It feels great. Being in really good shape.
I haven’t been to a gym in over two years – since I starting using this fitness program in summer of 2011.
Now I’ve been in San Diego for 22 weeks. I know that because we started the pull-up challenge the week I got here and we just marked our scores for week 22:
LB 20, NB 25, CH 27.
Last year I traveled around the world for 11 months using this program all the way. Here’s a recap quoted from FollowChris, posted on January 29, 2013:
“Doing some rough calculations, I estimate from my departure on January 27  until December 27  I had 196 scheduled workouts over 334 days. Of those 196 workouts I missed or skipped or otherwise did not perform perhaps 12 or 15 at most. That’s 93% of workouts completed and 55% out of all days, meaning I worked out more days than I didn’t. Over 11 months, living out of a backpack, with three pairs of underwear.”
This was also working out in a different place every few days on a somewhat irregular schedule with an inconsistent diet. So despite the great success from last year, I knew that in a stable location with more of those factors in my control, I could get even better results out of the program.
Me and Lindsay, my roommate/business partner/comrade in our quest for greatness, started into You Are Your Own Gym the week of February 11 and just completed our second 10-week cycle, this at the advanced difficultly level. Lindsay got sick and missed a week, so it actually took us 21 real-time weeks to finish 20 workout weeks.
Outside of the two weeks I did in Fresno it’s all been here in San Diego. Which means we’ve had a consistent routine, we know where and how we’re going to do our exercises, and we’ve had a fairly consistent and mostly healthy diet.
On top of our strength training we’ve been adding up the extras lately: surfing, ab workouts, runs, racquetball, and just last Saturday we did a 44-mile bicycle ride to Torrey Pines and back. Which, by the way, the last two uphills took me to the absolute physical limit before complete leg and body failure, and close to the same for Lindsay and Randal. Only willpower carried us to the top. So, good thing we have that.
It’s been two years since I got serious about fitness and started using Your Gym. The results have been outstanding and predictable. I say predictable because when you dedicate yourself to something it’s normally because you know what you’re going to get. I’m doing what I set out to do and I’m getting what I expected.
By far I’m the strongest and leanest I’ve ever been. We have a very high intensity in our short workouts. My current max is now 27, but I can rep 20 pull-ups any time on call. I had to punch another hole in my belt and most of my pants won’t stay up anymore without it. I hadn’t weighed myself in months, but just a couple days ago stepped onto the scale: 180 exactly.
Two years ago I was somewhere between 190-200, but to be honest I’ve never much thought about my weight. Because it’s not about what I weigh, but about how I feel. Which is great.
And it’s not just the physical feeling. It’s well known that exercise is good for the body and mind, but there is a powerful psychological benefit as well: I feel better about myself. I know that I have self-discipline (in at least one area of my life if not all), and that I can stick to something, and advance and become stronger through hard work and dedication. I feel more like the person I want to be.
When you start to believe those things it creates self-confidence and stronger belief in yourself. If you can do it in one area of your life, you can do it elsewhere. You have the power to affect outcomes, and you’re in control.
Here’s a question for you: what would it feel like if you were in outstanding physical shape? Take a minute to picture that: what would it look like? How would your body be different? What would you be able to do, say from an athletic perspective? How would it affect your health, now and for the rest of your life? How would you feel about yourself?
Finally: what excuse do you have for not being able to exercise 20-30 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week, for your personal fitness and vitality?
The answer is there are countless excuses, and many quite legitimate. You have to get things done: work, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and watching your kids and paying bills and checking your emails. Those things have to get done.
And it’s hard. Exercising hurts a little bit. It creates discomfort and muscle strain and fatigue. There is pain involved.
But you cannot accept these things – anything – as an excuse. Ever. Overcoming the excuses is where the difference lies between success, and a slow, waning, eventual failure.
No excuses is the only way it’s actually going to happen. Because when you’re done reading this, you are responsible for your own health and fitness. Despite all factors and circumstances, whatever your situation in life.
I’m still reading Brian Tracy’s “No Excuses.” He tells us that blaming people or circumstances or inanimate objects for the things that make us angry or unhappy is a fruitless escape from reality. He coaches to say one phrase: “I am responsible.” For my own life, for my career, my fitness, my relationships, my health and education and financial situation and everything else. That no matter what the circumstances, you are responsible for everything in your own life.
I ask you these questions because it feels good to be fit right now, and that flows into the rest of your life.
Especially to the people reading who are badly out of shape, self-conscious, overweight, or feel hopeless:
You can do it. Start small, tomorrow. Make a resolution. Start a streak. See how many days in a row you can exercise. Then see how many weeks in a row doing four days a week. There’s real power in starting a streak.
It’s going to take hard work and dedication but I promise you it will pay off. You’ll feel better. And live longer. And be happier with yourself.
Your life depends on it.
And if you’re already crushing it then I know you’re on the bandwagon.
Click here if you want a full breakdown on Mark Lauren’s “You Are Your Own Gym,” or click here for all my fitness posts. Or start a different fitness routine, you can probably find one on http://www.google.com.
The only caveat is that whatever the programs and diets and equipment and memberships and bullshit you find, it’s going to take hard work and dedication. There are no shortcuts.
Take charge. Start now. Be the person you want to be.