How Low Self-Esteem Keeps YOU From Achieving Your Fitness (and other) Goals.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” Lucille Ball

fmtm self esteem pic

Is There A Low Self-Esteem Epidemic?

There are a lot of injustices in the world today, and there always have been. However, one of the biggest injustices is that we as people constantly underachieve compared to our potential.

In other words, most of us are not living our highest vision for ourselves. There are many reasons for this, but I believe that at the core of this is low self-esteem.

To better understand what I mean by this, let’s define self-esteem. The oxford dictionary defines self-esteem as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

So to have low self-esteem then is to have a lack of confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. It isn’t hard to see that there is a deliberate effort in media and pop culture in general to cause low self-esteem among people.

Why would anyone do this? There are so many reasons, but here are a few:

People with low self-esteem don’t trust themselves, they think other people know better than they do, therefore they are more easily manipulated, they can be made to think things, buy things, and feel certain things. They are willing to work for someone else, and accept pay that is lower than what they could be making, they take less chances, don’t try to change systems, etc.

Even on a surface level, it’s pretty obvious how low self-esteem could affect one’s thoughts, attitude, and actions. Thoughts, attitude, and actions come together to form a personality.

Our thoughts determine our attitudes, and our attitudes determine our actions. You’ve probably heard the saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

When you have a positive vibrant personality, you develop great connections. This opens up opportunities that would not be available if you didn’t have positive thoughts, attitude, and actions.

Thoughts become beliefs over time. Have you ever heard of a governor? I know you’re thinking what do politics have to do with this?

You’re absolutely right the answer is nothing lol! However, I’m not talking about that kind of governor. I’m talking about a governor in a car.

Let’s say a car is capable of going 200 miles per hour, but there is a governor on it. The governor will keep the car from going over a set speed, let’s say 80 miles per hour. Now, think of your beliefs the same way.

They act as a governor in our lives. If we have a belief that we’re good but not great at something we will never achieve greatness in that area.

Your beliefs dictate what you do and what you don’t and how you do it. Quantum physics, particularly the “double slit experiment” has shown that what we believe affects matter at the subatomic level.

Michio Kaku’s water experiments showed that our intent affects water tremendously, keep in mind that our bodies are mostly water.

These experiments show us just how powerful our intent is, and the tangible affect it has on the physical world.

This is why it is imperative for us to develop a healthy self-image and general relationship with ourselves.

It’s certainly not your fault if you have low self-esteem, but it’s most certainly your responsibility to do something about it. So what’s the big deal you say?

Why should I do anything about my self-esteem? I’ve gotten by just fine and in fact no one even knows I have low self-esteem.

My friend, I’m glad you asked. Let’s discuss just a few of the effects of low self-esteem. Not fulfilling one’s purpose, not taking necessary risks, not connecting with certain would be friends, lovers, business partners, even would be mentors.

Also, a weakened immune system, lessened motivation, depression, anxiety, and many more. You see? This is why it is SO important for us to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves, but why stop there?

We should develop amazing relationships with ourselves, the quality of our lives depends on it. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but roll with me here.

 

A Simple Approach to Building Self-Esteem.

So, now that we’ve discussed what low self-esteem is, and why we should do something about it, let’s discuss some of the ways we can develop a healthy self-esteem.

One of the simplest and most powerful ways we can increase self-esteem is by setting and achieving goals that are just slightly outside of our comfort levels.

We should also clearly define the date we plan to achieve them by. For example, if we know we can run a mile, but aren’t so sure we can run a mile and a half, we would set a goal to run a mile and a half by a certain date.

We would then create a step by step plan to consistently work towards that goal. We are then almost certain to achieve it, and when we do, we will notice that we feel a little more confident in ourselves.

As we keep setting goals and then accomplishing them, our belief in ourselves will grow, and that will spread into every area of our lives.

As we achieve more and more, our goals will grow, and so will our self-image. We will begin to feel that we have something to offer to people, to the world.

It sounds simple and it is, but it’s not always easy. See, there’s a reason that you haven’t felt as good about yourself as you’d like to.

To put it simply, your beliefs aren’t conducive to having the level of self-esteem you would like to have. So, why not just start thinking different thoughts?

Wouldn’t that work? Well, what I’ve found is that while it is helpful, if it’s not backed with new actions reflecting confidence, and a knowledge of the mind and how it works that only comes from consistent study, it just isn’t effective enough when it comes to changing your beliefs at a subconscious level.

It’s too challenging to consciously make effort to think healthier thoughts, when your actions reflect low self-esteem.

So, in conclusion, it is crucial for our happiness, success, and full expression of who we are to have high self–esteem.

I would even go as far as to say, unless we develop high self-esteem, we can never fulfill our highest callings in our lives. In case you were wondering, YES that includes our health. With all of my love,

 Adonis

Adonis

Why Being Well Rounded Is Crucial For Achieving Your Health And Fitness Goals

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” John F. Kennedy

calisthenics for fmtm

 

We all want to be as healthy and fit as possible, and it’s no secret that to do that we should have a well-balanced diet and exercise program.

While I agree that’s a wonderful start, there’s a lot more to it than that. Let me ask you a question.

If someone were to eat sensibly and exercise regularly but be in an abusive relationship, would they be healthy?

What if their eating and exercise were in check but they were lazy, or talked negatively to themselves, or smoked cigarettes, didn’t treat others well, or were greedy?

The list goes on, however the point is that being healthy in one or two areas does not guarantee health.

A healthy body and an unhealthy mind do not mix! Take a traditional martial artist for example.

They  not only practice martial arts, but physical fitness, meditation, non-violence, and an overall balanced life.

If they were to only become proficient in the physical aspect of martial arts without acquiring the mental and emotional discipline acquired by living the proper lifestyle, it could backfire. T

hey could be depressed, fly off the handle and hurt people, or become a bully. That is the exact opposite of what martial arts are intended to do for a person.

I would like to draw a parallel between this and adopting a healthier lifestyle. It’s great to begin making healthier eating choices.

It’s great to dedicate yourself to being active several times a week, but it’s just the beginning.

Your goal should be to become healthier and balanced overall. Your diet consists of not only what you eat, but also who you spend time around, what you read, listen to, and watch.

If you eat healthy food and watch toxic television, or listen to toxic music, or read gossip columns, then you are not healthy.

Think about negativity like a virus. It must be contained or it will spread. The only cure for negativity is positivity.

Feed your mind and body with enough positivity and you not only stop, but transform negative energy into positive.

Take your time with this, and increase positivity in small doses however, if you try to go from 0 to 100 too quickly you will likely burn out.

How you do this is to slowly and consistently replace these toxic anchors that are weighing you down with healthy habits that enlighten you.

Just like medicine you will build up a tolerance over time, meaning you can tolerate more positivity without mentally burning out, so increase the dose as needed.

I have put together a list of negative habits and corresponding positive remedies to assist you, feel free to use these, or make up your own but remember, start in small doses, and increase in small increments. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

The list goes as follows:

 

Unhealthy Habits:                                    

1: Watching television

2: Listening to music that is violent, apathetic, perverse, promoting drug use, etc.

3: Reading, listening to, or watching the news (I know this one is controversial. If you feel you must follow the news then skip this one, but I would strongly advise against it.)

4: Watching movies that glorify violence, or promote people as sex objects(I know a lot of people watch pornography, I wouldn’t advise quitting cold turkey, just start by watching porn that isn’t so dark, like real couples that seem to love each other, etc.)

5: Hanging around negative people. Everyone feels down sometimes, then there are the people that always have something negative to say. I’m talking about the gossipers, the ones that shoot you down when you have a new idea, the ones that impose on your time and leave you feeling drained. If you are in a relationship with a person like this I would recommend getting out as soon as possible, but if you are unable to for whatever reason, flood yourself with as much positive truth as possible. Get headphones. This is a topic for another article.

6: Having a job that brings you down.

 

Healthy Habits:

1: Watching positive videos on Youtube. (This is great because you can handpick each video that you watch.) If you are unsure about what videos are positive think about the message. Is it inspiring? Does it make you feel good inside? Is it funny? Does it make you smile? Does it leave you feeling empowered? If the answer to any of these is yes it’s most likely a positive video.

2: Listening to uplifting music. This could be music without words, or it could be any music with a positive message. Keep in mind though, that you likely won’t find much of it on the top 40 station.  You could also listen to lectures and seminars that will teach, uplift, and inspire you.

3: Read books, or listen to audiobooks that teach you something and inspire you, whether fictional or nonfiction. Books that empower you to achieve your goals and think highly of yourself.

4: Work on bringing your ideas to life. Let’s say you want to write a book. Give yourself a timeline that clarifies when you plan to have it finished, and then break it down into small daily steps such as, write five pages a day, or write for thirty minutes every day before bed. No matter how small the steps you take, if you keep moving forward, eventually you will arrive at your destination. Draw, paint, play music, sing, dance, learn a new skill. Give your brain the stimulation it craves instead of sedating it with violent and oversexed images.

5: Hang around positive people. This is very straightforward, however, I realize that it is not always possible. In those cases where it isn’t I recommend dropping negative people from your life gradually. Hang out with them less, answer their calls less, respond to their texts and DMs less, slowly wean yourself off of them, and them off of you. If this isn’t possible, for example if it’s a coworker or family member you have to see daily, then tune them out with positive messages as often, and I emphasize often, as you can.

6: Start looking for a job in an atmosphere that you like. Maybe it’s not an ideal position, but if it’s in an environment that you like, it could do wonders for elevating you mentally. In the meantime you’ll be working on bringing your visions to life, and perhaps one day they will grow into a stable income source for you.

7: Go outside! This one is simple. Spend time in nature. It has a way of calming our minds and putting things in perspective. If you can get to an area with grass or sand, take off your shoes. It’s called grounding and it has been proven to have many health benefits from reducing inflammation to improving heart rate variability. (Lowering resting heart rate.) 20 minutes a day is recommended, but any amount of time is beneficial.

8: Develop a spiritual practice. This can look like whatever is right for you. It could be church, yoga, meditation, silent time, prayer, or anything that fulfills your soul and leaves your heart feeling full.

 

Keep in mind these are only some examples and the sky is the limit as far as options, just try to make sure that any changes you make are positive.

It won’t always be easy, and I encourage you to come back to this article from time to time to reinvigorate yourself.

Remember, consistency is key. I hope this serves you well, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have. Much love!

me outside jeans

Adonis

Is Bodybuilding Just For Vanity?

“The man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both correct.”

Confucius

frommeatheadtomeatless vanity article pic           frommeathead pic2

To answer this question we have to identify what bodybuilding is. The definition of bodybuilding is: a sport involving strenuous physical exercise in order to strengthen and enlarge the muscles of the body.

But is that really all there is to it? There are so many misconceptions surrounding bodybuilding and its practitioners.

So, in order to further understand what it is and its’ purpose, let’s talk about what it is not.

Bodybuilding is not a cover for insecurity, it is not using steroids. It is not getting on stage in underwear to be judged by strangers.

It is not an excuse to be arrogant It is not the ideal of what everyone should look like. It is not depriving yourself of valuable life experiences.

It is not being as shredded as possible, and lastly. It is not being as huge as possible. So then what the hell is it?

What is at the core of it, and why has it become so popular all around the world? I’m glad you asked, but to understand the true core of bodybuilding you’re going to have to come on a little journey with me.

Ready? Let’s go!

                          

My Introduction to Bodybuilding

I’ll never forget my first time stepping into a gym. I was 15 going on 16 years old.

It was the summer before freshman year and it was required that all the football players start working out.

I embraced it though, and was really excited to build a little muscle. I was naturally very tall and slim, basically I had the same build as slenderman lol.

If I had to guess I was around 6’3” 175 pounds when I started training. That first day in the gym was rough, and I fell in love with it instantly.

Lifting weights, sweating, pushing myself, and getting that endorphin rush hooked me.

The next day I was so sore I could barely lift the remote control for the TV, and I even loved that.

It made me feel like a warrior, fresh off the battlefield. I worked out almost every day that summer, and was thrilled with every ounce of muscle and strength I gained, although it wasn’t anything to write home about.  

 

               Getting Serious

Once the football season had started, it became clear that I had gotten stronger and faster, and I earned myself a starting position, even though I had missed the previous three seasons due to an allergic reaction.

The girls also took notice, and started giving me compliments on my body. Keep in mind that I already loved exercise for its own sake, but now I had more motivation than ever!

I trained even harder, but after a few months I realized I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I wanted, so I started researching how to get bigger.

After what seemed like a few hundred hours of reading, I had come to the conclusion that I needed to eat more.

Up until then I ate a standard two to three meals a day, so the following summer I decided to train my butt on, not off since I wanted to gain weight.

See what I did there? Anyway I gave myself a mantra, though I didn’t think of it like that at the time. It was this, extreme results call for extreme measures.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this helped me change my mindset. I started eating six meals a day, and taking weight gainer.

That summer I gained 25 pounds of muscle. It was like a miracle, I couldn’t believe it!  

Before I continue, I’d like to stress that I did this completely naturally, and that it was only possible because I was a beginner, and up until that point I had been undereating.  

 

                I’m The Man!

My confidence shot through the roof, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I became arrogant.

I was getting attention from all the girls, guys were treating me differently, and I had done it all on my own, at least that’s how I saw it at the time.

I felt invincible, and with the constant instability in my life, bouncing around from state to state, and home to home, bodybuilding became my rock.

It became the source of my confidence, the place I belonged in the world. Even more than that, it became my identity.

Now keep in mind that I started training in 2002, before the Hollywood super-hero movies were coming out every year.

So I didn’t know that girls liked guys with muscles until after I started training and getting extra attention.

With my father being absent, my mother having passed on, and me bouncing from home to home you can imagine that I wasn’t used to receiving positive attention, so once I made the connection that being muscular would get me attention there was no stopping me!

It’s mind blowing when I think about all the adulation I received just because of my physique.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just didn’t personally know how to handle it. I had struggled with a lack of self-confidence for years, and bodybuilding allowed me to step into my power.

If you’ve ever felt disempowered and then found something that made you feel completely powerful, you know what I’m talking about.

                                     

                   Evolution                                               

So that was the positive side of things, however there are two sides to everything. All the attention I received, solely predicated on my physical appearance, started to affect me after a while.

I became entitled, and there were times when I treated people differently because of it. People saw me as this big strong person that had it all together, which was so far from the truth, but the problem was that I eventually began to believe them.

I started believing my own hype so to speak. In truth, I was just a scared kid who had no family, and wanted desperately to belong.

This went on from about 2005-2010 which is when I had for lack of a better term, my “spiritual awakening.”

From 2010-2012 bodybuilding and my physical appearance in general took a back seat to things like meditation, learning about the mind, and different spiritual leaders throughout time.

I became much more interested in the mind than the body, and so I didn’t have the desire to eat in a strict way, or train hard, or often.

In 2013, I began to fall in love with bodybuilding again, once I realized I could attain a meditative focus while training.

I began training harder, and more frequently, and once again, built myself up to be very muscular.

As you can imagine, the compliments started rolling in again, only now it was different. When someone would give me a compliment I would be grateful, but I wouldn’t take it personally. I wouldn’t identify with it.

So to go back to the title of this article. Is bodybuilding just for vanity? The answer is a resounding no!

Bodybuilding is an art form. It is a process of self-discovery. It is an intimate relationship between the mind and the body.

It builds mental strength. It gives many who are lost a place to belong. I had started weight training for football and vanity, I ended up with so much more.

Bodybuilding taught me self-discipline, and gave me a place to belong. Throughout the years, I’ve seen many people train for a few weeks, months or even years, and then quit or be inconsistent.

Many of them were training for vanity reasons only, whether it is to be more appealing to the opposite sex, to stop getting picked on, or anything in between, these external motivators tend to fade out.

If you’re in it for the long haul, make your primary goals things like having more energy, being strong, healthy, and having great balance and flexibility, and eventually even deeper goals, like cultivating self-love, and improving your mind-body connection.

I know personally, if I hadn’t fallen in love with weight training in the beginning, and if I hadn’t learned how to eat healthy, but in a balanced manner that allows me to indulge if and when I choose to, I wouldn’t have been able to stay consistent throughout the past 16 years, and even I lost sight of that internal motivation for a while.

This is the power of having internal motivation. There is nothing wrong with being motivated by something external in the beginning, most of us are.

However, if you want to be healthy and fit 20 or even 40 years down the line you will have to have the deeper motivation that only comes from within.

What I would suggest to you, is that you grab a pen and paper, and figure out why you’re working out and eating healthy.

Don’t feel bad if you’re initially motivated by vanity or reputation, it’s okay. Simply try to find a few deeper reasons why you could be motivated.

For example: self-love, more confidence, more energy, less likelihood of injury, etc. Next, explore all the different avenues of exercise and diet.

Try biking, swimming, dancing, aerobics classes, lifting weights, jogging, kickboxing, etc. Try different healthy foods.

Figure out how you can make living a healthy lifestyle palatable for you. Make the process enjoyable so that you can fall in love with it.

When you find exercising and healthy eating enjoyable, it’s no longer a chore, which makes it seem effortless.

Well my friend, we’ve come to the end of our journey. To wrap things up I’ll leave you with this. Bodybuilding at its core, is self-love, it is creative self-expression of the highest degree. Much love!

               You Can Fly!

me flying

Adonis