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The One Thing I Can’t Teach You (You Either Have It or You Don’t)

  Mar 21st, 2013

One Thing I Can't Teach You to Get RippedBuilding a ripped physique requires that you do a lot of things right. Training regularly and following a disciplined diet are obvious requirements.


There’s another requirement, though. It’s a requirement that can’t be given, it can’t be taught and you can’t learn it from some fitness guru.


It has to come from within.


From the time I was a small boy I have been competitive and loved a good challenge. Not because I wanted to prove that I was necessarily better than others, but because if someone else was better than me at anything, it gave me a measurable way to better myself.


If one of my friends hit a baseball 300’, I wanted to hit one 325’. If they ran a 6-minute mile, I wanted to run one faster.


Few things, if any, will serve to make you better than a little healthy competition.


Competing with others is highly effective, but challenging yourself can also be beneficial.


Continually Challenge Yourself to Get Better

This is what does it for me. Sure, I look at the results others have achieved and use them as a measuring stick of sorts. Who doesn’t do that?


And nothing provides more temporary motivation than someone giving it their all in close proximity to you. This is one reason why group training sessions can be so effective at pushing you beyond your limits.


Just this morning I watched this bit of a friendly power-wheel pushup competition that has the obvious winner screaming by the end:



I love me some friendly competition, but at the end of the day I’m not competing against anyone else when it comes to my health, appearance and level of physical fitness. I’m competing against me and me alone, striving to do whatever it takes to make me better.


Of course seeing the guy training next to you absolutely killing it is going to push you to go the extra mile with your training. It’ll drive you to push out another couple of reps after you’d normally have convinced yourself that you’re out of gas and would have long since given up.


It Goes Beyond the 4 Walls of Your Gym

Remember, though, that what you do at the gym is only part of the battle. In fact, I would argue that what you do while you’re away from the gym is of equal or greater importance than anything you might put your body through while you’re training.


The fact remains that you can’t out-train a horrible diet. Well, unless you want to train eight hours a day like Michael Phelps, you can’t out-train a horrible diet.


So, your competition is going to have to extend beyond those who’re confined within the four walls of your gym. It’s going to have to be internal as well.


Success Never Comes Without Its Challenges

It’s funny how this works, but when you truly want to achieve something you tend to find a way to make it happen. This doesn’t mean it’s easy; far from it!


Every significant accomplishment comes with its fair share of challenges. Far too often people give up when they encounter difficulty, but difficulty is to be expected. In other words, it’s the norm, not the exception!


I failed to make any progress towards getting ripped more times than I care to remember before finally figuring out how to induce the change on my physique I desired. The only thing that kept me going – other than my blatant stubbornness – was the sheer desire to better myself.


I wasn’t happy with how I looked (or how I felt) and I steadfastly challenged myself to make it better.


The truth is, I’ll never be completely satisfied with my physique or physical abilities, and I know it. This doesn’t mean I walk around depressed, lacking confidence and having low self-esteem; far from it.


Be Proud But Never SatisfiedI’m proud of who I am and I’m proud of the abilities the good Lord has given me.


But I know that there will always be room for improvement and so I am constantly striving to better myself. I also know that allowing myself to become satisfied and rest on my laurels would be disastrous.


I know because I did this many years ago and it’s precisely what led to my getting fat, unhealthy and out of shape. Never again!


I remember reading a quote once that said, “Be content, but never be satisfied.”


This is how you should approach fitness – and life. Walking around depressed and hating yourself just makes things worse.


Besides, pity parties are of benefit to no one. We’ve all thrown them at one time or another and we’ve all found this to be true.


So be content with who you are, examine yourself often to determine the areas you can (and should) improve, and daily challenge yourself to make them better.


Unfortunately, the desire to make yourself better is something I simply cannot teach you.


You either have it or you don’t.



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