5 Signs Discipline Is Not Your Problem

(Snappy sentence to get the reader’s beak wet.)

(Paragraph explaining why this topic is important.)

(Bad Pun).

1. You wake up with an alarm

Waking up to an alarm might be the most painful part of the day. When my alarm goes off I shriek like I’m being stabbed in the spleen.

Yet somehow we manage to do this day in day out. It requires a metric shit-ton of discipline to do something that uncomfortable day in day out.

2. You have a consistent job

Staying at a job, especially one you hate, requires an additional shit-ton of discipline. In fact, eating better might be so goddamn hard because you exhaust tons of willpower holding your tongue instead of telling your boss what you really think.

3. You have kids

You don’t need to have kids to know that parenting is TOUGH.

While I don’t have kids. I was one once upon a time.

And I was a little asshole. I can’t even imagine how much discipline is needed to parent the most mellow children, let alone a specimen like myself.

4. You graduated

School is grueling.

If you made it through school, even with all the procrastination, you have demonstrated an immense capacity for persistence and discipline.

Writing tons of papers on topics you may or may not care about is no easy task, my friend.

The option of quitting is always present whether we consider it or not.

5. You’ve stuck with anything for an extended period of time

Fitness people don’t have more or less discipline than anyone else. They just have different habits. Furthermore, it’s what they LIKE to do!

Enter Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck :

“Fitness entrepreneurs want to do the minimal work and still expect a huge return. It’s easy for fitness entrepreneurs to do the push ups, to do the squats and deadlifts because that is exactly what got them to where they are now. They started in fitness and now they want to make money just by having those guns or that body. They default into what is easy without recognizing what is hard: running an actual business.

You know what was hard for me? Waking up early. Not eating what I wanted to eat. Powering through workouts. Yet it was easy to build 50M dollar businesses.”

This is why picking an exercise style you enjoy is the most important factor for success. Consistency trumps everything. Consistency requires the discipline to take things slowly.

When people tell me they need more discipline to get fit, I gently tell them I’m not convinced.

Simply getting through this struggle called life takes discipline.

discipline

While I may not have met you, I know you have demonstrated discipline and persistence in more than a few instances throughout your life.  

Justifications

You’re probably like me. Since you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re somewhat hard on yourself.

I can hear the justifications for why none of these “signs” are a big deal and that you do them because you have to.

Here’s the truth.

You don’t.

You could quit your job.

You could be a shitty parent who isn’t invested in their kids’ well-being.

Even if your parents were “making” you go to school, you could have walked away. Yes, your parents would have been pissed. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t an option.

We always have a choice– Even when there are physical repercussions or risks we still have a choice.

“I can’t steal a car because then I’d go to jail”

That doesn’t stop people from doing it. Legality alone isn’t what’s stopping you becoming a car thief. I’m willing to bet you have other reasons.

I can’t make anybody do anything. And I don’t want to.

Being too positive is delusional. However, us pessimists are dishonest with ourselves too. Excessive negativity perpetuates inaccuracy.

Being gentle with ourselves is about having a more precise, realistic view of how we navigate this shit-storm called life.

It’s about being honest for the things we have done well so we can do more things well.

One aspect of my role in  the Tribe of Badassery Online Coaching Group, is to help the tribe actualize the capacity for persistence they already have. We cultivate a culture of judgement-free self-honesty (read accountability and support) and trust. This means the members of the group can transfer their disciplined nature to their fitness struggles so they can carry groceries up the stairs without feeling out of shape and get rid of the anxiety of wearing a tank top.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Sit down with a piece of paper and pen. Write down at least 5 times you demonstrated discipline and persistence.
  2. For each of those times write out 5 reasons you were able to be disciplined and persistent.
  3. Write out at least 5 reasons why your fitness goal is important to. Try to find every single reason, but write down at least 5.
  4. Brainstorm some ways you could exercise persistence with your fitness goal.
  5. Join my free Facebook group and share your reflections with amazing people who are going through the same struggles as you. Sharing your reflection will help someone be a more awesome version of themselves, but there’s no pressure if you don’t feel comfortable with the idea. Either way, we would love to have you.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

 

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How To Gauge Fat Loss Progress Accurately

First off, we ought to be focusing on the process based goals rather than results based goals.

Why?

  1. It keeps us sane
  2. It keeps us honest
  3. It keeps us moving forward consistently, and consistency trumps everything.

We have zero control over how fast results happen. This means focusing solely on outcomes is inherently problematic and inaccurate.

That said, some folks work really well with periodic result analysis. Furthermore, it’s not an either/or situation. You can focus on the process, while still using measurements to analyze the efficacy your fat loss strategy.

The point of measurements is to find the gaps in your game–to discover the way forward. The goal is to get information, not validation.

We should only take measurements, and I’m more or less quoting Coach Stevo here, “if we can look at them with the same objectivity as if we were counting the white cars in the parking lot”.

There needs to be zero emotional investment in the outcomes of the measurements for them to be an effective tool.

Now in my last post, I discussed the infamous fat loss plateau. I even gave some general tips on how to break through a plateau.

Today is about figuring out what to change specifically to conquer a plateau. Keep in mind, there isn’t one single way to take good measurements. This is just the way that makes sense for me and the awesome people I work with in my Online Fat Loss Groups.

Here we go

Pick 3 types of measurements. Every measurement method has a degree of uncertainty to it. We can lessen this degree of uncertainty by taking multiple measurements.

Here are my recommendations. These are based on the information they can yield but also convenience and accessibility.

Measuring Tape

Why: When my clients ask how to gauge results I often recommend paying attention to how their clothes fit. That’s what we want anyways, right? For our clothes to fit better? To be able to fit into the jeans we wore in college? This method is working on that same principal, except with numbers.

How: Wrap the tape around the belly button, belt-line, upper arm, and mid thigh. Or even just pick one of them. Record your measurements.

The grain of salt: The tricky part here is taking the measurement in the exact same spot. Do your best to measure the same point every time.

The Scale

I’ve talked a lot of shit on the scale in the past. I still do. However, it’s a tool that can be useful. A hammer is great if I don’t drop it on my foot.

Just to be clear, don’t take these measurements if they make you feel crazy.

Why/The grain of salt: The scale tells us whether or not we’re eating for weight gain, weight loss, or maintenance. That’s it.

Regardless of our body composition, consuming more calories than we burn causes weight gain. Note that I didn’t say FAT gain. The scale tells us nothing about body composition–whether the weight is fat or muscle.

The scale tells us if we’re eating too many calories or not enough.

Weight fluctuates for an insane amount of different reasons. Try to be mindful of this. For example, weighing yourself on your period will yield zero useful information for your fat loss goals.

How: First thing in the morning before you have consumed ANYTHING. For more accurate readings, weigh yourself 3 days in a row and take the average.

Calipers/Skin-Fold Measurements:

Why: Here we’re dealing with the muscle to fat ratio. This is what fat loss really boils down to. I’ve had many clients confess they don’t care what the scale says if they looked and felt leaner. So that’s what happens.

How: Make a C with your thumb and index finger. Pinch a piece of skin and pull it out a little. Clamp the calipers onto the fold of skin. Record your measurements.

My recommendations for locations to test are on the stomach (one inch to the right of the belly button), the front of the mid-thigh, and the bicep.

The grain of salt: You’re not going to be pinching the EXACT same spot each time you take these measurements. Just do the best you can.

When to take measurements and what to do with your findings

Take measurements every 3 weeks. 3 weeks is enough time for stuff to happen. It’s enough time to know if what we’re doing is working.

If at least 2 out of 3 tests say we’re getting results, we’re good. Stay the course. If we get 1 out of 3 or less we need to reassess.

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll show you what to do if our measurements tell us we need to reassess our fat loss strategy.

The first time you take measurements serves a unique purpose. The first test only serves as something to compare your other measurements with.

But remember, no emotion. None. Be a robot.

1a 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

P.S. For further reading on this topic, check out Josh Hillis and Dan John’s book Fat Loss Happens on Monday. Full disclosure, I don’t get a cent from this. It’s just really good information.

I borrowed, and by “borrowed” I mean shamelessly stole, a lot from this book for this post. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

Why The Notorious Plateau Is A Good Thing And How To Move Past It

The plateau isn’t just a river in Egypt.

That’s how that phrase goes right?

The plateau might be the most well known geological metaphor in fitness.

And we hate that metaphor.

We hate that things were going so smooth, we were losing weight, we were getting stronger, our clothes were fitting better, we were feeling super awesome and confident, we were feeling steadfast and determined.

Then everything came to a screeching halt.

It sucks. Everything was going so well.

Now we begin to question our methods. Because we are inquisitive and adventurous, we start exploring different fitness strategies. This can be a great thing. However, the plateau makes us impatient. This means we bounce around from method to method too quickly. We don’t give each one an honest try.

It’s frustrating, especially when we compare this plateau period to how quickly progress was happening before.

The plateau is actually a good thing.

Maybe even a great thing. In fact, the end goal is to plateau.

The enemy of all dieters is the yoyo and the instability that brings. The plateau is the opposite of this.

yoyo

It might feel like stagnation. And there’s no denying the frustration.

That shit is valid.

That said, the plateau can be necessary.

People plateau for different reasons. Sometimes it’s because they hit that “10 lbs to go!” mark where the game gets a little trickier. Sometimes it’s because work got insane so they don’t have as much time or energy to devote to fat loss. These are the most common reasons I encounter in my Online Coaching Groups. However, I’m sure there are many more.

Either way the plateau IS progress.

Weight loss isn’t actually the problem. We are actually really fucking good at weight loss. We just aren’t good at weight maintenance.

So if we can hold our position without yoyoing, that’s YUGE.

When we plateau, we’re solidifying our new, healthy habits rather than reverting to old ones. Each day we continue to fortify a foundation that will make it easier to build habits that will help us move past this plateau.

Progress doesn’t always look like forward movement. When we drive somewhere, rarely can we drive along the hypotenuse to get there. Pythagoras Motherfucker! Told you that shit would be useful one day!

pythagoras-theorem

I know it’s frustrating. Immensely so.

And saying just to be patient is pretty nebulous advice. So I’ll give some actionable advice you can implement today.

Either way, remember to have the courage to be patient. This isn’t a “quick fix” or a replacement for patience. It’s a recommendation in concordance with patience.

Change your focus. Work towards different goals for a time.

If you’ve been focusing on weight loss, focus on strength, or learning a skill or a sport etc. Rather than doing the different things with the same focus and same mentality, try focusing on something different that has overlap with your original goal.

An example of this is the goal of learning a chin-up. While not explicitly dependent on weight loss, losing weight will certainly make getting that first chin-up easier.

The point is, shake things up a bit.

REALLY focus on something different for a while. Often times the “fix” for the plateau happens without us even realizing it.

Life’s funny that way.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

 

Do I Need To Be Hungry To Lose Weight?

What exactly do we mean by hunger?

Let’s lay down a few terms.

Level 1: Sort of hungry: I could eat a little something, but I’m not ravenous.

Level 2: Hungry: If I don’t eat something in an hour I’m going to be really hungry.

Level 3: Really Hungry: Thanksgiving sounds perfect.

Level 4: Hangry: When did you turn into a hot dog? Also, why do I HATE EVERYONE ALL OF THE SUDDEN!?!

Level 5: Hangry Like the Wolf: My stomach is about to implode in on itself. I’m too famished to be pissy. I’m in physical pain. Carry me up the mountain Sam!

samwise

You don’t need to be Level 3 hungry all the time to lose weight. Maybe if you’re cutting weight for a fight or a photoshoot or something like that, maybe. I just don’t know. That’s not my field of expertise. That’s not who I speak to when I write.

Phew! Glad that’s out of the way!

Who am I speaking to?

People who want a reasonable level of leanness. They want some muscular definition. They want to feel hot when they’re nekkid. They’re not trying to get to -3% body fat or whatever. They just don’t want to feel flabby.

You don’t need to starve yourself and be miserable to make your thighs and stomach feel tighter.

However, it is necessary to deal with hunger in it’s many forms. For instance, we shouldn’t panic when hunger hits. That’s a signal that it’s time to eat.

So in this sense yes, we do need to feel hungry…sometimes. However, we don’t need to be hungry.

Depending on how lean you’re trying to get and how lean you are presently, the relationship with hunger is going to be slightly different.

And in some cases it will be required that we feel Level 1 hunger often. However, being perpetually Level 2 hungry or higher, isn’t necessary or productive in any case. 

Let’s take two scenarios and discuss how hunger relates to fat loss with each.

I feel like I have a lot of weight to lose

If you do your nutrition right you don’t need to feel chronic hunger.

We can balance satiety with a caloric deficit by getting most (80-90%) of our calories from things like lean proteins and colorful plants. If you’re eating like this, even if you go a little overboard on portions, you’ll still probably end up dropping weight.

You can technically lose weight eating hamburgers and french fries all the time, but then we have to worry about portion control and shit. And honestly, that’s just more effort than I’m willing to put in. But if that works for you, if that’s an easier habit to change, awesome 🙂

At this point in the fat loss journey, we have a bit of wiggle room. We can maintain a large caloric deficit without adverse health effects. As you lean out, you won’t be able to cut calories this drastically. This is because you won’t have as many calories to cut out!

The less you weigh, the less calories are required to maintain that weight. The heavier you are, the more calories your body needs to sustain itself.

Cutting 1,000 calories means very different things to a 100 lbs individual vs. a 200 lbs individual.

I’m on the last leg of my fat loss journey. Do I need to be Level 2 hungry all the time?

No.

Level 1? Maybe?

Level 2? Probably not.

People often hit a plateau at this point. The game changes a little bit.

Because you have less calories to spare there’s a greater chance that losing additional weight will require being Level 1 hungry often.

This also depends on how fast you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re willing to be patient, we don’t need to feel hungry as often. This is what I recommend in my Online Fat Loss Groups. However, my clients goals are their own, so I help them with whatever they want help with.

I recommend using portion control as a last resort because it’s hard and often unnecessary. Improving food quality and listening to hunger cues is usually enough.

Only after a client has their food quality dialed in (lean proteins and veggies=90% of diet) will we look at portion sizes.

Smaller portions may result in feeling Level 1 hunger more often, at least until you reach your goal weight.

Sometimes we’re not actually as hungry as we think. It takes time to adjust to smaller portions, physically and mentally.

And we still want to limit feelings of deprivation. This will take some experimentation to find a happy medium between enjoyment, sustainability, and results

We still want fat loss to be as easy as we can make it. That said, pushing through a plateau is challenging. That’s why it’s a plateau.

If you’ve hit this plateau and don’t know what to do, measurements can be helpful. That said, if taking measurements can make you feel crazy and/or upset, it’s not a good idea for the time being.

Measurements are a tool to assess gaps in your strategy. Only take measurements if you can analyze them objectively, with zero emotion. This means don’t look at the scale unless it gives you no feelz whatsoever. Not one single feel.

In any case, feeling really hungry occasionally isn’t the end of the world.

Hanger makes choosing healthy foods more difficult psychologically. However, it’s just an unpleasant feeling, not unlike being exhausted or having to pee really bad (totally stole this comparison from an interview with Georgie Fear btw).

We have to deal with unpleasant feelings from time to time because life.

The big takeaway here is that learning to listen to our hunger cues is important and takes time to master.

Listening to hunger cues entails 3 main tenets

  1. Eating when we’re hungry.
  2. Stopping when we’re satisfied.
  3. Not deliberately making ourselves ravenous in an effort to cut calories.

We want to moderate hanger so that making healthier choices is easier. However, we also want to be OK with the feeling of hunger as that’s our body telling us it’s time to eat.

On that note, I’m getting pretty hungry. Bagel time!

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Fat Loss” 🙂

 

Weekly Fitness Reads: 4/4/16

Social Sabotage: How to Respond to Criticism About Your Food and Exercise

Everyone on a fitness journey has experienced this to some degree. This a fantastic write up on the social hurdles that make fitness even harder than it already is. Unsupportive (often unintentionally so) social situations present the biggest detriment to success. The flip side of this is that the right group, the right community, has the biggest positive impact on success. I’m not saying to ditch your friends if they don’t know how to help you. I’m simply recommending you seek out people who are going through the same journey as you. That’s a different discussion though 🙂

Building Core Control with “The Bear”

I’m mortally terrified of bears. Any physical form of defense, outside of using tools, a bear can do better than a human. Think about it. They’re better evolved for running, swimming, climbing, you name it. And they’re certainly stronger. And they have claws and teeth. When I heard the name of this exercise I did have a moment of dread. Upon further exploration I came to realize this bear was not something to be feared, but to be celebrated.

5 Fat Loss Mistakes That Most People Miss

Most of the problems we have with fat loss are a matter of implementation. And implementation is a balance between strategy and perspective. I know that sounds vague and unexciting. This is because what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. We’re different people, with different lives. That said, there are some strategies and tips that work often and are worth a try. Just remember that this is all an experiment.

 

Learn more about sustainable, non-obsessive, no bullshit fat loss at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/

A Glimpse of Things to Come

The next few months will be insane.

In just two weeks I will be shipping out to Bangkok. For two months I’ll be traveling all by my lonesome, making my way through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Suffice to say I’m ecstatic.

And that’s not all! I am moving across the damn country to New York City within a week of my return to the US of A.

Naturally I am nervous, excited, impatient, and a million other things. The phrase that articulates this scattered web of emotions is, “freaking fuck out”. This next chapter of life will be an interesting one for sure.

That said, shit’s been crazy lately. What will be the most drastic changes of my life are just around the corner, and I have much to do before January 3rd.

It’s tough to wrap my head around. A dramatic shifting of priorities is enough to make anyone feel shaky and uncertain.

Throughout all of this craziness I’ve been trying to learn to speak Spanish.

I’ve always regretted that I didn’t take advantage of my 4 years of high school Spanish. At the time I preferred to stare at the wall, wishing time would move faster.

I’ve made efforts to become fluent in the past, but they never really stuck. My studying habits were never consistent. Naturally, I didn’t make much headway.

This changed throughout this past year when my efforts became consistent.

For a time, studying Spanish was my favorite way to relax and pass the time. I would marathon La Fea Mas Bella on Netflix(with subtitles) until the bastards removed it. I would read Spanish literature, listen to podcasts, mess around on Duolingo– you name it.

La_fea_más_bella_poster

I was putting in tons of reps to honing my language skills, and was proud of my efforts.

Learning a language is hard work. It can be frustrating at times as it’s hard to gauge progress. Some days it seems you can understand everything, like fluency is just around the corner. Other days it feels like I might as well be learning Klingon.

warf

As the realization of my fate loomed closer, things changed.

I simply haven’t felt like studying Spanish every waking moment. I don’t have the brain space anymore. My motivation for this task feels exhausted.

My focus and mental energy is simply being used up in other facets, more pressing facets. I have other shit to get done, shit that MUST be done before 2 weeks is up. Spanish will have to sit on the sidelines. For the moment.

However, I’ve still managed to keep up with some study habits. I’ve been doing one hour Spanish lessons over skype once a week. Truthfully some days I feel resistant and want to cancel my class. Yesterday was one of those days. But for whatever reason I haven’t yet and am always happy after class.

Nowadays, my Spanish practice consists of reading aloud a paragraph or two from a Spanish language newspaper, once a day, plus my Skype lesson. That’s it.

That’s a HUGE reduction from the time and effort I was devoting to Spanish a few months ago. This sounds like a lot on paper but it’s probably only about 2 hours a week all total.

It feels like I’m not doing enough. It feels like I’m blowing it. Like I should be doing everything I was doing despite different circumstances and priorities. However, whenever I chat with Maria, mi profesora, it seems like I’m still getting better.

Sometimes our feelings and reflections on our efforts can be misleading. We are all doing the best we can. Doing just a teency bit of spanish practice a day feels like nothing, it feels like I’m failing. But it’s still something. And it’s really all I can do right now. Apparently it’s adding up. I still stumble over words often, but I’m moving forward… apparently.

Staying consistent with something is enough to progress. Priorities change. Life is not static.

The intensity of our efforts will oscillate throughout our journey.

Some roads are straight and boring like the 5 down to LA, or whatever that road is that goes through Nevada. We can go fast here. The miles on the odometer add up pretty quick.

Some roads are windy and require that we slow down a bit and focus on the curve in front of us so we don’t end up careening off a cliff to our doom. DOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!*

Our own speed limit changes depending on the surroundings. It’s important to listen to those speed limit signs. We may be able to go a little over or a little under the speed limit, but we’re still close to the mark.

This means we’re moving at exactly the speed we ought to be. It might feel like we’re slogging along in comparison to that 70 mph patch of road we just exited, but 30 mph is a great speed to travel at sometimes.

Effort isn’t directly tied to results in a 1:1 relationship. It’s not that simple.

So what is the ratio of effort to results? Who knows? There isn’t really an answer for that aside from “it depends”.

We don’t know how fast we’ll progress. We do know that if we keep driving in some capacity, we’ll reach our destination.

 

*Ok that was a tad grim. It’s not THAT dramatic if we screw up. Mess ups are ok. This is where the car analogy falters. What really happens when we careen off the cliff? That cloud dude from Super Mario Bros. swoops you up and gently sets you down right where you fell.

P.S. As I’ll be relocating to NYC in early March I’ll be taking on new clients and would love to work with you! I’ve helped tons of Californians become more awesome, fit, adventurous, non-obsessive versions of themselves and am super excited to help New Yorkers do the same!

Want to get in on the action? Fill out this short application to get first priority!

P.S.S. Don’t want to wait 2 months? I’m also accepting new members for my online coaching groups!

Simply fill out THIS application(Hint:it’s the same form)

I’m A Fool

A damned fool.

Facebook just reminded me of this, and I’m pretty embarrassed about it.

Here’s what happened. Facebook does this thing now where it shows you things you posted years ago, whether you want it to or not. So 3 years ago I shared an article that spoke of the terrible evils of sugar. The piece essentially claimed that sugar caused all of the world’s problems from global warming to Donald Trump. And here’s the kicker. My caption: Wow, so sugar is apparently as addictive as cocaine.

picard facepalm

This is the type of fear mongering that I rail against today. While I’m damn embarrassed about this, it’s a nice little reminder not to be pompous about anything, because there’s a good chance I’m wrong(except about Donald Trump, if he becomes president I’m getting my ass to Mars).

My embarrassment stems from fear. My biggest fear as a coach is doing harm, that I’m not actually helping and that I’m making things worse. When I saw what I had posted 3 years ago, a knot manifested itself in my stomach. Perpetuating such nonsense is surely detrimental to helping folks build a healthy relationship with food. Ugh.

So what’s the point Jeff? You’re confessing your sins blah blah blah…get on with it!

Here’s the point!

Being an inexperienced fool is part of learning ANYTHING. And that’s completely Ok. Being wrong and screwing up is part of the process, it’s inevitable and necessary. And of equal importance, admitting when you’re wrong is how you get better.

And I can logically come to terms with this, but that doesn’t mean that I like being reminded of how bad I used to be at my job. Thanks Facebook.

Looking back and seeing where we’ve made mistakes means we’ve moved forward. That’s what’s important–forward movement. So long as we keep moving forward, we know we’ll get to where we want to go. Admitting when we’re wrong may feel extremely uncomfortable, but doing so is a crucial act of mindfulness that will help you build forward momentum and continue to get better.