Everything you want to do in life has been done before.
The rules of the game never change. Some of the finer nuances might, but the general rules never do. No matter if we’re talking about getting lean, getting jacked or getting paid. Don’t expect any major breakthroughs. Everything has already been done before and the information is out there.
Find the resources relevant to your mission and get to work. Here’s how:
Don’t Read, Study
Our capacity to retain new information is very limited. Picking up a book to fly over a couple pages here and there will not help your cause. You need to be more strategic in your approach to self-education.
Don’t read books, study them.
When you sit down to read, grab a pen and paper and take notes. Instead of highlighting the entire book (waste of highlighters) write down the things that are of greatest importance to you and add your own thoughts and ideas.
I don’t know about you, but I forget things. By writing down the essentials, I’ve greatly enhanced my storage capacity. And in case I do forget, I simply go back and review my notes.
If you want to maximize your reading efficiency look into “speed reading”. Know that speed comes at the cost of comprehension. So don’t just be a fast reader, be an efficient reader.
Will Reading Make You Smarter?
Intelligence is frequently gauged by one’s vocabulary. Increasing your knowledge of words is the intellectual equivalent of adding weight to your bench press.
But will it make you smarter?
It will undoubtedly make you better. It will add new weapons to your arsenal. New ideas, new perspectives, new tools you can apply every single day. I have yet to read a book I didn’t derive any value from. And this is true for the worst reads.
Living Lean and Mean was never about fitness.
There are enough fitness blogs, products and programs out there already. And while I believe my content is above and beyond 99% of the stuff you’ll find, I never wanted to focus solely on the physical.
You cannot separate the physical from the mental. You cannot have one without the other. Stay on your toes. Build your body and your mind will follow.
Your New Nightly Routine
“Successful people have libraries. The rest have big screen TV’s” – Jim Rohn
Make it a habit to read for 30 minutes every night before sleep.
Turn off the TV and focus on something that will actually add value to your life. Nothing wrong with the occasional Netflix and chill, but put the remote aside for once and invest some time in yourself.
Not only will you facilitate better sleep (quality sleep is still so underrated it blows my mind) but you’ll also retain more information at this time of day. Your mental resistance is at its lowest before sleep, making this the best time to process and store new information.
If you absolutely hate reading, listen to audiobooks, podcasts or smart people talk.
You can unquestionably live a life worth living without ever touching a single book. But don’t make the mortal mistake of becoming complacent.
Fiction or non-fiction? What should you read?
Both. I’m heavily biased towards non-fiction but I do believe both have their place. Read whatever you enjoy reading. Here are some of the best books I’ve come across over the years (in no particular order). Do yourself a favor and check ’em out.
- Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat – Ori Hofmekler
Subpar title, exceptional insights on training and eating for, well… maximum muscle and minimum fat. Ori was the first to introduce intermittent fasting to the general public in his book The Warrior Diet. This is a more technical read than its predecessor, but more than worth the effort. I read this back in 2009 and still revisit it regularly.
Title says it all. If you want to build muscle without being tied to a gym or equipment, this is for you. Paul Wade is one of the best in the game. Don’t go looking for pictures or videos of him training, however. You won’t find them. But read a single chapter of this book and you’ll know this guy is the real deal.
His Convict Conditioning series revolutionized the world of bodyweight training. I find C-Mass to be a more entertaining ride than the CC books, however. I have both the Kindle and the paperback versions. Invest the extra cash and get the paperback (trust me).
- Das Handbuch zu Ihrem Körper – Chris Michalk (for my German-speaking peeps)
How do you take charge of your health and body in a world dominated by conflicting evidence and dogma? You go back to the source.
Although I disagree with some of the concepts (i.e. high protein diet, excessive supplementation) it’s still the one book I frequently recommend to anyone interested in the biochemical workings of the human body. Chris Michalk is onto something big (check out his blog) and his work is some of the best I’ve seen in this field.
- Lead The Field – Earl Nightingale
Why are some people successful while so many more are not? Why are some people sad and depressed while others wake up every morning like it’s Christmas day? Earl Nightingale’s masterpiece is a must read for any man, woman, child and dog walking this planet.
- New World Ronin – Victor Pride
As an avid reader of Victor’s blog Bold and Determined (“The Website for Winners”) I eagerly anticipated the release of New World Ronin and was not disappointed. Be warned though. Once you go down this rabbit hole things will never be the same again.
There are many more I could list here, but these are the creme of the crop. Pick your shot(s) and go to work.
Thank you for reading