Let me ask you a serious question:
When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you feel like you’ve been dealt a bad hand by your parents? Do you feel like you just don’t have the right genetic toolkit to look good naked?
I know I did when I first started working out and quickly realized I didn’t look anything like the guys in the magazines.
I had zero muscle on my frame, was skinny… but fat (look above for reference). To add to the fun, I was laughably weak and had zero endurance.
Even after a couple years of training and eating what I believed to be a solid diet, I didn’t really see any considerable changes in my physique. I definitely got stronger and a little bigger, but still looked pretty much the same (I still laugh my ass off when people tell me I’m “genetically gifted”).
Luckily for me, fitness at that point had already become an integral part of my life. And as I began getting serious about training and competing in Muay Thai, there was no turning back for me. I had to figure this out.
But I needed a serious reality check first.
1. You are not cursed with bad genetics
Do you know why you haven’t made any real progress up to this point (We’re going to change that, just allow me to drive home an important point before we get you started)?
You are not cursed with bad genetics. You’re simply focusing on the wrong things.
You’re following this Instagram model’s cookie-cutter diet, your training like that athlete you like, and you’re using your favorite celebrity’s worthless supplement stack.
You’re doing everything they tell you to do, without ever taking a step back and looking at what you need.
How do I know? Because, like you, I’ve been there.
We’re looking at these fitness models and lifestyle celebrities thinking that’s an accurate representation of who these people are. It’s not. What you get to see is precisely what they want you to see.
Not only does comparing yourself to these “perfect” individuals destroy your sense of self-worth, it also takes your focus away from what really matters – You.
It’s not about what they do or what works for them. This journey is about you and only you.
When you’re putting good food in your body, you’re doing it for you. When you’re going for a 60-minute walk every morning, you’re doing it for you. When you make working out an integral part of your life, you’re doing it for you.
Nothing will undermine your confidence and sap you of your motivation faster than trying to measure up to others.
Don’t look left or right. You’re in competition with yourself, not the juicehead with 2 million social media followers. It’s you VS you from beginning to end. Put your head down and do what you have to do.
2. Focus on your strengths
Do this right now: Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side, you write down your 5 strongest attributes and on the right side, your 5 major weaknesses.
Now, fold the paper in the middle so that only your strengths are visible. This is what I want you to focus on from here on out.
We always focus intently on our weaknesses and apparent shortcomings, never on our strengths.
We’re dwelling on our subpar genetics, our lack of time, our inability to afford or prepare quality nutrition, and a host of other, admittedly creative, but nonetheless pathetic excuses to justify our lack of doing.
Excuses won’t get you 6-pack abs, though. Instead of obsessing over the things you suck at, double down on your strengths.
Me? I’m a mental machine, with an indomitable will and undying self-belief.
Yeah, I looked like a lil bitch when I got into fitness, but I was determined to do whatever it takes (mind you, it only took me 10+ years to figure it out).
I wouldn’t allow my frustrations to overshadow my ambitions. I knew what I wanted, and I knew it was entirely my responsibility to go out and take it.
You? What are your strengths? What do you excel at?
3. It’s on you
I know some of you read the title of this article and instantly wanted to jump-kick me.
You got furious because 1. you know I’m right and 2. you know it’s on you. Even if you don’t like to admit it, deep down you know you’re responsible for your situation. You know it’s exclusively on you to step up and do something about it.
Outside sources (i.e. a competent coach) can help illuminate the path, but nobody can walk it for you.
Go out there and find the things that apply to your unique situation. The foods that fuel, not harm your body. The workouts that make you bigger-stronger-faster, not burn you out. And the daily habits that maximize your genetic potential, not undermine it.
There is no one-size solution to human health and performance.
There is no “one” diet or workout program that ticks all the boxes. But there certainly is a perfect solution for you out there and your job is to find it (work with us to get you there).
Personally, I could never get lean following a chicken and rice diet very common in the fitness scene. On the flipside, a high fat, low-carb (aka “paleo”) diet didn’t do it for me either.
As far as training goes, a lack of motivation to hit the gym was never an issue for me. But copying the standard magazine splits and training 5+ days a week kept me underdeveloped and stagnant for years.
I was spinning my wheels trying to do what everybody else did. I had to find something better. Something uniquely my own.
Today, after 12+ years of trial and error, I can push my body as far as I want. I have the tools to grow muscle and shed bodyfat seemingly overnight. But it certainly didn’t happen overnight.
There’s a lot of trial and error involved in finding your own way. And breaking through that “genetic barrier” can be very frustrating and time-consuming.
Once you figure it out, however, the possibilities are limitless. You can go as far as you want to go. But it’s on you to take that first, second and third step.
Don’t push it to tomorrow or next week. Start today.
To a great new year my friends.
The world is yours.