When I started my fitness journey in 2015, I had some physical goals I wanted to reach as I entered age 40 and wanted to push and prove that age was just a number. For the first time, I hired a trainer to help me understand what was necessary to hit my goals, learn about nutrition, and how to work out different parts of my body in a certain way for peak performance. There has always been this side of me that needs a new challenge to keep life interesting.
It was more the mindset changes that started occurring in me that I didn’t quite expect. My trainer quickly added a new diet plan to my routine and a designed workout to start my journey. What I learned along the way wasn’t so much about the physical benefits although my results getting up to almost two hundred pounds and lean was a nice reminder of my hard work. It was the mindest shift that would have the greatest impact.
Discipline would be a word I’d come to know quite well throughout my road to a stronger me. It takes discipline, and I mean, to the core of the definition. Look up the word discipline in the dictionary, & it reads: “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.” What I realize is that we often look at discipline as negative consequences in behavior. We usually hear the term discipline when our kids do something wrong, or we don’t perform at work the way we should, and receive a form of discipline that becomes less than desirable.
My trainer Mason walked me through the importance of being very disciplined in both the diet and the workout routine. To this day, I use the statement he once said to me that reminds me; I get what I give. “You can’t outwork a crappy diet.” That statement was just blunt truth: Discipline is the key! Start looking at discipline as your code of conduct.
When we start looking at the rewards of discipline as the fruits of our labor, the result of staying disciplined in fitness is a transformed body. It makes us feel good about ourselves, and we can see the accomplishment of hard work. It’s an accurate visual of positive discipline.
One day at work in Alaska, my boss walked by my office asking me, “are you counting almonds?” As I counted, I laughed and told him I needed a few more grams of fat to get where I needed to meet my daily macros. Things like this became so routine I hardly noticed that it was work. My daily routine while working in Alaska was insane! I woke up at 3:20 a.m., hit the gym by 3:45 a.m., at the office by 5:30 a.m., worked 12-hour shifts, and still had time for late-night classes as I went back to school in 2009 until 2016.
Here is where my mindset shifted. When I first started, it was hard, not even going to sugarcoat it. What I noticed over time is that I began to crave the fitness aspect of my day; it was almost like my coffee. As I kept working out, whether it was in the gym or outside walking for some light cardio, I noticed my mind coaching itself; Coaching through the hard parts of the day, better yet, coaching myself on how to start my day! It got me going, and I felt awake and ready to go before everyone else.
I would look at my day, envision what I wanted to accomplish and make those accomplishments happen. I found that fitness not only strengthened my body but strengthened my mind. It all started by holding myself accountable in my diet, my workout routine, and making sure I didn’t take a day off unless it was a rest day.
Slowly over time, the discipline spilled over to other aspects of my life: Making sure my wife and I didn’t miss date night, being on time to appointments (showing up early, because if you’re on time, you’re late), & building the discipline to start a business and believe me, there is plenty of doubtful nights when you do not see results in the world of business. My fitness mindset transitioned to a life mindset by reminding me that when we, as David Goggin’s often says, “Callous the mind,” we find it easier to work through the excuses of “I can’t, I’m not good enough, or my favorite “I don’t have time.”
Every one of us can be our best. We first have to make the conscious decision that we want to be our best, and we are ready to do what’s necessary. Discipline, when used correctly, is the most positive force we can have in our lives. Find your why and hold onto it.
My why is to live a healthy life for my wife, kids, reach my goals, age as well as I can in my 40’s to inspire others to be healthy and be strong enough to take on life’s challenges.
Working out doesn’t just keep my body fit; it keeps me focused in life, helps keep my mind healthy and disciplined. It reminds me I have what it takes to keep pushing through the tough times, & my only limit is me.