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The Killer Workout Never Ends

Here’s one thing that I needed to really learn about working out: It’s not something that you do to a certain point where you’ve accomplished a certain goal, and then you stop.

The only real killer workout is the one that you forever bake into your life, and you never stop doing it. Just like brushing your teeth.

Most men make the error of thinking that one day it will be done. They think, “If I can work enough, then one day I could rest.” Or, “One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.” Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.” The masculine error is to think that eventually things will be different in some fundamental way. They won’t. It never ends. As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, and make love with the present moment while giving your unique gift.

Deida, David. The Way of the Superior Man

For a long time I’ve been thinking of my workouts simply as a way of achieving a certain goal: losing weight. Getting to a specific amount of body fat. Getting a six pack. (I’m still far away from that.) Feeling fit. Impressing friends. Impressing girls. Being proud of myself.

But ultimately, the killer workout is the workout that only ends when you end.

The longer I’m engaging with the struggling of working out, the more I realize how crucial mentality is.

Cultivating the right mindset, practicing the right attitude is key. Much more important than following one specific workout routine or sticking to a particular set of exercises.

It’s the mentality that drives everything underneath.

The killer workout is to keep at it for the rest of your life. To never stop.

The killer workout is not the one that you do one time until you almost collapse. The killer workout is not the one that you can keep up for 3 weeks and you see impressive results. The killer workout is not the one that you do for 2 years and then your joints are worn out.

The killer workout is the one that you do every single day for the rest of your life, the one that always is just a bit out of your comfort zone, the one that you’d like to skip—just today—but you never do.

That’s the killer workout.

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Pre-workout motivation

Sometimes you just need a little nudge to push you over the edge of comfort. Something that lessons the gravity of not exercising, so you get your ass in motion. You need a good bit of pre-workout motivation!

Here are some pre-workout motivation videos, ranked by the ones I find work best for me personally.

Pre-workout motivation by Brenton Ross

This is probably the most thoughtful, reflective, and calm, centered pre-workout motivation video in this list. If you’re looking for something to get you amped up and excited, to get your adrenaline pumping, then scroll further down.

This video instead is about taking time to reflect, and unconvering your deep inner reasons for why you want to work out.

Do you want to:

  • lose weight?
  • gain muscle?
  • build self-discipline?
  • for fun?
  • for community at your gym, to meet people, make friends?
  • to build endurance?
  • to look and feel more attractive?
  • to relieve stress and anxiety?
  • to burn anger?
  • to build confidence?
  • to impress someone?

There are so many potential reasons for wanting to work out, and no reason is better than any other reason. The point of this video is not to tell you that you need a better reason, the point of the video is to help you identify what your true motivation for working out is.

This is especially important when you struggle with consistency. For example, you might think that “building self-discpline” is your reason for working out, and maybe that’s what gets you amped up in the moment. But if you then 3 weeks later stop exercising for 2 months, then there’s some other underlying motivation that you should tap into.

Know your why.

Why do you want to look good? Why do you want to meet people? Why do you want to build endurance? Whatever your reason for working out is, ask yourself: why do I want this? Why do I care about this?

Understanding your true why will help you stay consistent when you feel like giving up.

Like I said, this is definitely the most impactful pre-workout motivation video if you care about sustainable, long-term workout motivation.

The Vision (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Heavy-duty bodybuilding is what you’re into? Then this video, which uses snippets from an Arnold Schwarzenegger speech might be just the right pre-workout motivation jam for you.

Lots of BIG BULKY guys training and posing, and Arnold talks about the importance of having a clear vision that motivates you to take action. He says you can apply that to anything you want: whether it’s working out, making money, learning a new skill. And he also points out that any vision is fine, it can be something as crazy as wanting to impress girls, as long as it genuinely motivates you. You must want it!

The Grind by Brendan Myers

Here’s a 4-minute video. It’s gotten a ton of views, but personally I’m not feeling the vibe. It’s too “cold”, the passion doesn’t come through in the narrators voice. But that might just be my personal preference when it comes to pre-workout motivation boosters.

My favorite part in the entire video is simply this sentence: What you do now will define you later.

Life is not a sprint. Life is a marathon.
But don't be mistaken
I'm not referring to a 26 mile run
but rather a race we call life
and although you might think you have it all figured out
little do you know there is somebody passing you
working harder, 
and wanting to hit the finish line that much more than you.
What are you going to do about it?
Can you accept not giving it your all?
I know you might want to become successful in maybe one, two, or maybe three months down the road,
but you have to understand it takes time.
Not only does it take time, 
but it requires a work ethic like no other.
If you want to be that guy being left in the dust,
so be it.
But if you really want it as bad as you want to breathe,
that you won't even for one second imagine
someone else surpassing you,
look failure straight in the face
and challenge it.
Because what you do now will define you later.
Stop being used to what comes easy to you
and challenge yourself.
This is your chance.
Life is a marathon.

The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it. It’s to set your goal too low and reach it.

Georges St-Pierre, UFC welterweight champion
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If others can, so can you

In his latest blog post, Seth Godin wrote that

“if someone knows how to do something, that means, with sufficient effort, you could probably learn it too.”

Learnable

The same is true for fitness. If other people have gotten fit, so can you. Now yes, there are limitations to this. If you’re 37 years old, and you’re just starting out, you won’t be able to catch up on the accomplishments of a 25-year-old that’s dedicated himself to getting fit for the past 10 years.

At some point, things get harder, things get more difficult.

Muscles don’t grow that fast anymore. Joints aren’t that strong anymore. The body doesn’t heal that fast anymore.

But still, you can still accomplish so much if only you put in the time and effort it takes.

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I have failed. I went from being in the range of 70-73 kg to now being at 80-79. And it’s not muscle. In fact, I lost some muscle mass because I did very little strength training for the past year.

There’s a part of me that says: “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Even in those past 6 months, where you’ve really exercised much less than in the past, you’ve still exercised more than you used to 5 years ago.”  And that is true.

My new low in 2019 is still higher than my routines from 2005 – 2015. So that’s a good thing. But I’m also getting older.

The body doesn’t respond to exercise the way it used to, muscle builds slower, joints require more care. My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I can’t eat like I used to eat—I just gain weight so quickly nowadays. But ultimately it’s not about that—it’s about mastering myself.

It’s about that inner struggle. It’s about building the muscle of acting like the person I aspire to be. It’s about being true to my highest self. And I haven’t been doing that. It’s time to hold myself to a higher standard. It’s time to turn pro. It’s time to build the right habits again.

“We can never free ourselves from habits. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur.”

Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

These days, I’m just establishing the habit of going to the gym again. My current goal is to go three times a week and do 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical. I’ve been doing this for the past 2 weeks now, so here’s to new beginnings and not breaking a winning streak.

Getting in shape is tough. I can feel that big wad of fat around my belly and how it makes everything I do harder. It weighs me down. It makes everything harder.

Yes, I do love enjoying great food. But the price I pay for this indulgence, it’s not really worth it. I got to go back to practicing self-restraint. I’ve got to turn pro.

Turning pro is an act of self-abnegation. Not Self with a capital-S, but little-s self. Ego. Distraction. Displacement. Addiction.

Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

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Now I definitely do like yogurt.

And the fact that it’s supposed to be good for your gut bacteria is something I often justify to eating another bowl of yogurt.

But the yogurt that’s  beneficial for you isn’t sweet:

Yogurt is not supposed to be sweet. When it’s natural, it has a tasty sour tang, because yogurt is the result of bacterial fermentation of milk.

So why are most yogurts you’ll find in a store today sweet? Because it sells better:

in the 1970s, Danone and other major yogurt companies started massive, long-term advertising campaigns to convince parents of the health benefits of yogurt for kids. To convince kids that yogurts were worth eating, they also had to keep adding more and more sweeteners to cover up the tangy, sour taste of fermented milk.

Other interesting tidbits from the article:

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I watched this video with Arnold Schwarzenegger today where he shared some of his thoughts on working out.

And there’s one thing that really resonated with me:

You can watch the entire interview (it’s well worth it) or just skip forward to the section where he talks about this at 7 minutes 30 seconds into the video.

Arnold:

I think that the biggest mistake is that you go to the gym, and you go through the motions. But you don’t really have your mind inside the muscle.

And later:

And also you have to feel it. The key thing is that you visualize it, but you have to feel the muscles. That’s the key thing because then they grow.

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Ever wondered how many reps are best for you? Well, that really depends on the result you’re going after. What is it that you want to achieve? Stronger muscles? Bigger muscles? Fatloss?

The following video does a good job at explaining the different rep ranges.

Main takeaways:

The most important thing is to train in whatever range you train in! So if you’re training in the lower rep range, make sure that you actually give it all you got in that lower rep range. That means the weights need to be so heavy that you literally can’t lift them more than 5 times. Let’s say you aim for a 3 rep range, and you do three reps and stop, but actually you could do 4 or 5 or even 6 reps, then that’s not really being in the lower rep range. If you’re doing 3 but you could do 5, then you’re not training effectively, and you won’t get the benefits of the lower rep range.

Lower rep range (1-5 reps):

Focused on strength, heavier lifts.

Mid rep range (6-10 reps):

You’re blending the benefits of lower rep range (strength) with the benefits of the higher rep range (hypertrophy).

Higher rep range (11-14 reps):

Great for building bigger muscles because time under tension is usually more than 45 seconds (if you assume you spend 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down per lift, 12 reps = 48 seconds).

Very high rep range (15 and more reps):

He doesn’t go much into the benefits of a very high rep range in the video.

 

Another great article on the same topic that I found is The Rep Range That Builds The Most Muscle. It takes a slightly different approach, breaking it down into 3 ranges:

Low reps (1-5)

Great for building strength. But time under tension is too short to maximize hypertrophy.

Moderate reps (8-12)

Best if you want bigger muscles. The ideal time under tension is 30-60 seconds, because that’s where your body starts create lactic acid, which is vital to new muscle-tissue production.

When lactic acid, or lactate, pools in large amounts, it induces a surge in anabolic hormone levels within the body, including the ultrapotent growth hormone and the big daddy of muscle-building, testosterone. These circulating hormones create a highly anabolic state within the body and if you’re after more muscle, that’s exactly the state you want to be in.

The increased time under tension also leads to more muscle damage, imperative if you plan on getting larger any time soon. Theoretically, the longer a muscle is contracted, the greater the potential for damage to the tissue.

The moderate-rep range, when coupled with a challenging weight, will also bring about a much-desired condition: the muscle pump. That tight, full feeling under the skin, caused by blood pooling in the muscle, has value beyond its ego-expanding qualities. Studies have demonstrated that the physiological conditions which lead to a pump activate protein synthesis and limit protein breakdown. Thus, more of the protein you eat goes toward muscle construction instead of being burned off for energy. In a scientific twist of good fortune, the fast-twitch fibers appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of this phenomenon.

High reps (15 or more)

Good for muscular endurance, but not so much for bigger muscles:

The amount of weight you can handle isn’t heavy enough to recruit fast-twitch type-2 muscle fibers. So what, you ask? Simply put, type-2 fibers are where the potential for growth resides, and they respond only to heavy weights at least 75 percent of your one-rep max.

So there are some slight differences in opionion between Jeff from Athlean X and Michael Berg, but there’s one thing they both agree on: you should exercise in all rep ranges!

To make sure your body doesn’t adapt to a particular regimen and stagnate, you need variety. Cycle periods of low-rep training and high-rep training into your overall program, while progressively trying to increase your strength and perfect your exercise form every time you lift.

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2018-06-01

Workout:

Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 20
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 8
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch ?
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 14
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 7
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 20
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 16
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 7
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 16
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 20
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 6
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 15
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 15
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 6
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 11
rest (<2m)

 

Foodlog:

  1. Shake
  2. Durian
  3. Sushi & sashimi
  4. Beer 500ml Paulaner Hefeweizen
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I’ve got a gym membership, but truth be told, there are days when I don’t have the time to go to the gym. So I’ve been wanting to have some basic equipment at home to do something for those times when I don’t just want to do a bodyweight workout.

In this video, Jeff Cavaliere from Athlean X shares his recommendations for building a home gym:

Here’s the summary:

A utility benchDoorway Pull-Up Bar

He says the cost anywhere between $10-$30.

Resistance Band / Tubing

He recommends getting something that you can step on with both feed and then pull it up all the way above your heads with a good amount of resistance. Get with handles if you find it easier to grab, but even without is fine (which is what I have, since that takes up almost zero space when I travel).

(Adjustable) Dumbbells

If your budget allows for that, get adjustable dumbbells so you can do your progressive overload. If not, just get whatever level you’re currently at.

 

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