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Win The Day + Avoid Thinking Traps
Playing The Short Term Game To Win The Long Term Game
Fitness is a long game. When you decide to make the jump and build your dream physique and reach elite levels of health, you are planning on doing this for life, not just a few months.
The thing about progress with fitness is that progress happens quicker than you’d think, but longer than you want.
There is no way around this, even if you want to “hack” the process and use steroids or other drugs, you don’t get to free roll. The results still won’t happen overnight and you are potentially risking your health.
In this game, what you do day to day will set you up for success in the year to year. You need to zoom out and focus on the big picture for your own mental health and motivation, but consistently execute what you need to do daily to actually achieve your desired outcome.
The most important takeaway is this is a LIFESTYLE, not something we do because we want to look good for a wedding or a vacation.
The Thinking Trap
Before we actually discuss the point of this post, let’s break down a few thinking traps that can absolutely derail your progress.
The key here is to identify and avoid these. Many people will allow these thinking traps to slow down or even eliminate any appreciable progress immensely.
I’ve made plenty of these myself and can tell you, when they are acknowledged and eliminated, things will truly take off in your favor!
All or Nothing Thinking
One of the biggest things I see people do—that absolutely destroys any progress we might have made—is all or nothing thinking.
All or nothing thinking, also known as black and white thinking, is when we make a simple mistake with our diet, training, etc. and we completely decide to say “oh well I already messed up, might as well just go off the rails”.
You will see this happen with diet mainly. Someone will slip up, have something they shouldn’t have, and then go on a binge, eating everything they can see.
This will also happen with training - you missed a workout so “oh well, I’ll just take the week off and start again on Monday”.
Understand that you will slip up, it’s fine, it’s normal. For some reason some of you don’t think I’m just another human - I slip up too, we all do. What’s important is you allow it to be an isolated event.
Who cares if you have a couple donuts for breakfast at the office. You can still manage your diet and lose weight, just adjust calories, or you can just move on like nothing happened. You will see huge issues if the donuts turn into more junk food at lunch, burgers and beer for dinner, and then ice cream before bed—this is more common than you think, the human mind likes to self-sabotage.
I’ll Start On Monday
Ahh, the good ole “I’ll start on Monday” or “I’ll start on the 1st of the month” or whatever it may be.
Waiting for some arbitrary time to get started, thinking it will be the “perfect time”.
Us humans like to rationalize everything we do, this is no different. We like to give ourselves set time points as this give us some fleeting purpose and motivation.
You WILL make it happen this time, right? You’ve only been telling yourself this for the last 10 Monday’s in a row…
Then Monday hits, life throws us a curveball, and we are right back to “I’ll start monday”—what a vicious cycle.
The reality is there is no perfect time to start. If you’re serious, the best time to start is *right now*. If you’re actually going to make it happen and it’s important to you, then you wouldn’t put it off another day.
Don’t let this happen to you, this is a form of procrastination and you are setting yourself up for failure.
Be realistic, at the time of reading this (11pm EST) you probably aren’t going to head to the gym. But go to bed, avoid getting drunk and eating garbage, and get a good night’s sleep ready to make it happen.
If it’s earlier, log off, just start if you haven’t already. Throw on some clothes and shoes and go to the damn gym!
I’m Not Losing Weight/Gaining Muscle Fast Enough
This one is commonly said by someone either a few weeks or months into their fitness journey (I hate calling it a “journey”, it’s cringe but I have nothing better).
Sure, maybe you’re not seeing progress - if that’s the case make an intelligent decision on what you need to do and fix it.
The thing is, if you’re adding weight to your lifts, looking better in the mirror, or seeing weight come off the scale, then you are doing something right!
This line of thinking typically leads us to making a rash decision and trying to take a short cut. Look, I know you want it now and you want it bad, but this is just not how things work—Rome was not built in a day.
Take your emotions out of this and think logically and objectively. Focus on the day-to-day (as we’ll get into) and getting the big things right and don’t even worry about how fast it’s happening - know that the good day-to-day decisions will lead to long term success.
There are times where we might be stalled, if so refer to these 2 post:
If you’re actually stalling, these are systematic ways we can work around the issue and ensure we are getting from point A to point B.
I Am Afraid Of Cutting Because I Look Small
This one… oh man this one…
My Brother in Christ, do not spend months or even years looking like a chunky lifter, that might not even look like he lifts, because you’re afraid the Gainz Goblin is suddenly going to take your gains the second you get into a caloric deficit.
While if you’re a newbie and have no muscle mass, sure you want to add size before worrying about cutting (permitted you’re not excessively fat), but you’re going to be able to lose fat and gain muscle as the same time—that’s just how being a newbie works.
This is for the guys beyond this newbie stage, the more intermediate (and even advanced) guys who think because they lost 10lbs of water weight that their gains are gone. They aren’t, you’re fine.
The reality is, if you can cut correctly—which is easy—you will lose little to no muscle mass. Even if you do, you will actually look bigger. This is because the leaner you get, the more defined your muscles look which give the appearance that you are bigger—your muscles are actually showing for once.
Do not do the yo-yo cut and bulk where you cut for 4 weeks, feel small, then bulk for 4 weeks, feel fat, then repeat the entire thing.
Commit to the cut, get passed the “awkward” stage where you might look smaller because you have less weight but the muscles aren’t defined yet, because after this stage you will actually start looking better and better nearly every day.
I get exponentially more compliments when I am near the end of a cut vs when I am peak bulk—people even ask if I’ve grown even though I am 20lbs lighter.
Can’t carve a pebble, but you don’t want to be a boulder all the time. Actually make yourself look like you lift and have an impressive physique—being lean exposes the muscle you’ve earned.
The Day To Day
No idea why I named this the day-to-day when this was really about thinking traps, but I digress. There is plenty more I could go over, but that’s not the point. The point is there is short term thinking negatively affecting our long term progress.
The premise here is laid out in my New Years post and nothing has really changed. The intent here is that you build a system and this system creates an automated checklist of things you need to do to get the results you want.
You create the system of things that when done will allow you to accomplish your physique goals and you don’t even think about it. You just show up everyday, check the boxes, and move on and do it again day after day.
Sure you will have some off days, but if most of your days are “perfect” meaning you check all the boxes, then you will inevitably see success.
This is what I mean by executing on the things that need done day to day, forgetting about it, and focusing on the result we want in the long term.
Very simply, it could look something like this:
Get 10,000 Steps a Day
Progress/Hit Weight Goals During Workout
Stick to diet/calorie/protein goals
Do your cardio
Get 7-8 hours of sleep
Get 30 minutes of sunlight
Drink a gallon of water
Take all your supplements
You can write this down in the “To-Do” or “Reminders” app on your phone and actually physically check the boxes once you’ve done those.
The key is that you focus on what you can control and you make it happen. Many people get very neurotic about their fitness goals and start doing things to try to speed it up. Or you go check in the mirror every hour to see if you’re looking better.
Stop doing this. It’s overkill!
Health and Fitness is supposed to make our lives better, it’s not supposed to rule our lives. By setting up systems and simply doing what we need to do and turning our brains off or just living life, we will be much happier and likely make better, sustainable progress—and actually enjoy the process.
Tomorrow on the paid substack we are going over a VERY misunderstood topic—Strength Gains vs Muscle Gains & How To Do Both.
For whatever reason people think bodybuilders are weak. This couldn’t be further from the truth because it denies the simple reality that for a muscle to get bigger it must get stronger.
This will be an informative read on how we can do both, or how we can best maximize if our goal is strength training vs hypertrophy.
Many have asked, I stopped doing 1 on 1 Coaching due to time demands from the military and actually having to go back to work in December. Well I am now out of the military, so I will be opening that back up July 1st.
I am unsure if the website will be up at this time as it’s still being built, but if not, and you’re interested, please shoot me a DM so I can add you to the list and get your pre-screen if we are a good fit. I will only be starting with 40 clients, so it will be a first come, first serve basis.
Anyways, enjoy your weekend, and remember, start now, not Monday.
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.