs that I do. And I have clients that LOVE running. I don’t try to change their diet views and I don’t tell them to stop running.
I will question their diet beliefs just like I hope people question mine. The only way we can make sure we are constantly learning and getting better is by questioning. I never just want to accept something as truth….I want to know WHY it is truth.
So I question them. If they are going to be eating a certain diet, I want them to know WHY they are eating that way.
And I help guide them to become more educated. I don’t say they are wrong or that they should follow my diet. I help them find their own way.
Because as I said before, it doesn’t matter what works for me. It matters what works for you.
And that client that loves to run…Do I force them to become a powerlifter?
Am I completely dumbfounded as to why they love running? OF COURSE! 😛
BUT I don’t tell them to stop doing what they love. Instead I show them exercises and/or lifts to help them become fitter, stronger runners.
You have to do what you love. If you don’t love your workouts, you probably won’t stick to them for very long.
If you love running, do it. If you love lifting, do it.
But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore the rest of your fitness. You need strength training to make you a better runner. And you need cardio to help make you a better lifter. You need to give your body some variety in training and plenty of recovery or you won’t see the results you want in the activity that you love!
So maybe I am narrow-minded. I believe I’ve found something that works for me and I want to share it…hence the birth of Man Bicep. I respectfully disagree that I am not, but it is really up to you to decide.
All I can say is I hope that you find the diet and exercise program that works for you and if you need any coaching along the way, I’m always here…Even if you are a vegetarian runner and my arch nemesis….
I think the hardest thing to do is CHANGE.
It’s part of why it is hard for most women to start weight training. It is why it is hard for most people to ditch conventional wisdom and start eating Paleo/Primal.
It is why a lot of big life decisions are hard in general! To make big changes, to get big results, you can’t be afraid to let go of what you know, think or believe. You’ve got to be ready to take risks and suffer some consequences.
Below are the 10 most important “changes” you need to make to become a stronger, fitter, more empowered you. Of course this is my opinion…but then again, I’m always right, right!?! 😛
- Ditch the disbelievers. This one is first because I think this is probably the hardest thing for me. I hold onto people even when they are holding me back. If you want success though, sometimes you have to go it alone. Don’t give in and cheat on your diet just because your friends are trying to get you to eat badly. Don’t be afraid to lift those heavy weights even though your friends tell you that you will bulk up. Don’t be afraid to ditch the disbelievers and go it on your own! You can do it! You are strong enough!
- Try something outside your comfort zone. If you really want to find out what you are made of, try something new. I know it’s scary, but the only way to find out what you are truly capable of is to try something you either haven’t done or aren’t comfortable with doing!
- Keep an open mind about EVERYTHING. Be willing to try new things! Experiment! There is always new information coming out about everything. Research everything. Read different points of view or find out works by trying it on yourself! If you weren’t somewhat open-minded already, you probably wouldn’t be reading this site! 🙂
- Have confidence in yourself and try something just beyond what you KNOW you can do. While it’s nice to stick with what we know we can do, you will never find out just how truly strong you are if you don’t push beyond what you’ve already proven you can do! This doesn’t mean just lifting a heavier weight in the gym. It also means tackling an activity that you’ve maybe never done before or are unsure if you can do!
- Admit to yourself that you don’t, and can’t, ever know anything for certain. Deep huh? This one actually kind of sucks, but it’s true. I like to believe I know everything, but deep down I know I don’t. Nothing is ever set in stone. Everything can change. We are constantly learning or at least we should be. If you think you know everything, you are wrong. Be willing to change and adapt your beliefs as you learn and you will grow as a person.
- Accept that you will be wrong and enjoy your failures. This one is hard. No one ever enjoys failing. I most definitely hate it. I don’t like failing or being wrong. BUT I know that I will be at times. I know that I will fail, BUT I know that each time I get back up and try again, I become stronger. As cheesy as it sounds, look at each failure not so much as a failure, but as a learning experience. If you want to accomplish something persistence is key!
- Learn. Learn every moment of every day. Learn by doing research, experimenting, failing and achieving success. And the thing is, by doing all this learning, you will learn more about yourself. Through all of my “learning” I’ve developed a stronger identity. It may always be a slightly shifting and growing identity, but the more I learn, the clearer it becomes!
- Forget, but never forget. Learn to let go of the negative emotions surrounding a failure. Forget the emotions so that they don’t hold you back. You can’t change what happened. You can only move forward. But even though you need to release the emotions, NEVER forget how hard you worked. Never forget what the goal meant to you. KEEP PUSHING ONWARD! Change your game-plan but never give up!
- Accept your fears. This is another one that can be hard. This is a random story BUT…I’m afraid of snakes. I hate them. I have no idea why, but I really really really (I could go on with the reallys) hate them. I almost didn’t go on a hike in Red Rock Canyon because it was prime snake season. But I did go despite the fact that I was sure I was going to be bitten and die in Las Vegas. Most people fear dying in Vegas for a ton of other reasons…but not me…I was sure a snake would get me. And if I hadn’t gone on that hike…I would have missed out on one of the best memories I have during my life!
- Build a network. These 10 changes come full circle. As you develop the “new” stronger, fitter, more empowered you, you have to build a new network of people who support and push you to grow further. The “push” part of that equation is very important. You always want people around you that challenge you and motivate you to achieve your goals not just stand still! An example of a network that has helped me grow is my lifting classes. Those ladies, and my two Man Bicep Males!, have helped me grow so much. I also pride myself on believing that I’ve helped them also grow into stronger, fitter and more confident individuals!
So what changes have you made toward becoming a stronger, fitter, more empowered individual?
Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday I will suffer death by cardio – 16 hours of spin. At least my suffering is for a good cause!
I have three comments to make about this death by cardio though.
BLEHHHHHHHHH! Have I mentioned before I hate cardio?!?
I’m prepared for my body to hurt after all of the hours. Not my muscles necessarily, but my butt and my knees. Because I knew I would be in enough pain, I didn’t want to be sitting on the bike super sore from heavy lifts this week.
I did lift heavy Monday (my butt and hamstrings are still sore) and I did lift yesterday (my shoulders, triceps and chest were brutalized), but today I chose to do a short and killer cardio bodyweight workout. It is bad enough being sore when I teach two classes let alone ride for 16 hours!!!
So if you are looking for a great cardio, bodyweight workout, try this workout of the week!
10 Ab roller
20 Box Jumps
30 Double Unders
Shoot for under 20 minutes!
Mark Sisson had an interesting post the other day about trying your own little self experiment.
I’m going to be trying my own little experiment the next couple of days. I’m going to prove that you don’t need to eat all those crap gels and simple carbohydrates to survive such an intense workout session.
While everyone else will be drinking Gatorade and chowing down on crap carbs, I will be eating my delicious Primal meals and snacks. Nuts, fruits, all sorts of protein and some veggies. I may even throw in some potatoes on Friday after 7 hours of spinning tomorrow. BUT we will see!
I’m betting I will feel better than everyone else…What do you think?
Also, thank you to all of those who donated! A special thanks goes out to our mystery donor who made our day today!!!
Thank you all! Wish the Man Bicep Team good luck! I hope my butt survives!!!
I’m willing to accept that other people may have different beliefs than I do, especially when it comes to diet and fitness. There is just so much information out there leading you to believe so many different things.
The thing I can’t accept is people who are close-minded.
Choosing the “right” diet is all one big gamble. No one truly KNOWS what is right. We can all just make educated guesses based on the research that is out there and self-experimentation.
And what we believe to be “right” should change over time as we LEARN more. As we EXPERIMENT more.
If you ever believe that you know exactly what is the best/healthiest diet and are unwilling to make adjustments, that is the day that you’ve officially become WRONG.
You are an IDIOT if you think you have all the answers and don’t need to continue LEARNING about diet and exercise…or well anything in life for that matter.
I keep capitalizing LEARNING here because it is key!!! Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate from school – it just becomes an independent study.
So don’t think that just because something is what you “used to do” or “have always done” means it is correct.
I mean over the last few years eggs have gone from being good to eat to bad for your cholesterol back to being good for you to eat with no effect on cholesterol.
It seriously is one big crap shoot. You can find evidence for just about everything in the field of nutrition. (And exercise is only a bit better.)
So since it is all one big gamble and all we can do is continue learning and experimenting, what do we do?
Well this girl has become good at admitting she has more to learn and has no shame admitting when she’s wrong.
I did the low-fat thing. I grew up believing it was RIGHT. I believed it was right for 20 some years of life.
And then after I stopped listening to the media. After I stopped listening to “society” – I did my own research and found out I’d been wrong all those years.
Why was I eating processed crap to try to eat mainly “low-fat?” How did I believe that some processed butter thing like Smart Balance HeartRight Light Buttery Spread was better for me than regular butter, which is barely processed? I mean look at all that crap in Smart Balance butter spread! Heck it even admits it’s not butter in the title! It’s butter spread!
AND this supposed “heart healthy” butter spread has vegetable oils up the wazzu in it! And what research has been popping up everywhere?!? Research that shows vegetable oils may be causing some of our heart related problems and diseases!
When I started realizing that I was wrong, was it hard for me to admit it to myself and change?
Yes, at first I fought it. It isn’t easy admitting you are wrong. That is why most people instantly jump on you when you start talking about eating saturated fat or low carb or anything contrary to the low-fat mantra.
BUT, I gave the diet a shot anyway. Heck, I even thought at one point “I’ll do a self experiment and prove that this Primal/Paleo/Whole, natural food diet with high protein and low carbs ISN’T right.”
Of course, I was wrong again.
BUT because I gave it a shot, I found something that is, what I believe to be, RIGHT. I look better than I ever did on low-fat and, most importantly, I FEEL BETTER.
Because of my self experimentation, I do believe that eating whole natural foods is the right way. To me it also just logically makes sense. Of course, I’m still constantly doing research to make adjustments to my diet. You must always continue learning!
Of course, now that I’ve found a diet that I believe in, not because someone told me it works, but because I’ve EXPERIENCED it’s results, I’m a big supporter and encourage others to experiment. (AKA share my opinion with anyone and everyone that I can!)
Plus, I love a good debate. I’m just a tab bit argumentative and I will take on anyone, which I think amuses/annoys Ryan sometimes since he avoids the whole nutrition debate with most people.
He tells me “It’s not worth it.” And yea…sometimes it isn’t, but when someone just straight out shoots you down, it gets my blood boiling!
And I imagine that sometimes I look like a little Terrier yapping at a big dog when I debate people.
But what the hey…sometimes it isn’t worth it because the person is too close-minded to even truly entertain a good debate. BUT at the least I hope I encouraged them at some point to do a bit more research into what they believe to be right!
If you are going to be a staunch supporter of something in the nutrition field, you’ve got to do your research. You’ve also got to realize that you are gambling…with your life.
So to sum up my point:
- It’s really all one big gamble.
- Don’t be ashamed to admit you are wrong! In fact be proud that you are willing to learn and change and GROW!
- Never stop learning.
- Self-experimentation is really key since there are studies proving just about anything and everything when it comes to nutrition.
P.S. A phrase I hate hearing from trainers or nutritionists is “I wouldn’t recommend that” when they’ve never tried it! How can you recommend or not recommend something that you’ve never tried!?! This phrase was uttered in response to a discussion we had about Intermittent Fasting, which by the way..DOES FREAKING WORK! Sheesh..just look at all the freaking testimonials on Lean Gains‘ site!
Sometimes I find it very hard to keep my mouth shut when my clients talk about nutrition. I obviously share my opinions and views with them, but I have to remind myself not to continually preach to them about why their low-fat, crap food diet isn’t working.
And it’s hard. Because sometimes you just want to say, “Why are you claiming your diet is so healthy when it OBVIOUSLY isn’t working for you and you’ve been trying to lose weight FOREVER!”
But you can’t say that.
But sometimes it is just so hard to refrain…even though I do. I mean shoot if they were even claiming to eat Primal and not losing weight, I would want to preach to them to find something different.
I just don’t get how people just keep sticking with something that isn’t getting them results.
I mean I’ll try a diet for 90 days and if I’m not seeing any results, I’m done with it. Some of my clients have been doing their “diets” for years and haven’t seen results…
So why are they so set on sticking with their diet!?!
Is it a fear of trying something new and failing? Possibly…
Is it the difficulty of trying something new and potentially having to give up foods you like? Possibly…
Is it because they’ve heard the diet works for numerous other people? Possibly…
Is it because someone in the mainstream media cited some scientific study about the health of their diet? Possibly…
But are any of these really good enough reasons to stick with something you’ve PROVED to not work?
Stop paying attention to what mainstream media and your friends say worked for them! That isn’t one of the keys to finding your “dieting secret” remember!?!
Stop being afraid of trying something new! And risk giving up foods that you like! You may find other foods that you love even more on the new diet! Experiment!
I mean honestly, what is the worst case scenario? Nothing works?
If the worst case scenario is that nothing works, then nothing bad really happened, did it? I mean you weren’t seeing results before.
But there is a benefit to experimenting EVEN if you don’t see results. The benefit is YOU LEARNED! You learned more about dieting and probably discovered some new things that you both like and dislike.
I don’t want to have to preach about my how wonderful my diet is people! But please don’t preach to me about yours if it obviously isn’t working! Start experimenting…If you do, I’m more than willing to listen to any complaints or rave reviews that you have!
Guess what!?! There are no secrets!
I wish there was some great secret that I could share with you (because then I would be a millionaire), but there isn’t.
No one has a magic tip that will make sticking to a diet easy or make the weight just melt off effortlessly.
BUT, I can give recommendations about how you find the “secret” that will work best for you.
The keys to finding YOUR secret to success:
- Be patient and dedicated
This post was inspired by Fit and Feminist. Caitlin wrote a post about 15 things she did to improve her health. When I started writing my list, I realized that everything on the list stemmed from 5 main principles. And these principles in my opinion are the foundation of developing a healthy lifestyle.
1. Question everything. Don’t blindly follow what others do. Study any diet or exercise program before you follow it. If you know the arguments for and against a program, you can really make an informed decision about whether or not you want to follow it. Questioning conventional wisdom about diet and exercise is what led me to Primal and heavy lifting/Crossfit – it led me to find a diet and exercise program that I think is IDEAL for me.
2. Experiment on yourself. Everyone is different. Just because it works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can’t know if something will work for you unless you give it a shot. The best way to create the perfect healthy lifestyle for yourself is by experimenting to find out what works! For example, the variation of Primal and heavy lifting that I do isn’t exactly the same thing that works for Ryan or Candy or Brian!
3. Lift heavy weights. I’m sorry. Cardio just doesn’t cut it ladies and gents. You need to lift heavy weights – you need muscle and strength to really be healthy (PLUS there are tons of benefits besides looking sexy that you get from lifting heavy weights…like increased bone density!)
4. Always challenge yourself. I don’t mean that you have to push yourself every workout, but don’t ever become complacent. Always set new goals to strive for. Don’t ever just get stuck doing the same thing over and over again. Always seek out new ways to challenge yourself. Try a new workout routine or a new sport. Try lifting heavier weights or a new form of cardio!
5. Focus on the big picture. This one has been the hardest thing for me to do. You can get so caught up in your day-to-day diet or even your weekly diet that you don’t realize all the progress that you’ve made over the past year. I know I’m guilty of occasionally getting stuck on daily fluctuations in weight or even weekly fluctuations in how much I can lift. Remember, the day-to-day stuff doesn’t matter that much as long as you remain committed to your health a majority of the time. One cheat day isn’t going to ruin your year even if it makes you gain weight the next day. One bad workout won’t set you back. Remember the 80/20 rule. If you work hard and commit to your diet and workout program 80% of the time, you WILL see results over time. Don’t stress over the few times you cheats or have a bad workout because they won’t matter. Just enjoy the adventure!
So those are the 5 main things I always keep in mind – those are the five main things I think everyone needs to live by if they want to lead a healthy happy life!
Yesterday I went on a learning binge. By learning binge I mean:
- I spent hours searching all my favorite blogs for new sources of information. I perused some great new fitness blogs such as myathleticlife.com and beheavy.wordpress.com.
- And I googled the heck out of women’s fitness, lifting, powerlifting and strong is the new skinny (which by the way…I LOVE THIS “MOVEMENT!”).
And during this learning binge I found so many topics that I want to discuss. But this morning (sore, grumpy with two hours of spin ahead of me), the only thing I wanted to talk about was the learning binge itself.
Yesterday just reminded me of how important it is to constantly seek out new information – how important it is to always be open to learning.
We can never know everything so to really be knowledgable about any subject, we must always be seeking out new knowledge. We must be in a perpetual state of learning.
So sometimes we must go on learning binges. I usually check out the same few websites, but every couple of months I’ll spend an extra few hours searching everything in sight (which can include picking the brain of any human around me!). When I do this I’m looking for any new studies or developments that have come out about fitness or nutrition. I’m also looking for new exercises and new trends in women’s fitness.
I’m looking for information and not just information that reinforces what I already believe (actually most of the time I’m searching for information that argues against what I believe in just so that I can tell them how wrong they are! :-P).
I don’t like to follow anything blindly, even lifestyles I agree with and/or follow. There is always someone out there with a slightly different perspective on things. AND that new perspective that you find may help you adjust your lifestyle to make it work even better for you.
I always inform my clients of new things that I’m trying or topics that I’ve found. I want them to start exploring fitness and health by themselves. I want them on a constant quest for knowledge or at least to every once in a while go on a learning binge!
Of course a constant quest for knowledge isn’t just about finding new information it is also about trying it out!
Self-experimentation is an integral part of learning. I mean how do you really know if something works unless you try it out!?!
If you find a new workout routine, try it out! A new diet, try it out! But when you “test” something, make sure you first follow the plan EXACTLY. If you cheat on what is prescribed, than you aren’t giving it a fair shot. You can’t really honestly report back on how that workout or diet works.
But once you’ve found something that you like, edit it! Learn more about the diet through research and experimentation and then make changes to the diet or workout plan so that it works perfectly for you. Once you’ve done the research and run an experiment on yourself (sounds sort of creepy but it isn’t!), tailor it to fit your specific needs!
By constantly trying to learn, you will find a diet and fitness plan that works perfectly for you (a.k.a. it keeps you satisfied while helping you look AMAZING and reach your fitness goals!) 🙂