Why Thinking Small is The Secret to Fitness Success

This week, we have a great guest post from KC Ushijima.  KC is a man of many talents including being a magician, musician and improv actor.  Outside of being a true Renaissance Man, KC is a personal trainer in Utah, who specializes in getting people out of pain and working with rehabilitation clients coming back from an injury.  He is a unique writing style, which I greatly enjoy and I hope you do too!

You must acquire the habits and skills of managing a small amount of money before you can have a large amount.  Remember, we are creatures of habit, and therefore the habit of managing your money is more important than the amount. - T. Harv Eker

Quite often I will meet frustrated parents at the gym.  Their kid took too long to get ready and now they only have 45 minutes to workout instead of a full hour.  During that time, they get some texts and phone calls, and some gym buddies come over to talk and complain.  

They complain about not making any recent progress or that their back hurts.  The journey started off great.  They got stronger, lost a few pounds, felt better, and now...nothing.  Then there is a remark about how it was easier to get into shape when we were “younger.”  

Ironically, if we learn and get the right processes in place, it can be simpler to get into shape when we are older.  If we have wrong or inefficient processes in place, we are doomed before we even start.


[Genetic] Lottery Winners, Inheritance, and the Dad Bod

You're walking around blind without a cane, pal. A fool and his money are lucky enough to get together in the first place. - Michael Douglas’ character, Gordon Gekko, Wallstreet (1987).

It is commonly talked about how lottery winners usually end up in a worse financial situation a few years down the line after they hit a big jackpot.  One theory is that since they never had to “work” for the money, they never had to go through the process of learning how to accumulate and manage large sums of money.

It evens happens to professional athletes.  ESPN did an entire 30 for 30 episode called “Broke” profiling athletes who have had to file bankruptcy.  These various athletes “worked” hard to earn multi-million dollar contracts, but they never learned to manage the fruits of their success.  In response to the money issue, professional sports leagues are teaching rookies about finances and things to watch out for with this new fortune.  In the words of Notorious B.I.G., “Mo money, mo problems.”

“Money will only make you more of what you already are.” - T Harv Eker

Dave Ramsey often discusses how wealth can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how we manage it.  Most of us will never be millionaire pro athletes or million dollar lottery winners.  However, some of us may receive a large inheritance from a wealthy relative or get a nice bonus check from our employers.  In some insidious ways, some people consider tax refunds as a nice windfall.  

Usually, many of us will blow this extra cash on some luxury that we normally wouldn’t spend our regular money on.  It’s not fun to spend this windfall on an income producing asset or to pay off our debts.  It is a sign of what we might do if a large fortune were to come along.


Managing the “Dad Bod”

“Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.” - T. Harv Eker

The Dad Bod refers to middle-aged men that are bulky, maybe chubby and strong, versus a lean, ripped male with a six pack. It is typically identified with guys who were athletic in high school and college.  Some might refer to the Dad Bod as former meatheads, who lift heavy and eat a lot.  It worked in college, so they continue doing it.

However, they never actually learned to manage their health & fitness.  It wasn’t necessary.  Many high school and college males are like Wolverine.  The teenage/early 20-something male body just magically heals itself.  Then around the age of 30, we become like Superman drinking Kryptonite Protein Shakes.  The body is sore and tight, but we continue to just lift heavy and hard, and still eat a lot.  That is how to manage the the Dad Bod.

Even though I did not play sports in high school, I ran into similar things with school.  For the most part, school came fairly easily to me.  It was really nice, so I got to spend a lot of time with music, theater, and video games.  But I never learned how to learn and study or how to manage academic struggles.  

My senior year in high school, I quit my math class after 2 weeks.  It just wasn’t clicking like it used to.  Studying was somewhat of a foreign concept and I didn’t want to start it my senior year.  [My natural ability could only take me so far, struggling in community college.  Eventually, I was forced to learn about the concept of studying as I continued with college and grad school.]


It’s also a Matter of RESPECT

“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it's lowest ones.” - Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

It might sound a little new agey, but showing respect for the little things in the gym makes a huge difference.

I often think about the quote from powerlifter, Andy Bolton: “Treat every set as if it were very heavy.”  

Andy Bolton has a great understanding of what “heavy” means.  He was the first guy to deadlift over 1,000 pounds in competition.  

The idea is that we want to practice every rep like how we would do it if it was our max.  This way we can practice the technique and movement pattern (aka “grease the groove”).  What seems to happen is that the warm up sets, and lighter weights, are an obstacle before we can get to our workout.  So many of us will do them nonchalantly and haphazardly.  

And as the weights gets heavier, the technique and form look nothing like the warm-up set.  The range of motion starts to shorten, the body starts contorting in odd ways, and it almost looks like a completely different exercise.  

When I witness these moments, I occasionally get flashbacks of my former piano teachers.  If I didn’t play the scale or the song right, we went back and slowed it down to get the technique right. Once I showed Janet that could play the song well enough, we moved onto a more challenging song. As tedious as it was to practice methodically, and in addition, getting a better understanding basic music theory, learning and performing songs became so much easier.  


Key Point

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Vince Lombardi

In the end, don’t take for granted the little things and small progress we have made.  If we manage, learn, and build upon them, it is paving the way for our fitness journey.  If we speed through our workouts trying to get to the next stop as fast as we can, and ignore the check engine light, our body will file bankruptcy on us while we are stuck in traffic hoping to get 45 minutes in the gym.

KC Ushijima is the owner of KC Workout.  KC is a man of many talents including being a magician, musician and improv actor.  Beyond this, KC is a personal trainer in Utah, who specializes in getting people out of pain and working with rehabilitation clients coming back from an injury. 

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