hard stuff that matters

zen habits:

The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most

The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most Posted: 10 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT By Leo Babauta (guest writer)

I’ve tried a lot of types of exercise, but by far the most effective exercise in terms of results for time spent is heavy barbell lifts.

For 10-15 minutes of lifting a barbell laden with weights, I get a better physique, improved health, more strength and muscle, less bodyfat.

I’ve spent hours running, doing bodyweight exercises, doing Crossfit, playing sports, biking, swimming, and generally doing the craziest kinds of exercises possible. They’re all very good, but for the time that I’ve invested in them, weights are the ones that matter most.

I’ve found the barbell method — lifting the heavy stuff but for short periods — works for lots of things in life. From productivity to relationships to finances to losing bodyfat to business growth.

The hard stuff really matters.

I’ll get to the productivity/finances/relationships stuff in a second, but first let me clarify: I’m talking about very simple, heavy barbell lifts for few reps and sets (3 sets of 4-7 reps). And do them with good form, or you might get injured. Start out light, get the form right, progressively add weight each week. The most important lifts are things like deadlifts and squats (best two), bench press, shoulder press, rows. Add some chinups and you’re done. With rest days in between. And yes, women should do these lifts too. Yes, runners should do them too. Yes, vegans can lift heavy too.

These lifts are hard, and so people avoid them. But they work better than anything else, for the time invested.

I’ve learned that in lots of other areas, the hard stuff that people avoid is what matters most. It’s what’s most effective.

I’ll give you some examples:

Productivity: If you have a long list of tasks to do, you could waste time checking a bunch of sites, processing your emails, getting lots of easier tasks done, running around from one meeting to another … and most people do that. But on that list, there are probably about 3 really hard things that you’re avoiding. Those are possibly the most important things on the list, and if you put everything else off for a bit to focus on one of those, and then the next one, you’re going to see a world of difference. You’ll be doing fewer things but you’ll be much more effective. The hard tasks that you avoid are usually the ones that matter.

Fat loss: People do a lot of crap to lose weight. Tons of diets, the weirdest workouts, shakes and salads and and elliptical machines and kickboxing dance classes and calorie counting. And yes, if you can stick to some of these, they will probably work. But really, only a couple things matter, and by far the most important one is to eat a diet that’s lower in calories. And the best way to stick to that is to eat a bunch of mostly whole foods (calculate calories to make sure you’re in a deficit) like lean protein (I like tempeh, seitan, tofu), non-starchy veggies, a small amount of whole grains. Pile up the protein & veggies for three meals a day, don’t add other snacks and calorie-rich drinks (lattes) and you’ll probably see weight loss. I’d add some heavy strength training so you don’t lose muscle. So it’s pretty simple, but people don’t do it, because sticking to a healthy, calorie-deficit diet is hard. It means skipping the snacks and binge eating and work party food and all the other sweet and fried treats you’re used to indulging in. It means finding other ways to comfort yourself other than food and drinks. But it works.

Relationships: Building relationships isn’t always easy, because while it’s fun to hang out with people when things are going well, it’s much harder when there’s conflict. So while spending time with someone is important when it comes to relationships, having difficult conversations is often the most important thing you can do in that time. And that’s hard, because it’s uncomfortable, so people avoid it. This only makes things worse. Do the hard work, and have the difficult conversation. But try not to do it so that you’re right or so that you “win” … it should be finding a solution you’re both happy with. I recommend reading Difficult Conversations.

Business growth: There are lots of things you can do to grow a business (or your career), but usually there’s one or two things you can do that are hard but effective. For me, that’s writing useful articles that help change people’s lives. For my 14-year-old daughter’s cupcake business, that’s spending time perfecting her recipes until they’re to-die-for. Those things take hard work, and so we avoid them. We do all the smaller things and think we’re helping our businesses. But actually, we’d be better spending our time on the hard, effective, important things.

Finances: How do you improve your finances? Spend less, earn more, invest. Pay your bills on time to avoid paying fees and interest, but that can be automated. Those are the most important things, and they’re not always easy. So people put them off. But if you spend an hour finding ways to reduce your spending (stop shopping or spending on entertainment), you’d make a big difference. If you spent 20 minutes setting up automatic savings (or investment in an index fund), you’d make a big difference. If you spent 30 minutes paying your bills and automating them for the future, you’d save a lot of headaches.

Mindfulness: Lots of people want to live a more mindful life, and I encourage it, because developing mindfulness is one of the best things I do. But they don’t want to meditate. And yet, a few minutes a day (working up to 10 or 20 minutes) meditating makes such a huge difference.

Now imagine you took your day, which has limited time, and stopped doing all the little things.

Imagine you focused on the hard, effective things. You could spend 10 minutes meditating, an hour doing the hard important tasks that improved your career or business. Another 20 minutes having a difficult conversation, another 20 improving your finances. Another 30 doing two heavy barbell lifts. Another 30 minutes preparing whole foods for your day’s meals.

That’s less than 3 hours of your day, but you’d improve productivity, your business, your finances, your relationship, mindfulness, your health and appearance.

You’d have plenty of time for the other stuff, but focus on this stuff first, and see huge rewards.

A Few Tips for Doing Hard Stuff:

People avoid the hard things, even if it’s the most important, because it’s hard.

So what are we to do?

Here are some things that work for me:

1)Take time to figure out what hard stuff you need to do. This takes a few minutes of sitting there and thinking, rather than procrastinating and checking stuff online to avoid this thinking. But it’s necessary. After awhile, you won’t need to think about it because you’ll know.

2)Take a moment to commit yourself to doing one hard thing. It could be a bout of writing, a hard short workout, paying some bills. One thing, not all of them. Commit yourself for the next 10, 20 or 30 minutes.

3)Clear away everything. Bookmark all your tabs for later, make notes on a task list for things you need to do later, and then close all tabs, all windows, all notifications. Just you and this one difficult tasks.

4)Don’t let yourself run. Your mind will want to run from the hard thing, because you have an ideal in your head that life will be comfortable and easy and pleasant. This ideal obviously isn’t reality, because putting off the hard things by focusing on the easy and pleasant only makes your life harder and more uncomfortable over time. So focus on the hard thing, see your mind wanting to run, then don’t run.

5)Enjoy it. Lifting a heavy barbell is super hard. I love it. It feels like I’m super strong, like I’m accomplishing something great, like I can conquer the world. You can get the same kinds of feelings from any hard task — instead of thinking about how it sucks, think about how amazing it is that you can move something so heavy. And be grateful when you can.



tribute to Joe Weider, visionary and leader

Arnold&JoeI remember how seeing these magazines in the 80’s- It influenced my vision and actually, gave me the only vision into the world of muscular fitness that I had ever seen. From there to all that we have today, everyone in the fitness business, owes some respect to Joe Weider for his vision and contribution. His passion created a legacy. It helped a lot of people, and when people get better, we collectively improve. I am not an expert on Joe Weider, but I do know that he deserves a decent tribute and with anything worth looking at, will take some study and consideration to absorb the years of development and contribution that was made…
Earlier this year we also lost another great, Robert Kennedy, who was also a visionary who created the best in fitness photography as far as I am concerned; He did not re invent the wheel, he just had a way of putting it together that was different, visual and edgy. As the time passes I hope that in this spirit we can continue the good work that these men began. It is in fact the spirit behind making your own publication such as a blog like this one.
In the name of self improvement may you lead by example, support each other out there, celebrate each day we have together, and know that its always worth working for improvement. Perhaps in the days to come I will discuss some of the basic Weider principals and how these apply even today in and out of the varied world of workout science. For me it was always these principals that ignited my interest so many years ago and still linger in my core beliefs as a trainer, and as a person.
Thank you Joe Weider and Robert Kennedy. I will improve my blog I promise.

 “Bodybuilding is about changing for the better, not just growing enormous.  Once you decide to change yourself for the better, you can make everything in the world better.”

http://www.ifbbpro.com/features/joe-weiders-principles/arnold & Joe

how to motivate yourself into exercise you will stick to

This Repost  is from something I found on the lifehacker blog, about something we may struggle with from time to time, and thats motivation & focus. The following post is copied faithfully and reposted with gratitude. The original links are retained and all rights reserved for the original authors of this material.




If getting active and staying healthy were easy, everyone would do it…but we don’t. We come home after a long day of sitting in a chair to de-stress by sitting in another chair, unable to summon the energy to take a walk or hit the gym. Sure, everyone says to “make time for what’s important to you,” but oversimplification doesn’t make the struggle easier. Let’s break down the mental walls keeping you from taking care of yourself.

We’ve shown you lots of great ways to get and stay active. Whether it’s the Lifehacker workout or our daily 20 minute workout generator, you have plenty of options if you’re not sure how to get active and get in shape. Combined with the personal trainer in your pocket (in the form of your Android oryour iPhone), you have all the tools you need to get healthy. So why haven’t you?

Whether it’s time management, stress, a busy job, bustling family life, or something else, in this post we’re going to help you break down the barriers that may keep you from getting up and active. We sat down with some experts—people who have really motivated others—for their tips on how to do what you already know you should. When we’re through, you’ll be in the mental position to take advantage of the great fitness resources we’ve put together.

No Excuses: Tear Down Those Mental Walls

First of all, if you’re struggling with a sedentary lifestyle, you’re not alone. Millions of us are just like you, and we all know weshould get moving, but we stumble and fall back into old habits or never get the traction you need. This is completely normal, don’t think anything otherwise. Very few people spring out of bed one day and say “I’m going to change my behavior for the better for the rest of my life,” do it, and never look back. In the real world things are different. Here are some things to remember:

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Fitness expert (and Lifehacker contributor) Roger Lawson notes that we’re often our own biggest hurdle. “They’re simply too hard & expect too much from themselves; they think it has to be much harder than it has to be and when they don’t live up to the expectations they’ve set for themselves, it all begins to fall apart,” he explains. This is the cycle many of you know: you start something with good intentions, stumble, get frustrated, and give up. Be nice to yourself—stumbles and failures are going to happen, no one’s perfect. Photo by Richard Beatson.
  • Don’t get caught up in the “all or nothing” mindset. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Doing something is better than doing nothing. “Don’t let optimal be the enemy of good enough,” Roger says. “Sure, you could be doing more or could be doing better, but if in the long run that gets in the way of you doing anything at all then it’s not use to you. Do what you can do and do consistently then worry about optimizing later as you gain traction.” Remember, getting started is everything.
  • Understand how habits work. We’ve talked about the habit loop and how to break bad habits before, but it’s critical here. Richard Talens, co-founder of Fitocracy, your pick for best fitness tracking site, explains it like this: “Most people fail in fitness because they never enter a self-sustaining positive feedback loop. In fact, most people don’t even start. In order to be successful at fitness, it needs to be in the same category of the brain as sleeping, eating, and sex.” He explained that if exercise worked the way it does in the movies—where a montage plays and after every workout you look better and see results instantly, more people would stick to it. The key is to find a routine replacement that works for you, and that gets results for the energy you put into building it into your habits.

  • You’re not lazy, you’re just starting from zero. One discouraging thing you’ve probably thought (or heard) before is that you’re just lazy and will give up eventually, so why bother. Richard dismissed this idea: “To say that people don’t exercise because they are lazy is actually backwards. Often times, people are actually lazy because they’re out of shape and don’t exercise!” He points out that it’s easy for someone in-shape to tell someone who’s having a tough time that they’re just lazy, but the truth is running a mile for a couch potato is far more difficult and requires more physical and mental will than it does for someone who does five every day. Recognize that, especially when you start down the slippery slope of comparing yourself—and your habits—to others.
  • Find your “Secret Sauce”. A lot of people will tell you to “just put the fork down,” or “just get up and do it,” which is easy when that person a: isn’t you, and b: is sitting behind a keyboard. Don’t listen to them: minimizing and oversimplifying the challenge doesn’t help, and while hearing what worked for others can help you figure out things to try, it’s almost never going to be exactly what works for you. Look for your own combination of tools, tips, techniques, and advice that will support you and your health and fitness goals. Accept advice, sure, but remember you’re in this for you—no one else, and you’re the only one who’ll know what really works.Photo by Riley Kaminer.

Remember, health and wellness are extremely personal sciences. You’ll be assaulted on all sides by articles, scams, self-help books, poorly-reported scientific studies, internet commenters, and more who all claim they know what will work for you—and it usually boils down to what worked for them (which is great!) or what they’re willing to sell you (which is not so great.) Having an abundance of options isn’t a bad thing, but remember who you’re in this for.

Stay Motivated and Engaged to Stick With Your Plan

So what does work? Well, there’s more information and advice out there than you could ever possibly use, but the key is to figure out what you’ll stick with, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Just remember what we said: if you stumble or falter, that means you just need to try something new or start slower—not that there’s something wrong with you. Try some of these suggestions:


Set the Bar Low and Start Small. The first time I started working out, I decided to exercise daily for a half hour. Sounds good, right? Well, starting from zero to every day worked well for a while, but when I had to miss a day because I worked late, was sick, or my schedule changed, I felt terrible. Eventually I gave up, and beat myself up over it until I could get motivated to start again. Don’t make the same mistake—if you’re having trouble with every day, start with twice a week, or once. Whatever it is, start with something you candefinitely do effortlessly. This is where suggestions like parking on the far end of the lot and taking the stairs come into play. Try these minimal daily exercises on for size.

“Instead of setting out to exercise 5-6 times a week, aim to do 1-2 times – consistently,” Roger says. “Set the bar low so that you can build up initial success and build the self confidence and examples of winning that you’ll need once things get harder.” Derek Flanzraich, CEO and Founder of Greatist, agrees: “On Sunday nights, schedule your workout times into your calendar for the rest of the week. That removes a ton of excuses— you’ll rarely, if ever, really ‘just fit a workout in’ when you’ve got a free moment. You’re too busy! Schedule it in advance and it’ll be top of mind!” The time for ambitiousness is after you have a track record of success. Remember, we’re trying to get started, and getting started is hard enough.

Whatever You Do, Make It Fun. Roger couldn’t stress this enough, and neither can we. Whatever you do, enjoy it. Choose something rewarding enough to make you feel good about doing it. If you’re having a good time, Roger noted, mistakes feel like learning experiences and challenges to be overcome, not throw-up-your-hands-and-give-up moments. This is one reason that he—and we—love sites like Fitocracy, theMindbloom Life Game (which we’vehighlighted before), and Superbetter, whichalso adds a game-like element to wellness.Photo by Richard Coshott.

Derek suggests picking a fun challenge designed for people in your shoes. Stuck on the couch? Try the Couch to 5K running plan! Maybe a mud run or martial arts class would be more up your alley. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’ll have a great time doing, and is low-enough impact that you can get in, keep up, and slowly challenge yourself as it progresses.

Join Communities that Build Positive Habits. Speaking of Fitocracy, Richard explained that services like Fitocracy do so well because they offer consistent, positive rewards for sticking to your guns. Even if you don’t see results in the mirror right away—and you won’t—a site like Fitocracy rewards you with levels, badges, and other treats that keep you engaged and motivated to do better. That’s all great, but Richard explained it’s really just a carrot to get you to the real prize: the community. “Wanna know our dirty little secret? I haven’t really told this to any journalists explicitly, but points don’t help all that much in the long run. They’re merely a gateway drug that gets you involved into the community.” Don’t get caught up in counting calories and tracking steps walked that you miss out on how powerful a community, a workout buddy, or family and friends, rooting for us can be. It can make all the difference.


Use Technology Wisely: To Recount Your Victories. Technology can be a huge benefit to help you see your progress in a way that looking in the mirror won’t show you. Our own Adam Pash got in shape with the help of the right gear, and Roger suggests keeping a calendar as a visual track of your victories. Each time you stick to your plan, whether it’s diet, exercise, or both, mark it on the calendar. Sound familiar yet? That’s right, it’s Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret, or “Don’t Break the Chain.” The goal is to keep that track record, whether it’s on a calendar, in an app, or on a website, going unbroken as long as possible. Just remember, quantifying your efforts is just a method to get feedback and track your progress. Your tech should be a means to building better habits, not the habit in itself. Photo by Yusuke Kawasaki.

You’ll notice we haven’t given you a workout routine or exercise plan to follow here. That’s because we’ve done that before several times. You can take those workouts and start today, but before you do, make sure you’re in a place mentally where you’re set up for success. In a few months, you don’t want to still feel miserable every time you begin a workout, or know you have to work out today—it should be second nature, just something you do, like taking a shower or doing the laundry.

Derek reminded us that the turning point for him—and likely for many of us—is when we realize that we’re in total control of our choices—not someone else who with a fad diet or book to sell—and that can be incredibly empowering. Once you make that realization, Roger notes that you should always remember where you are now when it comes to health and fitness. Whether it’s diet or exercise, being honest with your current situation will keep you from being too ambitious and setting yourself up for failure, or from giving up entirely. “Begin where you are, not where you want to be. Becoming overwhelmed initially is the fastest way to halt all progress. As you get better, do better, and not a moment sooner.” We couldn’t agree more.

Roger Lawson is a fitness expert and the man behind Rog Law Fitness. You can find him on Twitter at @RogLaw, on Facebook at Rog Law, and subscribe to his YouTube channel, RogLawFitness.

Richard Talens is the Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Fitocracy, a fitness tracking site and social network that’s makes tracking your exercise a real-world game that’s fun to play. You can find him on Twitter at @dicktalens.

Derek Flanzraich is the Founder and CEO of Greatist, an amazing resource for health and fitness news and tips. You can find him on Twitter at @thederek, and follow Greatist at @greatist.

All three volunteered their expertise for this post, and we thank them.

Title photo made using Leremy (Shutterstock).

The Davis Park bootcamp

hello everyone. The Davis Park bootcamp sessions are now available on Saturdays In Brandon for those of you who work all week.
If you can not make daily sessions, you can now have an invigorating midmorning session that includes tablata, crossfit, core and cardio on saturday and Sunday.
Anyone interested in these sessions needs to give me a heads up – please call me

Sunday we arrive at 930 and warm up, starting relays and challenges at 10Am to 11Am, winding down before lunch at 11:30
expect the grind. I will be inventing new challenges every time:) and bringing back the favorites!
a session like this has varied High intensity challenges that constitutes complex movements and burns fat.

Anyone  is welcome to join.Group session rates are 20 per session, 15 per 2 sessions,pre paid, add ons for existing clients will be 10, and if you are an eisting client and bring a friend, it will be 10$ for them, pre paid.

Do not let the price stop you from showing up. you still have to work out, so get your butt down here and I will give you good faith. no excuses. Spring is around the corner and there is no time to waste!

see you then! :)

a little about eating… part one

The most successful dieters have a high speed of implementation. In other words, they take action faster than the average guy. Sort of. I want to elaborate a little. It’s the quality of your diet that can make the significant difference, next is consistency,and finally, aside from all the hype diets and fads, it boils down to taking in less calories than you burn will result in weight loss.

Thats why you want to have a trainer to help you understand what your basal metabolic rate is, based on your body fat analysis, your own number, and to work with that as a foundation to your understanding of lean body weight.

I will discuss how being leaner ( having more lean muscle mass vs. fat in your body composition) increases your metabolism and has other effects on your health and what that is as we progress.

but for now, here are some ideas for getting your “diet”  in shape that you can begin right now:

1. Start writing down what you eat: Simply estimating caloric intakes is not accurate enough. As a bare minimum you need to spend at least 1 week tracking what you eat. This will show you exactly how many maintenance calories you need.

It also makes you realize what your actually eating, and when. This is a simple exercise that makes you accountable- and can understand your current habits in a better perspective.

2. Beef up breakfast: A small piece of toast and a huge coffee don’t count as breakfast. Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day for you, unless your strength training with iron, then your post workout meal will be considerable , too. If it’s not, you will hinder the efficient metabolic enhancement that eating brings. Smaller portions, more often, kick up your digestive system, in effect burns more calories. Not eating tells the body to hoard calories. Breakfast provides relief to the muscles starving overnight and fuel for the day, nutrients for proper brain function, and it is delicious!

3. Stop drinking wasted calories: Liquid calories (like sodas,READ: especially DIET, cool aid, etc.) are the worst thing you can put into your body. Not only are they a significant source of empty calories, but they also spike levels of insulin. Even worse, they promote tooth decay. And because they are liquid, They DO NOT COUNT for your need for water. The bodys kidneys must metabolize these and the water part of them is lost. you need 64 or more oz. on, average, every day. thats more than the 8 glasses of water adage. drink more water. I love coffee. but still, sodas are out. is it worth the calories? its one of the easiest things to cut out!

4. Optimize circadian rhythms: This is a very powerful technique for increasing energy while simultaneously maximizing the output of fat burning hormones. Interestingly, even individual organs follow their own rhythms. One way to begin optimization is by eating at regular times every day.the muscles heal at night, and other key functions. sleep is underestimated. make sure you get regular rest to recoup strength for your workouts.

5. Eliminate processed food: Especially fast food because this type of food will make you balloon up faster than you can imagine. Its the fats. If your like me and sometimes are faced with no option, you need to know what to avoid on the menu. deep fried-out. breaded- out. go for the grilled. eliminate the mayonnaise, butter, and other unnecessary fats. pennies make nickels that make dimes that make dollars, and  if you add up what your not putting into your body, thats less you have to burn! So Don’t put it into your body in the first place!

6. Bring your own food to the rat race:  do not assume that the food at your office is healthy, and don’t let others make nutritional choices for you.The average  American is brainwashed and unaware when it comes to the topic of what exactly is healthy. You are the person that cares most about your health. So start bringing your own home cooked food to work. get use to it. its part of your new lifestyle. besides, your vintage lunchbox is cool.

7. Go with vegetables & fruits : I’ve never heard of someone getting sick from eating too many vegetables. go to your farmers market. Look at some of my recipes for ways to make smoothies. If you have a sweet tooth, after a week or so of getting the processed and refined sugars out of your mouth, the natural sugars in fruits will be an ambrosia to your taste buds.You will see what I mean, give it a little time, after all your hard work on the gym floor, you will want to reward your body with nutritious food, not starve it, and your body will reward you in return. your senses await you. trust me.

See you soon