An advertisement for the Milo Barbell company  from about a hundred years ago stated “You can’t  be really strong unless you are really healthy.” At some point I will dig that out and post it on my Oldtime Strongman blog, but I bring it up because this statement has stuck with me since I first came upon it many years ago.

Many people become enamored with strength and development, yet neglect the foundational work that will make that happen in a meaningful way. For example, I know a guy who is as dedicated as they come at hitting the gym, I mean, to him, lifting weights might as well be a religion, but he ALSO eats junk food, drinks like a fish and stays up late either playing video games or hitting the bars and clubs most nights.Whatever benefits that might come from his gym work are offset by his poor choices in other areas — so while he essentially wants to travel around the world, he’s really just jogging in place. KnowWhatI’mSayin?

If you want something, like REALLY want something like building strength and power, then it is simply a matter of doing the things that are necessary to make that happen — which of course goes beyond mere sets and reps.

I’ve got a daily routine of attitudes and behaviors which I believe are all contributing factors to my success in the weight room.
1.) I set aside about ten minutes each night to write down my to-do list for the next day.

The system that I use is to make a list of what needs to get done then cross them off as they are accomplished. Whatever is left over that doesn’t get done is simply carried over to the next day.

This is the planner that I use:

2016 At-A-Glance One Day Per Page Planner If you are a busy person with a lot on your plate, In my opinion, this planner is one of the best investments you can ever make, especially when trying to fit a training session in somewhere during your busy day. There is an immense feeling of satisfaction in crossing off a job well done, no matter how small it might seem. And when the times comes to train, I can put my focus on the lifting rather than worrying about whether I did this or that or called who I was supposed to or the other stuff I have yet to do.

I also pointedly say “written” because I believe that writing something down by hand IS also part of the process — putting something in your own hand writing gives it legitimacy, and therefore makes it more meaningful than what might be bouncing around your collective unconscious at any given point in time.  As I said, there is also a lot of personal satisfaction looking at a “done” list at the end of the day.
Next up:

The Fitbit is small but powerful.

2.) I walk 10,000+ step per day.

I don’t make this goal every single day, but most days I do. During the warmer months, I usually take the dog for two walks a day, which helped with a big chunk of that, but he isn’t a big fan of the the cold and snow so those sessions are curtailed. What has fortunately picked up the slack is that my newborn son falls to sleep a lot easier when someone (me) carries him around for a bit. If I’m a few steps short, yes, I do end up doing laps in the living room until I get what I need.

For 2014, my goal is 10,500 steps per day, so far I think I’ve only missed two days so far. I know that some days are better than others, so building that in, I’d like to average that many steps at the end of the year count.

I keep track of these steps with the help of a FITBIT, which I have been using for almost three years now. The FITBIT is a small device, about the size of two pen caps taped together which measures the number of steps per day that I take, how many calories I burn, the distance walked etc. You can see in the above image how big it is (not very.)

My gen 1 version is still plugging away, the newer ones keep track of stairs climbed and have a stopwatch and alarm which is pretty darn cool.  They have several different types of fitness trackers, I recommend “THE ONE.

If you want to read about the amazing benefits of walking, click here, here and here.

3.) I drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.

Water aids in a variety of bodily processes, most importantly cellular respiration, and it’s easy, especially in the winter months, not to drink enough. When you do, the difference will be noticeable in your training, which to me, is reason enough to do so. Four 16 oz glasses a day is really not that much of a challenge: one for breakfast, one mid-morning, one after lunch and at least one more before bed time– it is advisable to get most of your water drinking out of the way before it gets dark outside so it doesn’t keep/wake you up at night.

I like to use an I-phone app fittingly called “Daily Water” which allows me to check off each glass as it is gulped. It’s free, and you should be able to find it pretty easy in the app store.

Notice that there is a common thread in all the items that I just mentioned: each of them has a measurement component. This way goals are specific, trackable, tangible and therefore, in my humble opinion, more likely to be achieved.

“Yeah, but I just wanna train my grip” is what a few folks in the back will probably say — which is certainly fine, but only by building the foundation can get get the best possible results.

Or, at least, that’s how I like to do it.

Train hard,