How to be more energetic

If you’re a driven person it’s because you’ve found your purpose.

Your purpose is what gets you up in the morning. It gives you something to work towards.

This is why looking after yourself is even more important.

Because you’ll need the energy to to propel you through the day and work on your mission.

And you don’t want to let your health tear you away from your purpose and see you miss out on achieving what you wanted.

There are many ways that health factors can take you off course.

Stress is one of the biggest obstacles. Chronic stress can derail even the best health intentions.

New research shows that stress and obesity are more intertwined than previoulsy thought.

I’ll break this research down. And give you actionable steps to make progress, despite a stressful environment.

How stress can lead to weight gain

Stress can affect a bunch of “systems” that are involved in weight control.

What’s more, these aren’t isolated effects. Each system is a feedback loop that can affect all the others.

Let’s get into the details.

*Cognition Stress can mess with your mind; executive function and self-regulation. 

Combined these include mental skills like thinking, planning, and organizing. As well as the ability to focus and manage your emotions.

*Behaviors Stress influences eating, physical activity, and sleep. And these behaviors all have their own feedback loops too.

Lack of sleep can hinder physical activity, and lack of physical activity can disrupt sleep.

*Physiology The research outlines three ways stress might affect you physiologically:

  • It ramps up stress hormones. This can make you want to eat more, and can also tell your body to store fat.
  • Stress can increase your brain’s appetite for “rewards”. Feel good chemicals, like dopamine. Which can drive you to eat foods that are highly palatable (fun food), or seek out alcohol or drugs.
  • Stress may affect your microbiome, which could make you more susceptible to weight gain.

*Biochemistry Stress may also impact blood chemicals related to weight control.

Specifically, leptin, ghrelin and neuropeptide Y, which affect hunger, appetite, and fat storage.

*Weight stigma The researchers define weight stigma as “the sum of prejudice, discrimination. And negative attitudes aimed at those perceived as overweight.”

And guess what? It creates another feedback loop!

Obesity leads to weight stigma which then creates… more stress. And round we go.

You might call it a vicious cycle. Or a nasty web. Or one big giant cluster $%#!

So… what’s this all mean for you?

And what can you do about it? 

Part 2: Important takeaways

1. Look beyond eating advice and nutrition plans. If stress is wreaking havoc in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle to make progress toward your goals. No matter how on point your nutrition or workout program may be. 

Instead…

2. Work on the biggest problem first. Find your or have a professional find your “bottleneck” or “weakest link” so you can unlock the fastest and most effective path toward your goals. 

This often means going beyond nutrition and fitness. 

So if working on food first isn’t working, dig deeper. Look at how you might develop stress management. Stress tolerance, and emotional regulation skills.

3. Work towards healthy stress-reduction strategies. When you, or your coach, identify that stress management is your biggest problem, here are some strategies you can use:

  • Meditation. Even a few minutes can have a measurable effect on stress levels. Apps like Headspace, Calm, or Waking Up are great tools.
  • Nature walks. Simply going for a daily park walk can work wonders.
  • Massage. Whether it’s self massage with a foam roller, or paying a professional, massage helps you relax, and fast.

Simple methods that can see huge changes.

Check out my 90 Day Program – The Disciplined Man

How to stay consistent

Have you ever experienced a time where you’re enthused about starting a new challenge?

Caught up in the excitement of this new regime you start off going hell for leather.

It’s pedal to the metal. As you’re determined that this is going to be the time. This is going to be the regime that sees things change once and for all.

And then after a couple of weeks you find things dropping off. You find that you can’t keep up the pace. And as you’ve seen zero results, you throw in the towel.

Sound familiar?

What you need to know is when it comes to being consistent you have to build momentum.

Because winning the race is all about pace!

Momentum is so important when you are making positive changes to your life.

When you stop and start it takes so much more time and energy. At least 10x more than if you were consistent!

People don’t realise how much time it takes to build consistency.

But wise people will keep on going. Because they understand that there is lag with building momentum.

It’s the equal of a rocket launching into space. Most of the energy is used up breaking free of the earth’s atmosphere.

Those that push through with energy, discipline and consistency start to see results.

Now, these aren’t huge changes that they experience. And most people will say that the juice hasn’t been worth the squeeze so they quit.

But the smart folk will persist further. And here’s where the magic happens.

It doesn’t take long before they start to see big changes in their lives. As they break free of the atmosphere and the gravity that has been weighing them down.

They move faster and progress further from the same effort being applied. As there is no more resistance.

They have momentum.

Now all they need to do is be consistent with there actions. Because if you ease off entirely you are then taken way off course.

And enter back into an event horizon where gravity will once again hold you down. Momentum will be gone. Then you need to start again.

Sadly this is how most people operate; in fits and starts.

We get a new business venture going and cut out on vacation.

We get hyped up about date nights with our spouse but then in a few weeks its back to Netflix and snacks on the sofa.

We start a new health regimes and go like crazy for a couple of weeks. Then stop and end up right back at the started.

It only takes you to miss a couple of weeks of missing anything. Workouts, healthier meals, affectionate gestures to your spouse, business calls.

And you’ve killed momentum.

Which is why I emplore you to be the tourtouise, not the hare!

Given enough time, the tourtoise will beat anyone!

This is the importance of the being consistent with a minimum effective dose.

Doing the least amount of work that will see you make progress.

Which makes consistency easy.

For more help with performing at your best check out my program The Disciplined Man click here

How to naturally increase your dopamine levels.

Our hormones have a big impact on our emotional state, causing both good and bad mood patterns.

Regulating your hormones significantly improves and balances your emotional health.

There are a lot of things that you are doing throughout the day that have an affect on your hormones. Without you even realising.

Dopamine is a hormone that has a massive effect on us. It’s the chemical messenger in your brain that creates feelings of pleasure and reward. Which motivates you to repeat a specific behaviour.

And modern day temptations are very effective at giving us cheap dopamine hits. They are designed to elicit this ‘feel good’ sensation. It’s at the crux of their design and marketing.

Junk food, Porn, Social media, Booze, Nicotine. All elicit these cheap dopamine hits. And these temporary feel goods are very effective.

They target your weakness and keep you coming back for more.

Alcohol for confidence.

Nicotine anxiety.

Social media for boredom.

Junk food for lethargy.

Porn for arousal.

These acute ‘feel goods’ are so common yet so dangerous. Because use of these cheap dopamine hits results in;

Excessive binge eating,

Poor relationships,

Chronic stress,

High blood pressure,

and poor health.

These cheap dopamine hits are killing you!

And without without discipline, it can be very hard to turn down these temptations because they are so effective and immediate. They offer instant gratification to a problem.

And when you start to depend on them, it’s harder to rid yourself of them.

So rather than going cold turkey – which is incredibly hard. Replace them with natural things that you natural dopamine hits.

Swapping them, so your brain doesn’t really notice.

Imagine yourself as Indiana Jones, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, in the tomb swapping that Golden Idol for a bag of sand.

(but much easier and without the tomb kicking off and trying to kill you).

Here are some easy ways to do that!

Eat a high protein diet.

Proteins are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. One amino acid, called tyrosine, plays a critical role in the production of dopamine!

Probiotics

The gut and brain are closely linked. Certain species of bacteria that live in your gut are also capable of producing dopamine.

Exercise

Exercise can boost dopamine levels in the brain. Improvements in mood can be seen after as little as 10 minutes of activity but tend to be highest after at least 20 minutes.

Quality sleep

After poor sleep the availability of dopamine receptors in their brains is dramatically reduced by the next morning.

Getting regular, high quality sleep helps keep your dopamine levels balanced. And help you feel more alert and high functioning during the day

Music

Listening to music is an enjoyable way to stimulate dopamine release in your brain.

Listening to music increases activity in the reward and pleasure areas of the brain, rich with dopamine receptors.

Sunlight

Periods of low sunshine exposure can lead to reduced levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Including dopamine. Sunlight exposure can increase them.

Start swapping the unnatural for the natural and I promise you’ll start to feel better.

Ignorance is bliss

This week my wife surprised me with a birthday outing. A meal at one of my favourite steak houses, Hawksmoor.

The service and ambiance only bettered by the steak they serve. Delectable enough to convert any vegan.

We arrived and were seated at our table. The server asked if we would like menus with calories or without.

This was all new to me as I hadn’t dined out since the new governance on calories being displayed on menus had come in.

On being handed my menu curiosity hit me. I asked the server –

‘What do you find the percentage of people who ask for menus showing the calories’.

He told me that they record this information, and 95% of people opted for the menu without calories.

I couldn’t say I was surprised. I’m sure if there was an option to opt for a menu without pricing people would opt for that too.

Most people don’t want to know. They want immediate gratification and to hell with the consequences. They’ll be paid for (in a monetary and health sense), in the distant future. Seemingly so far away it doesn’t bear thinking about now.

Scanning over my menu I was astounded over the Bearnaise sauce coming in at 600 kcals!

I say again. A sauce/condiment. 600 calories.

Sauces are definitely something that some wouldn’t even consider being cognisant of when it comes to calories.

This definitely shaped my decision when it came to ordering.

A result of me choosing information over ignorance. And it’s these choices that hold me in good stead.

I would describe the basis of them as; short term pain (restriction) long term gain (health).

The opposite, the immediate gratification choice is why people incur problems. In there unwillingness and not wanting to know they fall foul. They tell themselves they deserve to live a little’ or it’s just this one time.

The reality is it’s not just this one time. There selective memory and ego has them saying this.

And after years and all these ‘just this one times’ the shit hits the fan.

Their doctor informs them that their current predicament warrants medication or surgery.

Now there are some that think with making these changes and imposing restrictions. They can no longer enjoy themselves or they are imprisoning themselves.

When really imposing a little self control and restriction gives you freedom.

Freedom from low energy that stops you achieving what you want.

Freedom from insecurity with your body that holds you back from putting yourself out there.

Freedom from concerns about your health.

Freedom from the lethargy that holds you back from taking action to progress in your life.

Freedom from doing what’s best for you.

Freedom from a poor quality of life.

Freedom from poor health has limited the things you can do or wanted to do in the future.

This lack of discipline which plagues your life is what prevents you from achieving your true potential.

I implore you to top struggling and do something about it.

Your first step to freedom download my free guide to self discipline

How to get fitter.

One of the most important books I’ve read is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

It cemented the benefits of having a daily routine. And how important our habits are.

For example, so many people say things like:

“I want to have more money”, “I want to lose weight” or “gain some kind of result.”

The truth is your bank account is a lagging measure of your finnacial habits.

Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits.

Your fitness is a lagging measure of your exercise habits.

Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning and reading habits.

And we get it wrong when we think the thing that needs to change is the bank account, the test score or the number on the scale.

Actually the things that need to change are the habits that proceed those outcomes.

You come to realise that your habits reinforce a particular identity.

Sometimes this can be positive and sometimes it can be negative.

The story could be things like ‘Im bad at math’ or ‘I’m terrible with people’s names’. It’s an internal story that you tell yourself.

And each time you have an experience it reinforces that. The story gets solidified.

The takeaway here is that every action you take is a vote for the type of person you become.

And if you can master the right actions, if you can master the right habits

Then you start to cast votes for this new identity, the desired person you want to become.

This is why small habits matter so much, they don’t transform your life overnight.

One workout or healthy meal does not transform your body. But it does cast a vote for being the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts and eats healthy.

Over time these votes compound. And as Einstein said:

‘Compounding is the eighth wonder of the world.’

The goal is not to run a race or complete a sporting pursuit. The goal is to become an athlete.

Once you’ve adopted that identity, you’re not looking to change anymore.

You’re merely acting in alignment with the type of person you see yourself as.

True behaviour change is identity change.

Once you change that internal story it get’s easier to show up each day.

Motivation becomes irrelevant.

It’s just who you are.

You choose.

Every day we make approximately 35,000 decisions

Decisions like:

‘how should I respond to this email’.

‘should I order this meal or this meal’.

‘do I go or not’.

These decisions range from the inconsequential to the very important.

But what we misinterpret is the severity of these ‘inconsequential’ decisions over time.

Those decisions by themselves, in isolation are not important.

It’s the compounding of those poor decisions over time that build into something formidable.

Very rarely are these decisions ‘just for now’ or ‘only this once’.

And here’s the thing, the choices you make day in day out aren’t really choices. You aren’t making any decisions. Because you are on autopilot.

You’ll make the same decision as you did last time.

It’s easier that way. And your mind loves the easy option.

It’s adverse to challenge and discomfort. Which is why it will go with the option that sees avoidance of pain.

Which is irronic because pain is unavoidable.

You can experience it now or later. But you will experience it. And thats why we need look at the choice of pain.

You get to choose your pain.

The pain of exercising or the pain of disapointment from not being able to play with your kids for more than a minute because of poor fitness.

The pain of self restraint with your diet or the pain of feeling uncomfortable in your clothes.

The pain of missing out on another TV episode or the pain of feeling fatigued the next day.

The pain of working on emotional control and stress or the pain of embarrassing yourself from losing your shit at a co worker in front of the entire office.

The pain of building self-discipline or the pain of knowing you’ve let yourself go.

It would be better that you choose the pain rather than your body and mind choose it for you!

You vs The Monkey

Most guys know what to do but aren’t doing it.

This is why your health and fitness isn’t an information problem, it’s an implementation problem.

This means it’s less about the method and more about the mindset.

What you need to realize is, that making a transformation, one that will have you looking and feeling at your best. Is achieved through discipline.

I’m not talking about being perfect 24/7.

I’m saying that the majority of the decisions you make need to be in line with your goal. And the ones that aren’t don’t undo the work you’ve done.

It comes down to an internal battle between you and your monkey brain.

You see the monkey brain wants you to relax and take the easy option.

The monkey brain has a penchant for fornication, debauchery and immediate pleasure.

Do things that will provide it with stimulus and excitement (although they won’t be challenging or uncomfortable). This is why it’s so easy to plicate.

But after a while, of giving in to these cravings they leave you feeling a little hollow and disappointed.

Because once again you’ve been persuaded by the monkey. Who has led you astray.

Yeah, it was fun and you had a good laugh but that monkey has led you so far off course you’re now a bit lost.

You’re stumbling around trying to get back to the correct path. Cursing yourself for giving in to the petulant primate. Who keeps distracting you from not doing what you said you were going to do.

Frustrated you didn’t have the discipline to ignore that wretched beast and his easy enticements.

The thing is when you start out with addressing this the monkey brain, it isn’t a cute little Capuchin. No no no it’s an adult silverback gorilla.

It’s so powerful. You feel almost helpless when it comes to stopping it from doing what it wants.

But when you have a plan and some accountability that sees you build your discipline.

That is when you’ll start to see that monkey shrink. And so to its power over you. All the way until you have only a cute little Pygmy Marmoset to deal with.

It is at this point that you’ll be at your best. You’ll be doing what you should be doing. Not what the monkey wants you to.

Which is how you get you to that place where you have the energy and confidence that you’re after. And built the discipline that will permeate all areas of your life.

Plus the added satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve bettered that pesky monkey!

Want to find out more about improving your vitality, confidence and performance?

Click here

How to build motivation

When I talk to people about High Performance, sometimes the word “motivation” comes up.

“I’ve tried all kinds of diets and fitness regimens,” they might say.

Shortly followed by “but I can never seem to keep up the motivation.”

The reality is High Performance has nothing to do with motivation. It’s definitely not the magic key that unlocks your potential. As so many online gurus would have you believe.

High Performance is formed from the process of building habits. Specific actions in your daily routine linked to your goals.

It’s about pursuing your potential for yourself and those that matter most.

It requires a plan, a roadmap, that sees you fine tune your actions. It’s not something you do overnight.

Think about what athletes do (some I’ve coached). They follow a specialized training program. Designed to improve their physical, psychological, technical skill set.

They support their training with habits such as getting restful and restorative sleep. They eat nutritious foods, build mental resilience through mindfulness, and foster supportive relationships.

Notice that motivation wasn’t mentioned once.

That’s because motivation is unreliable. And if you rely on it you are going to be inconsistent with your actions.

Long-term success is built upon small daily actions that move the you closer to your goal.

Modern neuroscience even demonstrates that from these small progressions you’ll be internally rewarded. Through a built-in neurochemical mechanism.

You don’t need superhuman motivation to elevate your performance (because it doesn’t exist).

The process isn’t reserved for gold medallists or billionaire entrepreneurs. All you need is a desire to pursue your potential.

If that’s something you’re interested in click here.

The proficient man’s creed

How you can improve productivity, increase focus and reduce stress. Through a very simple practice called compartmentalization.

It may sound fancy and complicated but it’s simple. Simple and effective.

Distraction and loss of concentration are very costly. They drain our time and energy from switching from task to task.

If you’re thinking that you’re a good multi tasker, think again. What you are doing is lots of things poorly as opposed to a set task very well.

And what adds to your stress is the environment you’re in. If it is not condusive to the task in hand then your brain will have to fight more distraction.

The performance of a task in an improper environment is taxing on your grey matter. Or when you are using one room for many tasks i.e. using your lounge for work, exercise and relxation.

To be at your best you want the environment to compliment the task. And to have a designated room for a designated task.

This is where compartmentalization comes in. It aids your orientation perception (taking in external cues such as visual stimulation, perspective and spatial).

Keeping rooms for specific tasks, and not having crossover. Will not only improve your focus on the task but also reduce stress from room/task confusion.

Your brain will begin to associate the room with the task. And that’s when you’ll see your skill of the task improve.

So here is a mantra. I call it the proficient man’s creed:

This is my bedroom there are many rooms like this but this one is for sleep.

This is my office, there are many rooms like it but this one is for work.

This is my kitchen there are many rooms like it but this one is for cooking.

You get the drift!

A question for change

You might want to achieve a certain dream…

…but you can’t seem to take action on it.

For example you want to write a book…

Or climb a mountain…

Or start a new business…

Or get in shape…

You want it and dream about making it happen.

But when it comes to taking action you hit a brick wall.

Yot can’t seem to get started.

Or, if you do start, you give up on things pretty quickly when you meet a challenge.

In this case – what do you do?

Well here’s one question you can ask yourself…

“What will I miss out on if I never achieve that goal/dream?”

And when you come up with the answers…

ask yourself ‘What else will I miss out on if I never achieve that goal/dream?’

Keep asking until you can no longer think of anything.

This questioning process helps to uncover the real reasons you want to achieve the goal in the first place.

It makes you more aware of what’s driving them…

…and you’ll start to associate pain with not taking action.

Because you’ll see clearly for the first time, what it’s costing you to stay where you are.

This question grounds you in the present and helps you to experience emotionally what it would feel like to not achieve your goal.

Whereas usually you’re are only focused on the future and how it would feel to achieve that goal…

…this question helps you to experience emotional pain in the present. By seeing what things will look like up ahead if you don’t take action.

And that’s motivating!

You might come to realise you don’t want to miss out on any of those things!

You then associate pain with not changing. Which is what’s often needed to change.