Friday, April 9, 2010

The 'Buy-In' Factor

First of all, I apologize for my recent, unplanned hiatus from the blog. Life has been very busy. Family life has been crazy -- with 4 children (soon-to-be 5 or 6), life has a way of happening like that. Work has been very busy as well. I like to post one or two times per week, but sometimes life gets in the way. If that happens, always feel free to email me with questions. Want me to cover a specific topic? Just let me know.

Now onto the topic of the day...

Much of what we talk about on Sterling Advice is about choices. And when one makes a choice, many dynamics play into that decision (or series of decisions) -- family, friends, health, attitude, social norms, social pressures, mental state, etc.

So what nudges one to make a specific choice related to health or fitness?
  • Family death directly related to unwise health choices.
  • Family history of obesity or diabetes and you want to reprogram your genes and break the 'cycle' of slavery to unwise life choices.
  • Desire to feel better.
  • Desire to eliminate 'needed' prescription drugs.
  • Just want to 'get healthy'.
  • Want to change your body composition.
  • Want to lose weight and/or body fat.
  • Want to get ripped.
  • Upcoming family reunion or class reunion.
  • Upcoming meeting where you want to look better and feel better.

All of these reasons could lead you to make an immediate choice to change your health and fitness for the better. But what makes you stick with that decision? What causes that paradigm shift that truly changes your life?

For me, it was several things. At first, I just wanted to look better. After figuring out that just looking better and hearing people make positive comments about my changes wouldn't sustain my motivation, it changed to more long-term thinking. I figured out that eating and living in a healthy manner allowed me to not only look better, but feel better pretty much all of the time. You can read about my transformation here.

But the summary of my story is that those positive choices CHANGED MY LIFE. My asthma disappeared for the first time in my life, my thinking was clearer, my sinuses weren't stuffy, I was a happier person, I was more pleasant to be around (just ask my wife)...just to name a few obvious things. The before and after pics on my blog only tell a fraction of the story. What the pictures don't show is what changed inside my body and inside my head.

Once I realized that just 'looking good' (that's a relative term) wasn't enough to sustain my motivation, I had to figure out what would.

Feeling better EVERY DAY in every facet of my life became the motivation. This became my 'Buy-In' Factor. And the positive choices that fueled that motivation also had to have their own 'Buy-In' factor.

5 keys things that fueled my life change were the following:

  1. The Primal Blueprint and Mark Sisson were key in my life-changing decision making and choices. The more I researched what Mark brought to light, the more I bought-in. I may not agree with every single thing that Mark says, but that's irrelevant. I buy into his philosophy on health and fitness. He helped change my life and we've become friends as a result. What could be better than that?
  2. Intermittent fasting was crucial to my success. BUT I had to 'buy-in', especially in the early days of fasting when I was hungry. Understanding the incredible benefits of IF helped me push through and now I enjoy employing IF every, single day. It will free you from being a slave to the 5-6 meals/day mantra.
  3. Tom Venuto was another key to my success. His unending understanding of calories and macronutrient manipulation is unbelievable. Tom is a 100% natural bodybuilder and knows more about fat loss and lean muscle gain than anyone I know. I believe IF and fewer meals per day is better than 5-6 meals per day (which is where Tom stands), but who can argue with Tom's results and those of his clients. We still 100% completely agree on calories.
  4. Which leads us to the understanding of calories. An extremely crucial concept to understand. The 'buy-in' to the FACT that a calorie deficit = fat loss and a calorie surplus = no fat loss was something I had to 'buy-in' to . You would be amazed at how many do not understand this simple, but absolute law of physics (except in very rare situations).
  5. Research. I didn't have the 'Buy-In' Factor with any of the first 4 items until I did my research. YOU will not 'buy-in' until you back your beliefs (or what you want to believe) with research to support it. I run sprints every week because research has shown that they are likely one of THE BEST exercises that you can do, period! As I grew to understand their benefit(s), I grew to enjoy them with purpose.

YOU have to do it for YOU; not necessarily for anyone else. Although my changes were, in large part, for my family as well. It's had a tremendously positive effect on them.

So do you have the 'Buy-In' Factor?

What will make you make positive, LASTING changes? It can start with a small goal or motivation, i.e. an upcoming class reunion. But to sustain a life-changing paradigm shift you have to buy-in. Dig deep, do your research, challenge the status quo, challenge conventional wisdom, find YOUR 'Buy-In' Factor.

Until next time...

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