Today I’m working on a project with the owner of Brutal Iron Gym. He is asking the trainers “What advice would you give the younger you in the gym?”
If I had this chance I would say these four things to me…
Remember the tortoise and the hare.
Consistency wins the day. I see this all the time as a trainer… people come in the gym and hit it hard for a few months, or even a year… then they get distracted, tired, hurt, discouraged, busy, or any other excuse… and quit showing up.
When they first start, everyone is watching them thinking… “He’s off to a great start!” “She’s going to be awesome!” Maybe he even participates in a show. Maybe she puts up big numbers quickly… but then “life happens” and before you know it she’s gone. The next time you see her (or him) you wonder “What happened?”
Then there are those people who just quietly show up and do the work every day. They aren’t necessarily blowing up Instagram with selfies… but they are changing who they are from the inside out.
Give it three years and see who has come further… the 6 month freak (aka “The Hare”) or the dude who just kept showing up (aka “The Tortoise”).
If you don’t remember the story… you have to watch this video!
If I could tell my younger gym self anything I would say “Show up. Do the work. Don’t stop.”
HINT: the best way to do this is to put the gym on the calendar! If you treat it like a meeting you will show up. If you try to “squeeze it in” it will get “squeezed out” of your busy life.
The second thing I would say, to myself…
You look and perform like what you eat.
If you eat Little Debbie’s you will look like and perform like a Little Debbie.
The biggest lesson for me these last six years has been the role of food. You can train like a maniac… but if you’re not eating right you’re not going to see or show the results!
I tell my clients all the time:
Working out gives your muscles a REASON to grow. Eating gives them the RESOURCES to grow.
If I could do it again, I would eat like a farm boy (meat, potatoes, and vegetables), drink a lot less pop (soda… or whatever you call it), and eat more meals throughout the day (5-7).
Whether it’s nutrition, new exercises, improving technique, or developing mental toughness… I would never stop learning.
Every day now I set aside time to read an article or watch a video on something related to nutrition and/or training. It doesn’t have to take long. I actually do it while I am eating one of my six meals.
If you always do what you’ve always done… you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
If you’re not happy with your results… learn something new! Get a trainer! Read a book! Watch a video! Push your limits! Do something every day to keep learning!
Finally, I would say to my younger gym self…
Keep setting goals… and conquering them.
Some of my personal bests have come as a result of training for and participating in Physique Shows. I’ve done three of them to-date. In preparation for these shows, I typically cut 15-30 pounds and get shredded!
The discipline that it takes to stand on the stage and look like that is unbelievable. It is 16-20 weeks of self-denial, hard work, some tears, and lots of tough days. There’s a reason why there are hundreds of people watching and only a few on the stage… because it’s work that few are willing to do.
BUT… after you’ve done the work and accomplished the goal, you look back and realize, “I can do really hard things!” It’s so empowering to set and accomplish really hard goals!
I would tell my young gym self to set goals, and conquer them.
Don’t just show up… throw some weight around, and go home! Throw weight around with a purpose! Eat with a purpose! Run with a purpose! Stretch with a purpose!
Your goal can be anything you want it to be… just set one… and crush it!!!
So how about you? If you could go back and tell your young gym self some things… what would they be?