Well, 32 years of living has gone by QUICK.
It’s flown by and it seems as each year passes, time gets faster and faster.
So, for the past couple of years I’ve been doing these special “lessons” posts reflecting on the past year of my life and it’s always crazy as I feel it was just yesterday I was writing up the lessons post from the year before.
And as I’ve said each time, the last year has been the BEST year of my life.
Year 31 beat year 30.
Year 32 is going to have to be something super crazy for it to beat 31…
Year 31 brought another new special treat into my life with the birth of my little daughter Evangeline Jay.
Holy smokes having a kid will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
It’s all been a great experience and I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
At the time I write this my daughter is just over the 7 month mark and is on the verge of crawling.
I can’t wait.
She’s the light in my eye and one of the major motivators to GSD.
I couldn’t be more lucky and blessed.
The good news is we’re only just getting started and ready for BIGGER and BETTER things to come and I’m happy to have YOU be apart of it all 😉
So, with yet another year under my belt, I thought I’d rehash some of my TOP lessons in life plus share some new ones.
Some of these are NEW while a few of them you may have heard me speak about within my emails and newsletters before.
Either way, I’ve been applying all of these to my life both inside and out of the gym with great success so I want to share them you so YOU can do the same.
ALSO, before I get into these 32 Life and Lifting Lessons, I wanted to let you know that I have a SPECIAL B-Day Celebration Sale going on right NOW.
I’ve put together a very special “B-Day BEAST Package” for you that includes 4 of my favorite training resources in it, all for super cheap.
This is my way of saying THANK YOU for being a loyal Aggressive Strength follower and is your chance to SAVE BIG while getting very power training package.
Now, let’s get into those 32 Life and Lifting Lessons…
DON’T Ever Ask For “Easy”
Instead of asking for “easy”, focus o getting yourself STRONGER so life is that much easier.
Live To Leave A LEGACY
My take on this is you either live life simply by going through the motions (like a LOT of people do) or you take a f*$king stand, and LIVE for something much greater.
Find your PASSION and LIVE LIFE to the fullest following your passion.
Because if you don’t, you’ll “Die for nothing” and NONE of us were meant to die for nothing.
We were all put on this earth with something great to share. YOU just have to find what that is.
With this, I think another important lesson you can take from this quote is to LEAVE A LEGACY.
What do YOU want to be remembered as??
Someone who just went through life going through the motions or someone who went through life with a STRONG PURPOSE to make a lasting change on the world??
Which one are YOU?
For me there’s nothing quite like getting outside and sprinting.
Not only is it good for you and your overall results,, it’ll help you get and stay athletic.
I believe we were all meant to SPRINT and even if you can’t go 100% all out, do what you can at your highest level.
Hopefully you know my stance on cardio based training like running on a treadmill or elliptical machine and how that’s complete crap for you.
Change it up and make sure to get yourself outside for sprints. If you got some good hills around, even better.
Run to the top, walk back down, then repeat.
That right there will yield better results than any treadmill or elliptical machine could ever do for you.
Oh and if you live somewhere like I do where the winters get a little rough, invest into a Kettlebell for some swings as that’s a good swap in movement for when you can’t get outside to sprint.
FOCUS = BEST RESULTS POSSIBLE
I know how some people preach about “multi-tasking” to get more things done, but honestly, when you multi-task, you get watered down results.
Focus is always required for the most QUALITY.
If QUALITY results are what you want both for in and out of the gym, pick a single goal and put all of your attention and focus in on that one goal.
Not only will your results be accelerated, you’ll get BETTER results overall.
If all you do is try to multi-task everything, change it up and FOCUS in one thing at a time and see what happens.
Keep Your Word
Keep your PROMISES.
If you promise someone something, make sure you do everything you can to deliver on that promise.
Keep your word.
Plainly stated: When you say you’ll do something, DO IT.
Nothing pisses me off more than when people say they’ll do something and they don’t follow up.
Worse, they disappear without a trace.
For me, one of my personal golden rules is to make damn sure I follow up with what I say I’ll do and if I can’t follow through, I try with all of my power to do so in some way.
Bottom line is, if you’re going to promise the world, give it your all to deliver the freakin’ galaxy.
Learn to LOVE and EMBRACE “The Process”
If you want to be truly happy and enjoy more success, you’ve got to fall in love with the PROCESS NOT the end result.
Because it’s the PROCESS that gets us to the END RESULT.
And the process NEVER stops.
It just keeps on going which is why it’s extremely important you EMBRACE the Process and learn to LOVE it.
About a month ago while in Vegas at a big fitness seminar, I had the chance to meet Eric Thomas (AKA The Hip Hop Preacher) and see him speak which is where I first heard him talk about “Falling in LOVE with the Process”.
PERFECTION Doesn’t Exist – So DON’T Try to Be “Perfect”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that LIFE will NEVER be PERFECT.
Life is about taking “imperfect action”.
The concept “SHOOT FIRST, AIM LATER” can be used with great power.
You can waste your time trying to make everything perfect or you can LIVE LIFE taking action.
It’s like with starting a new fitness journey…
You can wait for the “perfect time” to come and end up wasting more time than anything.
Instead, get busy with just doing.
Understand the is no such thing as a “perfect time”, only a time where you just GO!
Build Yourself A STRONG Team
Nothing is more powerful than a TEAM of people who think alike.
Attacking life on your own can be done, but why not find people who can help accelerate your success?
Focus on building a team of positive people that have the same values as you and can offer you value instead of taking it away.
To make this work, make sure you’re able and willing to return the favor.
For training, if you can, find a partner who you know will push you and not let you slack.
Find someone that will force you to get better through accountability and positive support and not hold you back with negativity.
If you can’t find a solid training partner, hire a coach who can offer you support, accountability, and a plan of attack that will get you to the next level.
As I mentioned, you can be a success on your own, but it’s always a whole lot easier with a team to back you and push you ahead.
FIX Your FRONT SQUAT
If there’s one major thing I’ve learned over the past year in regards to training, it’s been to FIX my FRONT SQUAT.
And NO, I’m not talking about your bodybuilding “arms crossed in front” pseudo front squat either…
I’m talking about your “Olympic Style” Front Squat like this…
If you want to talk about a movement that will carry over to just about everything you do in training, it would have to be the front squat (the snatch is pretty damn good as well).
Want to get better at your Olympic Lifts, improve your back squat, do heavier thrusters and overhead squats, or even improve your deadlifts???
Get better at front squatting.
No other strength movement requires as much mobility and core strength than the front squat does so if you can’t front squat as shown above, chance are you’re very limited with your overall mobility and core strength.
As I’ve continued to improve on my front squat, my numbers on ALL of my other lifts have continued to go up and I know that if YOU improve your front squat as well, you’ll see the difference in your overall results too.
It’s a movement you need to get efficient at.
Use Pain Balls
Want to feel better?
Start traveling with not 1 ball, not 2 balls, but 3 balls.
Why 3 balls?
Well, I’m referring to a single lacrosse ball and a “double banger” of two lacrosse balls taped together side-by-side.
Take a look at my balls…
The more you use them, the better you’ll feel. TRUST ME.
Use these just as you would a form roller, but be ready for some PAIN.
All good pain of course.
It’s all about breaking up your soft tissue as doing this will help improve your mobility over time.
It’s something you’ve got to do everyday.
Here’s One Of My “Go-To” Training Session Layout:
-Always Begin your session with an explosive POWER based movement (jumps, plyometrics, throws, Olympic Lift variation via barbell, sandbag, DB’s or kettlebells, or a series of short sprints)
-Follow up with some STRENGTH focused work (squat or deadlift variation, overhead press, weighted bodyweight movements work well – keep reps around 5 and below depending on YOUR fitness level)
-Assistance / Bodybuilding work (this is all according to your goals – use movements that assist your main strength work OR add in movements specific to the areas of your body that you’re trying to build – volume is key)
-Conditioning / Finisher (this is where you can get a little nuts and be more “chaotic” – INTENSITY is the main key with your conditioning work)
Want SUCCESS = Then You Gotta Have BIG BALLS
As the ol’ saying goes, “You’ve got to have balls”.
If you want MASSIVE success, you’ve got to take risks and get out of your personal “comfort bubble”.
Just understand that risk is apart of life and if you’re too scared to put yourself on the chopping block from time to time, then you don’t deserve the success you want.
Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone because that’s where to real “magic” happens.
Learn To Work off of LISTS
If you want to achieve a LOT in life, whether this be in or out of the gym, start following a daily “GSD” list.
“GSD” = Get Sh*t Done!
Follow this list relentlessly.
Use it as your daily check list.
Order it with the most important things you need to get done at the top down to the things that are less critical at the bottom.
Take time each night to look over your list at what you got done that day and use that as a way to create a new GSD list for the next day.
Progress is Progress So FAIL FORWARD
In life, failure is going to be apart of it whether you like it or not.
Just understand that Failures are nothing more than the stepping stones to more SUCCESS.
Without failure, you’ll never learn how to succeed.
So instead of trying to avoid failure, try to see if you can fail MORE and I guarantee you you’ll find more success at the same time.
I guess Cardio isn’t all that bad…
…in SMALL doses that is.
Being an ex-football player who was always focused in on short, power based types of sprints, I was forever against any type of long, slow cardio based running.
Now that I’m done with football and focused more in on total fitness instead straight up strength and power for sports, cardio is an important component of being a bit more balanced.
So, instead of being against cardio 100%, I make sure to use it in small doses.
Now, I won’t be running a marathon or anything like that ever, but running a few miles here and there has been pretty beneficial.
Now I make sure to get in at least one good run every week of at least a few miles or more.
Good for the lungs.
BELIEVE That YOU Are Worth It
Want to know what the fastest way to help yourself get to your goals is??
Hiring someone that’s been there and done that.
I’ve talked about hiring a coach many of times in the past because it wasn’t until I hired myself a coach that I truly broke through to the next level with my business and fitness results.
Hiring a coach that’s “been there and done that” will not only save you the frustrations of getting hung up with common barriers and mistakes that will hold you back, it will save you precious TIME.
That’s probably one of the single most important benefits of getting a coach is that of saving TIME.
You can NEVER get time back.
This is why I continue to “invest into myself” with coaching so I can save time.
If YOU want to save time and accelerate your results, INVEST into yourself because YOU too are worth it.
If you haven’t yet heard about Intermittent Fasting, it’s time you give it a try.
This is something I’ve used now for years and it’s been an awesome benefit to my health and overall energy.
One thing that I’ve personally discovered about IF is that you must make it work for YOU.
It won’t work the same for everyone. It’s not a “one size fits all” type of eating template. Nothing nutrition wise is.
For example, if you’re someone that doesn’t use IF and you’re getting awesome results from the style of eating you currently do, DON’T change! Why fix something that isn’t broken??
On the other hand, if what you’re currently doing isn’t working, maybe IF is what you need.
Either way, over the past few years I’ve tweaked and tested out a lot of different combos of IF and what I’ve found to work the BEST for me has been to fast on days where I train first thing in the AM, on OFF Days, and when I travel.
On these days, I typically fast until 12-1pm in the day so I hit that 16 hour fasting window (where all the benefits of fasting really come in).
On days when I train first thing in the AM, depending on how I feel and what I do for that session, I’ll always have a post workout shake then go to my solid meals after my 16 hour mark hits.
Bottom line is, I use fasting for when it works best for me.
If you want to use it, test it out and see what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Be THANKFUL (and write about it)
It wasn’t until I started doing a daily / nightly “5 Minute” Gratitude Journal that I realized just how powerful it was for helping improve my mindset and overall happiness in life.
Doing this has truly made a difference in my life as it’s been proven over and over again that when you FOCUS in on the POSITIVES in life, your overall happiness in everything else increases.
The main thing with keeping a Gratitude Journal has been staying consistent with it.
In it’s simplest form, all you need to do is jot down what your THANKFUL for each morning and each night. Do this first thing in the AM and then again right before you go to bed.
All it takes you is 5 Minutes.
I’ll admit that when I first started to keep a Gratitude Journal it was tough, but once you get the ball rolling, you look forward to it everyday. The key is consistency.
To make things easy I use a 5 Minute Journal that one of my buddies sent to me a while back as a gift which takes this journaling stuff to a whole new level.
Bottom line is if you’re not yet doing this, I’d recommend you start ASAP.
It’s OK To “Cheat” Sometimes
When it comes to nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle, it’s a must you follow a lean and clean diet 85-90% of the time for the BEST results.
But, understand that when it’s time to cheat on your diet, then make sure to CHEAT.
Don’t do this stuff half-assed…
In other words, if you’re going to have some dessert, have some GOOD dessert. Don’t settle for a few pieces of candy or a little debbie cake… Get something GOOD.
Same thing goes for alcohol… If you’re gonna drink, drink something GOOD. Go for the “top shelf” stuff or the premium beer 😉
Not that I drink all that much, but when I do, I try to go for the best.
We only have one life to live so when it’s time to kick back and have some fun, do it up BIG.
In other words, ENJOY the fruits of life when you’ve EARNED THEM (meaning you’re sticking to the 80/20 rule).
When you do this you’ll appreciate these cheats a little bit more than if you don’t.
And it’s like I said about “Perfection”… There’s no such thing so make sure you reward yourself from time to time and then get back on track.
Just make sure not to go overboard with it.
NEVER STOP LEARNING and GROWING.
Here’s the thing…
I have a LOT left to learn and if I’ve truly learned anything, it’s that I know almost NOTHING, and that I’m often wrong about what I think I know.
I’ll continue to discover more lessons about life as it has many lessons left to teach me and I’m looking forward to them all.
I suggest YOU do the same.
This is probably the most important lesson of all which is why I listed it last.
Continue to get better each day through active learning and NEVER stop your journey for more knowledge because the more you continue to learn, the more you’ll continue to grow.
And that’s what life is about, GROWTH.
So how do you “EARN IT”
You put in the sweat, the time, and the effort.
You DO NOT quit after the first sign of struggle or even after you’ve given it your all and still came up short.
You NEVER quit.
Quitting is NOT an option.
The ONLY option you have is to move forward and FORGE AHEAD because if you “want it”, you’ve got to EARN IT.
Plus when ever you EARN IT, it’s that much more valuable.
In regards to the last lesson mentioned… DON’T BITCH – Just DO THE WORK
If you have time to bitch and complain, you’re NOT working hard enough.
Use the energy you spend on complaining and put it towards working harder.
Don’t FEAR Failure
If FAILURE is what you fear, it’ll be that fear that will ultimately let that hold you back from taking the chances you need to take with the many different opportunities that come before you in life.
You don’t don’t take chances, you’ll NEVER bring in the overall SUCCESS that you’re truly capable of achieving.
With SUCCESS, there’s always a chance for failure and if you don’t experience failure even just a few times in life, you’re not really trying.
Submax Rep Training Does A Body Good
What I mean by this is to avoid grinding out sloppy reps towards the end of your sets.
Focus on QUALITY and not quantity.
This rule goes for all types of training including bodyweight, heavy strength, power, and even conditioning.
I use it mostly for when it pertains to bodyweight training.
Either way, push yourself to the brink only a few times every few months. At all other times, leave the gym with just a little bit left in your tank.
Keep Your “WHY’S” Close By
If you’re not sure what “BIG WHY’s” are, these are the reasons you do what you do on a daily basis.
If you don’t have WHY’s, you won’t have a strong, burning desire to carry through with your goals.
WHY’s put your goals on steroids.
To keep your WHY’s in the back of your mind, start carrying them around in your pocket daily.
Big THANKS to the man, Martin Rooney for re-emphasizing this.
See… Even the most successful people do this so YOU should too.
There’s always a POSITIVE you can take from any negative. You just got to look for it.
A book I would HIGHLY recommend you read is, “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday.
It’s a GAME CHANGER.
What it comes down to is finding the positive in everything negative. Learn how to USE the different obstacles that pop up in your life as benefits instead of settling for the negatives.
In training, POWER development is KEY as it will cross over into making you stronger overall. If you’re not jumping or doing any type of plyometric type training, it’s time to start.
One of my favorite ways to add in power training and save time is to add it into my warm up routines.
It’s easy, just pick a different explosive type movement to hit every single session right before you get into your main focus.
A few sets of broad jumps, box jumps, or some single leg hops work great.
Just BE YOU (and go against the grain)
Don’t be just another sheep in the heard.
YOU weren’t meant to be just another sheep…
Want To Get Shredded = Cycle Your Carbs
Now, if there’s one main rule that I would tell you to follow when it comes to overall nutrition it would first be to EAT REAL FOOD.
Doesn’t matter what it is, just eat REAL FOOD.
Once you got that down, we can start to focus on tweaking up the details of your food intake a bit more.
One of the BEST ways to get yourself lean and mean FAST, is to rotate your carbs.
I learned the basics of this back when I was bodybuilding, but over the last few years I learned better ways to do it.
The easiest rule to follow here is to only eat carbs (starchy carbs like rice, potatoes, quinoa, pumpkin, squash, ect) with a lean protein source in your first solid meal right after you train.
On non-training days you’d not have any starchy carbs.
All of your non post workout meals would be made up of protein, greens and a little bit of healthy fat.
Simple rules to follow that will produce some awesome results.
And this is only the BASICS of what you can do in regards to carb cycling.
The BEST resource I’ve found on this to date has been “The 4 Cycle Carb Solution” which is a LEGIT system.
You know, even when you think no-body’s watching, know there’s always someone watching you 😉
The main thought here is to ALWAYS do the right thing no matter if there’s 100 people watching you or no one watching you.
It’s about having INTEGRITY to do the right thing no matter what because having INTEGRITY is everything.
To Be Happy = Create Happy
If YOU want to be HAPPY, make the people around you happy.
Simple as that.
The overall thought here is to focus on making the people around you HAPPY instead of focusing or expecting the opposite from others.
When you give, you’ll get back.
It’s the way of the world.
Now I know mobility work isn’t the most exciting thing about training, but it’s the “behind the scenes” type stuff like this you do that will make the “big show” more exciting for you.
The better and more efficiently you can move, the better results you’ll have.
My rule of thumb on off days is to spend the SAME amount of time I spend on a normal training session doing focused mobility and soft tissue work.
This has paid off BIG TIME.
Digestion Is KEY
If you want to be truly healthy and get the BEST results possible, you’ve got to fix your broken digestive system.
This is something I didn’t look too closely into for a long time and it costs be a lot of time and effort.
Most people tend to overlook their ability to digest food properly and in return.
Some of the things you can do that will help improve your body’s ability to digest food:
- use intermittent fasting to give your body’s digestive system a break from time to time
- cut out and limit as much processed foods as possible
- eliminate toxic, artificial sweeteners from your diet
- focus on just eating REAL food
- chew your food better
- sip on some lemon juice and water before and after your meals
- follow up big meals with 3 oz of apple cider vinegar
- supplement with digestive enzymes and probiotics
After implementing in these tips from above, I’ve definitely continued to feel and see a major difference in health and overall energy and I know you will too.
I’d like to hear from YOU. Drop comments below, peak your mind and share your thoughts.
Live and Train Aggressive!
PS – Feel free to share your thoughts below.
PPS – Don’t miss out on the SPECIAL “B-Day BEAST Bundle” I’ve put together to celebrate my B-Day.
For LIMITED TIME only you can get FOUR of my top, all-time favorite strength and conditioning programs for a HUGE discount.