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Dealing With Discouragement When You Start
Bonus Post This Week - Don't Self-Select Before You Start
While I’m sitting here finishing up the post for tomorrow that I hinted at on Twitter (sorry for the delay, extremely scary, fortunately INCORRECT news about my baby put a wrench in this weekend’s plans)
[Side note, going into 2023, posts will be on a highly regular schedule (Tues, Thurs, & Sat )with 1 bonus post a month—the last quarter of this year was insane & you will see why more irregular… (hint… big ole book)].
While I was sitting here finishing that post up, I had something dawn on me that needs to be addressed so I thought I’d throw in a bonus post this week because many will benefit from this.
Don’t “Self Select” & Quit Before You Start
Many people quit, on themselves, before they ever start in the gym, and that reason is because of a lack of self-belief that they can make real change. I have felt it myself before, I have talked to many people who have as well, and many of you probably know what I’m talking about.
Along the lines of my post about self-esteem, many people get in the gym and get discouraged because they aren’t seeing immediate results and begin to think, and unfortunately believe that “this just won’t happen for me, I wasn’t made to build a good physique”.
In the military, during the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) they had a saying, “Don’t Self-Select and Quit”.
What that meant was, don’t assume what the cadre & instructors think about you and assume that they don’t think you have what it takes and quit. Or even worse, don’t assume that you’re not going to have what it takes, yourself, and quit.
Instead, do the best you can do, ride it out until the end, and know, regardless of what happens, you gave your all and did what you had to do.
The same thing happens in fitness: don’t assume you don’t have what it takes or that you are somehow not going to be able to build a great physique—you are wrong and I’ll tell you why.
Please hear me out and listen, I
want need you to understand this so you will actually fix your health and your body:
YOU CAN AND WILL BUILD YOUR “DREAM BODY” OR WHATEVER YOU MAY CALL IT IF YOU FOLLOW THE GUARANTEED-BY-SCIENCE PRINCIPLES OF FITNESS.
Let me reiterate that again; when you apply the physiological principles of fitness, results will absolutely happen, it is a universal law of biology.
You will not be an exception to this; if you were, you would have such severe health problems that you would not be reading this post.
Look, I get it, it sucks. You see the mountain of work it’s going to take to get where you want to go and it can be extremely intimidating and daunting. It can seem almost futile and worthless because of just how monumental of a task it might seem.
Well, forget about that, ignore that voice in your head that’s giving you those feelings.
The reality is:
Yes, it is a huge task.
Yes, it will likely take a very long time, longer than you want.
Yes, progress happens extremely slow.
Yes, it WILL all be worth it and then some when you get there—I promise.
Let me tell you a little secret:
Your physique goals? Yeah, they will change 100 times and you’ll never actually be satisfied when you get to your original goal, you’ll want more. So the goal you are after is irrelevant, let it serve as a guide, as a goal to shoot for, but it’s irrelevant.
In reality, the real prize is who you’re going to become and how much your life is going to change. As cliche as it sounds: the journey, not the destination is the real reward.
Ask literally anyone who has ever gone from fat to not, skinny to jacked, zero to hero, and they will say the same thing—the person they became and the impact it had on their life was the best part of building their physique.
How you feel right now, before building the body you’ve always wanted, is a different human than what you will become on your way there, it’s inevitable, lifting literally reprograms your brain into a better version—literally, “results suggest that persons with low self-esteem have reduced grey matter volume in brain regions that contribute to emotion/stress regulation, pride, and theory of mind.”1
And what do you know? “We conclude that higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels are routinely associated with greater gray matter volume in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, and less consistently in other regions. We also conclude that physical activity is associated with greater gray matter volume”2
Killing Your Self-Doubt
Look, if you’re reading this and truly need this message, you probably sabotage a lot of your own progress because you don’t actually believe it’s possible, STOP.
Again, understand that the only thing stopping you is your decisions and actions during the day and if you’ll actually listen to my damn words on this screen and BELIEVE it is possible you’ll actually fucking do it. (Sorry for my language, kids)
Your progress is going to be slower than what your brain is wired to want in today’s “gotta-have-it-now” instant gratification, dopamine-addicted society. Chill out, understand “hey bro, it’s gonna take a few weeks, months, and even years to build an impressive physique”.
The best way to combat this goldfish brain thinking is to do what I’ve laid out time and time again, create a daily “checklist”, check the boxes, forget about it, and repeat the next day for as long as it takes until you’re where you want to be.
I laid out a detailed example to follow in this post, but if you don’t want to be a paying sub, here is a template to follow:
Track food and eat daily protein and calorie goals
Go to the gym, follow a program, and add weight/reps on every lift you can
Walk 10,000 steps
Drink at least a gallon of water
Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep
That simple—for anyone reading this, if you can check each of these boxes, you WILL make progress and see results, it really is that easy (for fat loss, 1 is by far the most important).
That is just a quick example, get as detailed as you want, but follow the principles that force change in the body (caloric deficit/surplus, progressive overload, healthy lifestyle choices, etc.), do them daily and try to get as many days with these boxes checked as possible. You will fail some days, and that’s fine and expected (I fail sometimes too), but the more days in a row you are successful, the better progress you will make.
Don’t even think about how far you have to go, just focus on doing these and master getting these done for as long of a streak as you can—think of it as a chain, you want to create the longest chain of days you can without breaking the chain.
It’s actually this simple, you have the answers to the test, and they are littered all throughout this Substack, just actually take the answers and fill in the bubbles on the test and you will be successful.
My Key Takeaways
I only have 2 things I want you to take away from this post:
You must believe it is possible because it is quite literally, rooted in all laws of the universe, possible if you apply the principles of fitness.
You must ignore the feelings and concept that this is a monumental task that is going to take this awfully long amount of time and put the blinders on, just do what you need to do daily.
I’m telling you, most people quit because of this feeling, it’s actually hard to even put into words, but just the discouragement that we can’t have it now and it’s going to take time.
Again, trust me, I get it, it happens every time I go into a competition prep and think about how much work I have to do and how far away I am from the end result.
If you allow it, that feeling will sabotage you from ever taking any meaningful action and you’ll become a “well, I’ll just start tomorrow” person who never starts tomorrow.
Anyway, this was just a random post I wrote in an hour that I felt really needed to be addressed and you know why?
Because I had that same feeling today—yes, I am human and I have these same feelings too, but I know it doesn’t mean anything and to just ignore it and keep pushing on because I’ll promise you 1 thing:
The result is worth it.
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.