Moments before writing this piece, I was asked to go on a yacht party in Miami with copious amounts of booze, exotic dudes, and Spanish pick up lines. Alas, I turned it down for the sake of blogging this article.
So let’s dive right into the meat of this post: sacrifice.
This word could also mean giving up your Friday nights to do graduate school homework, watching Dancing with the Stars with your wife instead of watching Monday night football with the guys, or living out of tupperware and cutting out every food you love to get abs that can cut diamonds.
To that end, it makes me laugh when people don’t understand the meaning of sacrifice, especially when it comes to achieving physique goals.
Perhaps you want to build muscle, get lean for the beach, lose 10 pounds, have the world’s largest biceps, or look like Drogo from Game of Thrones.
Now this begs the question: how far are you willing to go to achieve your ideal look?
Over the extent of my career as a trainer, I’ve had a plethora of women come in for initial evaluations only to slap a magazine cover of a fit celebrity onto my desk.
“I want to look like this!” they declared.
Instead of banging my head against my office door, I played the part of the no-bs-non-sugarcoated trainer and asked them the magical question, “How much are you willing to sacrifice in terms of nutrition, sleep, and training to look like Jessica Biel?”
Look. It’s all fine and good to have ambitious fitness goals, but when people don’t understand the amount of sacrifice some ripped people make, that’s when things get iffy.
So you want to look like a bikini model, celebrity, Victoria’s Secret model, and don’t want to take any actionable, consistent steps to get there? HAHAHAHA that’s cute.
I beg you, understand sacrifice first.
I, for one, make sacrifices every day. Sure, I preach #moderation #balance, but it doesn’t mean I’m eating cookies freely and doing yoga and smiling like a sorority girl every waking hour.
I consistently work out four days a week, challenge myself in the weight room, eat clean, and ensure I get enough sleep and meditation so I don’t go insane. It’s sacrifice.
I push the envelope during my conditioning work to the point I can’t feel my face. I eat whole foods and eyeball calories to ensure I’m maintaining my body composition. I incorporate progressive overload and meticulous planning to get better at pull ups.
It’s all sacrifice.
Even trainers in the industry who preach balance, make sacrifices. Don’t let this crowd fool you. They may not go to extremes and be on stringent diet and training regimens like a bodybuilder, but some degree of sacrifice is involved in their lives.
At the end of the day, everyone is sacrificing something to stay fit and lean.
Once you understand this, figure out how far you’re willing to go and how much something means to you.
As much as I wish this answer were black and white, you’ll find it will come through trial and error. And such is the beauty of the fitness journey.
As an example, let’s come back to Drogo. You may want to put on size, build a six pack, and be ripped enough that no one gives a shit you have eyeliner on.
For most men, they may need to spend 5-6 days in the gym consistently, live out of tupperware, track calories, give up beer, and ensure they get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Needless to say, it comes down to understanding your body and how easy or how hard it is to build size and have a low body fat percentage. If you’re up for the challenge, great. That means this goal truly resonates with you at this finite moment in time.
I saw the same with a former bikini client of mine, Laura.
A mother and business owner with a schedule busier than Gary V, she made countless sacrifices to achieve her stage look – 5am mornings to get in her lift, meal prepping every Sunday night, and training with a trainer 4 times a week with horrible jokes. ;-O
Alas for her, the challenge was worth it. Stepping on stage with a glowing, sculpture-esque physique was something she craved to accomplish her entire life. Sacrifice.
And finally, for myself, I did the bikini competition thing, only to realize the lifestyle wasn’t sustainable for me. However, I still make sacrifices daily to maintain an athletic physique.
The above body is totally worth it for me, and I’ve found my own sweet spot of sacrifice that keeps me happy and sane.
By no means am I drinking 3 nights a week like the rest of my friends, nor am I losing myself when I’m on vacation, nor am I stuffing my face with a box of Oreos on the weekends. Sacrifice.
By no means am I go through the motions when I work out, nor am I starting a fat loss program just 1 week before a vacation to Miami, expecting to look ripped. My body has been a result of consistent practice and smart strength training for the past year. Sacrifice.
By no means am I skipping workouts to scroll through the Facebook newsfeed, and waste away my time. Sacrifice.
I pride myself in not only placing a high value on my mental and physical health, but taking action daily to be at peace with my well-being. Sacrifice.
One more nugget: if you’re not willing to work toward something, you may need to check in with yourself and ask how passionate you are about achieving a goal. If it’s a passion issue, then you need to re-align yourself with a goal that is more feasible and meaningful. This way, it will be much easier to work toward for the long-haul.
And if you find yourself complaining about not looking “fit” enough, stop bitching and start working.
Sacrifice, I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now.