I think that everyone can look back over the course of their life and pick out things that they would do differently or advice that they would give themselves ten years ago. However, many of us also wouldn’t change a thing about how we lived our lives because then we wouldn’t be who we were today. I understand the idea behind wanting to tell your old self something, but what I’ve discovered is that it doesn’t do any good thinking about it. Sure, I wish I could tell my old self that the girl I was about to kiss was freakin’ nuts and I should definitely not do that, but I can’t and I’ve learned from it.
What I don’t understand is why we don’t tell people what we wished we knew earlier in life. Is it because we’re afraid they wont listen or won’t care? Is it because we’re selfish and don’t want anyone to get a leg up on us? I don’t know what the answer is, but in my opinion it’s because we don’t have enough real conversations with people these days. I’m not going to go into an old man rant here about how we should get off our cell phones because I’m on my phone right now, but having real conversations with people has made my life significantly better. Since this is a fitness blog I will break up this post into two lists, one about fitness and the other about life in general.
If I Could Start my Fitness Journey Over
- Squat Heavy and Squat Often- Early in my lifting career I made the mistake of thinking that tennis would provide enough stimulus to my legs so I avoided squatting. I still trained legs but only in a higher rep range and on a leg press machine, with some deadlifts and other stuff. Once I started squatting my whole athletic career took off. I could run faster, jump higher, hit (tennis balls) harder and last longer into matches. There’s something about picking up a heavy ass barbell and squatting it that makes everything else seem easy by contrast.
- Build a Bigger Base- I’ve made references to base building in the past and I really need to stop being lazy and make a real post on it eventually. Anyways, I want you to think about a pyramid, like a freaking gigantic pyramid that blows your socks off. What do you notice about the pyramid? Maybe that the base is really really damn big, and this is because the height of the pyramid is dictated by the width of it’s base. The same is true for your fitness journey, the more basics you master the bigger your base becomes and the higher your fitness journey can go. Don’t be afraid to try out bodybuilding, cross fit (if you’re in shape and know what you’re doing, don’t be dumb), strongman or powerlifting because all of them will build a wider base for you to specialize later. I think that athletes from all areas have something to learn from eachother and to ignore someone with experience is to miss out on an opportunity. So go try out different disciplines, get good at them and maybe one of them will tickle your fancy.
- Eat More Good Food- When I first started lifting I was focused on maintaining my “abs.” Before we go any further I just want to say if you’re an average height male and severely underweight because you want abs then please eat more food because your abs aren’t healthy. It’s okay if you don’t have abs all the time because your body isn’t built to run lean all year round and it will start to fall apart on you. My nutrition basics are this, eat an animal that died for you (unless you’re a vegetarian) with a source of carbs and some veggies 4-6 times a day. Simple, effective and you’ll be mind blown by how much muscle you put on. Also if you struggle to gain weight then feel free to eat pizza and ice cream to fill in your calories for the day.
My Life List
- Tell Your Loved Ones I Love You Whenever You Leave- It’s the simplest thing that will make the biggest difference in your life. Saying “I love you Mom” whenver you leave the house or get off the phone with her will make both of your days better. Everyone loves to be told positive things so by affirming your love for your family you leave them on a positive note whenever you leave. On a depressing note, you never know when the last time you see someone will be so what do you want your last words to them to consist of? Probably not, “Yeah I’ll do the dishes when I get home.”
- Talk About Things That Matter- Okay don’t start up a conversation about religion with your barista at Starbucks because no one has that time and I want my latte dammit! I know that as a rule of thumb you shouldn’t talk about politics or religion with people, but what else is there to talk about after a while? Yes you can talk about the Cowboys, the Olympics, your cute dog or your favorite band, but in the end your relationships will be dictated by bigger issues. I think that it’s important to communicate with people who you are and what you believe because if you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything. Don’t go into a conversation looking to pick a fight either, we have enough conflict in the world as it is. Have you ever brought up a topic like abortion or religion and listened instead of talked? You can learn a lot about someone based on their response to a topic like this, and whether or not you agree or disagree with that person you’ve learned something. You don’t always need to talk to have a conversation.
- Listen Intensely- This is one that I still struggle with on a daily basis, you should try to listen to everyone like it’s the first time they’ve ever talked to you. I’m going to be super honest guys, I suck so much at listening to people talk about their day… I honestly just don’t care what you ate for lunch or how much homework you have because it’s the same everyday. However, what I’ve come to realize is that everyone leads a life just as intricate as ours and we don’t even realize it. Yes both of us ate lunch, but my experience at Taco Bell is going to be different than yours because we are different people even though we had the exact same meal, from the exact same place, at the exact same time. If you don’t listen intensely to people then you show a general disinterest in them, and I doubt you want to feel that way. Also the more you listen the more you learn so there’s always that.
- Feel Your Feelings- I don’t know why it’s bad for us to show emotion, but every little boy has been told to “Man up” and every little girl has been told to smile through pain. To that all I have to say is SCREW THAT, take that macho man BS and go somewhere else with it. It’s okay to mad, sad, grumpy or whatever emotion you have as long as you don’t let it rule your life. If you’re pissed off then be pissed off for a couple minutes and then get over it, but don’t bury your emotions. My mom used to tell me, “It’s okay to sit on the pitty potty, but at some point you need to take care of business and flush.” It always made me laugh because… do I actually need a reason to laugh at that? It’s just funny. Okay anyways you get the point, feel your feels then move on. I agree that positivity is very important, but I’ve never been able to be solely positive in bad situations. In my experience letting yourself feel and then making the best of the situation is the best way to get the job done.
I hope that this post has helped you guys in some form or fashion, if you liked it or hated it then leave a comment below!