Book Review: Bigger, Leaner, Stronger

To continue my summer of self improvement, I was able to read another book this summer, just before my vacation. The second book I read (after the School of Greatness) was titled ‘Bigger, Leaner, Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body’ by Michael Matthews. I actually had a few reasons for reading so much this summer. The first reasons was there was not a whole lot on tv. Second, I wanted to start getting my mind ready for school. Third, I truly want to start improving my life as much as I can in different areas. And finally, I had a Google coupon for some cheaper books, and figured I would pick a few that stood out to me (one of which is the book I am reviewing now).

Growing up , I was always very active, playing with friends, running in the street, or playing sports. As I got into High School I focused on swimming as my only sport and did everything I could to better myself. That sort of mentality has always stuck with me, especially when it comes to being in shape and taking care of myself. Overall I am in fairly good shape, with the exception of being more on the thinner side. I have always been slim… almost as if it was a curse. For the life of me, I have always had a problem gaining weight (I know some of you wish you had this problem, but for me, it is frustrating, as just like overweight people, I have body issues as well). I eat and eat and work out and never seem to be able to change my look, and that is where this book comes in,

I had recently heard about this book as it helps to debunk a lot of myths we believe about weightlifting, and it helps to focus in on what you are trying to do, and without wasting time. I have tried different workout routines, followed advice from trainer and professionals alike, and never am able to stick to a routine that has shown me results. But for some reason, I feel this time will be different. I have recently started working out following this routine and have already felt a difference in my strength. The best part about this book too is he not only tells you the science behind everything, but explains why certain things will work and others do not. From there he actually provides you not only a workout plan that fits your schedule, but he also provides you a nutritional spreadsheet too to help you maximize your gains.

At the end of the day, for me it gives me a new reason to be excited about going to the gym as well as a way to focus on my lifting and eating habits, and hope to start feeling better about myself here soon.

If you are interested in reading this book, you can check it out here.

If you want to follow Michael Matthews, you can find his Instagram here (his other social media links are on his website), and his website here.

Have you check out this book before, or have another workout read that is worth exploring? Please share your findings and results below!

Please subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

The Art of Self-Discipline

As I have now mentioned numerous time (and will likely mention again… that is what I do), I do not enjoy writing. One of those reasons is that I have a hard time of coming up with things to write about. Because of this, I started to keep a task list of different blog titles and what to write about. Today’s blog post, for the last month was actually geared to be written as part of the “Self-Improvement series” articles I have written in the past (and will write about again in the future).

I wanted to write about Self-Discipline, my struggles with this and what I am doing to work on it. However, a couple weeks ago, I was speaking with my therapist about this and she helped me really see this differently. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt that I have struggled with self-discipline (as I am sure many of you have as well). I feel that far too often I start something and never finish. In all honesty, I am surprised I am still writing blog posts!! Far too often I will do things such as starting a new gym routine, or eating healthier or reading more books…. and then after a week, a month or maybe a year, I slip up and find myself back exactly where I started.

Now in reality, this is something I still need to work on, so it does fit in line with my self-improvement process. However, I have come to learn I am not as big a failure at this as I originally thought. As it turns out, this is common. Extremely common. The problem is not that I lack self-discipline. In reality, the fact I am attempting these things shows the drive and determination needed to have self-discipline. My problem is that I am attempting to do something, that I do not generally like, alone. If I was extremely happy and loved what I was doing, the motivation to do this would be easier. I love going to the gym for example, however after a period of time, the routine gets boring and I no longer enjoy it and I find it harder to go. Eating healthy is easy at first because I feel better and see results, however I am such a picky eater I end up craving some sweets, and before I know it, I have consumed 4 Cinnabon’s in 3 days.

In speaking with my therapist, the secret I have discovered to this, is that failure rate when going about these things alone, is much higher than when you do these things with others. I.e. if you are having trouble going to the gym, get a gym partner? Not eating well? Get a friend to eat well with you. Do not enjoy writing or journaling? Come up with a good topic about something you are passionate about and start a blog. A blog that others are reading and keep you accountable for continuing to write. For me, I feel as if I am letting my readers (the handful of you who keep coming back) down.

So the truth is, I do not necessarily lack self-discipline. I lack the support to do a lot of what is needed of me. For years I have been unhappy with my job and my motivation to stay has always been to support my family. But that in itself has caused problems. My wife has always supported me going back to school, but that is now just becoming a reality. And with her support, and the support of the rest of my family, and my drive to help others and be happy, is all the self-discipline I need to better my life.

Do you struggle with Self-Discipline? What are some of your secrets to staying on track? Please share your secrets below, or any other comments you may have!

Please also feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Self Improvement: I Don’t Always Have to Be Right

I have always hated to lose. I have always been super competitive and because of that, I dislike losing. I am sure that comes with the territory, and lets be honest, nobody ENJOYS losing. But because of this, I seem to always take it to another level. I am an extremely argumentative person and have always battled this constant feeling of HAVING to be right. Even when I know I am wrong, I will keep up my argument just to win.

As you can imagine, this type of behavior has caused caused a lot of strain in various relationships, whether with friends, family or my wife. I will often make a mountain of a molehill, simply because I have to have my way or “win” the argument. As an example of how ridiculous I can be, a few years back, my wife and I were listening to a song and as we both sang along, we sang a particular lyric different. I was adamant I was right (even if mine made less sense) and she argued she was right. To end it, she pulled the lyrics up online to prove to me I was wrong. And then, with seeing the correct lyrics in front of me, the only thing I could say was “well these must be wrong too.” How ridiculous is that?! For years after I would still hold this up. And even though we BOTH knew I was wrong and knew it, I was smile and never admit the true lyrics.

It is stuff like this that can make me a difficult person to be around. I can be a contrarian and argumentative over just about anything, only because I want to be heard and I want to be right. I am sure a lot of this is just my competitive nature, but I am sure a lot has to do with my upbringing and how we went about arguing and discussing things.. not to mention when people gloat when they are right, they make you feel like shit for losing, so you just never admit defeat.

This last year, as we were under a great deal of stress (sold our house, moved in with our in-laws, bought a house, moved in and I started a new job), I could sense I was worse than ever before. As discussed in Relinquishing Control, I had to control everything and argue anything that was not going my way. I am sure a lot of my argumentative nature stems from having to have control of situations (or vice versa), but it is truly not a trait that is fun to be around. In December of last year, I started seeing a Therapist, and one of these reasons for that, was this very thing. I had to control situations, I was angry (perhaps a future blog post…), and I had to argue with everyone about everything. Part of this was the stress that was going on, part of it was my relationship, and part of this had to just do with feeling stuck doing work I did not fully enjoy. Regardless, my actions were not fair to those around me.

Identifying that I have this issue has been the biggest hurdle for me, because it wasn’t so much as identifying it, as it was admitting it. Admitting this is a problem feels like a loss to me, and as you now know, I dont like to lose. But its a daily battle. To work on this I am trying a lot of things. I am trying to listen more and understand the issues. I try to listen all the way through before speaking and I ask myself if what I am saying is warranted. I am admitting I am wrong when I can instead of holding it up. Aside from being an ass to be around when I cannot admit wrong doing, I want my children to learn that it is ok to be wrong and that good can come from it. For me, it is a constant struggle to remind myself to breath and not let every little thing bother me, and to not have to be right.

If you struggle with this, please share your thoughts and comments below on what works best for you, I would love to hear from you!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Book Review: The School of Greatness

If you have been following along on my other posts, you know by now that I am not a big fan of writing. I do it because it is actually a bit of a stress release and a way to share my story. Along with writing, there are a lot of other things I am not a fan of, but tend to do them anyway. One of which is reading. Although I say this, I actually do enjoy reading once I start, but my mind almost feels as if it is a chore. I on average read a book every 1-3 months. Not that it takes me that long but because I am exhausted by the time I am done. Although lately, as I am on this path towards resurrecting myself, I have taken the time to read a handful of books, and I hope to share some reviews of each of them as well.

The first book I want to share with you was written by a man that honestly opened my eyes and has helped me restart my path in life. The book is titled ‘The School of Greatness” and it was written by a self-made man, an inspirational author, speaker and podcaster: Lewis Howes. I first came across Lewis when listening to his podcast. Every week he is interviewing special people who do extraordinary things. Whether they are authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, dancers, they all have something in common: they had a passion or a drive to follow their dreams and do what they love. Lewis has somewhat of the same story as he was a professional football player in the Arena Football League until he broke his arm. He was living on his sisters couch and decided he needed to do something. He followed his passions and worked hard and has made millions in the process.

When I found out that “The School of Greatness” was not just a podcast, but also a book, I wasted no time in buying it. This book outlines passions and drive and identifying those within yourself and driving towards them. As I have mentioned about me is that I had lost that somewhere along the way, became complacent and went the safe route. I constantly felt stuck and dreaded having to look forward to this life as I moved on. Listening to Lewis and reading his book has been an instrumental part of my journey. For anyone who is searching for their drive in life, business or relationship, I highly recommend this book (and his podcast). Lewis is also extremely active on Social Media, so I suggest you check out his Instagram as well (or really any of his social media outlets as listed at the bottom of this page).

Have you read this book? if so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Or perhaps there is another book similar to this you recommend? I would love to hear about it!

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

Self Improvement: Relinquishing Control

My journey to starting my new career is a fairly new ambition of mine (although I have been thinking about it since the day I left my first job. However for the last couple years, I have tried doing things to better myself as a person, often time I fall flat. Whether it be going to the gym more, eating right, working on my temper or something else: I am able to make it work for a short period before I fall back to my old ways. In the last year, it has dawned on me that I have been going about it all wrong. I focus on the wrong things to change and how I go about it.

Last year in the process of selling our house, living with my in-laws, buying a new house, starting a new job, and.. a few other things, I realized how difficult I can be to be around sometimes. Sure part of this was unhappiness, that likely stems from my career choices. But I also fall victim to different characteristics of mine that get the better of me and make me a pain in the ass. My plan here, along my journey to a new career, is to also document some of the self improvement tasks I am working on. Characteristics that can make me difficult to be around, or make me a worse person, and how I am working to better myself (and ultimately those around me). This blog is about my journey to starting a new career and inspiring others along the way. My journey involves much more than just the career choice, but life choices as well, as everything is related and builds off each other. So with that, today’s topic is: I am a control freak

Now, I shouldn’t really say I am a control freak, as I can be fairly laid back and easy going. But I do like things done a certain way. And I can be very defensive and manipulative when it comes to things I want done a certain way. There is something about knowing what is going on and having a sense of control to a situation. In reality, I tend to get more controlling over things I am passionate about: my kids, my marriage, my friends, my house, etc.

Being in control, and wanting to be in control and not generally a bad thing, I would usually not list that as a characteristic that could make me hard to get along with. However, I tend to take it too far. If things are not done my way, I get extremely argumentative (that is a topic for another day) and defensive and tend to not back down. I become irrational and do not listen to what others have to say. Hell, even after I know I am wrong I will stick to my guns (stubborn.. yet another topic perhaps), I will argue and argue till I get my way, that way I can stay in control of the situation. Sometimes, it is not very obvious. I tend to manipulate people (or try) to do things I want. For instance, if my wife happens to leave dishes in the sink and I have been putting mine away, I may passive aggressively say something like “WE need to be better about putting our dishes away.” I Obviously mean ‘YOU’ as I have been putting mine away (and this is probably a bad analogy, as I am more likely to not put my dishes away… shhhhh…). Sure sometimes, I do mean ‘WE,” but often times, I mean ‘YOU,’ and lets be honest, that is not fair, regardless of who I am dealing with.

So the real question is, how do I work on this? I am still a work in progress, but here are some of the things I am doing to better myself and Relinquish Control:

  1. Discuss the issues as they come up with my therapist
  2. Take a deep breath and try to understand where others are coming from
  3. Ask myself why do I feel the need to be in control here
  4. Let others lead. I am not always right (I am hardly right)
  5. Exercise. Exercising allows me to release any pent up aggression
  6. Practice letting others win. As I don’t always have to be right, perhaps let someone else “win” even when I know I am right (its good practice
  7. Last, and probably most important: Listen. Listen to what others are saying and doing. Everything else listed above can come after I listen, and understand

Perhaps not everything listed here is truly about relinquishing control. Perhaps a lot of my other issues I need to work on are highlighted more-so here than intended. But the main point here is, is that I am a work in progress. I have identified areas of my life that need to be improved, for not only myself but those around me. This is one big journey to a better me.

Do you also have issues with control and having to own the situation? Share some of your experiences and how you practice relinquishing control, below.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.