By Chris Martinez
Life is good at creating a lot of problems for people, whether its adversity, pain, divorce, death, stress, the list could go on. But, do you crumble? Or do you lean on your will and overcome it? Life is about a series of punches being thrown at us and eventually you will get knocked down. Even the great and most successful people get knocked down. But, it’s up to you to either stay down or get back up and keep swinging. In this article I will be sharing my 5 ways to create an edge in life and then some. I will also being using training and nutrition examples to clarify my points. These 5 tips will help you go a long way with whatever life has in store for you. I’m not saying this article will cure everything in life, but I promise I will make you think about a lot of things and I almost guarantee you will want to implement some of these tips in your daily lives and really see what you’re made of.
1. Embrace the present
What is it about eliciting results that takes us out of the present? The whole notion of not being attached to results is a very difficult point to achieve and it’s very difficult to not be attached to results because when you’re working hard on something, you want a certain outcome. I think when you’re so focused on where you want to go, that you miss out on the present and when you’re not fully present you aren’t going to have as good as an outcome as if you were in the moment.
For example, when you’re working out, one day everything suddenly feels light and you’re just in there killing it and in the zone and all the sudden you hit a PR (personal record in a 1 rep max test) without expecting it. Another example, when you are trying to hit a PR, the night before or even a week before, you’re so pumped and spend so much energy psyching yourself up for it that often times you set yourself up for failure or it’ll work against you. It’s just too much energy being wasted on thinking about it as opposed to just being in the moment and fully immersed in that workout and just doing it.
If your working out and your thinking about having to make a call later on or you have that meeting in the back of your head or something on your mind, you’re already disengaged because you’re thinking about stuff that has nothing to do with your workouts and you’re obviously not going to have a productive workout as if you were totally immersed in that process.
Take home message: Whatever it is that you do, embrace the present. Be fully amerced in that moment and don’t worry about other things that need to be done. Do this so you can get that great outcome in the moment. When you are fully immersed in the moment, the results will come.
2. Negative & positive thinking
Having a constant positive attitude is overrated and can be often abused. Having a positive attitude day in and day out and all day is just plain fake and it isn’t going to get you anywhere in life. Two things you should consider about always thinking positive: 1) you have to have a mix of both, it can’t be one sided. The biggest problem with people thinking positive all the time is they’re just lying to themselves every day. There are a lot of bad things going on these days in the world and to have a happy positive attitude everyday is just flat out not being realistic and lying to yourself. 2) Being positive all the time can keep you from getting out of a rut and causing you to make positive changes in your life. Here’s my point, for example, let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 15 pounds of lean muscle mass in 2 months. Are you really going to sit there and say, “If I think positive for 2 months, day in and day out, and do all the necessary things, I can attain this goal?” In all honesty hopefully you don’t. The reason being, it’s quite impossible to attain those goals in that short amount of time, no matter how good your training, nutrition, and consistency is. Also, will things not come up in life in those 2 months that will get you off your positive thinking high? So, you really have to be honest and true to yourself and be realistic with goals.
Take home message: If you sit there and be positive all the time, you will get complacent. How are you ever going to be realistic with yourself and see the negative things going on in your life and attempt to change them? I’m not saying to implement negative thinking in your life just for the sake of it. Just be realistic with goals and everything else that’s going on around you. Have a balance of negative and positive thinking so you don’t get complacent in life and you keep growing.
3. Solving a problem
Let’s face it, we all face problems in life, whether it’s at work, a project, attaining a goal, school, marriage, relationship, personal, or the gym. Big question is, when it comes to facing a problem, are you a solution oriented person or do you make excuses? These are the two different types of people when it comes to problem solving. If you’re a person that makes excuses and plays the “poor me, it wasn’t my fault” act, then move on to number four. If you are a solution oriented person, here is a great tip: You must write down the problem first, the secret to getting ahead is getting started. Once the problem is written down, think of every remedy to solve it. Then analyze each solution and eliminate those that didn’t solve the problem fast enough, or efficiently enough, until you have a plan of action.
For example, you have attained your goal of losing 10 pounds. You’re feeling good and confident and figure you are entitled to have some cheat meals over the next few days as your reward. But, you realize that you’re in a calorie deficit and you’re body has an unlimited capacity to store fat if you take in enough calories to store a pound of fat, you’ll store that pound of fat. Your body is like a sponge right now and it’ll soak it up and you could potentially gain some weight back. So, do you make excuses and just eat away because you can’t figure out a solution? No, you sit there, write the problem down and figure out ways to have a few cheat meals in the next few days so you won’t blow all your hard earned results. Now whether that solution ends up being to eat a controlled cheat meal, fit them into your macronutrients, or do extra cardio all depends on the individual, but that’s not the point here. The point is to find a solution to the problem.
Take home message: Life will always throw problems at you, its part of molding you into the person you are becoming. So instead of making excuses, create solutions, write down the problem first, and start getting ahead.
4. Have a Plan and get started
When I say have a plan, I mean have a map that pertains to your goals in life. Once you have that map and that vision in your mind, this should be an automatic green light for attack mode. Start researching, networking, getting your face out there, and take the necessary steps to attain that goal. Why sit around and wait? Why not keep your foot on that gas pedal and see where it’ll take you. Have a nothing to lose type of approach.
A lot of people these days have goals and plans mapped out, but they fear challenges and adversity, and don’t end up accomplishing their goals. Fear is a good thing; it should be a mechanism for us and motivate us to overcome adverse situations in life. That’s where bravery comes from, when we are attacking things we fear.
For example, if you want to build a lean and muscular physique, then you have to have a plan mapped out and then get started. You have to know how many weeks this plan will be, how you will periodize your workouts, what your nutrition is going to be like, etc. You can’t just walk into the gym and have that physique handed to you without a plan. You have to do the research, ask people questions, eliminate fear, and most importantly get started.
Take home message: Whatever you goals are in life, make sure to have a plan first, then take the necessary steps to reach that goal. If you sit there and fear challenge and adversity, life will never be worthwhile. You must overcome obstacles and put in the work if you ever want to attain that goal. Build momentum to having a nothing to lose type of mentality.
5. Apply mental toughness to your daily lives
We need to apply our strength that we have in the gym into mental strength in life and carry that over to every obstacle life throws at us. Your gym doesn’t know what kind of problems you are going through. Even some of the closest people in your life don’t have a clue either. Training your mind and body should go hand in hand. If you’re in the gym daily, hitting it hard, and giving it everything you have, after you’re done, you can’t sit here and tell me you don’t feel like a beast when you walk out of the gym to your car. With that same inner-beast that was unleashed in the gym and walking to the car, should be carried over to every aspect in life.
A good example of this is with a regular workout, people give up too easily because it’s not challenging. During an Intense workout you’re activating your hormones (EPOC levels, GH, Testosterone) and you raise your pain tolerance and with hard intense workouts you push yourself harder and that’s the same way you should approach life. You should not become a push over or get back to passive mode. You carry that same aggressive mentality into your everyday life, no matter what you do. I say this because what is the point in only having that feeling for 1-2 hours of your day? If you have that animal feeling at the gym and busted your tail for it, then you have that right to carry that perception over to the real world.
Take home message: Apply that same strength that you have in the gym into mental strength in life and have that carry over effect in everything you do in life. Don’t be a pushover in life, relationships, work, marriage, etc. Look for challenges as this will make life worth living for. Be mentally tough and then some.
After reading these 5 tips, you’ll be much more prepared when life throws a sucker punch at you. Now get out there and face whatever life throws at you, see what you’re made of and don’t make any excuses, create only solutions.
“Live a Dynamic Lifestyle”