Name: Jennifer Dawn
Occupation: IFBB Bikini pro and Dymatize athlete
If you want to have a career in fitness, you have to train your mind and body to overcome the unexpected. You have to work hard consistently, even when you may not want to. In short, you have to live by a personal set of laws that help you surmount any obstacle and stay on track toward your fitness goals.
When you take up fitness as your career or lifestyle, you have to continually set, meet, and exceed new physical standards every year. In 2010, I started training for the NPC, at which point my physical goals switched from athletics to aesthetics. I combined my love for fitness with the newfound allure of center stage. I didn't expect that change, but I adjusted.
So how do I train for the unexpected, meet new goals every year, and continue pushing my body to the limits?
I abide by my 7 Laws of the Fit Life, and so should you!
Wake up naturally
Alas, I rarely get eight solid hours of sleep. My mind doesn't let me fall asleep easily, so instead of cutting my sleep short with early alarms, I'm learning to let my subconscious work for me. I try not to worry about waking up in time, and instead just trust that I will.
Sure, I still set 2-3 alarms on really important days, but I do my best to wake up naturally. This has helped the quality and quantity of my sleep immensely!
Wake up and drink water
I drink at least two cups of plain water immediately after I wake up. I then drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water. I then mix 20 ounces of Dymatize Amino Pro to take with me to work or—if I got up early enough—to drink during my fasted morning cardio.
Bring your lunch
Shift work can be unpredictable, and the chances of missing a lunch break are high in a busy world. Bring something you can eat cold, and only fast when you are in a pinch.
Hot food is overrated! Cook your chicken, steak, or salmon, and then slip it into the fridge. These are terrific protein sources you can eat straight out of the refrigerator. Sweet potato, green beans, or broccoli are often better cold than hot, as well.
If you are on the run and feel like you really need to heat your lunch, pack a meal that you can heat up at the gas station microwave or in your break room.
If I'm really in a rush, I always carry a small container full of Dymatize ISO-100 whey protein. A quick protein shake or some fast aminos can satiate hunger and power you through rough spots.
Train to give chase
Training has a bit of a predator vs. prey dynamic. You are the predator and your workout is the prey. You need to get out there and kill it! You need endurance, of course, but you also need short bursts of physical activity to feast on those goals. Most foot pursuits are over in less than a mile. Learn to sprint like a predator!
Warm-up: Jog 2 laps around the track and stretch; 3 x 300 meters; 4 x 200 meters; 5 x 100 meters; 10 x 50 meters
Get up and over
You are going to face obstacles in life and in the gym. Prepare yourself by voluntarily going over the top and up the rope. Obstacle and endurance races ask you to go through some serious challenges. Be ready. Know in your mind that you can lift your body.
Here's a quick workout I love to use to prepare my body for any obstacle:
- Box Jump (Or barrier climb)
to failure or fatigue
3 sets to failure
(assisted, if necessary)
- Rope Climb
- Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
5 sets of 12 reps, dropset on last set
- Seated Cable Rows
5 sets of 12 reps, dropset on last set
I want to be prepared for any physical situation, so I like to learn how to use my strength in a practical way. If you see a car stranded in the roadway, hop out and help. Think of it as a chance to practice for the day when you are stranded and no one is there to help you. In that moment, when you're all alone, you must be strong enough to care for yourself.
Train your mind
The most important aspect of living fit is fostering mental strength. You don't just develop toughness overnight. It is forged through the heat of trial and error. As a peace officer, a pro athlete, and even as a private citizen, I sometimes encounter dangerous situations. It is a violent and unpredictable world, so I train my mind to be ready for anything. I like to repeat, "I will survive. I will relentlessly fight for the innocent. I will never give up."
What mantra motivates you?