You’ve probably already seen my interview (can be found in the “Snatches & Beer” archives) with Nate Green. Nate is a great pal o’mine and in all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 25 year old who has got into as much $#@T as this kid…..not bad $#@T…. cool, amazing stuff. His bio read like someone in their 40’s. If you’ve even met Nate you would know just why he’s had so many great opportunities. He’s a QUALITY person with an eagerness to explore and learn….I think Nate is a great role-model for all young up and comers in the fitness industry! Be sure to download Nate’s e-book THE HERO HANDBOOK for free (there’s a link at the end of his article). DO WORK KID!
3 Ways to Become Your Own Hero
by Nate Green
The following is a short excerpt from Nate’s new book, The Hero Handbook: A Crash-Course in Building a Badass Body, Getting Your Shit Together, and Living the Life of Your Dreams.
1. Don’t Blindly Swallow the Supposed- To’s
How many people do you know who are going to college because their parents would disapprove if they didn’t? People who study shit like “business” and make spreadsheets?
Maybe they’re happy spending Mom and Dad’s money on a piece of paper that won’t set them apart from the other 30 people applying for the job. Then again, maybe they’re not.
Like a frat boy on his third keg-stand, many of us succumb to social pressure and swallow Supposed To’s.
You’re Supposed To honor your parents. You’re Supposed To go to college. You’re Supposed To get a good job.
Guess what? You aren’t supposed to do shit.
Who’s making these rules, anyway? Seems to me as if we’re each making them up as we go.
The next time you feel pressured to do something, take a second to see if it’s something you’re “Supposed To” do.
Do you really want to do it?
If not, don’t.
Of course, there is a caveat: Not all Supposed To’s are bad.
There are a lot of things that we may not feel like doing, but are good for us: hanging out at Grandma’s house for more than a couple of hours; paying your taxes; helping your friend move.
Those things help you grow and foster good relationships.
Supposed To’s only become bad when you blindly swallow them without giving much thought.
2. Realize Motivation Is Overrated
Most people with above average bodies are motivated to work out only about half the time. Probably less.
Just like a writer can’t stare at a computer and wait for motivation to hit, you can’t lie in bed and wait for motivation to train. It’s not gonna happen.
The only way to get and stay in great shape is to be consistent, no matter how you’re feeling.
If you’re following a four-day workout program and on Day 3 you don’t feel like going, that’s the day where you need to get in the gym most.
Skip the gym once and you’ll lose a little of your power and it’ll be much easier to skip it the rest of the week.
You don’t want that to happen.
Here are a couple of tricks I’ve used when I’m not motivated and the gym sounds less fun than watching an Ashton Kutcher movie:
– Lay your workout clothes by your bed.
Since I train in the morning, the first thing I do when I wake up is put on some comfortable clothes and drink a big glass of water. If I have my workout clothes on, it means I’m already one step closer to going to the gym.
– Tell yourself that you’re just going to go stretch.
Stretching is a small commitment and one you can talk yourself into doing. Once you get to the gym and go through your warm-up and stretches, you’re usually ready to lift anyway.
– Go to a different gym.
Sometimes you just need a change of pace. Whenever you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, go to a different gym for a change of scenery and equipment.
Now if all of this sounds stupid, you’re note alone. I think it’s stupid, too.
But if it gets your ass in gear, it’s worth it.
3. De-Stress For 20 Minutes Every Day
You’re at the local zoo, checking out the Bengal tigers. It’s feeding time, so you’re behind the closed gate watching the tigers tear into raw meat, marveling over how easily their huge teeth and claws tear right through the flesh.
While watching, you notice you’re hungry. But as you turn to walk to the hot dog stand you hear a shrill scream.
Your eyes dart back to the cage and you see…nothing.
And that’s a problem.
The cage is completely empty.
Your heart rate increases and your adrenaline surges. Your start breathing hard and your body begins twitching. Suddenly you see a tiger emerge from the now open gate.
Your body is in full-blown get-me-the-hell-out-of-here mode. But can you outrun a tiger?
The huge Bengal creeps toward you and snarls.
Do you still feel hungry?
This is the fight-or-flight response.
Your mind sensed imminent danger and sent signals to your body to speed your heart rate, push blood to your extremities (so you could run faster), increase your adrenaline, and shut off the other feelings you had (hunger) to allow for more important feelings (wanting to live).
But what you probably didn’t know was this was a direct response from the sympathetic nervous system. Its job is to mobilize your body’s resources under stress. It’s the “don’t get mauled by a tiger” nervous system — it helps your body handle stressful situations.
But this flight or fight response doesn’t only come into play when there’s an angry feline staring you down; it also reacts to everyday stressful situations like arguing with your spouse or boss, asking a beautiful girl out for the first time, and even lifting weights.
Most of us walk around all day with our fight or flight system in overdrive.
The sympathetic nervous system counteracts and suppresses the parasympathetic nervous system, which isn’t good.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for regulation of your internal organs and glands. It’s also responsible for activities that occur when your body is resting, like salivation and digestion.
If the sympathetic nervous system is “fight or flight”, the parasympathetic nervous system is “rest and digest.”
The two nervous systems should work in a complementary way. You can think of the sympathetic nervous system as the accelerator, and the parasympathetic nervous system as the brake.
But most of us have our foot firmly pressed to the gas pedal and are overloading our sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.
Over time, being stuck in fight or flight mode (regardless of our awareness of it) results in suppression of the immune system. We’ll be more susceptible to infection and sickness and won’t be able to properly digest our food.
But the biggest effect of having an overactive sympathetic nervous system is the inability to fully relax and recover.
Simply put, your parasympathetic nervous system needs to “catch up” and be able to do its job (digest food, help you fall asleep, build muscle, etc.) and your sympathetic nervous system needs to take a chill pill.
You can do this by lowering the amount of stress in your life with de-stressing activities.
Set aside some time every day (like, really schedule it) to do one of the following for at least 20 minutes:
Take a hot shower or bath.
Take a 20-minute nap.
Sit in a chair and do nothing but focus on your breath. (You won’t believe how hard this is until you try it.)
Make a hot cup of tea and do nothing but enjoy it.
Yeah, you may feel a bit weird doing some of this stuff, but your body is in overdrive and needs to calm down.
Take 20 minutes to help it recover.
Want more ways to become your own hero? Go download the Hero Handbook for free! http://www.thenategreenexperience.com/hero-handbook
About the Author:
Nate Green has been featured in the LA Times, Men’s Health, and Men’s Fitness. He’s the author of Built For Show and the Hero Handbook. He is 25 years old.