The Habit: Week-6 (Find Pleasure in the Process)

This week’s challenge is to find pleasure in the process. Discipline is the ability to force ourselves to do what we should do when we should do it. It is something we all struggle with and must develop, but motivation can be a more powerful driver of action. What if you could find pleasure in the tasks you must do. If you can equate pleasure with the task, you’ll be a lot more successful. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle

If you don’t enjoy what you do, you aren’t really successful. Finding pleasure in the job is our responsibility. Our attitude toward what we do is a choice we make each day. We are responsible for our own happiness. We are responsible for our attitude toward our work, toward our relationships, and toward our life. If we cannot find happiness in our daily routine, we aren’t really successful.

“If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” – Jack Canfiel

Lasting happiness doesn’t come from our achievements. Happiness comes from finding pleasure in our daily routine. Happiness requires frequent refreshing. It is a tree that requires daily watering to grow and flourish. It is our responsibility to find these pleasures in our daily routines to be happy. So how do we find pleasure in performing work that on the surface isn’t enjoyable?

Our attitude is a choice.This choice begins with a decision. The decision is to decide what things mean. What meaning do you attach to the task? Everything we do has a purpose, a meaning. We must find out what that is. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked why he smiled during his long, 5-hour workouts.

Arnold’s attitude toward his training separated him from the other bodybuilders. While they seem to dread the long grueling workouts that were required to achieve a massive physique, he enjoyed them. He said he enjoyed the heavy lifting. He looked forward to every heavy set because he knew that each set was bringing him one step closer to his goal of becoming the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

Arnold was able to connect what he was doing with his desired outcome. That is why his attitude was so much better than the other bodybuilders. His attitude towards his training made him one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.

Pain is weakness leaving the body. I heard this mantra numerous times at West Point and during my career in the military. I knew it was a tool to get us to push harder during physical training, but it wasn’t until years later that I truly understood the psychology behind the mantra. The mantra changed our neuro-association of pain with the pleasure of toughening the body and polishing the spirit. Pain becomes a pleasure.

CT Fletcher - Pain.PNG

CT Fletcher, former powerlifting champion, and fitness motivational speaker can often be heard in the gym saying, “I look for you pain.” He invites pain. He says it is his friend because he equates pain with growth. Muhammad Ali said, “I do not count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting because then it really counts.”

To achieve extraordinary results, you must have an extraordinary attitude toward your work. Discipline can only get you so far. Motivation is a greater catalyst for action. If you can find meaning and pleasure in what you do on a daily basis, you’ll achieve excellence. When you find pleasure in the daily disciplines that are required to be successful, success is all but assured.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn

 If you cannot find pleasure in what you do, I suggest you find something that you can. Our attitude affects our performance. Poor attitude, poor performance. Great attitude, great performance. Most people neglect to cultivate a great attitude. Don’t let that be you. Your attitude affects everything you do. It effects your effort. It affects your smile. It affects your handshake.

Success requires hard work, but it doesn’t have to be drudgery. When you love what you do, work isn’t agony, it’s a pleasure. We achieve more success when we enjoy what we do, but more importantly, you’ll live a more fulfilling life.

If you cannot find happiness in the process of achieving your goals, you aren’t really successful. Achievements that don’t produce sustained happiness produce an unsatisfying life. Most people don’t enjoy what they do. Most people say, “Thank God it’s Friday.” This poor attitude is normal, but you don’t have to be average. “Success is doing what the failures won’t” – Jim Rohn. We should all enjoy our weekends, but we should also enjoy our weekdays. We should enjoy our lives.

The average worker will tell you it is called work for a reason. The prevailing attitude is that work shouldn’t be pleasurable. I suggest that we take another approach to our work. If we want to achieve above average results, we have to cultivate an above average attitude towards our work. If we can make work more enjoyable, why shouldn’t we?

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

One thing that universally makes all of us happy is progress. When we are getting better, in any area of our lives, we feel great. We feel like a winner. “

Progress equals happiness. Progress is the game.” Tony Robbins

 Every small win, every item checked off our to-do list makes us feel great. It releases dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical most closely related to long-term happiness.When our dopamine system is activated,we are more positive, excited and eager to go after goals.

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work explains how progress improves the inner work life of employees and teams. Improvements in inner work life drive higher levels of performance and engagement; which in turn leads to better progress and enhanced inner work life. The author calls these reinforcing benefits, the “progress loop.” As you make progress, you rack-up small wins. These small wins make us feel great about ourselves, which stimulates the release of dopamine. When we are making progress in any area of our life, it gives us a sense of accomplishment. It gives us a sense of worth.

Hopefully, we can all agree that we have the power to change how we feel about our work by changing our attitude toward it. Here are some simple strategies to take more pleasure in what you do:

1)    Create a list, in your journal, of the reasons you LOVE doing something that the average person would find unpleasant. For example, I have formed the habit of starting each day with 30-minutes of technical reading, by creating a list of reasons. I love starting each day with technical reading because:

  1. It will make me an expert in my field
  2. It will make me more valuable to my company and to myself
  3. It will help me get promoted
  4. It will help me earn more money
  5. It will prepare me for future opportunities

2)    Create a system for tracking small wins. Small wins help us to sustain motivation. Creating a daily to-do list and crossing off items as they are accomplished makes us feel great about ourselves. If you really want to do well at work, make sure you start each day with your most important task. The more impactful the task, the more it will contribute to your success. Don’t mistake being busy with being productive.

3)    Track your consistency. We are naturally more consistent when we track our consistency. If your goal is to make 10 cold calls a day. You could use a habit-forming app like Strides, Streaks, Fabulous, and Toodledo to track your consistency. Each time you record another successful day with the app, congratulate yourself. Celebrate this small victory. Say, “I am proud of myself today, good job!” Every small win activates our dopamine system and motivates us to go after our goals with greater vigor.

4)    When you feel your enthusiasm starting to wane, listen to something inspiring. Cynical people deride motivation because it doesn’t last. Tell me what lasts? Bathing doesn’t last, so should we stop doing it? Brushing our teeth doesn’t last, so maybe we should quit doing it? Coaches give their teams motivational speeches on a regular basis. Why do you think that is? Because it is effective. Motivation is the desire to do. When our desire to do is waining, we need to take action. You can find a ton of great motivational videos on YouTube. These videos are FREE. It doesn’t get much easier than FREE. Download your favorite to your smartphone and reach for it every time your motivation begins to wane.

5)    Force yourself to smile while you’re performing the task. Forcing yourself to smile, will improve your mood. Physiology has been shown to influence our psychology. Some have suggested that the paradigm we have been taught all our lives, that we smile when we are happy is backward. I don’t believe it is backward. I believe that it works both ways. I believe that our psychology and physiology are linked together in a push-pull relationship, with each affecting the other.

In the military, I was taught that false motivation was better than no motivation. I thought it was just a means of getting us to push ourselves harder during tough training, which it did, but I also discovered that it changed my attitude. Pretend motivation, leads to genuine motivation. Our mind seeks alignment between our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. The psychological term that describes a disharmony between attitude and behavior is called cognitive dissonance. When there is a lack of harmony between our attitudes and behaviors we seek to reduce that cognitive dissonance. When you force a smile, it signals to the mind that you are happy. Your body reduces levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and increases levels of endorphins and dopamine.[i]

We should enjoy our work. As Steve Jobs said, it is going to fill a large part of our lives. We shouldn’t wait to enjoy our lives. We should enjoy each day, our workdays as well as our weekends. If we can’t find daily pleasure in our life, what is the point? If we achieve great results but don’t find any fulfillment in their accomplishment, are we truly successful?

I hope that you will take what you have learned this week and apply it. We are all responsible for our own happiness. Happiness is a choice we all make, and it begins with what we focus on each day. I hope you will choose to focus on what brings you pleasure.

Until next week, good luck, best wishes and best health!

Attitude is a habitual way of thinking. Change your habits, change your life! 

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Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger.

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Book Introduction

Print Book Cover 09.25.2017The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Our BOOK The Fat Loss Habit is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! We would greatly appreciate a brief REVIEW. Your feedback is our best marketing tool, and it will help us to make a better product. Your review will help other people who want to make a positive change by helping them to find our book.

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#FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation

[i] JULIETTE SIEGFRIED, Want to Be Happier? Smile More!,

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Why a Natural Lifter Should Never Train Like Someone Using Steroids – How Naturals Should Train

Book Introduction (Available on Amazon in August 2017)

Phil_Heath.JPG

3 Reasons Why a Natural Lifter Should Never Train Like Someone Using Steroids:

1)      You’ll end-up out training your ability to recover by performing too many sets/too much volume.

2)      You’ll elevate your cortisol levels too high to recover from your workouts.

3)      You’ll train too light to build muscle and strength.

The I’ll Do What They’re Doing Trap

Don’t make the mistake of falling into the trap of thinking, “I’ll do what he’s doing.” If you are going to apply that logic, then follow that logic to its natural conclusion and start taking steroids. If you’re reading this I am hoping that isn’t really an option for you.

If you are going to be a natural lifter, than lift like a natural. Don’t try to follow the routine of enhanced lifters.  Since steroids are illegal, no one is going to admit they are using them, and suggest you supplement your training with a weekly injection of 600 mg of testosterone.  Now let’s look closer at the three reasons I have provided.

#1 You’ll end-up out training your ability to recover by performing too many sets/too much volume.

Steroids keep you in an anabolic state 24/7. Muscle synthesis is ongoing. You can actually build muscle on steroids without even training. In this 10-week study, they took 43 experienced male lifters of normal body weight between the ages of 19 and 40, and split them up into four different groups:

Group 1: did NOT train, and did NOT receive any steroids.

Group 2: did NOT do any form of exercise, but they received weekly injections of 600 mg of testosterone.

Group 3: trained, but did NOT receive any steroids.

Group 4: trained, and received a weekly injection of 600 mg of testosterone.

Each participant followed a standard diet scaled to their bodyweight.  Ratios of calories and macronutrients were standardized based on individual body weights.

The Results:

Group 1: no significant changes, which is not surprising.

Group 2: gained 7 pounds of muscle, despite not training!

Group 3: gained 4 pounds of muscle, training naturally.

Group 4: gained 13 pounds of muscle.

Natural lifters have to train hard enough to stimulate protein synthesis, but avoid excessive muscle breakdown that would exceed their ability to recover.  Enhanced lifters can recover from frequent high volume training because their body is in a constant state of protein synthesis.  Natural lifters need to focus on progressive overload, and limit their volume. Most people can tolerate 8 to 12 working sets a week for large muscle groups, and 5 to 8 sets for small muscle groups. The more often you train, the more you have to divide-up the total; for example if you trained chest twice a week, each workout should average 4 to 6 working sets. Hard gainers usually fall at the lower end of these training volume parameters. An easy gainer might be able to exceed these parameters. Over time you will learn how much exercise your body can tolerate and your tolerance might increase. Adding sets is a method of creating progressive overload, but you can’t exceed your body’s ability to recuperate.

#2 You’ll elevate your cortisol levels too high to recover from your workouts.

Cortisol is devastating to natural lifters. It opposes protein synthesis by increasing protein breakdown.  The role of cortisol during training is to mobilize energy stores to give your body fuel for muscle action. The more fuel you need during your training, the more cortisol you will produce.

Too much training and habitually going to failure can result in decreased resting levels of testosterone and increased resting levels of cortisol, which are counter-productive to hypertrophy. It may also make you more susceptible to overuse injuries and overtax your nervous system, especially when performing taxing movements like the squat and deadlift.

Only the genetically gifted and or those using performance enhancing drugs can routinely train with high volume and take most sets to failure. They are protected against the ill effects of cortisol because the drugs greatly increase protein synthesis.

#3 You’ll train too light to build muscle and strength.

Natural lifters should use loads that are 75 to 90% of your 1 repetition maximum (RM) to increase muscle size and strength. Studies have shown that training with weights closer to your 90% 1 rep max produce greater muscular size and strength gains than lighter loads (70% 1 RM).

Most sets should be in the 4 to 8 repetition range.  Avoid the high repetition ranges advocated in the current muscle magazines. These hypertrophy programs are geared toward athletes on steroids. Steroids build muscle, but they don’t build ligaments and tendons, so these athletes prefer higher rep ranges to avoid injuries. As a natural lifter you will do better sticking to the rep ranges advocated by pre-steroid era bodybuilders and strongmen. Use your training log to determine which rep ranges work best for you in terms of gaining strength.

If you want to learn more about how naturals should train, see my post Building Muscle and Strength Made Simple – The 3 to 5 Program

___________________________________________________________________________________________

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful. Could you please Like and Share if you enjoyed this post. Best wishes and best health!

Discipline pushes us, motivation pulls us, but intentional habits keep us moving towards our goals.

Best wishes and Best Health!

Follow us on Facebook

See our most recent posts.

Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss, but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger.

cover page done

The book contains:

  • 7 Change Strategies for Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle
  • A Flexible Diet Program that Doesn’t Put Any Foods Off-limit,  including Alcohol
  • 20-Week Workout Log with Progress Assessments (Downloadable PDF)
  • 3 Strategies for Resetting your Body Weight Set point to Keep the Weight Off
  • A Nutrition and Training Program Based on Science, not Bro Science.

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Our BOOK The Fat Loss Habit is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! We would greatly appreciate a brief REVIEW. Your feedback is our best marketing tool and it will help us to make a better product. Your review will help other people who want to make a positive change by helping them to find our book.

Follow us on Facebook

Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Book Introduction

 The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Could you please Like and Share if you enjoyed this post. Best wishes and best health.

#FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitMom #FitFam #FitCouple #NaturalBodybuilding

 

Training to Failure doesn’t Trigger Muscle Growth, Progressive Overload does!

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Countless studies have demonstrated that progressive overload is the key to muscle and strength gains.  Going to failure too soon in your workout will hurt your performance, and undercut your total workout volume. We want to maximize our performance during each workout. We do this by stopping short of failure on all but the last set of each exercise. Your maximum effort should be given to the last set of the last exercise for any given body part.

Our goal is to lift as much as possible during each workout. And to increase that overload from week to week, month to month. You accomplish this by keeping a repetition or two in the tank, until the very end of your workout. As soon as you take a set to failure, your performance on succeeding sets will degrade substantially. For example, if you went to failure on pull-ups using your 10 repetition maximum. You might only get 7 repetitions on your next set and 5 or 6 on your third set. Your total number of repetitions would have been 22 or 23. Had you stopped a couple of repetitions short of failure on your first and second set, you would have been able to perform at least 8 repetitions on all three sets for a total of 24.

We want to lift heavy, but stay fresh as long as possible during your workouts. If this was your last basic compound exercise for your back, and you took the last set to failure, you might have achieved a total of 25 or 26 repetitions. Your workout volume in either case would be greater than if you had taken the first set to failure. Taking sets to failure should be primarily used as a means of creating progressive overload and not a goal in and of itself.

Progressive overload is the trigger for muscle growth, not training to failure. Training to failure is a method of producing progressive overload, not a trigger in and of itself, as some experts would have you believe. Scientific studies have demonstrated the superiority of performing three sets of an exercise vs. one set to failure. One set to failure will stimulate growth, but it is a minimum effective dose. If you don’t want to invest much time in the gym, one set will produce results, but they will be suboptimal.

RPE Scale (lifting)

A simple, yet effective way to evaluate your rating perceived exertion (RPE) is using this table developed by respected strength coach and competitive powerlifter Mike Tuchscherer.

A 2007 study by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded, “training to failure should not be performed repeatedly over long periods, due to the high potential for overtraining and overuse injuries.” Another study which had lifters using loads that were 75% of their 1 rep max concluded that, “Fatigue and metabolite accumulation do not appear to be critical stimuli for strength gains.”

Short rest intervals and training to failure repeatedly will increase human growth hormone levels, but I haven’t found any studies that correlate it with long-term increases in muscle mass. I have found studies that have concluded just the opposite. Going to failure too soon in your workout will hurt your performance, and undercut your total workout volume/progressive overload.

Training to complete failure isn’t necessary to maximize growth, but you do have to work with heavy loads, perform the lifts with good form, and work sufficiently hard. Working close enough to failure means you don’t want to leave more than one or two reps in the tank on your working sets.  Unfortunately, many people aren’t very good at knowing how close to failure they actually are during a set.  Taking your last set of each exercise is a foolproof way of making sure you maximized the stimulus and are working hard enough for your muscles to grow and validating your perceived exertion level on your preceding sets. For example, if you performed two sets of 6 repetitions with 200 and your perceived exertion was 9, meaning you could have performed only one more rep, but you’re able to perform 8 repetitions on your third and final working set, you now need to revise your RPE from a 9 to an 8 for your proceeding sets.

 

Modern powerlifters and old school/pre-steroid era bodybuilders often advocated avoiding muscle failure. They wanted to successfully perform a goal number of repetitions on each set. They wanted to build small wins. These small wins kept them motivated, because each victory was another step closer to their goal. After all, our goal is to get bigger and stronger, not failure. Bill Pearl often criticizes proponents of going to failure every set, by saying that it quickly led to overtraining, injuries, and mental burnout. He argues, who wants to go to the gym with the goal of constantly failing. He advocates stopping one or two repetitions short of failure. His advice follows a bodybuilding axiom, “stimulate, don’t annihilate” your muscles into growth. The key to muscle growth is progressive overload, not training to failure.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful. Could you please Like and Share if you

Discipline pushes us, motivation pulls us, but intentional habits keep us moving towards our goals.

Best wishes and Best Health!

Follow us on Facebook

See our most recent posts.

Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss, but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger.

cover page done

The book contains:

  • 7 Change Strategies for Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle
  • A Flexible Diet Program that Doesn’t Put Any Foods Off-limit,  including Alcohol
  • 20-Week Workout Log with Progress Assessments (Downloadable PDF)
  • 3 Strategies for Resetting your Body Weight Set point to Keep the Weight Off
  • A Nutrition and Training Program Based on Science, not Bro Science.

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Our BOOK The Fat Loss Habit is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! We would greatly appreciate a brief REVIEW. Your feedback is our best marketing tool and it will help us to make a better product. Your review will help other people who want to make a positive change by helping them to find our book.

Follow us on Facebook

Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Book Introduction

 The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Could you please Like and Share if you enjoyed this post. Best wishes and best health.