| Article Summary:
Whether you are the 20 year old bodybuilder who thinks he will live forever (time will fly by in the blink of an eye), or you are the 40 year old that knows he won't, there is something in this article to help balance out your intense athletic lifestyle.
You see, I really started to take my physique to a much higher level when I figured out that I had to focus on keeping my body fat levels lower in the off season. Not only was it easier to win first place in the show when I only had 10-15 pounds of fat in the 12 weeks before the show, but I felt and looked better and had more real energy year round.
For me it was a constant learning process and comes easier with maturity and experience. It is still important to me to be lean and place high against the worlds best truly drug-free bodybuilders in the WNBF. But what is more important to me is that I am healthy and balanced.
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Author, Darin Steen: "I Felt And Looked
Better And Had More Real Energy Year Round."
Can We Have It All?
What is the main ingredient in having a totally fulfilled life? Can someone really live life to the fullest, with no regrets and leave a lasting impact on family, friends, and even strangers, forever? Can we reach our true potential in all the major areas of our life: health, money, and relationships? Can we live both strong and long?
Can we have it all, a dream life, one that we envisioned when we were young innocent children? Can we remain independent well into our 90's and even 100's and age gracefully?
Absolutely! And a vital key to making it happen is our health and energy. I am talking real energy, not the kind from 4 cups of coffee in the morning, or from ephedrine (extreme fat loss pills), or diet pills.
I believe that most of those precursors were determined by the stress and the lifestyle choices of our ancestors. So by making better lifestyle choices we will not only give ourselves a better chance of living both strong and long, but we will help our future generations as well.
What Is The Key?
Well, one thing I have learned in my 43 years on this earth is that it is never one thing. But if I had to narrow it down, I would say it comes down to:
- Lowering Our Mental Toxins: Dealing with our emotional baggage from the past and looking forward with an optimistic attitude. Do not bury some unresolved issues. They will only sit, fester, and rear its ugly head in the future. Deal with it now and be done with it.
- Lowering Our Physical Toxins: Smoking cigarettes, keep intake of alcohol low (2-3 small drinks per week may be acceptable), cell phone radiation, pesticides, smog, recreation and prescription drugs. Do not abuse anything (even exercise). Anything in moderation is the key.
- Exercise: Building muscle mass with resistance and body weight training exercises and increasing the size and power of the heart and lunges by doing cardiovascular exercise (preferably interval style).
Long distance running is not ideal for fat burning or for building a bigger heart and lunges. Look at the physique of a sprinter compared to that of a marathon runner.
- Nutrition: Eating less processed foods while combining quality carbs and protein together for every meal, eating small meals often throughout the day to stabilize already normal blood sugar and insulin levels. If it is made in a plant, stay away from it. If comes from a plant, eat it.
- Optimistic & Grateful Mindset: Being thankful and grateful for what we do have now opens up our energy to the world and gets us ready to receive. Always try to find the positive in any given situation.
If you look hard enough, I promise you will find the silver lining in every cloud. This takes some training. But one easy way to do it is to hang around people who are good at it. And do not hang around people who are not.
- Creating Goals: We need to know what we want (health, money, relationships), write it down (on a 3 by 5 card and stick it in your pocket), read it out loud every day and night, get emotional, and visualize that we have already attained it.
Visualizing it is important, but not nearly as important as feeling the sweet emotion of victory and success. It is important when visualizing to go into the "theater of your mind" and think in pictures. I dare you to try this simple exercise for 2-3 minutes first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to sleep.
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Visualizing It Is Important, But Not Nearly As Important
As Feeling The Sweet Emotion Of Victory And Success.
- Time: With all the technology and modern devices, the plan was to make life easier. But what has happened is that we don't make good use of the extra time the technology has given us.
Most of us actually have much less quality time to do the things that are important to us, like talk and develop deeper relationships with our loved ones. We just fill the extra time up with other things that are supposed to save us time.
We all have the same amount of time in one day, 1440 minutes. Why is it that some seem to get so much more done than others? I think that it comes down to priorities.
We all have the ability to get the two or three things done that are most important to us. So if you put a priority on your health and fitness, then you are going to exercise and eat small healthy meals often through out the day.
Making A Change
The simple strategies to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, more than likely, come down to are you unhappy and uncomfortable enough with your present position in life? Are you ready to make changes? You see, if you throw a rat into boiling water, he is going to jump out immediately and save himself.
But if you put him in bath water and slowly warm the water to a boil he will stay in it and boil to death. What I am saying is that with everything that we have coming at us in the modern world of technology, most of us are not aware how our choices are limiting our ability to be healthy, energetic, and vibrant.
We are dull to our senses and we are not doing what it takes to change our lives. We need to stand up, look in the mirror and answer some hard questions.
You are exactly where you want to be right now. You've already taken the steps necessary to achieve your station in life, and not one bit more. And you're completely satisfied with that station in life. Even if you know you could be much leaner, stronger, more energetic, happier, and more successful. Now you might say "Well, that's not true - I know someone who is 100 pounds overweight and he's miserable!"
To which I say, no, he's satisfied. Clearly, the benefit he's deriving from his behaviors still outweighs the drawbacks, or else he'd change those behaviors! This article is primarily meant to inspire some self-analysis - not to provide hard and fast answers. However, if you'd like some avenues to pursue some serious reflection, here are a few:
- Develop self-reliant behavior - create the mindset that all of your limitations are self-imposed, because they are.
- Get out of your comfort zone (get into the boiling water) and find a way to enjoy it. In fact, you might even want to consider burning the boats (no recourse or way to retreat) and put your rear end on the line. It will light a fire underneath you. It will get you out of bed early and stay up late.
- Find out what works, and then do more of it. Find out what's derailing your efforts, and do less of that.
- Cultivate dissatisfaction. After all, that's why you're where you are now- you're satisfied with it. Visualize and focus what you want (and feel the emotion of already having it) 90% of the time, and visualize what you don't want 10% of the time.
- Seek out and cultivate empowering personal relationships. The people you spend the most time with have a profound effect on your life. Make sure it's a profoundly positive effect. You will turn into who you hang around.
Bottom line is that I know that we can all live an incredible life full of health, energy, and happiness. The more balanced and happy I become, the more I realize that there are people all over the world that are focusing on their health and energy first and then allowing the other pieces of the puzzle of their life to more effortlessly slip into place.
If you are ready, if you just got thrown into some boiling water, that is great because you are now on the right path to self-realization. Listen to what the pain is telling you. Make it a priority to slow down and take care of your own physical needs with a well thought out, time efficient exercise program.
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Keep things simple and focus on the Three Pillars of Health:
- The Thoughts That You Think
- The Foods That You Eat
- The Exercise That You Get
I know that we can get slightly out of balance for 12 weeks out of the year to look incredible on stage while staying more balanced the rest of the year.