Man, what an incredible thing! Don’t you love the idiot friend who will come out and say, “Oh, you shouldn’t of done that” AFTER you go and do something you regret?! Maybe you broke up with a boyfriend/girlfriend in a less-than-amicable fashion, or maybe it was as simple as sipping your hot coffee to soon after buying it and burning your mouth. History dictates that that friend will pop up with their fantastic hindsight! Hey friend, WHERE WERE YOU FIVE MINUTES AGO? But I’m getting off point.
Hindsight is something I use when looking at my life goals –whether it is how I look without a shirt on, or how well I can perform athletically, or even just how my social or professional life is panning out. Now, I must stress that I am a believer in not dwelling on the past; if you can’t change or affect it then don’t stress over it. I do, however, have a tendency to look back a few years to when I was in my teens and wish I could strangle my younger self for some of the choices I made. I could write a novel on things I wish I knew then, but I have decided to select just a handful of the most important (and commonly made) mistakes that young Paul made -and if any of these sound like you, then do something about it TODAY –because tomorrow soon becomes next Monday, which becomes next month, and suddenly its several years later and the penny finally drops! So here we go!
OK, now this is an easy one for me. I used to think that if I had a fat burner for my fat, a big ol’ tub of protein for my muscles, a crazy pre-workout powder to give me energy, a recovery powder to help me repair for my next mammoth training session, a tub of this, and a tub of that, then I would be a lean, mean, powerful machine! The truth is, I spent so much on these potions and powders that I was a broke machine! I didn’t have the money each month to buy quality foods, or go out with friends, or fill up my car with gas! I cringe at how much I would spend a month –even more so if a new and exciting product came out! Costs aside, I found that those magical fat burners did very little except make me sweat more and give me the jitters (I even broke out in rashes with some brands). 90% of the proteins I tried would often give me gas or at least give slight discomfort (my body’s way of telling me that it was struggling to digest this garbage). The pre workouts and post workouts –while offering all these great amino acids and different nitric oxide modulators for maximum pumps and all this other wondrous stuff –are also just hype and marketing. Sure, you will get some energy and perhaps more endurance from a good pre workout supplement, but I wager that the negative effects of all these chemicals entering your body on a daily basis far outweigh the positives of a boost of energy -which you can certainly get from a good quality cup of green tea or coffee (trust me, when you are eating and drinking clean, and without chemicals flowing through your veins, a simple coffee will work WONDERS). So seriously, if this sounds like you –for your wallet and your HEALTH –cut the crap and get your nutrition from REAL, EARTH GROWN NUTRIENTS. It’s not marketing, its science.
This one is far easier to tackle (and no, not because there is less “data” for me to work with, thank you!), but comes with all the same issues as any of the points made here, which is YOUR mindset. You need to stay accountable for what you do, what you put into your body, how you live your life. Now, with dating or relationships (I include friendships in this), it is important to know that you DO NOT need to eat what your partner or friends eat! Sounds freaking obvious but believe me, the amount of people I see who get comfortable with a partner, get happy, get loved-up, and decide each evening to order take out, or go to a restaurant instead of sticking to the healthy lifestyle they were leading (nothing wrong with restaurants, but THINK about what you are eating when you go there!). With being in a relationship, it can be more difficult to avoid the “crabs in the pot” syndrome (as Coach Dolce refers to it), in that your partner may want to order pizza one night but you want to make a nutritious, delicious bowl of Dolce’s skinny sumo stir fry. Now, your partner gets mad because you won’t share this greasy, high-calorie, low-nutrient pizza with them –making them feel fat and more ACCOUNTABLE for the garbage they are about to waste their money on. I had this very issue, and honestly, the absolute best way to tackle it is not to preach about why that pizza is terrible, and it is not to appease them by having pizza “just this once”. The best thing to do is simply show them. Show them by living a healthy lifestyle and they will see it! They will see if in your physique, in your demeanour, and by the healthy aura you will carry around with you. Believe me, a simple “no” to that pizza, or to chug that beer, or order that candy at the movies (take some almonds and raisins mixed together!), will more often than not suffice if you explain yourself. And if it doesn’t suffice, then hey –they can be mad at you, but they will be mad at a healthy, lean, happy you!
More is NOT More
Real brief one here because it is really freaking obvious; more time in the gym does not mean more results, more size, more athleticism. What it does mean is more injuries, more wasted time, more catabolism (muscle wastage), and more frustration when you don’t see the results you want. I used to grind it out at the gym for over 2 hours at a time and used to celebrate in my head when I saw someone who had came in after me, leave before me! Crazy right?! But in my mind, I just beat that guy! Personally, I found that breaking my intense and elongated workout routines was a lot harder than breaking any supplement barriers or lousy eating habits. I wanted to do more, I could do more, so I did more! It was only once I heard for the hundredth time about how it is quality over quantity, whole-body moves over endless isolation exercises, and so on, that it finally hit me; MY BODY IS OVER WORKED. My muscles cannot grow because my body is using all of its energy sources just to survive these crazy workouts! My speed and strength are not improving because I keep getting nagging injuries. So one day I simply decided I would trial –for 90 days –a more efficient and time-friendly workout routine. Needless to say, I had more time to do other things with my life, I had more energy outside of the gym (especially now I wasn’t having the dreaded “crash” from using pre workout powders!), and my body composition was improving greatly. How is this happening? I am workout out way less, I am doing less exercises, I’m not doing my favorite type of bicep curl. And yet, I am looking in the mirror and seeing the best me, the healthiest me, that I have ever seen. It is as simple as logic –not overtraining, not running my central nervous system into the ground, but simply pushing it to its limits and then giving it the right rest and recovery time.
Food = Fit
A few years back, there was some controversy in the UK over some comments made by supermodel Kate Moss. Allegedly, she claimed that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Of course, this sparked an outrage amongst parents and others who were already worried about the growing trend of sickly-thin celebrities and the effect it would ultimately have on the younger generations. Now, my very first comment on this is BULLS**T! Kate obviously hadn’t tasted any of the recipes in the Living Lean Cookbook! People are so uneducated when it comes to healthy eating that many assume it is making yourself miserable with dry, lifeless salads and crackers. Now, most of you will hopefully already know that the Dolce way of living is far from miserable –which is why it is a lifestyle and not a diet in the conventional sense (oh how it angers me to ready Facebook updates of things like “Ohh, gotta lose 15lbs for this party, gonna try the 500 calories a day diet”). Again, I could write a novel (maybe it’ll be the sequel to my novel on hindsight!) about uneducated people who try these god awful fad-diets and gimmicks, or those who fall for any and every type of marketing out there because it promises to help them lose 20lbs in 10 minutes. Now, to a degree I feel sorry for these people, but then they are often the same people who ask me “why are you eating that? You are already skinny, you don’t need to lose weight!” Yes, this was actually asked of me because I had packed a chicken-asparagus-quinoa lunch for work, instead of inhaling a Chipotle or Subway.
But back to my point about “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” As dumb as a comment as that is, if you deconstruct it and try your very best to put a good spin on it, you could argue that the comment was meant more as motivation – for those who struggle with the voices in their heads telling them to go downstairs at 3 in the morning to eat the leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.
You can apply this kind of sentiment to other aspects of a healthy lifestyle; sure, that couch is pretty comfy and warm, but it doesn’t feel as good as that feeling you get after a perfect workout –particularly a workout you were considering skipping! So while the comment in its literal context is pretty wild, if you use the same kind of determination and willpower that the British model obviously used, you can conquer any sort of goal you have set for yourself –whether it is a weekly goal, a monthly goal, or maybe just a one-off short term goal.
About the Author
Former “lazy-teen” turned gym addict, Paul ‘Cardio’ Hackett became obsessed with getting bigger and stronger -and not always in the healthiest manner possible (In-N-Out burgers were justified with the phrase “its protein, its carbs, its gooood”). When getting into MMA, he decided that being 230 lbs. (a good 30lbs or so of which was NOT functional muscle, not even close!), was not his natural weight. He got onto the Dolce Diet after seeing the great work Mike had done with Quinton Jackson and Thiago Alves. Almost immediately after starting the Living Lean lifestyle, the weight started dropping quicker than Paul’s opponents! After a few short months, 230 lbs. became 190. Paul is now at his natural weight of around 175, and uses 3 Weeks to Shredded to EASILY make 145 lbs. when needed. Working for GNC, Paul spends his work time educating others on nutrition -and not simply pushing unneeded, overpriced supplements on them. This has resulted in a loyal client base who regularly ask for health advice as well as workout and fitness advice. Paul is also a keen advocate for Onnit products, and swears by their Hemp Force protein.