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

A Wake Up Call

“Determination is the wake up call to the human will.”  Anthony Robbins

 

 

Hey you. I see YOU. I know you’ve been hurt. I know you weren’t given all the love you deserve. I know you’ve been told it’s too late, or it’s impossible, or that you’re not talented, pretty, smart, strong, or lucky enough. I know it wasn’t your fault.

You were but a victim of circumstance, forced to bear the weight of an imperfect world. You didn’t ask them to put their fearful ideas into you. I get it. You’ve been let down by everyone around you.

Everyone that’s gotten close to you has hurt you in some way, and it’s got you afraid to love, to live, to express yourself, to give the world all that you have to give, but I have news for you.

If you take all those gifts that you have inside with you to the grave, no one will ever know about them. The world will go on yes, but without the unique piece you were supposed to add to the puzzle nothing will change.

Your children will grow up like you did, inheriting fear, low self-esteem, and unworthiness. So how many more dreams have to go to the grave unfulfilled? How many more days will you coast through? How many times will you shove that small voice inside you down?

That voice that’s telling you to get up, get out, to change your path. Your body’s growing older by the day, and time can never be replaced, so what’s it gonna take for you to realize that truthfully there’s NO such thing as playing it safe?

You’re not helping the world by playing small, please understand that we are counting on you to shine bright. We were all born with a purpose, and it’s ALL of our time! Squandering your gifts is a curse, and it’s time to break the chains of self-doubt, pity, and apathy.

You’ve been misinformed. Conditioned to believe that you’re just another person, insignificant and unworthy of greatness. You are a child of the most high, with a body literally made of stardust and that’s fact!

You have the highest gift of any being on earth, intellect and imagination. They are meant to be used to their fullest capacity. Make a vow to yourself RIGHT NOW to never be hushed or pushed aside, to never dull your shine again even if it makes people uncomfortable.

Beloved, you were meant to thrive, not struggle to survive. Breathe deep and feel alive. Relax and let go. I love you and I am with you always.

me b&w

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

 

How To Get Out Of Your Own Way So You Can Finally Achieve Your Fitness (and life) Goals!

“Successful people know how to get out of their own way.” Vickie Milazzo

“I just try to get out of my own way because if anyone is their own worst enemy, it’s usually you.” Taylor Dayne

from meathead to meatless pic

Hello fellow human, I promise to make this the most powerfully inspiring yet simple thing that you read today!

This is a message you may have heard before in one way or another.

My goal is to simplify it so that you can apply it to your own life, and when you do, you’ll be amazed at how your life changes.

Without further ado, let’s get into it. To say one’s mindset is a powerful thing would be a massive understatement.

Mindset determines attitude, and attitude is everything as they say.

It doesn’t stop there either, your mindset also determines not only what actions you will take, but how you will take them.

Okay I know I’ve made my point, but just to hammer it home, your mindset will literally make or break you!

I remember when I was around 12 years old, I saw the movie Mortal Kombat and was blown away by the martial arts and special effects.

In the movie, one of the characters did a backflip off a wall. I was in  utter disbelief!

I had never seen anything like that before. I was so inspired I decided to learn a back flip that night.

I had my brother spot me a few times, but within a short time, I did a backflip myself.

Self-taught, in one night! Years later and as an adult, not having done a flip in years, I decided I wanted to learn them again.

I remembered it hadn’t been hard the first time, but now, for some reason, it seemed impossible.

I just couldn’t bring myself to flip upside down. It really can be a scary thing to do.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t physically capable, I’ve always been super athletic with a great vertical jump. It was all in my mind.

My mind literally made it impossible to flip! This was due to the fear that I would get hurt, a fear that I didn’t have as a child.

Ok ok, maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, after all it’s just a flip right?

Well, I started thinking about how my mind was literally the only thing holding me back from what I wanted to do, and suddenly it became so clear to me how the mind holds us back.

A fearful mind is hesitant, closed off, and unable to learn new skills. I mean just think about it.

Remember that incredible girl you didn’t talk to? Or that guy that you never revealed your true feelings to?

The golden opportunity that presented itself, that you didn’t take? The vacation you’ve been talking about taking for 5 years?

Though you told yourself the most perfect reasons why you didn’t do the thing, deep down you know the truth, and the truth is that nothing external can hold you back from achieving that which you’re hell bent on seeing through.

You’re probably thinking one of two things. Either you’re thinking wow, that’s so true! Or something along the lines of fuck this guy!

Who does he think he is? Either way I understand, but let’s just pretend for a bit that what I’m saying is valid.

Take a minute and think about your ideal life and where you are in regards to it. Your ideal career, salary, home, car, clothes, friends, partner, fitness level, etc.

Maybe you’re moving toward these things and have a plan. If so, that’s great, but most of us aren’t.

Or maybe we are at times, but we’re inconsistent, so we end up staying stuck where we are in life.

The truth is that there are other people moving consistently toward creating their ideal life.

We often see these people, and make excuses for why they’re living their best lives, while we sit idle on the sidelines.

Or worse, we turn into haters! It’s a vicious cycle that keeps us from ever achieving our goals.

The good news though, is that even if you’ve fallen into any of these negative traps, it’s NEVER too late to change.

It’s not just a cliché. When you change your mind, you really do change your life.

So how do we do that? How do we go from wishing we could to doing? It’s not easy, but the good news is it’s very simple.

In a word, discipline. We have to discipline our thoughts. That’s a huge statement I know, so what does it mean for you?

It means getting clear about who you want to be and what you want to accomplish in your life, and putting it on paper.

Then writing out small daily action steps that will take you towards those goals. It means holding yourself accountable when no one is watching.

It means letting go of all those things and people that are holding you back in life.

That friend, that negative stuff you watch on TV, that violent or depressing music.

It means never, under any circumstances, allowing yourself to be apathetic.

It also means replacing those things in your life, which have been weighing you down, with things which will lift you up.

That could look differently for each individual, it could be church, meditation, lectures, self-improvement books, getting a mentor, going to new places, taking up constructive hobbies, going back to school, et cetera.

Whatever it means for you, do it, relentlessly. Day after day, these small actions that you take may seem insignificant at times.

Remember though, that they are tearing down the walls that have kept you from spreading your wings and soaring.

Living freely, consciously creating, and living to the fullest. It will be possibly the most challenging, and probably the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.

The chains of self-doubt hold you back only through ignorance. Once you know the truth, you have a choice to face and overcome what’s been holding you back.

How does this apply to fitness? It’s simple! Many people don’t achieve or maintain their fitness goals because they’re too comfortable with their current lifestyle and to permanently change that requires letting go of the current self-image you have of yourself and embracing a new one.

Again, it’s not easy, but it is so worth it. I believe we’re here to overcome our fears, and I hope this inspires you to take that crucial first step in whatever area you are needing to.

Much love.

oh yea

Adonis

From Meathead to Meatless: Your guide to being fit, lean, shredded, jacked, muscular, healthy, or anything in between, and saving the world in the process!

Before we get into the specifics of achieving your health and fitness goals, I think it’s important we address a few issues plaguing the human race. This way we can better understand the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, which I always like to say can not only make us look and feel damn good, It can quite literally save the world.

With disease rates on the rise, and rising health care costs, along with scientific studies showing the connection between unhealthy diet and lifestyle and disease, many people are looking for a healthier way of eating. The leading causes of death in many countries, including the USA, are diseases such as, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis.

The risks for all of these diseases can be significantly decreased by adopting a plant based diet. In other words, millions of lives can be saved by simply changing the way we eat. Now you may think I’m being dramatic, but let’s look at some numbers. As they say, numbers don’t lie. In 2001, chronic diseases accounted for approximately 60 percent of deaths worldwide.

Almost half of these deaths are attributed to cardiovascular disease. In the 2011 HBO documentary The Weight of The Nation, it was noted that if you go with the flow in the USA, you will eventually become obese. According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, The rate of obesity in adults age 20 and over was 37.9 percent in 2014.

If you add in the percentage of adults of the same age group who are overweight but not obese, that number goes up to 70.7 percent. This number is rising by as much as five percent a year in some areas. Much of this is due to an increasingly high fat diet, and a sedentary lifestyle.  Now with obesity rates going through the roof, many people are looking for healthier ways of eating.

As is being understood more and more, a plant based diet is incredibly beneficial to one’s health, and with this knowledge becoming more widespread, it’s becoming increasingly easy to adopt. For instance, pretty much every grocery store now offers plant based options to beef, chicken, fish, and pork.

It’s all relatively simple to make, and cooks more quickly than it’s meat counter parts due to it not being as dense and not being a breeding ground for bacteria the way dead flesh is. There are many reputable doctors recommending a plant based diet such as, Dr. Neal Bernard, Dr. Michael Greger, and Dr. John McDougall just to name a few.

If you want to learn from someone much more knowledgeable than I am, check out their research. Oh, and let’s not forget the environmental benefits. Check the studies done by Professor of Ecology G. David Tilman and Michael Clark. They highlight how eating meat contributes to the rise in greenhouse gases which is expected to go up 80 percent by 2050.

The study also shows that as cities grow and incomes rise around the world, more and more people are leaving gardens and traditional diets behind in favor of refined sugars, refined fats, oil and resource and land intense agricultural products like beef.

This is unhealthy for people and the planet. Something clearly has to be done, on a personal level, to improve our health and the health of our planet. With that, being said, though this is about being fit and or having a great body on a plant based diet, the most important thing should always be our health.

Through the years, I’ve seen many people with great bodies that just aren’t healthy. In fact, I was one of those people. When I was at my biggest, weighing over 250 pounds, was when I felt the worst.

My aim with this guide is to show you that  you can look great, and achieve your health and fitness, or athletic goals, no matter what they are, while putting your health first and following a whole food plant based diet. Whether you’re male or female, 15 or 100 years old, an athlete or a businessman/woman, a plant based diet can improve your health, and help you reach your goals.

I’m aware that there are a lot people out there who think one can’t build as much muscle or strength on the vegan diet, but that’s just not true. This will be your Bible for achieving and or maintaining your goals. Plus you’ll save some animals and other shit like that along the way.

First, let’s get a few things out in the open. Being vegan, or plant based, or whatever term you prefer you picky bastards, will not automatically make you healthy. It will not automatically make you lose weight. It will not automatically make you a good person.

Most importantly though, it will not make you superior to anyone else. Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let me share with you how I came to be not only a bodybuilder, but a bodybuilder who puts health before vanity. If you know any bodybuilders personally you’ll know how rare that is. In order to make sense of it all, I have to take you way back.

All the way to the moment I was born. It all started on August 5th, 1986 I was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and after almost dying from jaundice, and getting a blood transfusion, I managed to pull through. I’ve always been a fighter.

Let’s skip forward a few years to when I began eating solid foods. I ate a pretty typical American diet, but lots of good ole Cajun food as well. If you’re not familiar with Cajun food what the hell are you doing with your life? No but seriously, it’s so good it’s ridiculous.

I’m talking gumbo, crawfish boils, etoufee, boudin, blackened catfish, po boys, and jambalaya just to name a few.  Now just to give you an idea, some of those dishes have four different kinds of meat!  So as you can see I was quite the carnivore.

When I was eleven, my mom went to the doctor to have a purple vein on her eyeball checked out. It turns out it was malignant melanoma. Now if you have no idea what that means, basically it’s a very aggressive form of cancer.

The doctor’s told her they’d have to remove her eye and replace it with a glass one or else she’d be dead within a few months. She wasn’t sure what to do, then one day she met a guy we’ll call Mr. Brown. He claimed to be a Christian and somehow convinced her that God had said if she married him, she’d be healed.

Now before you judge my mother and call her gullible, just remember that when you’ve been given a death sentence, it changes you, and you’ll likely do anything just for the chance of survival. I mean hell, marrying a guy you don’t love beats having a glass eye any day.

Now obviously this guy was full of shit, and my mother was not majestically healed. So anyway, over the next few years, my younger brother, older sister, and I, watched our mother get more and more sick. The tumor grew bigger and bigger, until you couldn’t see her eye anymore, just a massive black mass.

The cancer spread, all over her body, to her liver, stomach, lungs, and brain. She became dissociated from reality. She verbally abused me quite a bit, you see, when cancer spreads to your brain, it can affect your personality. Not to mention being in constant, and chronic pain for years.

My family didn’t offer much help, so it was just my mom, my older sis, my little bro, and I. When my mother got too ill to perform the daily tasks necessary to care for us, my older sister filled that void as best as she could, considering she was still a child at the time.

During this time, I remember walking by my mother’s room, and seeing her holding a wad of tissue under her eye, as it spewed black blood. She’d be crying, and I’d freeze for a few seconds, then I’d walk away. I didn’t know what to do or say. When I was 16, my mother finally passed on at the age of 40.

Witnessing my mother deteriorate for years, suffering immeasurably, planted seeds that would eventually blossom into me being very health conscious. I had begun working out for football at the age of 15 and instantly fell in love with it.  My workouts became the one thing I had total control over and that’s what hooked me.

No matter what happened in life, I could go in the gym and do the workout that I put together and change my body at will. After my mom passed on, I began to get more serious about bodybuilding, setting goals, and achieving them. Learning how to eat to build muscle, and training harder than I ever had. That year I put on 25 pounds of muscle in a summer.

Ah, newbie gains. They come so quickly. By the time I was 17 I had gone from 175 pounds to 216 pounds in two years. I was getting pretty big and decided I wanted to be a pro bodybuilder. So I began learning everything I possibly could about bodybuilding.

I spent hundreds of hours reading muscle magazines, on bodybuilding forums which in hindsight is home to probably some of the most ignorant people I’ve ever come into contact with, but nonetheless I gained a ton of knowledge.

I started eating about three times as much as I had been (I have a very high metabolism) and started using supplements. As a result, over the course of the next year I put on ten more pounds, which put me at 18 years old and 6’4” weighing a shredded 226 pounds.

As you can probably imagine, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I figured I should pay it forward and pass on my knowledge, so I did what any young buff know it all would do, I became a certified personal trainer baby!

Not that I didn’t intend to help people, because I totally did. It’s just that I wasn’t really concerned with health at all, my only concern was making gains! Though we didn’t call it that back then. It amazes me how much the term “gains” has blown up in the past few years, but I’ve digressed.

So back to my clients. I helped them to lose fat and build muscle, even correct muscle imbalances.  I thought I was doing a great job, but after a while, I began to feel like a robot, standing there purely for accountability purposes.

I knew I wanted to help my clients in a deeper way, but I had not the slightest clue about how to do so.  Now let’s skip to a few years later. On January 1, 2010 I had what I can only describe as a spiritual awakening. As cliché as that sounds, it’s the only way I can describe it.

I could go into it now, but for the sake of this book not being as big as an encyclopedia, I’ll save the details for another time. Now you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with my diet, which is a legit concern, and here’s where it all starts to connect.

I began learning as much as I could about spirituality. I hardly slept for months, no drugs were involved fyi. I took up meditation, prayer, a gratitude practice, and with the increased awareness I experienced, deep rooted issues began to surface. I’m talking issues dating all the way back to my childhood.

It seemed like every day I was crying, and I had no idea why. But it felt great. I felt rejuvenated mentally and emotionally. Now that may seem like no big deal to some but keep in mind I hadn’t cried since my childhood.

I later realized I was releasing deeply rooted pain. I began to feel lighter in mind, body, and soul. As a byproduct I began to feel a warm love for myself that I hadn’t felt since I was very young. A peace in my heart and mind.

Then, the damnedest thing happened. There was a bug in my apartment, and I couldn’t kill it. It was as much alive to me as a person. It was like I could feel this little bug’s soul. Some of you reading this know what I’m talking about, while others have no clue.

I feel you both, as I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Anyway, let’s get back to the story. I didn’t know what was happening, but it continued. I suddenly found myself unable to harm any living being. Meanwhile I gave up red meat.

I hadn’t eaten pork in years after learning about what pigs eat I was repulsed. I had never heard of veganism or plant based eating before, but I was familiar with vegetarianism, though it never interested me.

My first time hearing about veganism was through some youtubers such as, FullyrawKristina, and Freelee. My initial thoughts on veganism were that it looked great, and the girls following a vegan diet looked to be glowing and very fit.

They were eating all this beautiful fruit and other healthy but delicious looking stuff, and I just had this deep feeling of “that’s how I’m supposed to eat”. I knew in my gut that I’d go vegan eventually, but having a bodybuilder’s mind set meant that protein was “God” for me.

You see, all the male vegans I was seeing were very slim, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it didn’t coincide with my goals as a bodybuilder. And so I was faced with a dilemma.

I didn’t want to give up meat and lose the muscles that I loved and worked for so long to sculpt, but I wanted to take up this new plant based diet. So I did what any logical bodybuilder would do in that situation, I found a happy median.

I began eating more fruits and veggies, which was a vast increase from my former diet which consisted of basically no fruits or veggies. Not because I didn’t like them, but I had learned through years of trial and error, what to eat specifically for muscle growth and minimal body fat.

Fruits and veggies weren’t necessary for that (in my meathead mind). So I began to eat a serving or two of fruits and veggies a day.  I was never one of those people who hate fruits and veggies so I enjoyed the new additions to my diet.

After a few months of eating this way, and doing a bit more research on vegan eating, I felt like it was time for me to give veganism a try. There was only one problem. Where the fuck was I going to get my protein from?

I really, and I mean really didn’t want to lose my gains. I told myself I’d go vegan down the road, when I could figure out how to keep my gains. I continued this way for years, but every so often I’d be eating meat, and just get grossed out at the idea of ingesting a dead body.

I’m a strong willed guy, so I’d push those feelings back down and continue eating the way I was. One day years later, I looked up vegan bodybuilders on the web, and found 1 or 2 that were decent sized, but still pretty small by my standards.

What changed my opinion was when I found a couple of jacked vegan bodybuilders, such as Nimai Delgado who’s an IFBB pro men’s physique competitor, pic below.

Nimai-Delgado

 

Torre Washington who’s won several amateur competitions, pic below.

torre washington vegan

and Samantha Shorkey, who’s a pro bikini competitor. Pic below.

samantha shorkey

They all looked great, and were even winning competitions. After I had seen them, I knew I could build muscle as a vegan, and that sold me. Plus I watched earthlings.

That was a game changer for me. So there was no turning back now, I threw away my meat, and went to the store to buy, for lack of a better term, vegan shit. I had a list, and stocked up.

I noticed that felt this warm feeling in my heart. You know that feeling when you’re doing something good for the world, or someone? It was a great feeling. Where it gets interesting is that I was determined to figure out a way to keep my muscle mass, and was in completely uncharted territory.

This started my journey of learning to effectively build the maximum amount of muscle while gaining the least possible body fat, and learning to lose body fat while losing the minimal amount of muscle, all while vegan.

I began experimenting with a lower protein, higher carb diet, a higher fat diet, high protein, mostly fruit, etc. You name it, I tried it, as long as it was vegan.

I had every bit of faith that the same amount of muscle that can be built on a meat rich diet could be built on a vegan diet. So I started tried it all, and after some trial and error, I discovered an effective way to build muscle as a vegan.

You can be fit, or even jacked. Now when you consider the fact that I’d already been lifting weights for well over ten years, it becomes even more impressive, as it’s much harder to build muscle when you’ve been training for so long.

That pretty much brings us to today, I’m on a mission to let the world know that you can be strong, fit, jacked, shredded, or any combination of the above as a vegan.

In the following chapters, I’ll show you how to be a successful plant based athlete, whether your goals include getting stronger, building muscle, losing body fat while maintaining muscle, or just being a more fit, vibrant you.

The adjustment period can be challenging at times, but given some time, you’ll be crushing your fitness goals, healthier than ever, and benefitting the planet simultaneously. Sounds like a win-win right? Well let’s get started.

Now, I’d like to touch on why most people lose their gains on a plant based diet, and how to stop that shit dead in it’s tracks.  Many people want to switch to a plant based diet, but don’t because they feel that it’s too hard.

Or believe that it’s more challenging to get enough calories. Or even that they’ll lose their hard earned gains.  Well the good news for you is that that’s all horse shit, or bull shit if you prefer. I’ll also show you why.

First of all, the hardest part of switching to a plant based diet is the beginning, much like any lifestyle change. This is because of the steep learning curve. Fear not however, because it doesn’t last long.

Within a few weeks, you’ll have made enough plant based meals to have a feel for it, and probably even create some of your own.  I remember when I started eating plant based, I knew how to make about four different plant based meals.

This was fine at first, but after a few weeks I was like if I ever eat tofu, falafel, or lentils again it’ll be too damn soon. Now I have a bodybuilders mind set when it comes to eating, meaning that I eat to fuel the body, not satisfy the taste buds, but the truth is, you don’t have to choose one or the other.

It takes some time and effort, but it is most definitely possible.  I believe that it’s much easier to sustain any lifestyle changes, if you can make them enjoyable.

Ok, let’s move on to some good plant based protein sources. But first a quick note about the typical plant based diet. It quite low in protein, especially for anyone looking to build muscle.

It’s because of this, that a lot of people associate vegans with being skinny, but the truth is, you can get just as much protein on a plant based diet, as on a meat based one. However, for most people looking to build muscle, lose fat, or maintain muscle that’s been built through weight training or athletics, the typical vegan diet just isn’t optimal.

It’s typically high in carbs, low in fat, and low to moderate in protein. Now some people will tell you that proteins overrated, and that you don’t need as much as you think you do to build muscle.

For anyone looking to build a good amount of muscle though, that is also, complete horse shit. If you want to be skinny with abs that may work for you, but if you really want to put on some mass, you’re going to need a solid gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

That’s on the more conservative side, and you can get closer to one and a half grams per pound of bodyweight. Here’s what I want you to do. Take your daily protein requirement and divide it by six.

That number is how much protein you need in each meal assuming you eat six times a day. For me that means getting around 40 grams of protein per meal as I usually weigh in the neighborhood of 230 pounds.

Now for most people, six meals is a lot. This is where a plant based protein powder comes in. There are countless options here. A few examples are hemp, pea, and rice protein.

They’re all good for getting your protein intake a bit higher and are super convenient, but they’re not necessary and if you prefer to get all your protein from whole foods, then by all means, do it.

I just love the convenience and not having to chew my food so often. I personally have two protein shakes a day, with a plant based milk and some fruit added in, and possibly peanut butter.

Now some people prefer to eat only whole foods, and while I respect that, it’s not always convenient. Now let’s move on to the plant based sources of protein you Greek Gods and Goddesses will be consuming on a regular basis. Some whole food examples are beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and greens, tempeh, tofu, and seitan.

Also, if you enjoy them, meat substitutes are delicious and an excellent source of protein. You can use them just like meat. I personally love the beyond meat products, but there are many great mock meats out there.

Just a few examples include vegan beef, vegan grilled chicken, vegan fried chicken, vegan pork, vegan sausages, vegan hot dogs, vegan turkey, vegan lunch meat, and many, many more. New ones are being created every day.

So as you can see there are vegan many options for replacing your meat and still getting all the protein you need. Most of them are quickly and simply made as well, and have cooking instructions on the package. I suggest trying them all out, and seeing which ones you prefer.

The next reason most people lose their gains on a plant based diet is because they simply don’t get enough calories. If you want to make gains you have to eat a sufficient amount of calories.  A lot of plant based foods are not as calorically dense as non plant based options, but not to worry.

There are many options here. If you find it difficult to eat a sufficient amount of food to build muscle and are getting adequate protein, then you may consider adding some calorically dense plant based foods into your life. Foods such as nuts, nut butters, avocadoes, oils such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and grapeseed oil, and of course, plant based junk food.

Examples are: Ice Cream made with plant milks, dark chocolate, and vegan cookies just to name a very few. All of the above are great options to add once a day or a few times a week for putting on muscle if you have a high metabolism.

If you have an average metabolism I wouldn’t indulge in high calorie foods more than two or three times a week, and if you have a slow metabolism I wouldn’t recommend it more than once a week. Keep in mind those are just guidelines.

Everyone’s body is different, and everyone has different goals. Try different things until you find something that works for you. One person reading this may want to be eight percent body fat, while another may want to be twelve percent.

One person may want to build muscle and another may want to lose body fat. If you’re naturally lean, or not trying to lose body fat you’ll eat differently from someone with a slow metabolism who’s looking to shed body fat. I should mention that if you have heart disease, you should avoid fatty foods such as oils.

Now on to carbohydrate sources for plant based eaters. To simplify things, let’s group carbs into two categories. Carbs with a high glycemic index, also known as simple carbs, and carbs with a low glycemic index, also known as complex carbs.

The main thing to know for all of us looking to create a certain ideal body is that simple carbs spike the insulin. Where as complex carbs have much less effect on insulin levels. When we eat something that spikes our insulin levels, it signals our bodies to store fat.

However, insulin is one of the most anabolic or muscle building hormones in the body.  In order to take advantage of this anabolic effect we need to consume simple carbs post workout along with a protein, preferably an easily digestible one.

This is because when we workout, we deplete our muscle glycogen stores. After a workout, the body is looking to replenish these energy stores, and by purposely spiking your insulin levels, the body will send virtually all of the nutrients you consume straight to your muscles.

If you are serious about making progress, you should always take advantage of this window of opportunity. The rest of the day, you’ll want any carbs you consume to be complex.

Which reminds me, here are a few examples of simple and complex carbs. Simple Carbs: white potatoes, white rice, white bread, pasta, and most sweets as long as they are low in fat as too much fat will slow down their absorption.  Complex Carbs: Yams, Japanese Sweet Potato (My Favorite), Brown or any whole grain rice, quinoa, whole grain bread (I recommend sprouted bread as it’s healthier), and oatmeal to name a few.

An ideal meal for someone looking to build muscle while getting or staying lean would be to pair a complex carb with a plant based protein during the day and pair vegetables with a plant based protein at night.

For those who are naturally lean you would want to add some fat to those night time meals and if you have an insanely high metabolism perhaps a bit of good fats during the day as well. As you can see you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be in great shape as a vegan.

Whether you want to be jacked, lean, or just generally fit, it won’t be any more difficult achieving your goals on a plant based diet than on an omnivorous one.  Also, I think it is very important to get the largest variety of plant based whole foods that you possibly can.

This will ensure that you’re getting a wide variety of micronutrients on a regular basis. Lastly, I’d like to reiterate that for all you guys and gals that are trying to build muscle, you have to get plenty of calories.

This is especially true if you have a high metabolism and I speak from personal experience here. You don’t have to worry about getting fat, assuming you are training hard, and eating healthy about three quarters of the time.

If you have a high metabolism though you couldn’t get fat even if you tried. Again, I’m speaking from personal experience.

Now let’s discuss supplements, which are slightly different for plant based athletes. Studies have shown that most people are deficient in B-12 and for this reason I recommend everyone supplement it daily.

Also, in some cases, iron levels can drop below the normal range. The best thing to do is to have your levels checked every so often to find out if you have any deficiencies.

A high quality multi vitamin formulated for vegans can also be a great option, particularly if you’re unable to get a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Now let us talk about protein. Chances are, if you work out, you’ve taken some form of protein at some point. The most common form of protein is whey protein.

Whey protein is very effective for building lean muscle due to its quick absorption and high amino acid content. However, it is a byproduct of the cheese making process and is therefore not plant based.

As plant based eaters, we have quite a few different options if we choose to take a protein powder. Protein powders such as, hemp, brown rice, pea, and soy protein provide fairly effective alternatives to whey protein.

However, one should note that these proteins are not as high in amino acid content as whey protein, and therefore, more must be consumed to get the same effect. Other than multi-vitamins, B-12 and protein, supplements are basically the same whether you are plant based or not and it’s up to you to decide which, if any, to take or not take.

There are many people who still believe following a plant based diet leads to weakness and deficiencies, and that is why as plant based eaters, we should strive to learn as much as possible about our diets so that we can be healthy and never deficient in any micronutrients.

This way we can be healthy, shining examples of the plant based diet and lifestyle. This will create a ripple effect and is already doing so. Former meatheads like myself can attest to this.

This leads us to working out. Now for the average person who just wants to be healthy and slightly toned you probably aren’t counting macronutrients, and just want to feel healthy so that you can handle whatever daily tasks you may be need to perform.

However, for the fitness enthusiasts out there, cross fitters, weightlifters, bodybuilders, athletes of any kind, and people that just love training hard, you may be under the assumption that you can’t train as hard, or be as big, on a plant based diet.

Let me tell you flat out. You absolutely can achieve any and all fitness goals on a plant based diet that you can on an omnivorous diet. There is a learning curve, but it is absolutely possible, and if you’re willing to make some changes, this is a win-win for you and the entire planet.

P.S. I’m in pretty good shape myself. You know, for a vegan:) That’s me below.

me flexin

Does it really have to be a constant struggle to live a healthier lifestyle?

Welcome to my little corner of the web. I’m so grateful to have you!

It is my intent to use my 16 years in health and fitness and my two and a half years as a plant based eater to serve you by passing on all my knowledge in a fun and easily digestible way.

Hopefully we can also share some laughs and get to know each other along the way.

First of all, I’d like to thank you so much for stopping by, and offer a brief introduction.

My name is Adonis, and when I’m not busy being a personal trainer, father, natural plant based bodybuilder, brother, or student,  I love to take the knowledge I’ve benefitted from applying in my own life, and pass it on.

Health and fitness has been a lifestyle for me since I was 15 years old.

In my own life, as well as in my nine years as a personal trainer, I’ve seen first hand the benefits of improving one’s health from not only a physical, but also mental, and emotional point of view.

The benefits of making healthier choices for ourselves are too numerous to mention, but I’ll list a few of my favorites.

Increased energy, increased confidence, improved balance, better sleep, a better sex life, reduced anxiety, and perhaps most importantly, tapping into our inner strength.

A healthy lifestyle is literally like a key to superpowers for us, but, like most things that are truly rewarding, it takes work.

That’s why it’s important to figure out how to make lifestyle changes that you enjoy.

This way you can stick with them indefinitely, as opposed to radical changes that just aren’t sustainable.

In other words, what I’m saying is that you have to find a way to make a healthy lifestyle work for you.

For example, if you hate beets, don’t eat beets. Find healthy eating choices you do like. If you hate lifting weights, then don’t lift weights.

Swim, or, hike, or dance, or ride a bicycle. If you hate the gym, don’t go to the gym. Get your workouts in outside.

Explore and experiment. Find healthy options that you do like. This way, making healthy choices won’t be such a chore.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything drastic, unless you want to. Make small, sustainable changes that you can stick with.

Living a healthy life is about enjoying yourself, being balanced, and feeling great.

Treating your body with integrity is a form of self love, torturing yourself with strict diets and workout routines that you hate is a form of abuse.

More than spreading the message of adopting a plant based lifestyle, which is amazing by the way, that is the message I hope to leave you with.

Health and fitness should feel good. It should be challenging at times, but enjoyable. If it’s making you miserable, then perhaps it’s time for a change.

I hope you will apply some of this knowledge in your own life, and that it serves you in improving the quality of your life, as it has mine.

Much Love,

me ferrell19

Yes, that’s me. Not bad for a vegan right?