Horoscope

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My horoscope yesterday:

“A positive attitude is essential today, because if you let negative thoughts enter your mind it could stop you taking advantage of opportunities that are designed by the universe to make you materially and emotionally richer. It’s all good, so be happy.”

I find astrology moderately entertaining and curiously accurate, and cynically I always check yesterday’s installment to see if it was an accurate reading, and this one was very relevant to something that I struggle with on an ongoing basis.

I do wrestle with depression and have a (bad) habit of lending too much weight to the empty portion of the glass, so this is sage advice. And it also fits the above picture which I took quite well.

Now, to put that into practice……..

 

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Why Are Writers Crazy?

grayscale photo of man walking in hole

Photo by Kasuma on Pexels.com

The isolation of working on my own is is something I’ve been wrestling with for some time, the last four years to be specific. I came across this post from Scott Snyder on Twitter which sums it up perfectly, so I thought I’d post it here:

“The other day when I was doing a Q & A, someone asked a version of the classic question, “why writers are so crazy? Is it a prerequisite?” I ran out of time before I could answer, but been meaning to post some thoughts as this is something i struggle with myself.

The thing with writing is that you spend all day alone, and to make something meaningful to you, you often have to spend that time staring at and exploring things that matter to you – things you hope for, things you’re deeply afraid of. About the world. About yourself.

If you do it professionally, no other job, you usually don’t see anyone all day. No social regulators. It’s an amazing thing, and there’s no better job, but it can also become an echo chamber, and lead to self destructive patterns b/c of the the material and the social isolation.

I don’t say this to excuse any bad behavior. On the contrary, I’m speaking more to aspiring writers more than anything, because I wish more writers had talked to me about this when I started. Over the years, I have admittedly gone down some dark rabbit holes with it

gotten lost in my head, been destructive to myself and people I care about, and I’ve tried to be pretty open about battles with depression and anxiety here. For me the bottom line is this: be aware of the pitfalls of writing. Because there’s NO romance in being the crazy writer.

None. Getting yourself into a black place, being cruel to yourself or those around you doesn’t help your writing. Write what scares you, what inspires you, be unflinching, but also make sure to get out of your own head, take care of those around you, and yourself.

sorry for the length of this thread, it’s just something I wish I’d understood better at when I was younger (and still struggle with sometimes) and see romanticized or excused sometimes in a way that I worry stops people from getting healthy”

I can especially relate to his thoughts on getting lost in my own head and creating an impenetrable echo chamber. There are periods of time when I don’t interact with anyone in a meaningful way, sometimes for days at a time, and that’s when the dark thoughts creep in. I lose that third party perspective. The shadows in the corner of the room start to take on oppressive qualities, and the plans that they have for me are……(struggling to come up with the right word here)….destructive.

I’m finding that the only way (or at least the only way for me) is to get out of the house and put myself in social situations, no matter how uncomfortable or how much social anxiety I feel. If I don’t, then I lose that social perspective and end up feeling weird all the time, which I think is not really conducive to good writing. It’s makes my thoughts way too dark and it comes out in my writing.

It’s not necessarily all gloom and doom, however it is something I need to manage carefully going forward….

 

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A Diet Rich in Nuts Improves Sperm Count and Motility

nuts

Improvements associated with better male fertility and explained by a reduction in sperm DNA fragmentation

Date: July 4, 2018

Source: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Summary: The inclusion of nuts in a regular diet significantly improves the quality and function of human sperm, according to results of a randomized trial which measured conventional semen parameters and molecular changes over a 14-week study period. The findings, say the investigators, ‘support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality’ and reflect a research need for further male-specific dietary recommendations.

Full Story: The inclusion of nuts in a regular diet significantly improves the quality and function of human sperm, according to results of a randomised trial which measured conventional semen parameters and molecular changes over a 14-week study period. The findings, say the investigators, “support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality” and reflect a research need for further male-specific dietary recommendations.

The results of the study are presented today by Dr Albert Salas-Huetos from the Human Nutrition Unit of the Universitat Rovira i Virgil in Reus, Spain.(1)

The study was performed, he said, against a background of general decline in quantity and quality of human sperm, attributed in industrialised countries to “pollution, smoking, and trends toward a western-style diet.” (2) In this study subjects randomised to the nut group had significant improvements in their sperm count, vitality, motility and morphology (shape); these were consistent with improvements found in other recent studies with diets rich in omega-3, antioxidants (eg, vitamin C and E, selenium and zinc), and folate. Nuts are dense foods containing many of these nutrients and other phytochemicals.

The study was a 14-week randomised clinical trial in which 119 healthy young men aged 18-35 were allocated to either their usual western-style diet supplemented with 60 grams/day of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, or their usual western-style diet without nuts. In its analysis the study recorded not just sperm parameters (according to WHO benchmarks) but also changes in several molecular factors, including sperm DNA fragmentation.(3) Sperm and blood samples were analysed at baseline and after 14 weeks of intervention.

Results firstly found significantly higher levels of sperm count, vitality, motility and morphology in the men randomised to the 60 g/day nut diet than in those following their usual diets free of nuts. Improvements in the former group were by around 16% in sperm count, 4% in sperm vitality, 6% in sperm motility, and 1% in morphology. These four parameters, explained Salas-Huetos, are all associated with male fertility. Moreover, the subjects in the nut group also showed a significant reduction in their levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, a parameter closely associated with male infertility. Indeed, it was this change in the level of DNA fragmentation in the sperm cells by which the investigators explained, at least in part, the improvement in sperm count, motility and morphology.

Although these are statistically significant results from a randomised trail with a high level of scientific evidence, Salas-Huetos emphasised that subjects in the study were all healthy and apparently fertile men following a western-style diet. He thus warned that results cannot be extrapolated to the general population.

So should men hoping to conceive a baby — either naturally or with IVF — add nuts to their everyday diet? “We can’t yet say that,” said Salas-Huetos, “based solely on the results of this study. But evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception — and of course, nuts are a key component of a Mediterranean healthy diet.”

1. This was a collaborative study led by Dr Mònica Bulló from the Rovira i Virgili University and Drs Joan Blanco and Ester Anton from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The study was funded by the International Nut and Dried Food Council.

2. There remains some controversy over a decline in sperm counts in developed countries, mainly because of how the measurements were taken. However, a huge meta-analysis last year reported “a significant decline in sperm counts between 1973 and 2011.” The analysis, which included more than 40,000 men whose semen samples were screened in 244 studies, found the results “driven by a 50-60% decline among men unselected by fertility from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.” The decline in sperm concentration was put at -1.4% per year and in total sperm count at -1.6% per year. (See Levine H, Jørgensen N, Martino-Andrade A, et al. Temporal trends in sperm count: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Hum Reprod Update 2017; 23: 646-659.)

3. The World Health Organization lists four semen quality parameters in its latest manual of 2010: concentration (ie, count, which should be a minimum of 15 million sperm cells per ml semen); progressive motility (32% minimum); vitality (58%); and morphology (4%). These are the main parameters measured to evaluate semen quality within a normal range. At the molecular level it has also been proposed that the genetic integrity of each sperm cell is essential for successful fertilisation; if DNA strands in the cell become damaged or fragmented, they will be unable or less likely to fertilise an egg and maintain embryonic development. It is believed that this DNA fragmentation is caused by oxidative stress as a result of environmental and lifestyle factors. Sperm DNA fragmentation can be tested by a range of assays.

Story Source:

Materials provided by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. “A diet rich in nuts improves sperm count and motility: Improvements associated with better male fertility and explained by a reduction in sperm DNA fragmentation.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180704112048.htm>.

 

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Lifting Masks – Inviting Vulnerability

Reblogged from Julia Pitt coaching (links at the bottom of the post)

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Last week’s column looked at the social masks we wear, the personas we often rely on to hide our true selves in fear that if people really saw who we were beneath, they might not approve or accept us, or we might face flat-out rejection.

The desire to protect ourselves is understandable, but only by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable can we find true connection with others.

I recently witnessed the power and effect of vulnerability, during the ‘Saving our Sons’ Conference at Sandys 360.

I arrived late and couldn’t spot anyone I knew among the impressive crowd of Ministers (political and religious), Officials, law enforcement officers, service providers, business executives, journalists, concerned citizens, activists: young and old, men and women of varying faiths, background and opinion.

I self-consciously shuffled to a spare seat at a table of serious-looking individuals, feeling more than a little intimidated.

Speaking was a young man “from the streets” who now works with the Street Talk initiative helping others. He shared his journey of reform through prison from drug and gang involvement.

His message was: to solve this problem, we need to work together. He asked everyone to stand up. He asked us to take each others’ hands and form a chain around the room. We obliged.

And something happened: a shift.

We might handshake hello or bump fists now and then, but it takes a certain amount of openness, trust and … vulnerability, to look in the eyes of a stranger and hold their hand and allow your hand to be held by them.

Around the room, in this group, all now joined together in this very personal way, suddenly the suits, the uniforms, the badges, the labels and all those other markers of distinction just melted away.

We were just people, standing there united in an intention, with a new communal power that felt palpable … and I knew exactly what that young man meant.

Vulnerability removes walls and brings us together in strength.

So how can we introduce more of it into our lives, when it may not be appropriate to go around holding everyone’s hand?

Some questions to consider:

• When am I not being authentic? When do I try to be something I’m not, out of fear of rejection?

• What challenges me? We may find certain areas of our life present more of struggle to be ‘real’ than others. For example, I feel confident coaching clients, but awkward and slightly phoney when asked to market what I do, fearing it won’t sound impressive, or professional etc

• What keeps me playing small in life, afraid to express myself? I once spent half an hour attempting to perfect a 4-line text message … hoping to hit just the right mix of witty, inspiring and nonchalance, because just saying what I thought seemed too pedestrian.

While mortifying to admit, it glaringly highlights the huge waste of creative time and energy sucked into maintaining our masks. Where are you losing precious moments to not being yourself?

• What is really important to me in this? What do I value and care about, and can I be brave enough to honour that?

What is the worst that could happen if somebody disagrees with me, thinks I’m silly or, dare I say it, rejects me? Will I still live to see another day?

Some practical steps to glide us into empowering vulnerability:

Accept the dark corners and learn to love them. We all have parts of us that don’t live up to our preconceived notion of what we ‘should’ be — the mental ideal of perfection we each constructed from early childhood, and we reject our very selves for not being able to achieve it, even though logically we may recognise its impossible expectations.

And those places we fall short, we want to hide from the world — we cannot let them see how we are failing ourselves.

But what happens when we look at our real self with understanding and acceptance? What if we could embrace those shortcomings? Could we learn to love even those messy parts of us, for being human?

When we truly love and accept ourselves, we worry less that somebody else might not. We are happier to be open and ourselves, less afraid of others’ rejection.

Embrace negative feelings. What happens when we allow ourselves to really experience the pain and discomfort that can crop up in life? We fear the fallout of raw emotion, perhaps afraid we won’t be able to regain composure and leave us ‘weak’.

But using a mask (or other defensive tactics or distractions like alcohol, food, drugs, work etc) to sidestep or repress our emotions, only allows them to fester and rear their ugly heads elsewhere in our lives.

Making ourselves vulnerable to really look at and explore our hurt, anger, disappointment, fear etc takes the sting out of them and allows us to process them in healthy, honest and safe ways.

Be honest. When it comes to what we’re feeling and thinking, we often try to mask the truth, fearing others’ reaction or judgment.

What would happen if we just said, “I feel nervous” when we do, or “I feel hurt” or “I love you” … Letting down our pretences and showing others our position prevents guessing-games and assumptions and brings our truth and reality to the dialogue, hopefully encouraging their openness, together finding common ground.

Act with no guarantees. We try to protect ourselves by ‘playing it safe’, not risking any perceived failure. Vulnerability involves taking action aligned with our authentic self, without any certainty of how it will turn out. Being bold and brave. Knowing that we can handle whatever happens.

Ask for help. Accepting our limits, admitting fallibility, and relinquishing our perceived ‘control’ on things, is all part of opening to truth and being vulnerable.

Asking for help allows others to shine at what they do, often increases productivity and efficiency and leads to greater connection through teamwork and shared vision.

Get rejected. What happens when we face our greatest fear? We see the truth rarely compares with the frightening preconceptions in our head.

Author Neale Donald Walsch said, “FEAR is an acronym in the English language for ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’.”

Try welcoming rejection — using its feedback for improvement, allow it to strengthen our resolve and teach us we’re going to be all right.

Rejection itself, isn’t going to kill us. Succeeding is often a numbers game. Embrace the empowering idea that every rejection is just one try closer to acceptance.

Soften our critical eye of others. It’s probable they too get scared, fear rejection, may be trying to protect themselves, likely to be wearing a mask.

As we become less judgmental of others, we also invite their compassion towards us.

Practice. Becoming more open with others isn’t like calling an elevator, it’s more an ongoing process of incremental steps.

Test it out. Be encouraged by the empowering effects of being truer to your authentic self and slowly invite the vulnerability in.

Julia Pitt is a trained Success Coach and certified NLP practitioner with Benedict Associates Ltd. Telephone (441) 295-2070 or visit www.juliapittcoaching.com for further information.

 

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Signs You Or Your Partner Is Emotionally Immature

Reblogged from Yangki Christine Akiteng’s blog: http://torontosnumber1datedoctor.com/blog/emotional-maturity-could-it-be-the-attractive-quality-missing-in-you/

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Emotional maturity is not something most of us look for in a partner. For many of us it’s not even a priority in the qualities we look for. We kind of take it for granted that if you’re attracted to someone then everything will fall into place.

If the relationship is casual and not expected to grow into something long term then emotional maturity or lack of it doesn’t really matter especially if you don’t spend much time together, meet up just for a “good time” and/or are dating several people at the same time.

But if you are looking for something long term, emotional maturity profoundly influences your ability to sustain a relationship.

Differences in the level of emotional maturity or lack of may not be obvious in the early stages of a relationship when everything is wonderful – no obvious differences that cause problems and no serious arguments. You’re at your best and your new man or woman idealizes you and you idealize him or her. But like all good things, this “honeymoon” phase of the relationship which can be anywhere from days to weeks or even a couple of months inevitably ends – as it should. And if you or the other person is emotionally immature, it begins to show in the way you:

  1. Deal with your emotions

People who are emotionally mature are more able to put feelings into perspective before automatically verbalizing or acting them out. They also take responsibility for their every action, word and thought – and the resulting consequences. The ability to self-regulate helps them handle different situations in a better way and cope with difficult times, conflict and frustration in a smarter way.

Those who are emotionally immature on the other hand get tripped up by their own emotions and feelings. They either fall apart (drama, drama, drama), numb out (ignore their emotions and live in a kind of zombie land pretending that they feel nothing) or distract themselves with obsessive behaviours all the while blaming others, society and the universe for their problems or disappointments.

  1. Deal with the emotions of others

People who are emotionally mature understand that the world does not revolve around them. When faced with an emotionally-loaded situation they focus on trying to understand and relate to the other person’s emotions and feelings and the reasons behind them. This helps them better identify the other person’s needs and wants, better solve problems in relationships, connect better and maintain good relationships over time.

Those who are emotionally immature when faced with a similar emotionally-loaded situation become all self-absorbed and entitled. They’ll try to force a resolution by putting a lot of unhealthy pressure on the other person and often become emotionally manipulative, exploitative and even abusive. These behaviours cause the other person to even pull away further making it harder to create and/or maintain a relationship – even a bad one.

So if you’re with someone who you know is into you (forget about that one who just isn’t into you), can’t keep his or her hands off you when you’re together and tells you how much he or she is attracted to you or “in love with you” but will not bother to call or arrange for a date because he or she is avoiding spending “quality” time with you, it might just be that working on your own emotional maturity and learning to communicate your feelings, needs and wants better may be the only thing that’ll save your relationship.

Nobody is comfortable with emotional immaturity – not even emotionally immature men and women. In a relationship where both people are emotionally immature, the emotional immaturity which keeps them together is often times also what they both instinctively resent in the other.

Emotional maturity is even more important with age. Being with someone who looks physically mature but acts emotionally immature is downright frustrating.

 

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A 24-Hour Guide to More Muscle and Energy

Reblogged from Nate Green’s blog here: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/bigger

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“Give me a one-page bullet-list of exactly what I should do. That’s worth more to me than a stack of books that I have to dig through to get to the good stuff. I may give you 50 bucks for the books. But I’ll pay you $5,000 for the one page.”

That’s a quote from Alwyn Cosgrove, a world-famous strength coach and entrepreneur. When he told me this a couple years ago, I remember thinking he was crazy. More money for less stuff? That’s stupid.

But now I see just how smart his statement is: Information is only as good as the action you take after reading it. 

If you want to get something done, it’s usually more effective to skim the book (or article or blog post), write down what you need to do, and start. In most cases, the one-page cheat sheet is more valuable than the book.

So that’s what we’re gonna do here. Consider this post your “how to build muscle and have more energy” cheat sheet. It’s simple, quick, and incredibly effective.

We know it’s effective because twice a year we open our S2B Coaching Program, and help hundreds of guys build muscular, athletic bodies. Over the course of the year-long program, their day ends up looking something like what we have here.

What to do in the Morning

Get your ass out of bed

Hitting the snooze alarm is a sign you aren’t getting enough sleep. But we’ll take care of that problem in a bit.

Right now, get out of bed when your alarm goes off. A new day is here. Do something with it before it dies.

Drink 20oz of water

Your muscles need water to grow. Your body needs water to live. Right now, you’re dehydrated. Before you get in the shower or do anything else, drink 20 oz of cold water.

You’ll have more energy immediately.

Drink a Super Shake

If you’re a skinny guy who wants to put on weight, you need food and you need it fast. If you know you’re not gonna cook breakfast, you need to make a protein-rich Super Shake instead.

Got a blender and 3 minutes? Good. Here’s your recipe:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana (peel it the night      before and stick it in the freezer)
  • 1 handful fresh baby spinach (get the      pre-washed stuff at the grocery store)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1 huge spoonful of almond or peanut      butter

Blend on high. Drink.

Take your vitamins and fish oil

Even if you’re eating healthy whole foods, you can still have small deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals, deficiencies that can slow your metabolism and impair your ability to build muscle. A multivitamin can help fix that.

Also, take 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of liquid fish oil. It’s full of omega-3′s which help improve mood and motivation. (We prefer liquid, but you can also use fish-oil caps.)

Have a little caffeine

A cup or two of black coffee or green tea can help increase athletic and mental performance.

Don’t like caffeine? No problem. Skip this step and make yourself some herbal tea or have another glass of water.

What to do at work/school

Drink 20oz of water

Get used to it right now, because drinking water is gonna be a recurring theme throughout your day. Invest in a slick reusable water bottle and keep it wherever you spend the most time throughout your day. (But please don’t carry around a two-gallon milk jug of water. That’s just looks ridiculous.)

Have a Muscle Snack

The rules: protein, fat, veggies.

Food ideas: hardboiled eggs, salami, beef jerky, tuna salad, mixed nuts, peanut butter, protein powder, baby carrots, sliced bell pepper, grape tomatoes, celery, berries, apple.

No bullshit energy bars or any kind of granola, as they’re usually loaded with sugar and unpronounceable ingredients

What to do at lunch

Eat a Muscle Lunch

Your normal sandwich and chips isn’t gonna cut it.

In S2B we hate measuring food and counting calories. Instead, we like to use hand measurements to determine how much food to eat. (Why? Well, you may not have a food scale, but you probably have a hand. We hope.)

So take a look the palm of your hand. Act like you’re cupping some water that you don’t want to run through your fingers. To build muscle, you need at least 2 palms of protein (chicken, fish, beef, etc).

Now make a fist. You need 2 fists of vegetables and 1 fist of starchy carbohydrates like sweet potato, qunioa, or pasta.

Still a little confused? Check out the photo below for one of our recent Muscle Lunch meals. Make your meal look like that. Then eat it.

(Lunch tip from Nate: I almost never make my own lunch. I’ve tried before, but it’s just too time-consuming in the middle of the day. That’s why I usually have a few pre-made meals from Whole Foods ready to go.)

Read something

Yeah, this doesn’t really have anything to do with building muscle, but if you’re eating by yourself, you gotta have some reading material. And if you’re eating lunch with friends, put down your phone (or book) and have a conversation. No texting or Facebook stalking. Enjoy your meal.

Drink 20oz of water

Yes, again.

What to do in the afternoon

Have another muscle snack

Stick with the above rules or try our Easy Protein Pudding.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 handful of raw mixed nuts
  • 2 squares of 70% or higher dark      chocolate

Stir the hell out of it with a spoon and eat.

Drink 20oz of water

You knew it was coming.

Plan your next day

This is another thing that doesn’t really have anything to do with building muscle. But it will help you be more productive and successful.

  1. Write down all the important stuff you      need to do tomorrow. Work stuff, personal stuff, everything.
  2. Set a specific time      to actually do it.

It may seem like a small, inconsequential step, but it’s incredibly powerful. Now that all your tasks and plans are out of your head and on paper with a corresponding time, you no longer have to stress out about them. It’s taken care of. Move on with your day.

What do to in the Evening

De-stress for 20 minutes

Most guys know how to go full-steam but have no idea how to chill out and calm down. Their bodies are in a constant “fight or flight” mode, their nervous system working on overdrive.

In S2B, we have our clients pick one calming task — meditate, nap, read, go for a walk, stretch, listen to relaxing music, sit in a room and do nothing — and do it every day for at least 20 minutes.

This gives their sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system a break and allows their parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system to take over.

The rules: no phones, computers, or outside distractions for at least 20 minutes.

Eat a Muscle Dinner

Same rules as the Muscle Lunch.

  • 2 palms of protein
  • 2 fists of vegetables
  • 1 fist of starchy carbohydrates

Pick different foods and maybe throw in some fruit on the side.

Drink 20oz of water

You know the drill.

Be social

Surround yourself with cool, positive people.  Remember: You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So don’t hang out with assholes.

Have sex

I mean, why not?

Follow your sleep ritual

You have a sleep ritual, right? No? Here, follow ours:

  1. No caffeine after 2PM.
  2. Turn off your TV and computer an hour      before bed.
  3. Make yourself some decaf tea, listen to      soft music, and read something light.
  4. Turn off all phones and gadgets and put      them in another room.
  5. Set your bedroom temperature to 67-70F      [19-21C.] (Ever try to sleep while sweaty? It sucks.)
  6. Take an Epsom salts bath before bed.      (The magnesium will help you sleep.)
  7. Have a small pre-bed meal. (Try cottage      cheese mixed with chopped apple, and a spoonful of peanut butter.)

Sleep for 7 hours

Getting at least 7 hours of sleep will help your body recover from your workouts, rejuvenate your brain, and improve your life.

Getting less than 7 hours can slow muscle growth and reduce brain power.

Repeat every day

Because this stuff won’t work if you just do it every now and then.

 

What about the workout program?

We left out exercise on purpose. Why?

When you’re trying to build muscle, working out isn’t as important as you may have been led to believe. 

I mean, yeah, you have to do something in the gym a few days per week. You have to stimulate your muscle fibers and give them a reason to grow and get stronger.

But if you’re more focused on what to do for the one hour you’re in the gym instead of what to do for the other 23 hours of the day, you’re simply not going to build the kind of body you want. Trust us, we’ve been there.

In the S2B Coaching Program, our guys follow our progressive workout program designed specifically for building muscle fast. But the workout program is only a small part of how we help them build a badass body.

Remember: It’s what you do outside of the gym that matters.

Of course, we can’t leave you hanging. So as long as you’re following the below rules when you work out, you’ll be good to go:

  • Train 3-4 times per week.
  • Use compound exercises.
  • Go as heavy as you can with good form.
  • Drink a post-workout shake of      fast-acting carbohydrates and protein.

 

30 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Turned 30

Reblogged from Nate Green’s Scrawny to Brawny blog: http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/30-things-about-life

Written by Martin Rooney, the creator of the Training For Warriors system and a pioneer of strength and conditioning for the martial arts.

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1. I wish I spent more time deciding what I really wanted from life.

Figure out your passion and purpose. Don’t wait until 30 to find that out. Chances are the guys that figured it out earlier already have the dream house, the dream job, and the dream girl.

2. I wish I would have known protein was essential for post workout nutrition.

I went from just water and no eating, to carb-only “sports” drinks. I know I would have had way better results if current science had been available. A Gatorade just doesn’t cut it.

3. I wish I would have been more excited for other people’s success.

This will get you ahead faster than only being excited for your own success. Take time to hear what people think. You won’t ever get called a jerk for listening too much.

4. I wish I would have had a full length mirror in my house.

Then I would have known I had to train my legs, too. To think of all the times I did biceps curls instead of squats…

5. I wish I had paid attention to the effect food had on me.

Some foods made me drowsy and others gave me a throat full of phlegm. I thought it was “normal.” Now I replaced that word with “allergy.” Start figuring how foods you eat are affecting you.

6. I wish I would have known girls are more attracted to guys who have fun.

Guys who try to look big and tough miss out.

7. I wish I would have learned to keep my house and car neat.

Someday a girl is going to come to one of them and care about chewed fingernails and the stain on your pillow case. Protein bottles in the back? They smell worse than you think they do.

8. I wish I got rid of things faster.

Once your favorite t-shirt has more holes than a Tiger Woods alibi, it’s time to let it go. Same goes for the old sneakers you’ll never wear again. Same thing with resentment and ill-will.

9. I wish I would have saved more money.

Get a financial planner, an IRA going, and invest. Don’t wait until you’re married and someone else is counting on you. And regardless if you have much money or not, put some away now. Learn the Law of 7 and the idea of compounding interest.

10. I wish I would have learned that driving 20-30 miles doesn’t make a bar any better.

Odds are the bar in your town will be just as fun. And your chances of trouble (DUI, etc.) go way down.

11. I wish I would have known what kinds of food weren’t good for me.

Most labels with “Light,” “Healthy,” or “part of a nutritious diet” are really just trying to cover up how crappy the food actually is.

12. I wish I followed my instincts more.

Listen to that knot in your gut. If you think she might not be the right girl, she probably isn’t. Same goes for your job. Of all the voices you hear, your own may be the wisest and hardest to listen to.

13. I wish I had been more coachable.

Welcome feedback and understand that criticism is positive. Just like rubbing alcohol on a scrape, it will be painful at first. But you’ll be better off cleaning strategic areas of your life.

14. I wish I would have written down exactly what I wanted.

Spend more time planning where you’re going in life than planning where you are going on Friday night.

15. I wish I started my “private” university earlier.

Build your personal library and read. 20 pages a night 5 days a week turns into 100 books in 5 years. 100 books in 5 years can turn you into an expert…in anything.

16. I wish I would have know there was a rotator cuff, feet muscles, neck muscles, hip adductors and abductors.

I would have worked on those more.

17. I wish I had learned the true power of a thank you.

Since I’ve adopted an authentic “attitude of gratitude,” my life has been much smoother. Hint: send a card or gift to someone that deserves it today.

18. I wish I had not been “too busy” for my parents.

When you get older, get a real job, and get married, you only have less time for your parents. Realize that they’re people, just like you. And that they’re actually pretty smart and fun to be around.

19. I wish I used my “down time” better.

Speaking of “too busy,” never say that you are. 24 hours is enough time to get stuff done and still have fun.

20. I wish I was less concerned with what everyone else thought about me.

I now know a thick skin isn’t just important for your hands and working out. It’s important for life and not caring about other people’s opinions of you. The fastest way to be unhappy is to worry about making everybody else happy and not staying true to yourself.

21. I wish I would have laughed more.

Make sure to laugh everyday. Learn to speak the language of “serious fun.” As it implies, get the serious stuff done…but make sure you have your share of fun and play, too.

22. I wish I would have quit some things faster.

Know when to quit things. Although it may seem counterintuitive, there are people, situations, and places where you are spending your time that aren’t serving you. Quit them.

23. I wish I would have defined my values earlier.

Decide what you stand for. If you don’t stand for much, you’ll fall for anything.

My first jobs, workouts, and girlfriends were because other people said they would be good for me. Make that choice for yourself and you won’t develop a weak set of knees when the time comes to stand up for yourself.

24. I wish I didn’t let other people’s expectations hold me back.

Eight words to remove from your vocabulary: “What will people say? What will people think?”

25. I wish I had gossiped less.

Build people up to their face and don’t talk to people behind their back. It only leads to trouble.

26. I wish I had trained around injury better.

Your body has incredible recuperative powers. Don’t let injuries or time off hold you back. And remember, even if you took time off, it’s never too late to start again toward fitness.

27. I wish I would have treated my body like my car.

In other words, don’t just pay attention to your body when there’s a problem. Also, make sure you are putting the right things in the gas tank. Just because it looks good on the outside doesn’t mean everything is good on the inside.

28. I wish I had “kept in touch” better.

Don’t let more than three months go by without staying in touch with the important people in your network.

29. I wish I had built my network even faster.

Surround yourself with people more fit, successful, and wealthy than you are. Just like the tide, you will rise or fall according to the influential bodies around you.

30. I wish I would have realized that the world is “service” oriented.

Serve others. You’ll learn as you get older that it’s not about what you get, but what you give back that really counts.