“The man on top of the mountain did not fall there” – Vince Lombardi
I remember hearing this quote when I played high school football back in 2004, and all I remember is thinking how true it is. Those who put in the work see results, period. Back in 2004, I was only two years removed from going to my first day of high school in a completely different state, all the while being 4 foot 11 inches and maybe 110 pounds. I was a small guy in a big world and truth be told almost threw up on the bus ride to school that day.
Flash forward two years later and I am sitting in the football locker room about 5’ 10” and maybe around 150 pounds. Up until that time I had only ever played sports and never lifted a weight in my life. I was probably better built to be a cross country runner and not football but I wanted to be friends with the cool guys, the football players.
I had befriended the fullback on the team who was also captain of the wrestling team, let's call him Johnny, and he took me under his wing and taught me how to work out properly in and out of the gym. The first thing he said to me has stuck with me until today:
“Find an activity that you enjoy, do that, and build from there.”
This stuck with me from the day he told me and in fact I have helped others reach their fitness goals just by saying it to them. When he said this it was almost like a light flashed above my head and I saw my fitness path the next 10 years of my life.
Let's be honest, going to the gym every single day is quite repetitive and boring. Sure, I love to go to the gym and I love to lift weights and maybe hit the stair stepper. But truth be told the real fun is in getting outside, going on hikes, runs, biking or playing basketball.
After my friend, Johnny, told me this saying I immediately starting playing basketball again (which I continue to do today) and I would go to an outdoor court by my house during hours when no one else was there. The basketball court was on the top of a hill, so I would practice dribbling, shooting, my low post game and three-point shot for 30 minutes and then I would run a lap around the field. Down the hill, around the field and up then back up the hill. I would do three sets of this and next thing you know it 2 hours had passed, I was dripping sweat and my endorphins were pumping like never before. I was happier than I could have ever been and got an actual work out in.
After picking up a basketball again and running, I would also do a session of boxing, and then I would ride a bike and go hiking. All of which took up a bunch of time and burned more calories and fat than I could ever do in one session in a gym. Heck, even my first dog, Chance, I got to be my hiking buddy so that I didn’t have to depend or wait for anyone else to go on a hike. Chance is a German shorthaired pointer and he loooovvveesss to hike.
I had a college buddy who lets call, Sergeant, well Sergeant is literally a prince in India and very very wealthy. Sometimes, with wealth, health becomes a non-issue. Anything he ever wanted to eat was there for him to eat. Anything he ever wanted to be done was done for him. So picture someone who never worked out and did not understand dieting by his or her senior year of college. Yes, Sergeant was very overweight, and towards the end of his senior year I remember telling him exactly what Johnny had said to me, “Find an activity that you enjoy, do that, and build from there.”
Flash forward another two years and seeing Sergeant for the first time during that period, he had dropped almost a whole human being in weight. I said, wow you look great, obviously, you’re working out, what are you doing? His exact response was, “You told me to find an activity that I like doing, and I did that, and then I built from that.”
Moral, of the story, don’t look at what anyone else is doing and say I want to or have to do that. Do what you genuinely find to be fun, and exciting and do that. Just don’t stop there, also teach yourself how to lift at a gym and diet and do all of the other things that come with building muscle, losing fat and living a happier and healthier lifestyle.
Well, this is my first ever blog and I hope you enjoy and take the advice that I bestowed upon you.
Let me know what you think and comment below or message me at the following:
Also, stay tuned for our second part to this series, “Accomplishing Your Fitness Goals: Competing With Yourself”.