About directorb

Author, film-maker, husband to an amazing wife, father of an incredible daughter. Work-out nut. Fighter of human trafficking.

When the Workout Doesn’t Work

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If you are working on a project at your job and it doesn’t seem to be working what do you do?  Do you just go in and tell your boss “hey sorry I can’t get it, good luck with that”. Doubt that will end well.

So what do you do?  You try a different approach and go at it again.

So why don’t we approach fitness the same way?  I got in a rut for a little while, things just weren’t clicking for me at the gym, I would go and not feel like I worked out even though I had.  So what do I do?  Well admittedly I missed a few days, it happens.

Then I decided I just needed to try a new routine, and so I did, and it worked.  It got me out of rut, I sweat a lot, I was out of breath by the time my workout was over and I felt good.

When things don’t work, don’t just throw in the towel, keep going and try something different on for a change.  Remember part of being healthy and fit for life requires constant change, constant redirection.  There is nothing wrong with any of that.

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Learn It

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Discipline is so key when it comes to working out and eating healthy.  We have to have enough discipline, to prepare meals, to make time for our workouts, to say no to fatty foods.  So how do you develop discipline?  Well it’s just like lifting weights.  You start small, and continue it every day.  After awhile you’ll find yourself being able to do far more than you were at first.

Discipline isn’t something you’re either born with or aren’t born with, it’s something that’s learned, like everything else in life.  Don’t say you don’t have any…learn some!  It takes practice and just start small.  Start saying no as often as you can to unhealthy food, start prepping a meal or two a week, start getting to the gym at minimum 2 – 3 times a week.  The more you do it, the more you will find yourself saying no, prepping, or working out.

You’ve got this!

It’s Not About the Scale

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This has been a crazy last couple months for me for working out.  I got up to the heaviest I’ve ever been about 2 months ago, I a goal I was trying forever to reach and finally did. And you know what I realized? I wasn’t happy with the way I looked.  

Which brings me to a good point.  Sometimes (myself included) can get so wrapped up in hitting a certain number on the scale that nothing else matters.  The truth is that number doesn’t matter.  I worked my butt off to hit that number and then realized that wasn’t what I really wanted, so now I’m back to the drawing board and changing things up.  I am learning to go off how I want my body to look, not just my what my weight is at.  

Now don’t get me wrong still track your weight gains/losses, because we need to be analyzing and seeing if what we are eating, and how we are working out is working or not. But we shouldn’t become obsessed with the numbers.  So get that body you want, but don’t let the scale dictate your life.  Get fit and kick butt.  You’ve got this.

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More Than Exercise

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You’ve probably heard the different methods of lifting weights.  Use light weights and high reps to cut, and low reps with heavy weight to bulk. While there may be a little truth in this, it doesn’t really work like that.  The biggest thing when it comes to bulking or cutting is food.  Food is such a huge part of any kind of workout.  There’s no one exercise that is going to get you shredded if you are eating whatever you want.

Likewise, lifting huge weights with low reps is only going to bulk you so much.  You want a six pack?  Sure crunches, planks, and other ab workouts are needed, but even more important is eating clean and eating the right amount.  If you continue to eat crap while working out you will see small results.

And diet is the hardest part.  You go to the gym and are done in an hour or so, but diet is something you have to work on every part of the day every day.

You have to consciously think about everything you put in your mouth.  Sounds hard right?  Well yes it is.  But who said being fit was easy?

Now I’m not saying exercise by itself is bad, I know a lot of people who don’t follow any strict diets, and workout and stay in shape. But there is a limit to how in shape they are.  Because exercise alone can only take your body to a certain level.

So where do you start with food?  Well first get an app or go online and calculate how many calories you need for what your goal is.   Myfitnesspal is a great one for this, it also allows you to keep track of everything you eat, which you have to do.

Once you know how many calories you should be eating now it’s time to get them from healthy sources.  Hitting your calorie limit by just eating snickers bars all day isn’t going to do the trick.

Eat clean meat, lots of fish, turkey, or chicken.  Limit red meat to like once a week or less.  Cut out soda, diet soda included (that is worse than regular).  Cut out white carbs, and instead go for whole wheat and whole grain.  Stay away from too much juice.  Drink at minimum a half gallon of water a day.  Get plenty of green veggies.  Protein powder in almond milk is a great snack if you are trying to drop weight, put it in regular milk if you are trying to gain.  Start thinking differently about food, it’s not just about how it tastes, but how is it fueling your body?

You’ve probably heard the different methods of lifting weights.  Use light weights and high reps to cut, and low reps with heavy weight to bulk. While there may be a little truth in this, it doesn’t really work like that.  The biggest thing when it comes to bulking or cutting is food.  Food is such a huge part of any kind of workout.  There’s no one exercise that is going to get you shredded if you are eating whatever you want.

Likewise, lifting huge weights with low reps is only going to bulk you so much.  You want a six pack?  Sure crunches, planks, and other ab workouts are needed, but even more important is eating clean and eating the right amount.  If you continue to eat crap while working out you will see small results.

And diet is the hardest part.  You go to the gym and are done in an hour or so, but diet is something you have to work on every part of the day every day.

You have to consciously think about everything you put in your mouth.  Sounds hard right?  Well yes it is.  But who said being fit was easy?

Now I’m not saying exercise by itself is bad, I know a lot of people who don’t follow any strict diets, and workout and stay in shape. But there is a limit to how in shape they are.  Because exercise alone can only take your body to a certain level.

So where do you start with food?  Well first get an app or go online and calculate how many calories you need for what your goal is.   Myfitnesspal is a great one for this, it also allows you to keep track of everything you eat, which you have to do.

Once you know how many calories you should be eating now it’s time to get them from healthy sources.  Hitting your calorie limit by just eating snickers bars all day isn’t going to do the trick.

Eat clean meat, lots of fish, turkey, or chicken.  Limit red meat to like once a week or less.  Cut out soda, diet soda included (that is worse than regular).  Cut out white carbs, and instead go for whole wheat and whole grain.  Stay away from too much juice.  Drink at minimum a half gallon of water a day.  Get plenty of green veggies.  Protein powder in almond milk is a great snack if you are trying to drop weight, put it in regular milk if you are trying to gain.  Start thinking differently about food, it’s not just about how it tastes, but how is it fueling your body?

Never Stop

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You should never be content in your training.  I am always looking at what other bodybuilders are doing, always trying to learn more about what workouts are more effective, or which ones target muscles better.  You can ask my wife, I’m always changing things in my diet, adding or removing calories etc. And you should be too.

If you are new to working out, then yes stick with one thing until you get into a routine.  But once you have the routine down start changing things up.  Do drop sets one week (Do as many reps as you can at a max weight, then drop the weight down and do as many reps as you can, repeat this till you are at the lowest weight).

If you always run inside, try running outside on a trail or a track. If you always bike, try getting on the elliptical.  Increase your reps one week, and your max weight the next.

I’ve been lifting for years, and I still am not where I want to be, because just as my body evolves, so does what I want to attain. Change is good.  Keep your body guessing, keep your muscles questioning what you are doing.  And never quit learning.

When You Get Hurt

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So if you lift or run, or workout in general long enough eventually something will get hurt.  A pull, a strain, a sprain.  It’s common.  It happens.

So what do you do in those circumstances?  Do you rest, do you push through the pain?  Well you may want to do both.

It’s easy to automatically think that when you get hurt, you should just stop. But this isn’t necessary nor good.

First off, you know your body.  You know how serious the injury is.  You know how fast you heal, and how bad the pain really is.  Let’s say you pull something in your leg and you are a runner.  You probably can still do something like the elliptical that takes strain off the leg.  Or you can definitely do upper body workouts.

If you lift, and you hurt something in your chest or arm, you can workout other muscle groups, and depending on the severity continue to work out those muscle groups, just with much lighter weight.

Because working out is a habit, you don’t want to just stop working out completely, then you will get out of the habit, and by the time you are healed you may not have the motivation to start up again.

Remember don’t push the injured area, work around it, that way you rest it but still get in some workouts.

Never Underestimate Yourself

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Every one has a past.  Statistically, how you have worked out in the past and viewed fitness, determines how you currently view fitness and workout routines.  If you had a bad experience in the past, you probably view fitness in a negative light.

But your past doesn’t have to define you.  It doesn’t have to define who you want to be.  We live in the now.  Not the yesterday.  Not the ghost of Christmas past.

We are capable of overcoming impossible odds. We can accomplish far more than we think. But that’s just it, we have to in our mind think that we can.  We have to know that we can mentally.  There has to come a point in your life where you are sure beyond doubt that you want to get in better shape, that you want to feel better.  You have to decide in your mind that you want it. That no one and nothing will stop you.

Don’t let past mistakes, past hateful remarks, or past failures keep you down.  Instead use it as fuel to try again.  As fuel to try harder.  And to work for it.  Get it.

Make It Happen

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Workouts can be tough with your normal schedule.  But then throw in going out of town and usually you are in for a couple weeks off.  Don’t let this happen!  It’s too easy to say, oh I’ll pick it back up after vacation, but then you’re used to not going.

Make plans to workout even on vacation. Just about every hotel now has some kind of small gym, yes it’s not great, but you can still get a workout in.  You can do pushups, situps, and body squats in your room. You can go on a run.

Working out is all about habit.  Also be conscious of what you are eating on vacation.  You can choose to eat healthy at  just about every restaurant.  No it’s not as good as cooking at home, but still be smart.  Go for the grilled fish or chicken over the fried fish, or ribeye.  Make smart choices.

You’ve worked hard to develop the healthy habits, don’t throw them away when you are away from home.

Getting that Six Pack

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I get asked a lot “what the best workout for abs”.  In truth?  Eating.

Yup that’s right.  Eating is the best workout for abs.  Let me explain.  I can do planks, sit-ups, and every other ab workout imaginable, but if I’m downing pizza, mcdonalds, and guzzling route 44’s of soda I’m never going to get a six pack.

What you put in is what you get out.  I say it all the time.  Fitness is like 75% diet, and 25% working out.  It is the hard part, but it gets you do those results that you haven’t been able to get to.  Diet is hugeeeeeeeeeee.

I can’t emphasize it enough.  Yes you need to do ab workouts, I’m not saying don’t do them, but if you want abs, there is no miracle workout, it’s eating right, and exercising. Here is a great video that goes into a little more detail about all that.

 

For those who have kids.

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Kids can be time consuming.  I know.  I have a three year old and another on the way.  Sometimes I wonder if I had half of my daughters energy what I could do.  We live crazy hectic lives, and kids make it even crazier.  But that shouldn’t keep us from getting to the gym.

The number one excuse people use is that they don’t have time.  And yet those who make that claim have time to watch every episode of game of thrones or the walking dead.  It’s not a matter of not having time, it’s a matter of not wanting to use your time for that.

It’s not easy I know.  I work full time, at a very active job and often in the heat.  When I get home most days I don’t feel like going to the gym, Add in being married, having a child, having a part time job as well, getting my personal training certification, and well you get the idea.  Life is crazy.

But you know what?  It’s okay.  Life will probably always be crazy.  It’s not going to be better, next week, or  next month, because something else to steal your time will come up.

It’s crucial to make time for your workouts, and even more so when you have kids.  Why is that?  Because kids model their behavior after yours.  They need examples of what it looks like to eat healthy, of what it looks like to have discipline to go to the gym, make time for it, work hard to be healthy.

I want my kids to know be healthy and happy in life, eating good and being fit is their best bet for the health part.  And I want to be around to see their kids, and their grandkids, so I have to do all I can to stay healthy.

So don’t use kids or anything else as an excuse of why you can’t.  Instead use it as motivation to get to the gym.

You’ve got this.