[Reading time: 13 minutes]
Waking up for me used to suck.
Every morning was like a symphony of pops and cracks accompanied by a chorus of aches and pains. Why did I feel so old? I was only in my mid-twenties.
Instead of sharing my story of how I've fixed my body from sitting, misuse and imbalances (you can read about that here), I want to dive deep and go hard into strategies you can use right now to start feeling better today.
What follows is a step-by-step, concrete path you can follow to get your body back to feeling unstoppable, no matter where you are.
We'll address rebuilding your body from a holistic point of view, uncovering what's holding you back, and how to fix it permanently.
Sound good? First, we need to start with your story.
Your story about your body probably sucks. I know mine did.
For years I thought it was just a slow, inevitable downhill. I thought it was "too late" for me to do parkour, climbing, BJJ or be athletic at a high level. This was at 23 years old. I know, insane.
But that was the shitty story I unknowingly, subliminally picked up. Somehow along the way, I had been indoctrinated into this belief system that I never even agreed to.
Ask yourself, what do you believe about your body? Truthfully, what do you believe?
Now, what do you really want to believe?
Maybe right now your story is one of a victim, a sad tale where someone that once had a lot of potential now is too old, too weak, too whatever, to do something great.
That story sucks, so let's fix it.
What would it be like if you wrote a new story today, one where you were a hero, rather than a victim?
Remember, the quality of your results are the direct result of the quality of your beliefs.
Part of the reason we don't make a transformation is that we haven't tapped into a motivation deep enough that will continually propel us forward, even when things are hard.
Without a deep motivation, feeling better, moving better, all that stuff is a nice-to-have thing. We place it in a bucket in the garage that we'll get to later. And we all know what happens to those buckets, they get shoved into the same dusty corner again when we move.
Instead, what if becoming unstoppable in your body was a necessity just as important as oxygen to you?
You sure as hell would be making different choices then you are now.
Here's a bold question for you: why is it your moral obligation for you to be in your best shape possible?
In all seriousness, the more necessity you associate with being at your best, the more likely you are to follow through.
The problem now is life doesn't require us to be fit. We have to be the ones to motivate ourselves to make different choices.
We have to motivate ourselves to train, to recover, to do the work to restore our bodies and be at our best. If you rely on your own fleeting desires, you're automatically setting yourself up for failure. If you tap into a source of motivation that embodies necessity I promise you will never struggle with motivation again.
Here's an obvious tip that most people don't follow: stop making your training beyond your reach.
Stop kidding yourself that handstands are fine when you have shitty shoulder mobility.
Stop lying to yourself that you can run when your knee/ankle/hip is constantly yelling at you.
Stop trying to do that move you saw on Instagram, without doing the 5+ years of work it took to get there.
You know if I'm talking to you.
You have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.
I see too many of you out there fucking yourselves up because you want to be somewhere you're not.
Now, I'm not telling to not dream big, to have big goals, to reach for your full potential. You should do all that. But you need to build a foundation first.
If you're not sure where to start, a daily mobility practice is the beginning for 90% of you. Create a simple morning routine of squatting, hanging, quadruped reaches, downward dog, moving your hips, spine, and all your joints.
If you don't know what to do, watch this video:
There are certain movements that are more impactful and that generate greater results than other. These are typically exercises that involve:
While you could easily argue that there are dozens of foundational movements, when I work with a new client there are always a few movements I prioritize, because they give the most "bang for your buck."
Here are a handful of them:
Do these every day for a month and see what happens in your body.
I guarantee you will feel more strength, flexibility and coordination than you ever have before.
I used to make the mistake of making my workouts ridiculously complicated. I would watch one Youtube video after another, getting excited about this movement, this training approach, and that program recommended by that fitness expert I had a man-crush on.
You know what that left me with? Being incredibly inconsistent.
It wasn't until I made it my mission to master the basics that I started seeing real progress in my ability to show up on a regular basis.
Here's how to make it easier to show up:
If you do these things, you will become the type of person that shows up no matter what.
It's a funny, counterintuitive thing —the more you focus on the goal, the longer it takes for you to get there.
The more you focus on the process, the easier (and more enjoyable) the journey is. And you reach your destination faster without as much struggle.
However, it's not super useful for you to try to focus on the process because it doesn't really give your mind something to do.
This is why I recommend that instead you focus on deepening your level of awareness.
Before every practice session, have a routine for checking in with your body that ensures that your practice will be deeper than just going through the motions.
Here's what my five-minute warmup looks like:
I'll then spend a few minutes warming up the major joints I'll be focusing on for my training session that day and get to work. I'm dropped in, fully in my body and in a place where I can really be with my movement. In this way, I'm ensuring that I'm getting the most out of my practice, and not just going through the motions.
[clickToTweet tweet="The gym and modern workout routines are a kind of fitness utopia. Everything is predictable, manicured, restrained." quote="The gym and modern workout routines are a kind of fitness utopia. Everything is predictable, manicured, restrained."]
The floors have the right amount of padding and grip. The weights and machines have handles perfectly manufactured for your grip. The routines may be challenging, but they're often mind-numbingly safe.
After a while in this environment, your brain can go on autopilot. No reason to stay engaged. The brain sees no use for staying alert, checks out and starts going through the motions.
This, of course, is a massive vulnerability that most people don't talk about. Boredom is one of the biggest reasons my clients tell me that they fall off with their training. It's not challenging them because there is no novelty and no unpredictability.
What's the antidote?
Remember, your body evolved as a response to a constantly changing environment. Adaptation was a necessity for survival.
[clickToTweet tweet="The more you introduce novelty and chaos into your training, the more you align with your evolutionary DNA." quote="The more you introduce novelty and chaos into your training, the more you align with your evolutionary DNA."]
The more you stay stuck in your comfortable patterns, the more go against your nature.
Not too long ago, fitness was just another word for living. There were no workouts unless you were a gladiator or soldier because life itself was a workout.
Modern fitness is a compensation for what we're not doing as a result of our comfortable lifestyle.
I'm convinced that the reason most people struggle with fitness is not that they don't want to move, but because they find traditional workouts meaningless.
Your brain evolved to solve movement challenges, not to go through the motions over and over in the name of some vague notion of "fitness."
One answer to this is to be incredibly clear on why your training (whether it be for your health, your family, or to simply look good naked).
This is one step to making training more meaningful, but we can do better.
The next level is to make your training meaningful because it is inherently goal-oriented.
As ridiculous as it sounds, you're attempting to recreate in your brain that you are doing something that involves an actual purpose. 🙂 You're not climbing to simply climb, but to reach and get that thing at the top (like food).
Here are a few ways you can implement this strategy in your training:
The more you make movement training like real life, the easier it is for your brain to understand why you are doing it.
So, make your training goal-oriented and your gains will follow. 🙂
That is, to develop a consistent, daily, quality routine focusing on the foundations of restorative, confidence building movement.
I know how easy it is to consume information without doing anything with it. (Ahem, I wouldn't know anything about binging on Youtube videos or tutorials and not doing anything with them. Nope. Definitely not.)
So, I've made a cheat sheet you can print out and put somewhere in your physical environment.
If you read my post about the visual trigger technique, you know it's important to make your environment work for you.
Click the button below and you'll get access to my pain-free movement routine.