Raise your hand if you think you know how to defend yourself?
Hand raised? Cool, I ask for 30 seconds of your time; walk with me through this scenario.
Drinks and dinner with your wife were lovely. Great cocktails, even better conversation, and maybe, just maybe, you’re going to get lucky tonight.
Out pops a mugger with a knife.
He’s a man that looks dangerous and he demands your wife’s purse and your wallet and phone. What do you do?
You see, there is no win option in this scenario. If you fight the mugger and win, you lose. Your wife may get hurt in the process, a disastrous side effect of engaging incorrectly. If you engage in an overtly aggressive manner, you may lose your life. Worse, yet again, your wife may lose her life.
Your job is to disarm and subdue the mugger. Handle the situation so your wife is never in danger. That is not winning but it is a successful outcome. Winning would be to not find yourself in this situation. Maybe there were signs, maybe you missed them.
Recent events with the rioting and looting made me painfully aware that I was unprepared to handle these types of situations. I firmly believe that part of a man’s duty is to protect and I realized I was sorely lacking in this regard.
So, I began Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at a local gym in Boston.
Because of COVID, I’ve been able to experience small, intimate sessions with several friends. It’s accelerated my learning curve immensely early on. Imagine learning baseball from Mike Trout in 1 on 1 sessions. That is what I’m able to do with black and brown belts because of COVID.
Remember, sometimes crises bring opportunities. The goal is to become stronger through chaos – anti-fragile – hat tip to Taleb.
One staff member, we’ll call him Jack, has been incredibly helpful.
I’m evergreen with BJJ so hearing Jack break down concepts mechanically into sequential steps is incredibly beneficial.
Think about seeing a finished Lego set at Disney when you were a kid.
Structures that are so large that it is difficult to conceptualize someone ever building them. However, if someone were to hand you an instruction manual and a bunch of loose pieces, you’d be able to build the same sculpture.
BJJ is an art but to first paint like Van Gogh, I had to learn how to hold a brush first.
I am used to success in physical endeavors. Yet, I have been tapped out 30 times in under a month that I’ve done Jiu Jitsu. I have failed more in the last month than maybe ever in my life. Because I tried. The whisper of the beginner’s mind is slowly becoming less feint.
Whereas physical violence used to usher in trepidation, I’ve begun deriving pleasure from such intense suffering. It’s interesting – my fear has fed me; I’ve grown stronger because I’ve finally stopped running from it.
Learning and talking to Jack led me to learn that he struggles with building muscle and gaining weight. I forgot to mention that Jack is 125 lbs and just graduated with a computer science degree. Where he gets BJJ, I get nutrition, losing fat, building muscle, and how to gain weight the right way.
This is the note I sent him following our session. They are the same principles and foundational steps that have both carried me to the heights of professional sports success but more importantly allowed dozens of clients to lose fat and build muscle at will. Notice, I didn’t say effortless. Nope, this will take effort. Lot of it. But it’s easy if you’re willing to work.
Calories don’t matter. At least to start. Why? Keep reading.
Mastering first principles is foundational to success on your journey. Calories are important but they are not where you begin.
No, you must start smaller, simpler, easier.
It’s important to make the beginning of the process as easy and mindless as possible. Think about starting a fire. One way involves wood, swiveling sticks, and lots of physical effort. Or, you could buy a lighter. To start, I want you to buy a lighter and make it that easy.
Remember, tips and shortcuts are a sucker’s gambit. You know this; why else would you be reading this article if you had found The Way?
To shred fat, build muscle, and get the body that delivers the confidence you’ve always craved, you must master protein.
It’s bar none the most important weapon in your nutrition arsenal. You’ve heard that before. I get it. Let’s break it down into useful pieces so you can get better, however. Remember, we do it differently around here.
- State your goal. Don’t be stupid and skip this step.
We’re going to use Jack as our example:
Goal: to weigh 140 lbs. while maintaining the same body fat percentage
This is an admirable goal. 15 lbs. of muscle is no joke.
Step #1: Eat your target bodyweight in grams of protein everyday
If you want to weigh 140 lbs., you want to eat 140 g of protein. (this applies to women too, ladies). I’ll write why another time. Action is more important than theory at this point.
Buy a food scale. Do not pass go and do not collect $200 until you buy a food scale. If you still haven’t set a goal, do that first.
You need to be able to eyeball food and be precise. I can look at a steak and gauge how much it weighs, how many g of protein it has, and the running counter in my head of where I am and what I need to get to.
It’s not perfect but I don’t have to be. I’m fine with my weight where it is. However, you’re moving against a goal so you have to be more precise, especially at the beginning.
Track your protein. That’s it. Any app like MyFitnessPal will do. I use notes for myself (example below)
Animal sources of protein are best.
Sorry vegans, meat wins here.
Whey protein is also a fine supplement – you don’t have to buy the most expensive powder, just don’t buy shit quality either.
It’s the most neglected yet important facet of nutrition. Nutrients and vitamins matter. Think about building a house with shitty old bricks. Bad plan. Same with food. Your body is a machine, give it fuel it can cruise on.
The nitty gritty details:
I suggest every 2-3 hours to eat. Even when not hungry. This will break up your protein into achievable portions. Eating a pound of chicken is no fun. Eating 3-4 oz 4x/day is pretty easy. Same result but way different mental effort involved.
Let’s put it all together shall we:
- Buy food scale and start tracking protein immediately. Track for 3 days. See your average. Don’t worry about hitting the target goal just yet. Focus on beating that number 10-20% more per day. That’s easy. That’s an extra scoop of protein on top of what you’re already doing. Easy
- You already have a framework of how you eat. Better to refine that and make it incrementally better than throw everything out and start from scratch.
- Hit your protein target for 7 days in a row within 10 grams. Ready for step 2.
I hope this helps. This was fun for me so I’ll likely be back and write about the next basic nutrition lesson.
If you have any questions, please email Chad and I at showmestrength(@)gmail.com. Happy to chat!
Be well, friends.