I didn’t understand the value of mentorship until late in life. It can come in many forms and doesn’t always require a personal relationship. One of the mentorships I’ve developed is with a man named Dan John. Dan is a well known name in the strength world because he earned it. He was an All-American discus thrower, competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, and holds the American record in the Weight Pentathlon just to name a few. What is most interesting to me, if you’re still reading, is that he holds a Master’s in religious education and history, and is a religious studies instructor at Columbia College of Missouri. I’ve not met the man yet, but through his books and writings, his words resonate to me with clear simplicity. They make the complicated, well…rather uncomplicated. His no nonsense approach to the world is what intrigues me the most. How can life really be so simple? With that in mind, he just released this little gembelow in his blog post, “How to succeed in 2016 without really trying“.

In this post he quotes some straightforward advice about living a healthy and happy life. Before I quote this list I wanted to disclose why I even got out of my cozy bed on New Years Eve while watching American Sniper and drinking my cold Stella and why the hell you should even care.

Being healthy, fit, and strong is not complicated. There is a multi-billion dollar industry committed to selling you anything you’ll consider that will get you there tomorrow. It isn’t about tomorrow and it isn’t about fancy gimmicks. It’s about some simple guidelines applied consistently over the decades of your life span. He refers to them as “reminders”. Good habits if you will. If you make just a few changes in your life, your world will change. I can promise you that. But stop the madness with all the fancy quick fix programs, shakes, and commercialization. Put in the work, stop making excuses, and pick up some heavy things and move them around.

I want to give you a list of some quick tips that have helped me and that I think will help you. They are in no particular order and they are not “rules.” They are reminders, really. Here:
— Start your day an act of discipline, however small. Either a short workout or meditation. (Idea below.)
— Start your day by thanking someone (or something) for their existence. I chose caterpillars.
— Have 20-30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.
— Occasionally don’t have any breakfast. Fast.
— Eat 3-4 meals a day.
— Follow the 100/100/10 rule: Have 100 grams of protein a day, 100 grams of carbs (or less) and 10 (or so) glasses of water.
— Strength train 3-5 days/week. “Work out” (like, get sweaty) 2-3 days/week. Do as much mobility as you can.
— Walk more than you ride. Take the stairs. Park farther away.
— Don’t be afraid to stretch whatever’s tight. It’s actually not a bad idea.
— Have a sleep ritual. Limit electronics before bed. Lights out by 10 o’clock
— Don’t worry about the scale. It doesn’t always tell the story it should. Keep your attention on getting better in the gym. Focus on performance and aesthetics will follow.
— Train consistently for progress. Add variety for plateaus. Randomness for fun.
— “Eat the damn yolks” – Jen Sinkler

There you have it. So simple it makes me sick. Eat really good food, sleep, and strength train. If you do that, your body will thank you with vitality and longevity.

The truth is always defensible. Take the truth from 2015 that you are on borrowed time and do something about it in 2016. Don’t go crazy and take on everything at once. Do one simple thing at a time and find someone to help you that you connect with.

With that said, I’m headed back to the bedroom now that my beer is warm and will wait a little longer before I pop the champagne open. If I have one resolution in 2016 it’s too stay real and speak honestly whether you like it or not. I’m no longer in the business of political correctness. My only job is to lay out the honest truth for you and show you the door to living a better life through the principles taught at our gym. You have my word that I will do exactly that. Thank you Dan John for keeping it simple.

Happy Freaking New Year people.