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MB #024: After 3,000 Hours In The Gym, Here are 21 Of My Biggest Learnings

exercise Jul 02, 2023

Read Time: ~6 Minutes

Hey friends,

Today's issue will break away from the normal format. I've spent over 3,150 hours training in the gym over the last 2 decades. During those 2 decades I've been a professional personal trainer in a gym setting, an Army Ranger, a collegiate athlete, a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, a CrossFit competitor, and of course...a husband and father.

I've learned a lot about the intersection between the spirit, body, and mind, and in today's issue, I'm unpacking many of the biggest lessons I've learned through it all.

Here are 21 of my favorite lessons learned:

1. Getting and staying fit is 10% physical and 90% spiritual, mental, and emotional. Trying to change your habits and mindsets without addressing the narrative/lies/truth you either believe or don't believe, will be an uphill battle. If you'd like to understand more and work to overcome some of these, grab a free session with me.

2. Every person I know who has developed healthy fitness habits has changed their life in other ways as well.

3. The unfortunate reality is people look at you differently when you’re fitter.

They see consistency, discipline, and willingness to endure discomfort. Especially in the business world.

4. Being healthy and fit won't solve everything.

It does however train us to endure the uncomfortable which impacts the ability to work through the deeper-seated issues we all carry at times. Fitness is often a gateway into dealing with every area of unhealth.

5. Your spiritual and emotional state affects your physical state.

You can drive sickness with just the uncontrolled thoughts and emotions that you have.

6. Most men start working out to gain confidence or lose weight.

As they progress, they find that they do it to maintain healthy emotions and mental clarity. Once it becomes a lifestyle, it becomes harder and harder to miss workouts and feel normal. God designed our bodies to move, so this is normal and good.

7. Training 3-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes is better for you long-term than training 6 days per week. Maintaining joint and hormone health becomes harder the more excessively you train without adequate rest and recovery.

8. Being fit and strong has zero downsides.

Mood, hormones/sex drive, confidence, drive, and health all improve as a result of being fitter.

9. Complex kills. Simplicity wins.

Eating mostly the same foods each week, working out at the same time of day, going to bed at the same time, and getting up at the same time make health 100x easier to achieve and maintain.

Better systems = better habits = less decision fatigue.

10. Sleep is the #1 performance-enhancing drug. It’s the lead domino for everything else in life and health.

People who don’t prioritize sleep will suffer in countless ways. Aim for 7-8 hrs minimum. This isn't just some mindless recommendation from the medical community. You need it.

11. Doing cardio to lose fat is a wild goose chase.

You are better off learning healthy eating habits. You’ll lose fat 10x faster. Put down the chips and sweets.

12. Working out in the morning will transform your mental clarity and focus for the entire day. Do it before your kids wake up otherwise your chances of following through go WAY down.

13. Most guys overtrain their chest. While most of us now sit at a desk all day, this leads to and even compounds our already poor posture as Westerners.

Train pulling movements way more than pushing and you’ll begin to fix your posture and reduce injuries.

14. In your first year of strength training, it is possible for a man to add 10-25 lbs of muscle without drugs or excessive supplements. (only basics like protein and creatine)

Leverage these early months/years of training to build the strength you need for a long healthy life. Focus on cutting fat later. The cool thing is you’ll lose fat along the way as you gain muscle. Win/win.

15. Building the right systems allows busy dads to stay fit year-round, even when crap hits the fan at work or kids get sick.

You should aim to treat your health the way you treat a healthy scaling business.

16. What you put into your body matters.

Yes, a calorie is technically a calorie, but if you eat like crap, you'll feel like crap and fight an uphill battle for health and fitness.

The problem is most people don’t realize how bad they actually feel cause they don’t yet know what good feels like. Bad feels normal. You're in for a real treat if this is you!

17. Certain macronutrients (like carbs) don't make people fat.

Their eating habits do. People need to stop "dieting" and start managing their emotions and self-control.

18. Eating healthy whole foods is as good for your brain as it is for your body.

Include high protein and a small amount of healthy carbs in every meal.

This helps regulate blood sugar and energy, maximize recovery and muscle-building, burn fat, and support a healthy functioning thyroid.

19. Alcohol is poison.

Don’t believe it’s killing your health? Invest in an Oura Ring or Whoop and see how it destroys your HRV, sleep, and overall recovery. Or watch this episode from Andrew Huberman where he unpacks all the research on alcohol. Take the red pill on this one, you'll thank me.

I only drink 1-2x a month now for men's gatherings due to what I've discovered.

20. Tracking food intake is one of the best habits you can build.

After a season of consistency with tracking, you’ll be able to use your hands and your eyes to estimate how much you’re eating at a meal. Don’t expect to improve something or have it work in your favor if you’re not even monitoring it.

People drastically underestimate how much they're eating and get stuck in a cycle of frustration. Tracking brings clarity and confidence.

21. Carnivore, Keto, Mediterranean, and even those crappy shake diets from something like BeachBody are better than the standard American diet.

Consuming nutrient-dense and well-sourced animal foods as a primary intake is the best approach. Focus on getting all macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats), and all the essential vitamins and minerals. Beef liver is a wonderful multivitamin source for this. Eat more meats, fruits, honey, eggs, and raw milk and your health will improve significantly. (and your taste buds will thank you).

This is far from highlighting all my biggest learnings, but it's a great place to start. I hope it's been helpful to you. If so, share it with a friend or family member that you know would find it helpful, insightful, or enjoyable.