An industry divided
Scrolling through Instagram's popular page, I noticed an oddly disturbing trend amongst today's fitness influencers. It does not matter who you are or what you bring to the table, others will unjustifiably belittle you and criticize your every belief or action. From intellectuals like Layne Norton, to motivational giants like Bradley Martyn, the medias hateful messages are widespread, relentless, and 100% unwarranted.
We are all at different points along the same path. We all seek self improvement, and use fitness as an outlet to achieve varying degrees of physical and mental prowess. Working out, regardless of the type, feels good, and provides a sense of accomplishment. So then, why ravage the person to your left for trying to succeed in the same thing as you?
At the root of the problem, lies one of human nature's most distasteful feelings- jealousy. Jealousy can creep up on you without warning, flood you with a sea of uncharacteristic emotion, and drive you to to do things that you would not normally do. But envy is normal, and should not push you to knock others success. But it can, and is consuming today's fitness industry faster than you or I can keep up with.
To make matters worse, social media provides an inherent safety blanket for its users to interact without any immediate repercussions. Some have caught on, using popular media interfaces like Instagram and twitter to defiantly spread negativity. The cycle begins. Joe Schmoe discovers Bradley Martyn's IG handle, envies him, realizes that he is not motivated to put in the time or work that Martyn did to get to his level, and bashes Bradley about something 100% untrue to make himself feel better about sucking at life. That is the the unfortunate reality of the world that we live in, and we are forced to deal with the circumstances until stricter media laws are set in motion.
You may be wondering how all of the world's negativity affects you? After all, you are not the celebrity taking heat from masses. Simple. By bastardizing others' success, you subconsciously dismiss your own. If you cannot respect Layne Norton for having his PHD, or for putting in 20+ years of hard work to achieve bodybuilding and powerlifting greatness, then you have established subpar standards for yourself, and will never come close to fulfilling even a fraction of what he has. Contrarily, if you respect Layne's success, then you can use him as motivation to propel you through your fitness journey and towards the top of the industry. One with a positive mindset is more likely to act out positively, and actions breed results. Period!
How do we reunite an industry that is spiraling out of control with jealousy and hate? Appreciation. We must learn to appreciate those who have already achieved what we aspire to. Only then, can we find the peace within ourselves to start our own journey's towards greatness. Learn to hold your reservations about another's accomplishments, and to recognize success where it exists. Rather than jealously critiquing Bradley's 700+ lbs deadlift and calling him out on minuscule things that hold no relevance, praise him, and set a similar, more attainable goal for yourself. Use his success in a positive light to fuel your own. In doing so, you create a positive environment for both your mentors on social media, and for yourself in person. In turn, they will work harder to motivate you, and you will work harder to succeed on your own. Fitness founded that very culture long ago, where everyone supported one another, and we must consciously fight to revive it now through social media's "dark days".
An industry divided
In a world of "motivational speakers" and social media giants, where trends are king, society is falling victim to others' outrageous thoughts, beliefs, and practices. Essentially, any influencer with a large enough following and a haphazard idea can post about something ridiculous on Instagram, and automatically change the way that others thinks. We are becoming numb to ourselves, and to what benefit?!?!.
The following is an example of what can happen when you get caught up in the buzz, and lose sight of your ability to think and do things for yourself.
THE MOTIVATION vs DISCIPLINE DEBATE
Your life long idol says, "Motivation is fleeting, it comes and goes without warning. Discipline is king. It is unyielding, reliable, and yada yada yada. You should not rely on motivation... Yada yada yada".
As it stands, your "motivations" are no longer enough to propel you through life and towards success. With the help of your "mentor", you now believe that "motivation" is too temporary of a feeling to impact your future for long enough to make a difference. You opt to rely on something more stable, like discipline, to guide you in your journey towards the promised land (because that is what someone told you to do), and to no avail. You search for answers in all of the wrong places, and never find the discipline that you were promised to succeed... So you fail. The truth is, who really cares about what you call it, whether motivation or discipline, as long as you succeed? You wasted your time and energy appeasing others, and not focusing on yourself or your journey.
The reality is, we place too much emphasis on things that do not matter, and surrender too much power to those who should not have it. We are too worried about today's "trends" to dial in on our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We get caught up in things that do not matter, like buzz words, fame, and conversational minutia, to truly identify the root of anything, like our own pitfalls, or the practical solutions to our real life problems.
We cannot rely on others success to fund our own. We must write our own legacies, and not piggyback the likeness of those that we idolize. We live in a "follow the leader" type society, where very few people think and do for themselves, and that has to change. It all starts from within.
We must relearn to be ourselves, and disregard what others' do, to preserve our paths moving forward. We must rethink our priorities, and regain control over both our minds and our actions. We must avoid falling victim to what so many others have. We must prevent ourselves from becoming social zombies.
Do what you want, when you want, and with who you want. And not because someone told you to, but because you wanted to. Just be you!
Warrior- a person who shows vigor, courage, and aggressiveness in battle.
A warrior has vigor. His body is strong and capable, and his mind sharp and willing. He will outsmart your intelligently thought out action plan, and outwork your most fine tuned robot. A warrior is always one step ahead, both literally and metaphorically. Think about it, but not for too long. By the time you have figured it out, he will have already attacked. Good luck!
A warrior is courageous. He will fight, regardless of the odds, circumstances, or conditions. With his back against the wall and impending death looming, he will still march out to battle and fight alongside his brothers in arms. He knows, whether victorious or not, that his best efforts are noble and worth fighting for.
A warrior is aggressive. He attacks in haste, and forces retreat. His proactive game plan proves to be, more often than not, too much to handle. By drawing first blood, a warrior will methodically drive you to deviate from your original game plan and scramble, like a colony of ants whose path he has stepped on. The resulting chaos is key to the warrior's victory.
The Golden State Warriors have proven to be just that, a team of warriors. To illustrate my point, I will detail their journey from 2014 to now. If this does not motivate you, then nothing will.
In September of 2014, Fox Sports predicted the Golden State Warriors to lose against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs. NBA critics claimed that the Warrior's "lack of star power" would prevent them from exceling at the leagues highest level, and wrote them off early on. Instead, analysts did as they as always do, and glorified Lebron James and his team of superstars for their league-wide dominance. Just a few short months later, the Warriors beat the Grizzlies, crushed the Rockets, and pulverized James and the Cavaliers in route to their first NBA championship in 40 years.
During the Warrior's championship parade, popular NBA analysts talked down their victory by calling it a "fluke". They swore against Golden State repeating as champions, and guaranteed a "slow and lethargic" start to their 2015 NBA season.
The league's underwhelming confidence in the Warrior's success lit a fire underneath the team's ass, and prompted a record breaking start to their 2015-2016 NBA season. On November 24, 2015, the Warriors set the NBA record for the best start in history with an embarrassing 40 point landslide victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. It is December 3rd, 2015, and the Golden State Warriors are 20-0.
We are more than two months into the 2015-2016 NBA season, and the Warriors have not lost a single game. But how? They do not have an overwhelming amount of star power, nor does any one of their player's individual statistics (aside from Stephen Curry's) stand out. So then, what is the secret to their success?
The Warriors fought, and continue to fight, with vigor, courage, and aggressiveness. When other's discredited their championship efforts, the Warriors went to work and game planned for a season to remember! The media's negativity did not alter their path, nor did it, in any way, influence their warrior- like mentality. They held their ground and stood firm in what they believed in...that they were the best team in the NBA.
Whether or not you follow the NBA, the Warriors unrelenting prowess demands respect. Their story is truly one for the ages, and can be used to fuel any "off the court" venture, including your own. But, you have to ask yourself, "Are you a warrior"? Do you have the vigor, the courage, and the aggressiveness to outmatch your opponent? If so, then do as the Golden State Warriors did and battle. Gear up, your warrior-like mentality might just change the world!
Three years ago, my business partner Josh and I drove down the Pacific Coast and through the heart of Malibu. We passed several exotic car dealerships and cruised through multiple, multi million dollar beachside communities. Halfway through, we stopped for coffee at a small, hole in the wall cafe and talked about "living the dream". We sat outside, kicked our feet up, and soaked in our environment. It was picturesque. The sunset swirled the sky's many cloud formations with shades of red, orange, and pink like Picasso did his artwork. The ocean's waves crashed rhythmically against the shore like Beethoven's fingers did against the keys of his grand piano. The city's wealthy were out to play. The synchronous sound of exotic car exhausts trumpeted through the evening air like an orchestra does a symphony hall with it's unique array of instruments. Can you hear it? The mild breeze, the 70 degree temperature, and the moist beach air culminated to amplify an already amazing experience... And Josh and I were on cloud nine. This is where we wanted to be. But like a dream, the thought of it actually happening seemed far fetched and out of our reach. Or so we thought.
Josh and I thought like most human beings do. That wealth was some mysterious thing that only a select few could have. As if a magical wizard had to sprinkle money dust on our heads for us to succeed. Silly, right? Believe it or not, but most human beings actually think this way. That is, we fall into the all too familiar pattern of accepting what we have, and view that as the limitation to our potential. If you own a twenty thousand dollar car for long enough, then, over time, you begin to feel incapable of owning your ninety thousand dollar dream car, and so on. You succumb to your lackluster expectations and work only as hard as is necessary to maintain your current status, or in this case, to keep your twenty thousand dollar car. You fall victim to your self fulfilling prophecy, and the cycle continues until you alter your mind. Sound familiar?
Your mind is the gateway to your success. You must first think that you can accomplish something before you can believe in your ability to make that something happen. From there, you can generate and chip away at a logical and systematic plan to bring your dreams into fruition. Once you open up your mind to the possibility of your success, then your capabilities skyrocket. Success's path follows a non-negotiable chain of events that begins internally, with your mind. If you can genuinely picture yourself "living the dream", and are hard working, motivated, and consistent, then you have already overcome your biggest hurdle. But that initial hurdle eludes many, and breaks dreams faster than Channing Tatum did necks in his hit film, "Magic Mike".
I did not fully understand the power of the mind until I launched my own personal training business in March of 2014. I had just graduated from college, and decided to leave the corporate training scene to start my own venture. I contacted one of Chino's top trainer's, Nray Lavitrungsima, and began training clients out his facility not too far from where I lived. One night after the gym's normal operating hours, him and I had a heart to heart conversation that forever influenced the way that I think. At that time, an ex buddy had just signed on with one of the industry's top supplement companies and purchased my dream car, a 2014 Nissan GTR Black Edition. I remember it distinctly. I was sitting in Nray's office scrolling through Instagram, when I came across a picture of him sitting behind the wheel of his new supercar. Out of jealously, I commented, "Must be nice. This dude is living the dream". Nray asked, "Who", and I told him about my buddy's sponsorship opportunity. He responded, "You know, the mind is a powerful thing. If you think that you can do something, then, if you work hard enough for long enough, you more than likely will. With the right mindset, that supercar can be yours".
From that moment on, I forced myself to think differently. I stopped questioning my value, and I started valuing my worth. After several months of retraining my mind, I am confident. It is no longer a matter of "if" I will accomplish my dream, but "when", and I am slaving away at my carefully drawn out action plan to make that three year old dream a reality. Now, the very thought of me sitting behind the wheel of my dream car is all too real. I can feel the power of my GTR's twin turbo'd motor quake the ground beneath it's wheels. Am I there yet? No. But will I get there? You bet!
Your success is ultimately a reflection of both what you think you can achieve, and the amount of work that you are willing to put in to make those thoughts your reality. You initiate the process with a thought. Your thoughts compile, and you start to believe in your vision. You develop confidence, generate momentum, and, like a steam roller, crush every obstacle separating you from your dream. That is the millionaire's mindset, and that is what you are after... One positive, goal-oriented thought at a time.
Fitness is the artistic expression of human movement. There is no right or wrong way to move, and we are free to express ourselves as we see fit. Yogis move gracefully, powerlifters lift forcefully, and athletes maneuver skillfully. Simply put, we express ourselves physically through our needs, our lifestyles, and our interests.
With over 50 training styles and 1000 exercises, fitness is one of the most diverse industries in today's world. Such diversity requires a need for open-mindedness. After all, a successful enthusiast supports all fitness types, despite his or her own personal biases.
You choose to exercise based on two things, 1) your goals, and 2) your desires. Only when your training methods infringe upon your ability to make gains or exercise enjoy-fully, will they hinder your fitness journey.
Not all fitness types are created equal.
Fitness is just as much of a science as it is an art form... and different training types produce different training outcomes. (Ex: typically, sprinters carry more muscle mass than marathoners, and powerlifters are stronger than bodybuilders). Essentially, we are the result of our training methods. And although there is no right or wrong way to train, our training type must still match our training goals.
Example: If you desire more muscle mass, then long distance running five times/ week may not optimize your results. Running is not right or wrong, but its application directly conflicts with your training goal! If you love to run and are not worried about optimizing your size gains, then run. But if optimizing your results is more important to you than your running enjoyment, then consider altering your methods.
Open your mind, broaden your knowledge base, and embrace diversity.
In general, most goals are multi-faceted. In essence, there are multiple ways to approach most training goals to produce a similar end result. That is where open mindedness comes into play. If your goal is to put on muscle and you enjoy lifting heavy, then lift heavy! Similarly, if your goal is to pack on size and you enjoy lifting a little bit lighter with considerably shorter rest periods, then do that! Both methods can produce similar increases in muscle mass as long as certain variables are accounted for (volume, etc). As long as you understand your training's potential outcomes, then exercise as you see fit. Your body is a blank canvas, and you control your brush's stroke!
Understand that there is no right or wrong way to train. See exercise for what it is, and apply it to your own training based on your specific needs and desires. If a certain fitness type is not for you, then do not implement it, and leave it at that. It may serve someone else on a slightly different path well, where it led you astray.
Bringing it all together.
Fitness is both an art and a science. With that said, your knowledge and open- mindedness will ultimately reflect your industry based success. So train smart and have fun! May the gains be ever in your favor.