Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not By Force

It wasn't too long ago that I was competing as a natural bodybuilder, following very few of the principles I now teach. I think it took that process and some wise people to help me realize what I was doing wasn't healthy or working. Here is a look into my lifestyle then.

-I ate low fat, low sugar, sugar free and very high protein
-I worked out to excess tension and beyond my limits
-I obsessed 24/7 as to whether I was dropping fat or building muscle
-I ate every 2-3 hours to 'keep my metabolism up'
-I often trained 7 days a week for 60-90 minutes a pop
-I took synthetic supplements (creatine, glutamine and others) possibly to the detriment of my body
-What was best for me was often determined by what I saw or read, never through testing
-I rarely hung out with friends (and I was in college) burning some meaningful relationships in the process.

In short, I slept, ate, slept, worked out, ate, slept, ate.... seriously. Looking back it was no way to live. On the plus side, it got me where I am
today, which I wouldn't trade for anything!

The biggest element interwoven through all of this was the element of force. Everything I did was overly forceful, whether physically, psychologically or chemically. I was forcing movement, forcing control (or so I thought) and forcing food. Why do you think my tagline for Brian-Speaks.com is 'Building Sustainable Health and Fitness'? Because I know what unsustainable looks like!

I want to share some of what I have learned through this process in hopes that they can be used to some degree in your life and you can avoid some pitfalls I had.
Here are a few that really helped me.

LEARNING TO RELAX - rarely anything good comes from a tense state. Honestly, between you and me, I still struggle with this one. But what I have found is that when I am aware and recognize my state of mind as being overly tense, using methods for relaxation help me to make better decisions therefore changing my outcome. Actions that have worked to change my state might be anything from taking deep breaths to taking a walk. Actions that typically do not work for me might be eating or drinking something I didn't need or saying something I shouldn't have. What I have found is that it's better to coax relaxation through positive actions as it can never be forced.

Byproducts of relaxation;

-weight loss
-increased energy
-positive life outlook
-overall better decisions or choices
-more engaging relationships
-increased human potential

WORKING WITHIN MY LIMITS -  All of our limitations are different. For me to guess what yours are would be absolutely ridiculous. I recently watched the documentary 127 hours, and that guys physical and psychological limitations are probably higher than most, but I am just guessing. When the movie started there was nothing that stood out about him that told me he could handle what he was up against, but he did. With that, there is a very simple method to determine what yours are. I won't go into it here but these two posts will surely clear it up.


Many of the same benefits that are listed above come from learning to work within our limitations. Paradoxically, it also allows us to better exceed them in the future.

I promise that by eliminating these huge elements in your life, you will be open to enjoy the journey while reaching your full potential.


1 comment:

  1. Great post Brian. This is a really important perspective to share.