By Zach Even - Esh
I was a sophomore in high school, the year was 1990 & I found an opportunity to see what bodybuilding books were floating around. Arnold’s ‘Education of a Bodybuilder’ was 1 of very few bodybuilding books.
I noticed no one was taking the library books out. The last time the book had been signed out was over a year before. I quickly thumbed through the book and the black and white photos fired me up immediately.
I signed the book out and began reading the book during study hall. I took the book home and read at night. I read the book in 4 days and didn’t stop reading the book for 3 years straight. Every time I had to return the book I signed it out again...and again... and again.
I would lose myself and find myself at the same time while reading the book. I related to Arnold when he spoke about being the outcast amongst his friends and the community as they constantly questioned why I wanted to be at the gym every waking moment of every day.
I would begin doing my homework at the gym just so I could be amongst the weights. Hearing weights clanking, heavy barbells dropping to the floor and dumbbells being placed aggressively on the dumbbell rack made me feel like I was at home.
The earliest gym I trained at was a very basic gym, nothing but free weights and some heavy cable machines. The biggest, strongest, most muscular guys were those who stuck to the basics, remained consistent and didn’t complicate things.
Then, there were the “other guys”. These guys read the newspaper in between each set or spent time with endless gossip between sets. When they actually DID their set, I noticed they never had the mind to muscle connection. They were simply going through the motions.
Those guys seemed to NEVER gain an ounce of muscle OR strength. I was shocked by such a disconnection and questioned why these men weren’t as excited as I was to train. I couldn’t wait to wrap my hands around a barbell or set of dumbbells.
I quickly learned that the ticket to success was TWO key factors:
1) Experiencing Joy / Having Fun when you train. This can ONLY happen when you are passionate about the type of exercise you do.
2) Creating a DEEP connection between mind and body.
“The Body Is Very Important, But The Mind Is MORE Important Than The Body...”
~ Arnold ~
Although this story dates back to my days of training as an up and coming bodybuilder, these 2 key factors are not only applicable for bodybuilders. It goes for ANY form of exercise.
If you are having a difficult time finding motivation to train, then you must focus your time and attention on doing the things you LOVE. What activity is FUN for you? What physical activity gives you joy, excitement and passion?
Find it and DO it. Don’t discriminate against the type of exercise, just DO something. Now, when you engage in your training, get in there and go for it ALL the way with all your passion, energy and excitement.
Having trouble getting excited? Sign up for ANY up and coming challenge such as these adventure mud runs, races, etc. Create a group amongst a few friends and train together. Turn EACH & every workout into a competition.
- Who can run 1 mile faster?
- Who can do more reps on the heaviest set?
- Who can lift heavier?
- Who can lose more fat in the next 30 days?
“If You Think Along The Way That You’re Not Gonna Fail, Then You’re Blind....”
The road to improving yourself will NOT be easy. Yes, it is challenging and yes, there will be times when you just want to rest, take it easy, get a break. This is where the mind comes into play.
You MUST find a deeper reasoning for WHY you are exercising and why you are focused on improving your health. You will likely find that the goal of bigger biceps and a 6 pack set of abs might not motivate you enough.
It’s all about seeing what is important to you at this stage of your life. Do you have grandchildren? If so, the greater your health the greater your time will be with them to see them grow up, get married, experience success and more.
Do you have kids of your own? Your family needs you to be strong, confident, energetic and healthy.
When you can’t seem to find that WHY, do what a close friend of mine had me do. Get your cell phone and pull up a picture of the person(s) you love the most. Look at that picture and think deep down WHY they need you to be stronger & healthier, not just physically, but mentally as well.
“If You’re Afraid Of Failure, Then You Will Never Grow....”
No matter how hard you work.
No matter how perfect your eating habits are.
If your mind is not positive and deeply connected to each and every workout, your results will be “road blocked”. If you fear changing your body because you are used to being unhealthy, overweight or weak, then you will remain stuck in the same place you are currently at.
You will need to train your mind along with training the body. I learned this the hard way when I was younger and suffered through a bout of depression. No matter how hard I trained.... No matter how perfectly I ate.... not one ounce of muscle was gained, not one ounce of strength was gained.
I learned the hard way that the mind controls everything.
The day that I began changing my mind, my body immediately followed and I began gaining more muscle immediately.
How can you train the mind to become stronger? Training your mind will go beyond your workouts. Your mind needs exercise just like your muscles do. Read books, listen to audio inspiration, watch movies, ALL of which should inspire and motivate you to achieve greatness within. Oftentimes autobiographies and stories of other great men and women will inspire and motivate you. You’ll quickly learn that ALL great men and women have faced struggles while refusing to back down from them.
Go back and read Arnold’s ‘Education of a Bodybuilder’. Read the autobiography of Muhammad Ali, watch Rocky, etc. You will quickly learn that the common theme amongst successful people is their ability to face their fears, the willingness to do what others make excuses about doing, the discipline to climb upward while others quit.
If there are naysayers or people in your life holding you back you must refuse to listen to them & find ways to distance yourself from them. Learning to block out the negativity of others while focusing on the change you desire to have will be your first step in moving towards conquering your goals. Use this powerful mindset towards achieving your goals in health, fitness AND life to achieve success beyond your physical body.
“The People That Grow The Furthest, Are The People That Really Don’t Care.... ”
In closing, I’d like to remind you with something I’ve learned through the years. I’ve learned that everyone is capable of achieving success. That’s right, EVERYONE is capable, but not everyone is WILLING to do the work in the physical AND mental aspects to achieve the success beyond the norm.
A small few refuse to allow the tough times to hold them back. A small few refuse to allow their environment to dictate who they are and what they become. You MUST decide what your goal is and when you decide, draw a line in the sand and NEVER turn back, NEVER look back.
As Arnold said, “The body is very important, but the mind is MORE important than the body.”
Your success begins in the mind and MUST be coupled with daily actions. Do your 1% everyday. EVERY DAY. To ensure your 1% is even more powerful, do your 1% first thing every day. This will kick start your day. You’ll find you have more energy, more enthusiasm and more excitement for everything in your day.
Take action NOW. There is no need to wait until tomorrow if you truly want to create more success for yourself. I KNOW that as soon as you begin approaching your workouts and your life with this mind and body approach, you will have greater success in all areas of your life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zach Even - Esh is the Founder of The Underground Strength Gym located in NJ. A loving husband & father, Zach is committed towards helping others achieve success in mind, body & life. Zach is the creator of numerous books, DVDs & training programs, all of which have been inspired from his 23 years of in the trenches experience.