It's no secret that the "work harder than me" mindset has been hammered into the mind of the masses. In a world full of high demand, standards for work ethic can become swayed by the demand of society. When it comes to work ethic, those that sacrifice are the inspirational ones. It has became more and more common for people to be inspired by the late night owl, the 24/7 worker, and the all-day business minded entrepreneur. Unfortunately, effort does not always mean getting work done. Sure, putting in the time is required to get what you need done, but sometimes the amount of time we put in to "be the hardest worker" is not required in order to get more done.
(Disclaimer: If you can be efficient all day that's a different case, as I know a few people who are. This article is geared towards those "grinding" all day, yet not accomplishing what they are trying to achieve.)
Work Smarter Than Me
Effort and efficiency can coincide, but are not always used together. In a world full of demand, we can sometimes forget to work more efficiently. As efficiency lowers, duration of work increases. What seems like 18 hours of work could have actually been accomplished in 6 hours with efficiency. Examples could be sharing your blog posts/images versus automated sharing (software), sharing to a large Facebook group versus trying to start your own from scratch, and even writing content versus sharing (no one knows how good your content is if no one sees it). Efficiency and effort coincide. There must be effort to create, but efficiency is needed to create better and create faster. Instead of "work harder than me" think "work smarter than me". Sure you could throw a ball (something that won't stick) at a wall hoping it will stick, or you could find something that actually sticks and throw it at the wall. Your choice.
Recover Better Than Me
Life is about balance. Regardless of whether you are an athlete, entrepreneur, or just looking to improve your quality of life, this always reigns true. Sure, there are periods of time where sacrifice of balance is needed, but long-term balance is KEY. What is the result of long-term lack of balance? BURN OUT! Whether your health gives, you start lacking motivation in business, or you stop making progress in the gym, burn out will find it's way to slow you down. Luckily, we don't have to stop our pursuit. Resting by pursuing what relaxes your mind and soul can be helpful in order to come back to work refreshed and ready to work efficiently. This could be spending time with family, sleeping more, reading a book, or even taking a nap. Recovery is beneficial for the mind and body.
Enjoy Life More Than Me
No, I am not here to tell you that you should spend more time away from work and go have fun. Enjoying life and working can be all the same. Enjoying what you do is by far the best way to succeed in your pursuit. If you love what you do, you will spend more time working. What's better? YOU WILL DO YOUR BEST! Instead of putting in effort, yet your focus lingering due to boredom or "having to work" in order to make money, you are there pursuing your goals the best of your ability because you love actually enjoy it and fully believe in what you do. The more you enjoy your life and enjoy what you do, the more you will accomplish in the pursuit that sets your soul free. Instead of forcing yourself in a pursuit, find what comes natural through enjoyment and self influenced ambition.
In a world full of high demand, it is easy to fall victim to the "work harder than me" mentality. Instead of focusing on this mentality trap, by focusing on working smarter, recovering better, and enjoying what you do in life more, you will find yourself further in your pursuit. Create more and enjoy the process, not just put in more time and effort recklessly.
When looking to improve your athleticism, body composition, and overall fitness level, calisthenics can give you the tools needed for the body you want to create. Unfortunately, the calisthenics movement has been promoted as mostly flashy trick moves that requires low body weight and years of skill mastery. Luckily, getting the benefits of calisthenics does not require that level of practice and skill requirement. In this article I will be explaining the Do's and Dont's of getting into calisthenics.
Don't #1 Don't Switch Everything
A huge mistake many people make is replacing all of their exercises with weights with calisthenic movements. This is great in theory, but when you realize the skill needed to master movements, going from a 225 pounds with pressing movements to doing push up variations with a bodyweight of 150 pounds is not a great progression. You may be able to do more repetitions, but say good-bye to the muscle mass and strength you gained from your weight training until you progress to weighted push ups and dips.
Do This Instead - Slowly Transition
Instead of jumping right into all calisthenics, slowly adjust your program into a calisthenics based one. Take a training cycle (8-12 weeks) or even multiple training cycles to slowly change exercises in order to keep progressing (but also changing the movements). According to the research, performing push ups with the same intensity level as bench pressing provides a similar hypertrophy and strength response. By progressing one movement at a time (while transitioning), you can bring each movement up to the same intensity as your previous weight training movements, leading to more progress in your endeavors. You will get better results improving your push-ups (as an accessory movement) until you can perform weighted push-ups before setting aside the bench pressing (versus substituting heavy bench pressing for body weight push-ups).
Don't #2 Don't Just Add Reps
One popular method of progressing as you get into calisthenics is just merely adding repetitions. Unfortunately, this gets you only so far. The more repetitions you perform, the harder it is to progressively overload (learn more about progressive overload here). Even though strength training and "bodybuilding rep ranges" provide similar results when volume (work load) is equated, it all comes down to where you will progress next. It is much easier to add 10 pounds to the weight you use for your set of 5 repetitions than it is to even add 5 pounds to your set of 20+ repetitions.
Do This Instead - Add Resistance
Instead of relying on just repetitions for a form of progression, look to better alternatives when repetitions exceed desired repetition range or start to provide diminishing return. Instead of just adding repetitions, start focusing on adding more resistance to your exercises. This could come in the form of a dip-weight belt, resistance band, or just a plain backpack where you can place items inside. This is not to say adding repetitions are not beneficial, but rather stating after a certain extent just adding more repetitions will only get you so far.
With the rise of calisthenics in the online fitness community, it has been questioned whether calisthenics should be used in routines other than ones specific to goals in calisthenics. As a NSCA certified personal trainer (soon attaining my strength and conditioning certification), I have become more and more interested in the concept of using calisthenics in strength and conditioning routines. After utilizing these exercises in my own routines long-term, looking at the research, and seeing what trainers and coaches who use these exercises have to say about them, I have built my own perspective as to why calisthenics SHOULD be in any strength and conditioning program. In this article I will be discussing why calisthenics should be in these programs.
It's no secret that the key to having your athletes grow bigger and stronger is recovery from work out to work out. As an athletes, performing countless isolation exercises don't get you far. Your work out and recovery time is crucial, making big compound exercises your priority. Unfortunately, big compound exercises place high amounts of stress on the body. Exercises such as barbell squats, dead-lifts, power-cleans, and front-squats place immense stress on both the legs and the lower-back. If you are already performing squats and dead-lifts twice a week (on an upper/lower split) or even three times a week (full-body split), it's safe to say you are pushing your lower-back recovery. What unfortunately happens with these routines is that some trainers and coaches do not factor in the upper body exercises that also tax the lower-back. The bent-over barbell row is a big compound movement used by countless people to build a big and strong back, but unfortunately has also has been shown to place high stress/load on the lower-back. With periods of high volume squats and deadlifts, adding barbell rows on top of these exercises can place your training stress above your recovery ability. This can lead to regression and even injury. By adding movements such as pull-ups and inverted rows, athletes are able to still work the back at the same intensity (adjusting angle, grip, and added resistance) without placing additional stress on the lower-back. This leads to better recovery, while still performing periods of high volume on both lower-body movements and upper-body movements.
2. Lower Body Dominance
You could be asking, well why would I be performing periods of high volume squats and dead-lifts? To that I would ask you "what do you see happening in sports?" Athletes are using the power of their legs with the upper body supplementing their movements. This does not mean the upper body can be neglected, rather I am stating that sports are lower-body dominant in nature. In sports you do what? You sprint, jump, drive back opponents, and shuffle. Sure, there is more to any sport, but the basics require strength and power in the lower-body muscles. It would make sense to prioritize the strength and recovery of the muscles necessary for building immense lower-body strength and power while also improving upper-body strength/power (secondary). With my logic, you may be thinking "well, why don't you just practice your sprints, jumps, and foot-work?" The answer lies within my article WEIGHTLIFTING FOR IMPROVING ATHLETICISM, which you should feel free to check out after this article. With performing exercises such as pull-ups, dips, inverted rows, and push-ups, athletes are able to utilize majority of their lower-back work tolerance on big movements such as squats and deadlifts.
3. Functionality And Specificity
Sports are one word, "FUNCTIONAL". You are executing natural positions and movements to your best ability in order to compete against other athletes executing these positions and movements. You get knocked down on the field and need to get up quick? Push-up and get your body back up to run towards your objective. You have an opponent in front of you? Use the strength from your squats and dead-lifts to drive that opponent back (or even knock them over). Sports are functional in nature and require you to not just have strength, but have strength moving your body through space. If you can bench press the world but you also find yourself stuck on the ground rolled over like a turtle during a play, your bench press is worthless. If you can perform the whole stack during leg extensions, but you get driven back off the line...your "strength" is not specific to the functionality of your sport. By performing and progressing on exercises that transfer over better to your sport, you give yourself an advantage over your opponent.
With "calisthenics" being popularized and stereotyped as the street workouts shown online, calisthenics and its use in strength and conditioning programs has started to become questioned when used outside of calisthenic specific programs. Contrary to the beliefs of many, calisthenics (even with purely body-weight) has its advantages and should be used in strength and conditioning programs. Due to muscle overlap in high demanding programs, utilizing calisthenics can reduce the amount of stress placed on the lower-back. Due to the lower-body dominant nature of sports, prioritizing big lower-body movements without neglecting your upper-body is important. With the functionality and specificity of sports, performing movements that can be progressed for strength and hypertrophy while also being more specific to the sport the athlete is performing will elicit better carryover to their sport. Calisthenics is not about marketing and "street workout" Youtube videos. Calisthenics (weighted or non-weighted) is a tool athletes can use in order to improve their recovery, prioritize their main contributing muscle groups, and/or build sport specific strength.
Anxiety does not just come in the form of social nervousness. Anxiety can spike during times of difficulty, stress, or even just unfamiliarity (to people, places, or situations). Even though social anxiety can be crippling to your social life, network, and relationships (Learn how to overcome social anxiety HERE), anxiety in any form can hold you back from various parts of your life. Anxiety can hold you back from asking for that raise at work, asking that girl to prom, or even just taking the trip you have been waiting for. Anxiety can hold you back from the life you want and today I share with you the 5 daily alternatives for those with anxiety.
1. Ditch The Coffee
Yes, as much as almost everyone loves coffee, it is time to ditch the morning (or daily) coffee. Although the caffeine in coffee stimulates the nervous system to give you that “alert” feeling, for those with anxiety these levels of caffeine can leave you jittery and elevate your heart rate much more than necessary. A great alternative to your coffee consumption would be to drink green (low caffeine) or black (moderate caffeine) tea as a coffee replacement. In doing so, you give yourself that energy you crave while also lowering your caffeine intake. If you need more, you can always drink another cup. Some people may need/tolerate more than others, but by drinking 1 cup at a time you give yourself a steady pace of caffeine. This allows you to find your daily tolerance without consuming too much and lets you spread out the cups throughout the day (no caffeine crashes).
2. Become Physical
How you stimulate your nervous system can either leave yourself on edge or relaxed and ready to take on the day. A big escape for many with anxiety (from my experience and the experience of others) appears to be video games. Sure, I game as well, but not during the time I struggled with anxiety (as well as quitting caffeine for a whole year). Video games stimulate the nervous system without the physical energy release needed from built tension, as well as visual flash effects can stimulate the nervous system more than recommended. A daily alternative for the time you spend gaming would be to spend that time outdoors. By going for a walk, playing a sport, or exercising outside in general, you provide yourself with fresh air and the release of energy/tension (also providing health benefits).
3. Calm Your Actions
In a fast paced world, it is sometimes necessary to slow down your actions. Instead of listening to heavy/fast paced music and hyping yourself up with adrenaline flowing tasks, try calming your actions and mind with softer/slower paced alternatives. Instead of intense strength training, go for a period of time performing body-weight exercises paired with yoga. By still being physically active yet slowing your pace of action, you allow your mind and body to relax in a form of active meditation.
4. Create Don’t Escape
A huge part of anxiety and depression is the lack of expression. Without expression, we find ourselves overwhelmed in our own thoughts and mind. Instead of reading about art or reading about a trip, go create art or take that trip. Escaping may help short term, but creating can help each and every day. Creating does not just help your mind, but also your reality.
5. Find Your Reasons
Instead of letting the excuses in your head hold you back from the life you want, provide yourself with reasons as to why you should go out and achieve that life. By switching your excuses for reasons, you provide yourself with the mentality needed to overcome your anxiety. Anxiety is a mind game and by strengthening your mind, you give yourself the opportunity to win the game.
Anxiety is a daily battle which can be won on a daily basis. By using five daily alternatives listed above, you give yourself the opportunity to win the daily war inside your own head. By switching from coffee to tea, you give yourself energy without too much caffeine stimulating your nervous system excessively. By switching from visual to physical activities, you help your body relax rather than build tension. By calming your actions rather than seeking adrenaline, you allow your body to relax while still being physically active. By creating your reality rather than escaping it, you express yourself and better your reality (rather than ignoring it). Lastly, by finding your reasons to take actions rather than excuses that hold you back, you give yourself the opportunity to achieve the life you have always wanted. Anxiety is a daily battle. When you fight back efficiently, the war can be easily won one battle at a time.
With all the exercise equipment, diets, routines, and sale pitches on the market, it can become confusing as to what is essential for your fitness journey. With exercise as a hobby (yet health being a priority), your fitness journey should be efficient without having you making unnecessary purchases or mistakes. In this article I cover the ONLY essentials for your fitness journey, so that you get the progress you deserve without wasting your time and/or money.
Mental Fuel (Right Mentality)
Fitness is just as mental as it is physical. Without having the right mentality, you can find yourself not making progress. For you to make progress, you must push your physical limits. Reaching and surpassing your physical limits requires you to endure physical stress, which can mentally break you down and even push you away from exercise (if you are mentally weak and intimidated). Exercise is for everyone, but having the right mentality is essential for getting the results you want. Without the right mentality, you could have the best work out routine in the world and still not get results. After you get your mind right, it’s time to look at exercise routines.
The Body Blueprint (Exercise Routine)
With the right mentality, you can use your mental toughness to push through progressively harder workouts. These work outs are made to build upon one another so that you can gradually provide a higher stimulus that your body adapts to. In doing so, you let your body adapt into the body you want over time. The exercise routine you use should be designed and utilized as a blueprint for the body you want. You would not want to be performing a routine created for a strength athlete if you goal was to improve your mile time, just like you would not use an endurance based work out to try and build a muscular physique. In the article “The Best Work Out Routine” we cover the best work out routine for YOU! After you have the mental fuel and the body blueprint you want, it is time to rebuild the body better than before.
Building Blocks (Your Diet)
In order to make the physical changes you want to your body, you must provide it with the building blocks it needs to rebuild itself. These building blocks come from your diet. Without a proper diet, your body can be put through the most effective work outs, yet not grow due to lacking the nutrition it needs to grow better than before. If you are not making the progress you are wanting, reanalyze your exercise routine and even your diet to make sure your diet is in alignment with your fitness goals.
Your “WHY” (Purpose)
Just like any endeavor that is difficult, lengthy, or both, your purpose can either take you far or make you quit early on. Having a strong reason as to why you are exercising is essential for your fitness success. Why would you run for longer than 10 minutes if you started feeling fatigue, soreness, and discomfort? Why would you exercise AT ALL if it meant being uncomfortable? Maybe you want to live long enough to see your child have grand kids. Maybe you want to feel better about yourself. Maybe you even just want to live a normal life without worrying about when your heart or lungs will give out. Everyone has their reason for exercising and getting/staying healthy. In order to go far, you need a strong reason for starting your journey.
With everything that’s now on the market and everything that you are told that you NEED on your fitness journey, it can leave you confused as to what exactly is necessary and what is just a waste. In order to have a successful fitness journey you only a need a few things. By having mental fuel, the right body blueprint, building blocks, and a strong “why”, you can have the body you have always wanted.