Want to learn the ways of the Force?
Good, you’re in the right spot. Here is your step-by-step guide to using to becoming a fitness Jedi master. Yes I realize this might sound a bit ridiculous, but hear me out. Instead of light sabers and billowy robes, I’ll be discussing how to get you in the best shape of your life…and into pants that fit.
You must unlearn what you have learned
Unfortunately, there is a lot of crap information out there when it comes to losing in weight and getting in shape. If your idea of a balanced breakfast is a bagel and a glass of orange juice, we have a lot of work to do. What about exercise? Let me know if this sounds familiar:
- Spend 30-45 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical
- Wander over to a few machines, crank out a few reps on various exercises
- Go do some crunches on a mat
- Drive home, drink a Gatorade, and feel good about yourself
Your heart is in the right place, but it is misguided. You might think lifting weights will make you bulky, hours of cardio is the best way to lose weight, and drinks like Gatorade and Vitamin Water are good for you. Young padowan, you have much to learn, so let’s start by forgetting whatever you thing you know (unless you’ve been getting your info from Nerd Fitness…you can keep that info). Luckily, there is hope for you yet. Once you’ve cleared your mind, I’d start your re-education here:
Find your Yoda
Mentors are invaluable. Obi-Wan had Qui-Gon Jinn, Luke had Yoda, and I have Mike Rickett. Every time Mike (a fitness guru with 20+ years of experience) comes into town, I learn more from him in an hour over dinner than I could learn in a week of reading any fitness book. I’m glad I have Mike to teach me new exercises, new routines, and push me to be a more well-rounded and balanced individual.
You need to find your own Yoda.
If you want to run marathons, find somebody who has run multiple marathons and borrow the best parts from their routine. If you want to be a better Ultimate Frisbee player, hop on some message boards and find the best players in your local league and how they prepare for events. If you want to be a better weight lifter, if you want to make sure your form is good on your exercises, ask around and find a great trainer to get you started. If you want to lose a LOT of weight, find others that have been successful in doing so.
I understand a lot of you guys probably work out in your house and don’t have others to look up to. If this is the case, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll gladly do what I can for ya. If you need motivation, have questions, or whatever, please don’t hesitate to ask. My emails are starting to pile up these days, so it might take me up to a week to get back to you, but I WILL get back to you.
Learn the ways of the Force
The Force is responsible for everything that a Jedi does and how he acts; it’s the life force that binds everything together. When getting in shape, you need to learn the ways of the Force and understand how everything in your life is interconnected:
- Your bad diet can and will affect your performance in the gym.
- Your poor sleeping habits can and will affect your weight loss.
- Your daily exercising can and have a positive influence on how you eat.
The Force affects everything around you. Exercising every day but eating and sleeping poorly will NOT give you the results you want (“these aren’t the results you’re looking for”). You need to find a good balance in your diet and exercise, focusing on actionable goals and results. Once you learn that everything is connected, and that everything you do affects everything else, you are one step closer to becoming who you want to be.
This journey will change your life. As you start to change your diet and begin exercising regularly, you will start to sleep better and feel better. You’ll have a new found sense of confidence, which will allow you to exercise more in public and eat better in public. Every action you take will either lead you closer to the dark side (boo) or the light side (yay).
Once you are armed with this information, the choice is yours.
This is some rescue. You came in here and you didn’t have a plan for getting out?
“I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.” Remember that great scene? As it turns out (and Princess Leia so readily noted), Luke only KIND OF had a rescue plan; luckily R2D2 bailed everybody out of the compactor. If you don’t have a walking trashcan to help keep you in line, you’re going to need a good plan if you want to succeed. Most importantly, you need to be like a Jedi – direct and specific.
- “I want to get in shape” is half-assed. “I want to lose 20 pounds by June 2nd” is a plan.
- “I’m going to work out today” is half-assed. “I am going to do 4 sets of squats, 5 sets of bench presses, 3 sets of pull ups, and then do 3 sets of planks” is a plan.
- “I’m want to eat better” is half-assed. “I am going to cut all of the processed carbs out of my diet and give up soda” is plan.
The more you can plan ahead, the less you’ll have to improvise along the way (and the less chance you have of ending up in a trash compactor). If you want to be a kick-ass Jedi, you need to plan out your workouts (sets, reps, time of workout, etc.) before you walk into the gym so you know exactly what you need to accomplish to advance your training.
- Need help putting together your gym routtine? Check out the Daft Punk Guide to fitness.
- Don’t have a gym membership? Try the NF Beginner Body Weight Workout that you can do in your home.
Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.
The Dark Side sucks. Okay it’s actually pretty awesome (which is why people always want to play as the Sith in any Star Wars game), but for today’s lesson we’ll assume that it’s bad. When it comes to getting in shape, you can either choose to take the path of the Jedi (hard work, common sense, awareness, dedication, and a strong balance), or you can choose the seemingly faster, easier path of the Dark Side:
- Diet pills
- Useless ab machines
- Trendy diets
- The next “miracle weight loss cure”
These are products and plans that somebody would try to use only if they wanted to cheat the system and get results without putting in the effort. These things are a waste of time, a waste of money, and/or extremely dangerous to your health.
You don’t need supplements, you don’t need pills, you don’t need training aids, and you don’t need to buy an expensive system that promises results in 4 weeks. You need hard work and dedication. The Dark Side currently runs the fitness industry and it’s only getting worse as this country gets fatter and lazier. You need to join the good guys.
Avoid practically every advertisement you read on Google Ads, every commercial that promises results with minimal effort, and every product that sounds too good to be true. As General Akbar would say, “It’s a TRAP!”
A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.
If you want to be a Jedi, it takes a ****-load of training, studying, learning, and dedication. There’s no weekend Jedi course at the local community college. You can’t take an online light saber webinar. These dudes are 100% dedicated to their cause, always learning and improving.
If you’re going to get in shape, it takes a ****-load of training, studying, learning, and dedication. Okay, so it’s really not as tough as becoming a Jedi, but it certainly will take dedication. A few weeks at the gym and a special diet for a month isn’t going to cut it. If you’re expecting results without actually having to do anything, click the red X in the corner of this page because this is clearly not the website for you.
Being a Jedi isn’t a profession: it’s a way of life. Getting in shape is no different.
If Obi-Wan wanted to stop being a Jedi, he couldn’t exactly walk up to Yoda and say “here’s my two weeks notice.” He is a Jedi, and that will never change. This is the mindset you need to have when beginning your path towards fitness: it’s not a job, it’s who you are. The choices you make and the actions you take will sculpt your future.
Do or Do Not. There is No Try
This is one of the best quotes ever, and one of the cornerstones of the Nerd Fitness philosophy. You can either lift the x-wing out of the swamp, or you can’t. You can either lift that weight, or you can’t. You can get in shape, or you can’t.
Every January, gyms are filled with the misguided hopes and dreams of people who try to get in shape but don’t put forth their full effort. Sure, they try eat better for a few weeks but don’t really want to give up junk food. They try exercising but quickly give up when it’s cold, or dark, or they’re sleepy. Listen, if you’re not gonna go at this “in shape” thing with your full dedication, don’t bother wasting your time. You can’t half-ass being a Jedi, you can’t half-ass being in shape.
Now, I’m not saying your only option is to start exercising for three hours a day and completely change everything you eat. Instead, you need to pick one or two things every month and then DO those one or two things without fail. Whatever your one change is, do everything in your power to make that one change a habit, and then do everything in your power to make that habit part of who you are. Try one of these:
- Give up soda – these calories are absolutely detrimental to your weight loss, even if it’s diet soda.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier and exercise in the morning. Get your exercise in before your day even starts.
- Give up fast food during the week. Eventually, work towards giving it up completely.
May the Force be with you
You now have the tools at your disposal to change your life if you are willing to work for it. I didn’t want to make this post too long, and I tried to stick with just references from the original trilogy, but I’m sure there were some glaring metaphors that I missed.
Any Star Wars fans out there want to chime in?
P.S. This is the last post for 2010, see you back here for a new post on January 3rd, 2010!