Last week I completed my fourth consecutive physical transformation challenge!
I wrote about the previous ones over the last year and a half.* All have been under the guidance of Body for Life fitness legend Bill Phillips, and his wife Maria, with personal coaching from Scott York.
The results have been spectacular!
I’ve released about 60 pounds, packed on about 15 pounds of muscle, dropped at least one pants size, lost several inches off my waist, have made daily exercise my new habit, have a new eating plan, and feel like a new man.
While it’s taken commitment, persistence, and lots of perspiration, I have done it and am continuing to do it. I feel younger and stronger than ever.
I’m the new Hercules! (Or maybe one representing AARP.)
Working on age 61, I may be in the best shape of my life since I was a teenager in high school training to become the world heavyweight boxing champion. (It was 1970 and I was so young.)
I don’t want you to think it was a breeze to get here, though.
During the last twelve week challenge, I found myself slipping.
I wrote the following for myself and the others in the same challenge as me:
A message to all those who have stalled or stopped…
Recently I had to reactivate my intention, goal, and purpose.
After being in three programs, and eight weeks into my fourth one, I started to get comfy. I looked back and realized I had released 50 pounds, added 15 pounds of muscle, dropped a pant size, made exercise a locked in habit, and heard praise from people like my personal doctor, who says he has known me for 15 years and has never seen me look so healthy.I figured I had achieved a “good enough” stage of fitness.
Somewhere in there I got relaxed and let my eating slide. I never pigged out, but I’d give in to temptation now and then. It’s easy to do, as I live in a test kitchen and my wife is on deadline with her cookbook. Foods are everywhere and so is the hypnotic scent of fresh baked meals. Even though it’s grain-free and sugar-free, it still has calories. It still counts. I’d eat a little anyway.
I didn’t think much of it.
But then I took my 8 week photos and scale weight.
I didn’t like that there was no change AT ALL.
I felt like a failure.
That’s when I had to regroup and recommit.
To me, motivation (mindset) is more important than ANYTHING else. When you have made a decision and commit to it, nothing will stop you. Any diet will work. Any exercise will work. Of course, what Bill and Maria teach is the best. But without mindset, you (or I) won’t do anything. We will simply give in to whims and temptations and instant gratification.
So I reviewed my goals and decided I was NOT going to stop or stall.
I thought about the payoffs for being even slimmer, stronger, and healthier: increased self esteem and inner power, inspiration to others and myself in the world, the chance of accomplishing something BIG in the area of fitness, etc.
I recommitted to my 12-week goal and my lifetime goal.
Instantly I felt better.
By the next morning I felt renewed strength.
My workouts, which have always been intense, are even more on target.
When my wife offered me a dessert she just made, I politely said no. She didn’t bat an eye and honored my decision.
Right now I’m wearing a muscle shirt. It’s tight, so my stomach shows, but so do my biceps. And they are something to behold.
I’m posting this to remind each of us that we CAN achieve our health goals. It begins with a decision, and then ongoing commitment to it, and every day action. Having support (which we have here) is priceless, as big dreams are easier when you have people rooting you on.
I’m back on track.
After I shared the above, I made a decision and turned on the afterburners to my commitment to fitness.
I completed the challenge.
The results speak for themselves.
I don’t know what your own personal goals are, but I’m pretty sure you can achieve them, too.
Why not go for it?
PS – I fully endorse Bill Phillips. I am not an affiliate for anything he offers (he doesn’t know I’m writing this) but I fully recommend all of it. For more details, see http://www.transformation.com/ or send an email to [email protected]
* My previous posts about Bill Phillips and my Transformation progress:
March 1 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-on-demand/
May 16 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-update/
October 22, 2013 http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-three/
May 1, 2014: http://blog.mrfire.com/transformation-part-4/
I used to hate exercise.
Even though I’ve worked out with legends in fitness, and personally met icons like Frank Zane, Lou Ferrigno, George Foreman, Floyd Patterson and others, I never liked exercise.
I even own one of the largest and most well stocked private gyms you’ve ever seen, which includes famed bodybuilder Steve Reeve’s personal Universal machine.
I used to smoke cigars in it.
If I could pay someone to exercise for me, and still reap the benefits, I’d do so.
But personally training with Body-for-Life fitness legend Bill Phillips has changed all that.
I now look forward to getting my workout done every morning.
These aren’t walks in the park, either.
My 25 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio takes all I have.
And the 45 minute weight lifting is something I almost hate to do but love having done it.
I’ve learned that I may resist it or resent it, but I never regret it.
But the best thing of all?
I’ve created something called obstacle immunity.
I learned the phrase from the book, Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena.
De Sena created and runs the incredibly intense obstacle courses/endurance runs/insane peak performance events called “Spartan” that about half a million people have voluntarily entered.
Crawling up greased walls, running through mud, sprinting over rugged hills, dodging fires or any number of totally unexpected obstacles is what Spartan is all about. And penalties for not completing an obstacle are fifty burpees (fifty!), the most intense body weight exercise ever.
Spartan is designed to challenge you beyond what you think you can do.
It’s Hunger Games without the politics or the killing.
But it’s still intense.
De Sena says when you achieve athletic success in the unpredictable wild environment that his creative mind conjures up, you develop a resiliency to anything life can throw at you.
Your inner strength becomes almost super human.
I’m not suggesting you enter a Spartan race or Mud Run or CrossFit gig (unless you are inspired to do so), but tackling something as challenging as a burning morning workout sets my mind’s resistance meter to high.
If I can complete such a self-directed rugged workout, then I can do almost anything.
I leave the gym ready to handle life.
And the thing is, life is then much easier.
I don’t know Joe De Sena, or even anyone who entered one of his Spartan events, but his book validates what Bill Phillips and my trainer Scott York have said for years: getting that morning intense workout done gives you “a win” that makes you feel you can handle anything for the rest of the day.
As Bill Phillips, Scott York, Joe De Sena and even my father all say, exercise is medicine.
Too many of us want the easy street.
And we want it now.
I’m all for an easy life, but I’ve discovered life gets easier when you choose tough physical challenges and use them to fortify your mental ability to handle the rest of life.
When you take on a physical challenge, and you learn to endure struggle by controlling your mind and delay gratification, the result is a type of unshakeable bliss and inner self-confidence you will never forget.
Plus you develop an internal ability to handle adversity.
You create “obstacle immunity.”
You will be almost unaffected by any problem, issue or challenge you may face.
Your ability to handle stress will have increased.
When you set out to attract your goals, you will not be easily disheartened or discouraged when you face any blocks along the way.
This can help make you feel that anything is possible.
And guess what?
Anything really is possible.
Arguing for limitations is just, well, arguing for limitations.
I think Spartan Up! is incredibly wise, inspiring, and challenging.
And then go do something big that will build inner strength.
What are you doing to challenge yourself?
What can you do right now?
PS — We all need help in going for our dreams. Consider Miracles Coaching.