The 30 Day Lifestyle
Challenge – Week 1
Notes for Week 1 – The 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge
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A little Over a week ago I officially started the 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge with Maria. The 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge is simple –
For 30 Days we have one of the world’s leading experts on Health, Mentality, Lifestyle or Relationships and Sex, map out a plan for us to follow. We share our experiences with the public. The idea is that the 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge is a resource for Living a Better Life.
Mark Ottobre – World Class Fitness Trainer from Melbourne Australia built our first challenge. It is a challenge that is focused on Health and Mentality.
Mark’s plan was elaborate (you can read more about it here – Mark Ottobre’s Resource Page), but to put it simply it was to do these things specifically for a month –
- Being vs Doing – One of the most important aspects to Mark’s plan was that it was not a diet or a fitness plan but a way of life. No result gotten from a diet or exercise program will have lasting success without integration into a way of life. This goes for all aspects of personal change.
- Eat Real Food – No gluten, no processed food, no bread, no candy bars, not even protein shakes. Basically eat meat (if you eat meat), Vegetables, and keep light on the carbohydrates. Eat till you’re full, eat 4-6 times a day.
- Eat Protein At Every Meal – At every meal eat 3-7 ounces of a protein source. For instance a meal might be chicken breast with spinach, or lamb shoulder with kale.
- Get Plenty of Rest – Mark said that all the diet, exercise, positivity in the world means nothing if you’re not getting the right rest. One of his ‘musts’ is that you’re in bed by 11pm every night. For this one Maria and I have slipped on the most.
- Be Grateful – Something I have always said is, ‘If you’re not happy, it’s not success.’ Mark also stressed this. He said to write a gratitude list every night. This is a practice I have been doing for a while now and have found very effective for maintaining a positive attitude and clear direction in life.
- Lift Weights 5 Days a Week – Mark made us a specific plan working out our entire bodies. 2 Days of upper body, 2 Days of Lower Body and 1 day of Arms. each day has 5-6 exercises and it is pretty demanding. I have never been much of a weight lifter but there are many things that I have come to find a great benefit in.
- Supplementation of Vitamins and Minerals – Mark did not want me to take protein via powers but via real food. However he did say I would need to up my minerals and vitamins. He had me do some tests before I started on a vitamin plan. He said for males it was important that we get enough Zinc. He also said everyone could use more Vitamin C. Specifically he recommended Magnesium, Vitamin B6 and B12, Vitamin D3 and Fish Oil.
1 – Strength – Weight Training
Get Strong. My Body Moves, Looks and Functions as it was Meant to.
When you weight train you develop strength that is different from other types of conditioning and training. When I first started getting in shape at the age of 31 I did not lift weights in the way I am now, I ran, did plyometric training, bootcamps and martial arts. I would say that any form of exercise is better than none, but now I am training much more efficiently and not over working my body as much. Right now I am weight training 5 days a week. That is very difficult with the martial arts training as well. Most likely when I am done with this 30 Day Challenge I will regroup with Mark and go over what path i should take next.
When my body is strong my body takes its natural shape. I feel now more than ever that my body is moving and functioning in the way that it is meant to. My muscles are shaping properly, changing my posture and movements.
Before I started the Challenge I familiarized myself with all the different exercises. Realistically I have been lifting weights now for 3 weeks; however, I have only been lifting exactly as Mark has laid out for one week. His plan is very demanding. The almost immediate difference is my strength. In Brazilian Jiujitsu and JKD I have more power and more brute force. There are times where my body can do things that it was once not able to do. Whether that is stopping a submission with my strength or pushing/throwing an opponent off me, the change is noticeable. Also grip strength due to all the barbell and dumbbell lifting has improved. Of course getting the true points of leverage, positions and being more technical are the goals of both martial arts I will say a strength advantage is a huge help. There will always be others who are stronger or more conditioned, but a little extra muscle makes a huge difference.
2 – Mental Clarity – Diet
I am Happier, More Creative and am Able to Deal with Problems that Arise.
I have never been a naturally positive person. I have struggled with motivation, depression and anxiety. Although this is my 7th day of doing Mark’s complete plan I started the diet nearly 7 weeks ago. The first thing I noticed was the mental change. I almost immediately had more clarity, less anxiety and my creativity went through the roof. If you want a quick way to lessen anxiety and have a clear and calm mind then change your diet to something similar to what we have been doing – Mark Ottobre Resource Page. The basic idea is that you Eat Real food. In my case that is Meat, Veggies, Low Sugar Fruits and sometimes Nuts. No gluten, no processed foods. If you do this for a few weeks you might just notice a complete shift in how you think, your motivation and focus.
As for me, I went from struggling to write 2500 works a week to writing anywhere from 10k-25k words a week. For instance this document is around 3000 words, and it took me less than an hour and 30 minutes to write (edit and format is another story). Other documents might demand more creativity, but before something like this I would struggle over ‘how to voice it’ or a ‘different approach to the article’. Now it is clear what I want to communicate.
Not only was my output better, but I also had a focus on a complete perspective with me at all times. If I got anxious or angry about something I was able to relax about it, examine the situation and think of the best way to handle it. Life will always have a set of problems it presents us, it is always best to have your best mind working for you.
3 – Better Sex -Weight Training/Diet
A Stronger Emotional, Psychological and Physical Sex Drive
I would say that I have always had a high sex drive. When I was completely out of shape I had a sex drive, and when I started getting in shape in my early 30’s my sex drive improved. However, in comparison to all that, when heavy weight training and a real food diet it redefines sex drive. Everything that is sex, the drive, the urge the pushing the feeling is heightened. My psychology, the way I think and what I like becomes more clear and intensified. My emotion has more depth and interaction and my physical drive, performance and urge is intensified.
After a heavy weight training workout I am exhausted, on some of the days I train martial arts as well, usually heavy sparring. None of it is easy. My muscles are dead and all I want to do is lay down and sleep. Every fiber of my being just wants to shut my eyes for 8 hours and go to sleep. However, like clockwork I am confronted by an animalistic sex drive with my equally exhausted girlfriend next to me. This is somewhat of a no-brainer, life weights equals more testosterone resulting in a higher sex drive. It is more than that. If you switch to the diet recommended, and you’re like me you will first notice the surge in your sex drive from that. When you add weight lifting to the mix you’re going to notice a most intensified change. It’s the perfect storm for sex and seduction.
For me this is worth it in itself. There are very few things that can have such a dramatic and healthy change on your physical, emotional and psychological sex life. Anyone interested in getting better with women should start here. Clean up your diet, workout and after you’ve done all that you can start dying your hair blue or whatever other stuff they’re recommending…
4 – You Feel Better – Weight Training/Diet
I Feel Happier, More Focused and Motivated
I have eaten a ‘Real Food Diet’ for about a year, except for the 2 months before I started this diet (January/February, 2013). I have known the benefits of that. I feel better and think better. I have been in pretty good ‘cardio shape’ from being active with Brazilian Jiujitsu and Jeet Kune Do and riding my bike everywhere. But I haven’t really been much of a weight lifter. There is a big difference with adding this to the equation. Your muscles not only are stronger but they are more vibrant. Yes, after a workout they are tired, but throughout the day they are feeling full of life and energy.
This also carries over to my psychology. Whatever hormones or side effects there are from weightlifting, I can tell you I feel a lot more alert and motivated. It is like I am walking around with a body that is a well oiled machine. Before I started the weight training part of the program I noticed the changes in diet with perspective and focus, but once I added the weights I noticed a heightened focus and a constant motivation. Lifting weights made me feel good, but it didn’t stop there. You will develop a different level of focus and motivation.
In terms of weight lifting there is a unique characteristic that will carry over into many aspects of your life. There will be many times where you are hitting a point of failure on the weights, meaning your muscles just wont work. Part of weight lifting is not just the strength side of it, but the mental side of it. Your mind needs to be clear and only focused on the movement and form when you’re really pushing your body. When I am in the 5th set or near the end of the workout and I have 6 reps to complete it is a mental game. I cannot think of anything else but each individual rep. If I think of all 6 it will compensate the 1 rep I am doing then. When my muscles begin to fail, I need to relax mentally and focus to complete the rep with good form. When Maria spots for me, or I spot for her we notice that the amount we help with is nearly nothing. Maybe we help each other alleviating a pound or 2 of resistance. This led us to focus hard on the mental aspects of pushing it. Honing this acute focus carries over into everyday life. It is an action that forces you to live in the moment and maintain a clarity in confusing situations. When weight training hard, you will gain an absolute confidence to what you can do, and have the motivation to take action on it. The ‘in the moment’ mindset necessary to push yourself in weight training is like no other. There are parallels you can make to this in Jiujitsu or full contact fighting, but weight training is in a class of its own.
5 – Better Sleep – Diet/Supplementation
You will sleep like a baby
A Better Diet, Sleeping Situation and Supplementation helped my Insomnia
For the past 16 years I have developed a poor lifestyle habit of forgoing sleep for work, fun and whatever else. Before I was 25 I could get by with anywhere form 2-5 hours of sleep a night. If I had it may way I wouldn’t have slept. After 25 everything slowed down, but I would push myself to stay up just to do whatever. This was one of the worst habits i could have built. Now that I am 35 I need sleep. I need a lot of sleep. I need at least 8 hours. However, now I can’t get to sleep easily. There were nights where I would be on a great diet, physically exhausted and ready to ready to pass out, but once I got to bed my mind would run and run. Soon I would cave and watch a movie, or try and work. I wouldn’t sleep until I eventually passed out or just stayed up all night. This is the most frustrating thing. At 10pm you’re tired and ready to pass out but you’re laying in bed with no energy and not able to sleep. You don’t really have energy for anything but your mind is awake.
Not sleeping has what I would say the most dramatic effect on my mood, and functionality. Without consistent and proper sleep I am dysfunctional on many levels. For years, like 10-15 years, this has been a constant.
Since I changed my diet and supplementation changed with Mark’s plan sleep has been better.
- No Stimulants – Not eating sugar or heavy carbohydrates helps my mood calm, also no Caffeine after 4pm
- Supplements – Taking Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium have seemed to allow my mind to relax when I am ready for bed. I started taking the supplements about 7 weeks ago and after a week without the lifting program it took an effect. Eating a ‘Real Food Diet’ had been done before and still got poor sleep. This made me realize that the mineral supplementation was having some effect on sleeping.
- Zero Distractions – Dark room, windows covered, no music, no distractions. Despite the relief from the supplements there were many nights where it was hard to get to sleep. When I refused to get up and distract myself with anything it allowed me to build the habit of falling asleep. Also I wasn’t woken up by anything other than myself, Maria or my dogs. No flashing lights or sounds kept me awake.
- Eat Real Food – Better nourishment also played a factor. In the summer I went on a very strict diet. I cut out nearly all sugar. I dropped in weight, and I was working out like a maniac. Now that I am really taking a closer look at what I eat and how much I eat I can immediately tell that I am eating way more than before. I am also eating way more meat than before, probably 2 times as much. I believe that in the summer I was not eating enough of the right foods in the right amounts. This set my body off and despite biking 35 miles, doing 4 hours of BJJ and JKD in 1 days I couldn’t fall asleep. Now I eat at least 3 solid meals a day, meat and veggies. At some point I will eat once or twice more a small snack of meat or nuts.
Things that can Help
you Right Now –
To Live a Better Life
Being someone who has dealt with poor health and depression for long periods of my life I can say that one of the most important goals for the 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge is to be a resource for a lasting health, happiness and way of life for those looking for it. Answers to these problems for me were simple but they weren’t easy to find or maintain. My life isn’t always a walk in the park, but it is much different to how it was a few years ago.
If you think you’re depressed, having anxiety problems in bad health you should consult with a professional – Doctor, Counselor, Therapist and work with someone who can accurately examine and assess you. From my personal experience with anxiety, depression, poor health and a chaotic lifestyle one of the best things I could have started off with was for 30 days –
- Doing some exercise – Walking 30mins to weight training to martial arts, get your body moving.
- Eating properly – Mainly cutting out gluten and processed sugars from my diet. The easiest advice that I follow now is – “Eat Real Food”. To put that simply, avoid food that has a label on it, or is packaged.
- Sleeping regularly – For me that is 8 hours a night, around the same time, every night
- Having good people in my life – This is probably the most important. If you hang out with good people that’s the easiest way to live the life of a good person. I joined a fellowship of good people to influence, experience and share with.
In the end despite what any professional told me, these helped make a change in my life and keep that change constant.
For myself and Maria we still have 21 more days to this 30 Day Challenge. There is a lot to be learned and a lot to be done. We are both stronger, but we are a long way from our ideal bodies, and minds. However we are happy. Life always has great opportunities in it. No matter where you are, what’s happened and what’s against you there is always a way to be live well. The purpose of the 30 Day Lifestyle is to always be aware of this, and when we have the time, energy and resources to live better, live happy and be the best expression of ourselves we have success!