Improve your mind self-talk
What is self-talk?
You know that endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head all day?
Yeah, that is your inner voice, your self-talk and it reveals your thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and questions.
When you have positive self- talk it can be highly supportive and uplifting. Unfortunately, as humans we are our own worse critic, so we tend to gravitate towards negative self-talk.
Frequently, negative self-talk leads to trash talking, such as, “I’m never going to be good enough” or a more popular one, “I can’t”. The issue with negative self-talk is that it is generally falls, so it convinces us that we are not good enough and can limit us to our full potential in life.
How do you improve positive self-talk? Well like most good things, your mind doesn’t stay good automatically. You have to work at it every day to maintain that mindset. Let’s take a look at a few things that you can work on to increase positive self-talk.
1. Recognizing when you are thinking negative: This typically happens when you are 1) blaming everything on yourself. 2) Focusing only on the negative aspects of an experience or situation without trying to identify the positive. 3) Always expecting the worst. Being aware of these thoughts can help with finding the triggers and how to come up with solutions to avoid the negativity.
2. Practice Gratitude: Try to focus on the things that you are grateful for. You can do this by writing them down or saying them out loud. Whatever works for you! This can lead to improving self-talk because you are starting to focus more on the positive things in life instead of the negative.
3. Take a breather: If you feel like negative thoughts are starting to work their way in, pause whatever it is you are doing and focus on what you are feeling. Try to think of ways to make the situation positive.
4. Positive affirmations: There are a few ways you can do this. Once way is literally looking at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself positive things. Another way to enforce positive affirmations is by hanging up pictures all around your home, your car, on that thing you carry with you everywhere, yes your phone, of things that make you happy or positive and encouraging quotes.
These are just a few ideas for you to start with. Remember, this is going to take some effort and consistency. Try not to overwhelm yourself with doing all of this at once so work on doing a little be every day!
Coaching is all about helping someone take ACTION steps based on solid principles, science, and common sense.
In this episode, Josh interviews a special guest, Samantha, who is the back end of the business. Josh can't get his Christmas wish list turned in on time and needs help with procrastination.
Sam helps him explore contrasting techniques on how to get past that first hump and stay in action, being more productive than ever.
You will learn about shaping your environment, the struggle-break-flow-recover cycle, and how to quickly cut through the chaos and triage your busywork priorities.
Speech of the Week (SpOTW) kicks in at 46:40: "The All-or-Nothing-Mindset".
We have discussed in previous blog posts the importance of challenging yourself. Meeting and overcoming challenges is the only way we make progress. It is absolutely essential to be challenged, really in every area of your life, but especially at the gym. Going to the gym won’t do much for you if everything you do is comfortable for you.
On the flip side, DON'T discount the workout that didn’t make you sore. Sounds like mixed messaging?
Let me explain.
When someone jumps into phase one of the motivation-guilt cycle, they very often make a whole bunch of rules for themselves.
They decide that they must exercise until their arms are so tired they can no longer lift even their water bottle at least 5 times per week, set strict diet rules, and jump in and decide they are 110% committed to the cause!
That is, until they hit phase 2 and find out they can’t sustain this regimen.
They can’t recover, they are hungry all the time, and they begin to feel a bit low about how things are going so far.
Then one day, they break the rules. They eat a chip, which they have strictly sworn off!
And that is when it happens; they get All or Nothing Syndrome.
“If I ate one chip, I ruined it for today. Might as well finish the bag.”
“I can’t curl for 35 reps today because my arms are still sore, so I just won’t go at all.”
“I missed the gym once already this week, guess this week is shot.”
Just like we need to break the motivation-guilt cycle with appropriate habits and goals, we have to apply strategies to defeat the infamous All or Nothing Syndrome. Both are traps because they rely on a fixed mindset.
Fixed mindsets stagnate.
We instead need to cultivate a growth mindset.
One strategy to use is the 50% rule. If you can’t talk yourself into a whole workout, talk yourself into doing 50%.
Start by just showing up.
Then do 50% of the warm up. Chances are good, once you have started, you’ll have an easier time doing more than just 50%. But even if you do just 50%, it’s 50% more than you would have done sitting on your couch.
If you sit on the couch, you will lose any progress you may have made, and will in fact start to decline. You come in and do 50%, you might not make amazing progress, but you certainly won’t lose ground.
Which sounds better to you?
Then you have the people who will quote to you all day, “no pain, no gain!” And there is some truth in that statement. However, the stronger you get, the denser your muscles, the less consistently sore you will be.
We prefer to say, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
You can read more about that in one of our previous posts. That doesn’t mean you should discount the workouts that don’t make you sore.
Not every workout is going to make you sore, and some are designed to avoid soreness. Sometimes, we work on corrective exercises or mobility, or even stretch and recovery. Just because it doesn’t make you sore doesn’t mean it is not helping you, nor does it mean it’s not worth doing.
I have a lot of people who want to jump straight into lifting heavy, look down on mobility and correctives, then honestly cannot squat a barbell. Newsflash: You have to have form and foundation before you can start to lift heavy, no matter how silly you think the exercises are.
All or Nothing Syndrome is debilitating, and it will wreck you, in all areas of your life.
Cultivate a growth mindset.
Focus on a little more, a little better.
Notice and name what is happening in your mind and body.
Before long, you will find out that you are well beyond where you started.
It's been a week full of people watching. Why do people avoid discomfort when results are on the other side? Josh talks about when there's no way around it, over it, or under it, the only way is through it. Front squats are the best proof that you can squat. Jordan gets dissed by unprofessional volley-ball players.
Jordan has NO muscle tone in her delts; Josh eats cake. Develop a better relationship with food and rewards.
Are bodyweight exercises empirically better than anything with a flywheel for conditioning?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY US Marine Corps!!! Speech of the Week (SpOTW) is "Know the names, know the nomenclature."
The Land of Infinite Distraction
We’ve never had access to so much information. We’ve also never had so much distraction, over-analysis, and indecisiveness. The fitness industry is no exception and is actually maybe a prime example of that!
The functional fitness scene is especially prone to this. Every variation of Barbell, Kettlebell, Dumbbell workout under the sun. Rounds, sets, reps, circuits, flows. Bands, cables, gadgets. So many shiny objects to side-track you. So many squirrels to chase!
Everything that you see someone else do makes you think that you need that in your routine. Without it you won’t get your “breakthrough.” Someone else holds this secret, key, “wisdom” that you have been incomplete without. This is what Craig Weller, head strength programmer at Precision Nutrition, refers to as “The Land of Infinite Distraction”. Basically, it’s an electronically induced, exercise oriented FOMO.
SO STOP IT!
Stop thinking that everything you see is what you need. The progress you seek comes from consistent and relentless pursuit of fundamental strength moves.
Here’s your plan:
1. Get off Instagram. Most of what you see there is either fake or wildly misrepresented.
2. Start working out consistently, permanently. Yes, to have lasting results you will have to change your life.
3. Get good at pushups, pullups, and squats (or something along their spectrum).
4. Slow your eating down and eat until you are satisfied. Practice being comfortable without being too full.
5. Do something that increases your cardio. Running or hiking is preferred, but if you can’t tolerate that or fit it into your schedule, almost any activity that raises your heart rate for medium amount of time is good.
Those are the fundamentals.
The above is what will change your appearance, feelings, and performance. They should be the primary building blocks of your workout.
Everything else in your workout should directly assist you in getting better at the above. It should help you move more easily and with less pain or help you be more resilient.
And yes, there are a lot of exercises to select from when you are choosing secondary and tertiary work to fill out a session. But you know what, that’s a great reason to get a coach.
Josh and Jordan review the last month's training highlights, give a shout out to the top performers at the annual No Bell Down charity lift, discuss confidence mindset when visiting a different gym, plus a week in Quantico. Speech of the Week (SPOTW) is "Train, don't strain."
Know The Nomenclatures
“Alright guys, here’s what I have planned for you today:
As always, do your number 1 glute activation, then spend about 1 minute on knees-over-toes ankle stretching on a tall box.
Then you’ll go right into an SAQ circuit, 10 reps footwork, 8 reps upper, then 6 on the lower drill, 3 rounds, minimal rest.
Take a quick sip then we’re moving on to strength:
We’re going for a standard strength curve on approach to 2 working sets of a 5-8 RM followed by a BO set, so you’ll really get to unleash what you can do.
Do take a few warm-ups (8-12 reps) and ramp-ups (5-8 reps) so you feel confident then hit it. Rest is 60-120s, more as the load gets heavier.”
Did that sound a little jargony?
If you’re new to strength training you’re probably wondering “what the heck??”
But if you look a little closer, and take some time to get to know it, it’s actually very precise communication that leads to great results.
Remember high school chemistry?
Chemical symbols and equations are just precise shorthand to describe something that’s fairly complex. But accidentally mix up two elements that share a letter and you’re in for a surprise!
Similarly, the training world is FULL of exercise names, shorthand, and distinct categories.
Everyone who trains needs to know the names, and know the nomenclature.
Some things tend to be more standardized than others.
For example, rounds, sets, and reps are similar but distinct quantities; they also are integrally intertwined with rest intervals, although that’s a different category entirely. So all of the above will frequently be presented together.
Some shorthand is more universal than others.
“DB” is pretty safe to read as “dumb bell” (if you don’t know what a dumb bell is, than that just goes to further illustrate the importance of knowing the names, knowing the nomenclature).
B/O however, could stand for “back-off” or could be “bent-over”, context plays heavily.
BW is frequently “body-weight”
Further down the spectrum, shorthand could be very personal to you or your coach, but it still pays to learn it.
I personally use a large amount of numerals and characters combined with sub and superscripts while recording progress during a workout that can be accurately interpreted after the fact.
Accurate note-taking facilitates progress instead of wandering in circles.
Most of all though, get familiar with exercise names!
Yes, there is potential for a lot of variance out there and a LOT of different fitness personalities enjoy naming creative and unique exercises with descriptive and sometimes bizarre monikers. But the majority of the most important exercises that you will use are relatively standard.
(Yes, you do need to know the difference between a Goblet Squat, a Front Squat, a Back Squat, a Double-Racked KB Front Squat, and a Box Squat, etc.)
Put a little bit of attention into your learning as you go so it sticks, and it will pay dividends down the road.
Oh, and bonus: here’s that workout from introduction in short-hand in case you want to do it yourself!
0. W/U: (warm-up)
ankle mobility and glute activation, do 1-2 sets of 10 each.
1. Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) Circuit:
Do the following circuit with minimal rest x 3 rounds.
a. Lateral shuffle between cones x 10 (each cone counts as one)
b. Medicine Ball Chest Pass to wall x 8
c. Plyometric Jump in place x 6
2. OH BB Press:
2 sets x 5-8RM, 1 set x B/O. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets and use as many w/u, r/u sets as necessary to feel confident before your heavy sets.
3. BB Front Squat:
3 sets x 12 RM x 60s rest.
4. Conditioning Circuit: Anterior Chain, ascending reps:
Do 4 rounds of the following circuit.
- For items a, c, e, you have 60s to complete your rep goal;
at the end of that minute you must immediately do the next item.
- For items b, d, you must work continuously without rest and immediately transition to the next item.
- Set a timer and do the reps prescribed per round.
(First round is 10, Second round is 15, Third round is 15, and Fourth round is 20, as noted below.)
a. Pushups x 10/15/15/20
b. Side hop line drill x 30s
c. Prisoner Squat x 10/15/15/20
d. Jump rope x 30s
e. Tricep Dips from Bench x 10/15/15/20
f. Rest x 60s
Progression: first, ensure form is great and that all the required muscles are properly recruited, ie: squats with thighs at least parallel and chest tall, pushups with chest touching the ground, etc. Then, to make harder, change reps to 15/15/20/25. If you can successfully do that, then reduce rest to 30s between rounds.
Regression: Reduce reps to 10 for all exercises, all rounds. Increase rest between rounds to 90s.
Comparisons are Complicated
The tendency to draw comparisons between yourself and someone else is inevitable. In the course of your training you are almost certainly going to feel that you don’t measure up to that “someone”. That feeling of not measuring up might even be one of the catalysts for starting training in the first place!
But if comparison is a catalyst to wanting to change your physique, it sure is an imperfect one.
Notice that I didn’t say a bad one or that it was necessarily wrong.
Heck, if no one anywhere had any sort of competitive drive then nobody would do anything. Hmmm….nobody going nowhere and not doing anything.
Maybe that’s an episode of Seinfeld? (Except that that golden, proverbial “show about nothing” was rife with comparisons, squabbles, and petty rivalries).
Comparisons that inspire, may be helpful or they may be harmful. But they are almost always going to complicated.
A few examples:
-Body type plays a significant role in which exercises favor whom. Different proportions alter leverage points and efficiency.
-Age can be a factor. The very young have less experience and training and need to focus on learning coordination. The elderly must stave off biological deterioration. But age alone is not a great predictor.
“Youth is wasted on the young” is one of the most accurate folk proverbs. Youth, 16-25 years old (or more) are often unfocused and do not take advantage of their best years of helpful hormones. On the other hand, there are many athletes in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s that can outperform youth based on decades of consistent training and adapted ability to recover.
-Life skills: the ability to tune out chaos, focus, tolerance for pain, among others, are learned behaviors and can be cultivated. Some people have decades-long background in “building-block” skills that make some aspects of performance seemingly easy or natural.
-Natural talent is real, but hard work is real-er: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
I think I’ve illustrated the complexity of comparison enough.
So here are my recommended action steps for you, in order of priority:
But if you easily get discouraged or find that it interferes with your actions steps, then stop worrying about what other people are doing!
Just go back to getting better at what you are doing. Take an objective measure, and then get out there and beat yourself. On purpose.
Progress over Perfection
“Progress not perfection- you can't perfect everything… but you can gain progress on a daily basis.” -Court McGee
Have you ever wanted to start a new diet program, exercise program, personal growth journey and a few days, weeks, months maybe even years later you haven’t started it?
Did you ask yourself why haven’t I started yet or why am I not making any progress?
Or Let's say you did start it, but shortly after you quit.
If you are like most humans, this has probably happened to you. Typically, we are too focused on doing things perfectly instead of making any type of progress.
Why is perfection the Enemy?
Cambridge Dictionary defines perfection as, “the state of being complete and correct in every way”.
This is an illusion- a recipe that sets you up for failure.
Waiting for the right time to start a fitness program or making sure you know everything about a new diet and eating healthy before you start is a demonstration of procrastination. Since there is never going to be the perfect time to begin a fitness or diet program, you will never have to take the next step of starting.
Now I’m not saying to lower your standards and to do the “hot, new diet, everyone is doing.
Focusing on progress means being persistent with learning, growing, and evolving.
How do you expect yourself to do that if you never start because you are worried that it isn’t going to be perfect?
Correct Your Mindset
1. Something is Better than Nothing.
Let's say that your squat gym PR is 190 pounds and your new goal is 200 pounds. Your first attempt you round your back or your knees caved in, and it looked ugly. Hey, give yourself a break. It’s the first time you have ever squatted 200 pounds. It isn’t going to be perfect. Now that you have squatted 200lbs I bet your 190 lbs squat looks a lot better than it use to.
This is what progress looks like!
From here you figure out why your form was ugly. Maybe it is a technique issue or a strength issue. Regardless of what it is, it’s all part of the journey. Focus on the small victory that your 190-pound squats look amazing and how you are going to make your next rep of 200 pounds better.
2. Momentum over Motivation
Being motivated is an uplifting feeling that pushes us to achieve our goals and dreams, but after a while that motivation slowly fades. You get started on a new exercise and diet program and you are feeling great about it because you are following it and kicking butt. Then there’s that one day where you feel like being lazy. You binge watch Netflix and indulge in pizza, ice cream, brownies… whatever your poison is. You begin to slack off and come up with reasons you can’t go to the gym. A few weeks go by, or maybe months, and you start to feel the urge to get back on track and you have the motivation again. And then the cycle begins again.
While motivation is a feeling, momentum is an action.
When we take action, we create momentum. With momentum comes progress, and with progress comes a sense of accomplishment, which can then create motivation. Instead of hoping that moment will just appear out of nowhere, start by taking a small step every day to create action and momentum.