In the midst of running a business, programming clients, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, and putting the finishing touches on a hand made project -
I managed to get in my planned training session for the day.
I was tired from the lack of sleep and extra activity that comes with this time of year.
I was feeling beat up from the volume of work in my training combined, no doubt, with limited recovery.
I thought about skipping -
Pick things up the next day.
I thought about cutting it short -
Trim down my supplemental work.
Instead, I finished my session.
I did what was necessary.
I set a new personal best.
I did what I needed to move forward.
I am not crazy, obsessed, or extreme.
I am dedicated.
I am dedicated because training is both a part of who I am and who I want to become.
Training is one segment in a process of self improvement.
It is the simplest, rawest, and most honest method of self overcoming.
When you think you're close to the edge,
And you consider cutting it short -
Giving up and quitting,
You find your inner voice -
A true voice
Reminding you that you're ok.
You're not dying, failing, or even close.
You're just a little tired.
You have this in your grasp.
That's when you find the eye of the storm.
And your mind is clear.
This is just one of the gifts of training.
Being mentally tough will help you find the voice of truth when things get difficult.
It will help you find a way when there seems to be none.
Being able to mentally meet challenges and overcome them is a transcendent ability.
Few seem to possess it today.
The mind is where you win or lose.
The mind drives you to success or dooms you to failure and defeat.
If you can master that - you're on your way to achieving whatever you want.
It's an ongoing process of work that never ends.
The trick is to realize that the work and the result coexist together.
Less than one week until Christmas.
It's easy to let go of everything that matters,
And let consumerism engulf you.
No one will blame you.
It's pretty much the norm.
People who maintain their disciplines and practices throughout the ups and downs in their schedules and lives are the outliers and oddities,
Living on the edges of what is viewed by the whole as normal.
Looked upon as "extreme", "fanatical", and "obsessed",
They are regarded as something so outside of regular behavior,
Their actions, habits, and practices are deemed unnatural and excessive.
As if having discipline that carries you through changing times, feelings, and beliefs is a ridiculous concept for a so called adult.
The reality is - you’re either about something or not.
You’re either making progress or falling back.
Completely giving up on anything that moves you forward until a better time is weak minded escapism.
This is the norm in today’s society of fast, easy, and entertaining.
The truth is these people’s expectations are childish.
They want a specific outcome,
But only if it comes in an easy and convenient package.
The unwillingness to go the distance and find a way through the obstacles in the way shines a light on their truth.
They do not have the strength, courage, or vision to grasp what they desire and bring it to life.
Like a child, they’re waiting for it to be handed down to them, and placed in their hand.
Their desires, dreams, and goals will wither and fade,
As their bodies, minds, and spirits follow.
And they will be remembered for no great example to anyone.
Just another mass consumer.
Destined to mediocrity and the void.
Quitting is easy.
Giving up is easier than working to find another way - a better way.
It takes courage to stand up to failure.
It takes courage because nothing is there to show you a better future.
You have to have a vision.
Or create a new one.
You have to be willing to pull it from the shadows -
Out of the darkness and into a place where it can be made whole.
You yourself have to give it form and breathe life into it.
You are literally working your will over circumstances to create opportunity and success.
This is terrifying, because success or destruction is within your hands.
Consistency is key.
It takes time, though.
Continual action - the right action - over time will lead to success.
It takes fortitude, as well -
Guts and staying power.
It's scary to look down that road.
Especially when you’re standing in the shadow of failure.
One slip, one misstep is all it takes,
And it all falls out from under you.
It takes attitude;
To hold fast,
Find a way,
Or create one where there was none.
Better to opt out - quit.
Get ahead of the game and stay safe.
The problem is,
When you give up, you sell out on yourself.
You fault on all you’ve invested.
When you give up, you fault on everyone who's invested in you.
You fault on everyone and anyone who looks to you as an example.
You lose your credibility.
To everyone around.
You leave your life.
You give it back over to consumption and dependency.
Fearing too much the burning heat of action, risk, and reward.
Stepping back to hide within the cool shadow of failure.
Nothing will ever soothe the feeling inside;
The gnawing agony of giving up.
No amount of security, safety, or comfort
Will make up for what you lost.
It is like a small bandage on a large, hemorrhaging wound.
The bleeding never stops.
I hate this time of year.
This is the time of year when people give up on themselves and give in to letting go of any sense of control, thinking they’ll play catch up later.
Weak ass shit.
As someone whose job relies on helping others improve themselves and get better - it is increasingly frustrating, and even heartbreaking, to see people care so little for themselves that they're completely OK with putting off improving and being better until a more convenient time.
There is no convenient time.
There's always going to be things that get in the way. There's always going to be busyness.
There’s always going to be an obstacle, a hurdle, a THING.
The holidays shouldn't be a time where you're stressed because of the running around - the finding gifts, the parties, the dinners, the time with friends and family.
These things are blessings.
These things are gifts to be thankful for.
They are additions that make your life fuller.
The holidays should be things that enhance your life - not make it too busy or more stressful.
You're doing it wrong.
If you can't figure out how to make time for what's important now - if you can't figure out how to get past your schedule and your so-called busyness now - when are you ever going to?
You will forever be subject to the external circumstances pressing in on you.
You will forever be a victim - never, ever really in control of what happens to you or what your outcome is.
You will always be the product of some other person, or some other circumstance, or some other thing that just won't allow you to get what you want.
You’ll always be subject to "if only…"
You’ll always be weak.
You’ll always be a victim.
I've had people talk to me about how I own my own space - I own my own gym.
"What's that like?"
"It must be nice."
"Look at you."
"Look where you’re at."
"You've got this space."
What they don't see is all the behind the scenes.
What they don't see is how far out I've put myself.
What they don't see is the sacrifices I've made.
What they don't see is the sacrifices my family’s had to make.
What they don’t know is how far I still have to go.
You know what?
No one cares.
No one cares about my shit.
No one cares about your shit either.
It's your cross.
You can either carry it, or be crucified on it.
The choice is yours.
Manage yourself, start doing great things, and work toward being something great.
Be the victim - the martyr to circumstance.
Either way - be perfectly clear and honest with yourself and everyone else.
You most definitely have a choice.
Jackie (pictured above) had family visiting last week, so only made it in on Friday to train with me.
Her plan was to drop in at a local gym to hit the other 2 sessions, and not miss training.
She only made it for one.
I sent her the percentages for the lifts she would do on her own.
She covered both lifts in that one session, setting a personal record in one of them - the Press - on her own.
Her upper body pressing and pulling strength is something we've spent the past few months working on.
Her PR on Wednesday was 5lbs over the top weight I gave her.
She wanted to see what it felt like.
She reported that "it went right up."
Progress is addicting.
It will keep you on track when it gets inconvenient to train.
Progress builds confidence.
Confidence helps you to see a greater vision for yourself to push toward.
Create a vision for yourself.
Find a path that will lead you to it.
Commit to that without fail.
If you do those 3 things for a year, 2018 will close on a very different you.
With Thanksgiving just past, THE HOLIDAY SEASON has officially begun.
This is normally a time when people give in to the busyness of the season - real or perceived, and put off training the body and mind and eating like an adult until after the New Year - when things calm down to a more routine pace.
This is weak, plain and simple.
You need to manage your life - regardless of what's happening around you.
Waiting for the New Year to start improving yourself is, literally, insane.
If you're unhappy or unsatisfied with any aspect of yourself, why would you put off taking steps to change?
D.) Inertia of the status quo
I can't help you if your answer falls in one the first three.
No one can.
If that's you, and you're not satisfied with where you are, then you need to change your attitude and thought pattern.
If, on the other hand, the inertia of the same routine and expectation is what keeps you from taking action toward bettering yourself, let me offer you some clarity.
Most people who are not already involved in some disciplined form of training, eating, and living will gain around 5-10 lbs over the holidays.
The extra weight gain (which they'll struggle to lose in the New Year), along with the absence of a sense of control will cause a low level of guilt, frustration, and disappointment without having any counter in their life to offset it.
The conditioned response - once the holidays are over - is to jump at the easiest and least expensive fitness and weight loss option promising the fastest results.
Most of these resolution exercisers will fail and drop out of whatever they're doing within the first 2-3 months.
Many who last beyond that will start to trail off as the weather turns warmer and Spring turns to Summer.
These people will remain trapped in this cycle of mediocrity - never seeing any real or lasting change to their bodies or their minds.
They never had the understanding of commitment to begin with.
Doing anything when it comes easy requires little to nothing of you.
It has little value attached to it.
When something costs you - whether it's time, money, effort, or all three, it begins to mean something to you.
Seeing results is important.
Results are why you invested.
Results show you that you're moving in the right direction.
What those results cost you, however - the time, money, and effort - are what anchor you to the process.
Letting it slip means your effort was in vain.
The more you sacrificed to get there, the more you let fall from your grasp.
So you push on and continue to progress.
The commitment to the process - the effort it takes to do what is necessary - is what separates you from the status quo.
In case you haven't been paying attention -
The status quo is a disappointment.
This year, you can do the same thing, and let external circumstances dictate what you do to make yourself better.
You won't be alone. There will be plenty of company.
You can do something different this year.
Start getting better now.
I think a lot of people struggle with maintaining consistency in at least one area of their life. They have a good run starting a new habit or practice until something inevitably comes along that disrupts their routine.
Their momentum gets broken and they have a hard time getting back in it.
This leads to frustration, discouragement, and depression.
It's kind of like pushing or pulling a heavy sled or vehicle.
The worst thing you can do - especially when you're getting fatigued- is stop.
It's easier to keep the load moving than to break inertia to get it started again.
Most stop because they feel they've run out of strength and stamina, or the motivation or inspiration just isn't there.
Strength and stamina are developed by pushing farther than before, over and over.
Motivation and inspiration rely on emotion and opportunity.
Discipline relies on habit and integrity.
Discipline requires you to set standards and goals and find a way to meet them.
Discipline will keep you pushing forward through discomfort and fatigue.
Setting goals and meeting them will keep you focused and on task, while building your confidence.
Consistent repetition will build strength and staying power in that practice.
Create a vision of yourself - give it purpose and power, and let it drive you to develop the mindset and habits to lead you to success.
For me, the gym is a sacred place
It's a place of unlimited opportunity
It's a place where you can change the very fabric of who you are.
It's a place where you can leave the outside world behind in the pursuit of something greater than what that world can offer you.
Regardless of your past - your genetics, upbringing, lifestyle, belief systems - it's a place for you to abandon who you were to fight for who you want to become.
It’s a place where insecurity is shrugged off and confidence is built.
It’s a place where second chances are born and comebacks are made.
It’s a place where lives are changed through hard work, dedication, and discipline.
What you do in the gym, good or bad, is yours and yours alone.
The product is the direct result of your application.
What you build there no one can take, and no one can claim.
The more devoted time you put into the gym, the more you learn about yourself - how far you’re willing to go, how strong you are mentally and emotionally.
If you’re truly dedicated, you learn how to strengthen the mind and spirit along with the body.
You don't have to break records, go crazy, or kill yourself, but you do have to show up and give it your best for that day.
In your gym, the day's distractions, worries, and weight go away.
Or they at least become a little quieter, only existing as background noise, giving way to the focus on the work to be done.
The frustrations, fears, doubts, and anger are driven aside by the will to overcome something that can be handled, felt, grasped, struggled with, and bested.
You are left more empowered, more self assured, and with a quiet mind.
The thought of constant, continual growth, of unrelenting forward pressure toward personal greatness frightens some people.
The weight room is not for everyone.
It's for those with the vision to see what they can become and the boldness to take aggressive action toward that end.
Pictured above is Redemption gym member Mindi - on her way to a current Squat PR of 2 Sets of 125lb x 5.
Mindi's been working hard, making a comeback. She averages 4x per week in the gym - regardless of how she feels.
She's overhauled her nutrition and the way she looks at food - a MAJOR step for her - leading to significant change in body composition.
When she's going through a rough spot, she reaches out for guidance, support, and maybe the occasional gentle foot to the rear.
She's kicking ass, pushing through resistance, and crushing the training and the lifestyle - working hard to be the best that she can be.
Mindi has a family, and she owns and operates her own business - MH Financial CPA Firm, LLC.
She is extremely busy, works long, crazy hours, and is subject to enormous amounts of stress.
Through all of this - in spite of all this - she makes a way to get to her training AND to eat in a way that supports her body and where she wants to be.
None of this has been easy for her to do.
She trains when she wants to stay home and crash. She eats when she doesn't want to, and she eats what she knows she should instead of what she'd rather eat.
Mindi is DEDICATED.
The product of her DEDICATION is significant fat loss and muscle gain, increases in strength and performance, and both hormonal and metabolic improvement.
A side product of all of this, though - and one of the most overlooked yet important benefits of training - has been the development of her mental strength - her Will and Drive.
Dedication to a cause or goal leads to discipline. It's how you can do what needs to be done to get what and/or where you want.
It's basically being a grown up and doing the right thing as opposed to allowing your emotions to lead you around.
We all have our areas where we can apply more dedication and discipline, where we're relying too much on inspiration and motivation instead of raw desire for something more, something better.
We can look at people like Mindi - people who are too busy, too tired - overwhelmed and generally not spending their workday daydreaming about lifting weights and odd objects - yet who consistently show up and put the work in.
We can see their progress, the momentum they create for themselves, and perhaps we can shake off our own excuses, our own childish need for everything to come easy, and find a way to dedicate ourselves to that cause we hold dear.
Injuries can be setbacks, but only if you let them be.
Mike came in last night with a boot on his foot, unable to do any of the lower body strength and power work that we normally do. Instead of staying home he came in and had a great session built around the Overhead Press.
Training around an injury can create the opportunity to focus on areas you've been neglecting or you normally don't get to work.
It also creates the opportunity to develop an unstoppable mindset - one that will carry you through the ups and downs in training and in life.
Don’t let anything keep you from making progress.
There’s more at stake than just your physical goals.
Find a way to push forward and keep making continual progress.
Eric Chasko is the head of Redemption. He is a Performance Enhancement Specialist, Certified Underground Strength Coach, and Progressive Fighting Systems Full Instructor. From young athletes to busy professionals, he helps people develop the physical, mental, and emotional strength to win on the field, on the street, and in life.