You know The Man.
He has his shit together.
He doesn’t get winded jogging up a flight of stairs.
He has all the moms giving him sideways glances at soccer practice.
He uses any excuse to take his shirt off – even at family BBQs.
You don’t like The Man much, but you respect him.
So, how to you get on the path to becoming The Man yourself? Read the 10 habits below…
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Habit 1: Find a Big Motivator
You’ve heard to make a big change, motivation must come from inside. And it’s true. You need a “reason why” — a real purpose and a sense of why losing fat and getting in shape is important to you.
Maybe you want to be the best version of yourself for your spouse and children and getting in shape will help. Maybe you have confidence issues related to your weight. Perhaps your weight is causing sleep apnea and you’re tired and lethargic throughout the day, which is affecting your work and quality of life.
But sometimes you need extra motivation to actually start. You need a big motivator that pushes you into action. Some blackmail themselves into it as you’ll read about below, others join a challenge with the potential to win cash, and some put their accountability in the hands of another.
Take home point: What’s your big motivation for wanting to be the man? How can you make it stick?
Habit 2: Put Nutrition First
When most people think about losing weight or getting in shape, they think exercise. They sign up for a gym, do two-a-day Crossfit workouts and jog religiously every night. Unfortunately, nutrition takes a back seat.
The Man knows exercise is only one part of the equation. Focusing on nutrition and eating habits is the first priority when dropping fat.
How do they do it? By achieving a consistent calorie deficit. As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose weight. It’s that simple, though not easy. Of course, things like macronutrient ratios, nutrient timing and periodized training methods can make a difference down the road, but start with a focus on calorie intake.
Take home point: Yes, you should exercise. But you must put nutrition first.
Habit 3: Don’t Avoid ‘Boring’ Cardio
Do you drive around the gym parking lot looking for a spot closer to the doors? Stop doing that.
There’s something known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which studies show has a big impact on weight loss.
In a study referenced by Mike Samuels on healthylivingheavylifting.com, researchers found that sitting up but staying stationary caused an average 4% increase in energy expenditure, whereas sitting up and fidgeting resulted in a much larger increase of 54%.
Standing motionless led to a 13% increase while standing and fidgeting was a huge 95% increase.
95% more energy expenditure is no joke.
Walking isn’t sexy, but going out of your way to get in more steps and low-grade activity adds up.
Take the stairs. Walk as often as possible. Go for a bike ride. Move more.
Watch what your lean friends do. Are they active in an effortless or routine way? Do they always walk, play sports and chase after the kids? You’ll likely find some similarities among them.
Take home point: Do less sitting, more moving. The lower you take your calories, the more likely your body will down-regulate activity. You’ll need to schedule in activity to make it happen, even when the couch and Netflix beckon.
Habit 4: Embrace the Struggle
The Man has responsibilities too. He has dogs, kids and careers. Life isn’t going to pause for you to get in shape. There’s no perfect time. Grappling with time constraints is part of being human — understand that and make time to pursue your health in spite of it.
14 years ago this month, I said goodbye to the excuses. I was tired of wearing those sweater vests to cover up my moobs. I was tired of slouching over – sheltering myself from the world. I was sick and tired of not living up to my potential— and I knew getting in shape would put me on the right path. I went all in on an idea of what I COULD become, not what I was.
It wasn’t easy.
I remember nights sitting at my computer with my head in my hands, wondering if I was ever going to see progress. I remember nearly guillotine-chopping my neck off with a barbell after using way too much weight for my own good. I remember squatting in dress pants and ripping them wide open in the back.
I could’ve quit countless times. But I also remember the way I felt when I made changes, physically and mentally.
Sometimes, it takes a little effort. Sometimes, a lot. A touch of reckless abandon, and a willingness to go the extra mile.
But, know this: The Man understands there is no end game or deadline.
If you’re going to go for it, go all in and expect to be doing this the rest of your life.
Fitness is not to be treated as an illness: “Take this exercise program for 30 days and you’re cured for life!”
You need to make it a part of your life – so you better find a plan that fits into it and embrace the struggle – because it’s worth it.
Let’s face it, the pounds didn’t pack on overnight, so you can’t expect them to fly off once you change some habits.
Take home point: Everyone has struggles and setbacks. Embrace them. Those who do eventually see big results.
Habit 5: Own The Day
According to Chris and Eric Martinez of Dynamic Duo Training, starting your day off on the right foot is key to achieving “The Man” status.
“Start your day off with a morning routine or ritual and be consistent with it. This can be anywhere from 30-120 minutes,” they wrote in an email.
“In the book, Miracle Morning, the author uses the acronym SAVSER, which stands for: S-Silence A-Affirmations V-Visualization S-Scribing E-Exercise R-Reading. We recommend starting off with doing one of these in week 1, then adding another one in week 2, and so on. By having a morning routine, it will really set the tone for the day, mentally have you feel in complete control, and you will win the day.”
Take home point: Own your day and you’ll set yourself up for success.
Habit 6: Get Your ‘T’ Right
If you’re a little older and heavier (i.e. the typical North American) you may have undiagnosed Metabolic Syndrome (pre-diabetes), which is associated with lower levels of testosterone.
In Natural vs. Testosterone Therapy by Lee Myers, he mentions a study that examined 64 obese men: their average testosterone was a measly 340ng/dl (for reference LabCorp’s healthy reference range is 348 – 1197 ng/dl). The same study noted that weight was associated with increased estradiol (estrogen). So, basically, being overweight does everything negative possible to your hormone levels.
If your hormones aren’t optimal, you’re fighting an uphill battle in the fat loss department.
There are a number of ways to raise your testosterone naturally, first and foremost being weight loss. But for now, focus on adequate sleep, optimizing Vitamin D and magnesium levels, and minimizing alcohol consumption. For a 10 step cheat sheet to boost your T naturally, Download This Testosterone Boosting Cheat Sheet
Habit 7: Find Something To Lose
There needs to be something at stake, something to lose if you don’t follow through.
14 years ago, I told myself if I didn’t get in shape, I’d quit playing video games for a year (a big deal to me at the time) and wrote a sticky note on my computer monitor.
This same strategy is outlined in The Blackmail Diet, an obscure book by John Bear.
The author battles obesity and comes up with a plan: he signs a contract with a lawyer and puts $5,000 in escrow.
The contract stated that if in a year’s time he doesn’t lose 70 pounds, the lawyer must give all the money to the American Nazi Party.
As expected, a year later he had lost the 70 pounds.
Take home point: The harder it is to quit, the easier it is to succeed. Put something at risk to keep you going when the going gets tough.
Habit 8: Go On Autopilot
According to Jason Helmes of anymanfitness.com, those who reach The Man status abolish emotional eating.
“When we eat, we eat for two reasons. The first reason is physiological: we eat because we require food and nutrients for optimal performance,” says Helmes. “[But] perhaps the bigger reason we eat is due to a reaction based on an emotional response. We feel something – stress, anxiety, nervousness, sadness, excitement.”
“Stoicism is the ancient art of observing that which is around you and not letting it affect your mental and physical state,” adds Helmes. “Remaining stoic in the face of these obstacles can go a long way in developing the discipline required to get ripped. Understand the challenges you are against. Seek alternative methods of dealing with emotions. Reflect and meditate. And become unemotional and unfeeling when it comes to food.”
Take home point: Stop using food as a tool to manage your emotions, and eat simply for performance.
Habit 9: Put In The Work
You need to put in the work.
Dieting to low levels of bodyfat requires more than basic strategies such as two full body workouts per week and eliminating soft drinks.
To get great results, you must take massive action.
In other words, pump up the volume in the gym.
“Don’t be afraid of volume. In a world full of minimalist routines and super high-intensity, ultra-short workouts, guys are afraid to be in the gym for much longer than 45 minutes,” says Mike Samuels, fat loss coach.
“Sometimes, though, you’ve got to suck it up and put in more time. A higher volume routine builds muscle and strength faster and maintains it better when you’re leaning out. Plus, if you’re averse to cutting your calories down too far, you’ll have to put in some time to burn extra calories in the gym. You don’t have to be in there 5 hours a day, but don’t be scared of 90-120 minute sessions.”
Take home point: If your current body was built with minimalist training, it’s probably time to up your workload.
Habit 10: Plan For Obstacles
Once you know your triggers, set out a plan to deal with them slowly but surely. Setting up scenarios will help you blow past potential obstacles.
Setbacks are a part of the journey, though. Relax, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. It’s the big picture that matters. One day of bad eating doesn’t derail your weight loss. Remember that and you’ll be less likely to quit at the first sign of trouble.
To recap, 10 lessons you can learn from The Man (in order to become one):
- Find a big motivator
- Put nutrition first
- Don’t avoid ‘boring’ cardio
- Embrace the struggle
- Own your day
- Get your ‘T’ right
- Find something to lose
- Go on autopilot
- Put in the work
- Plan for obstacles
Need a helping hand? Apply for this free Mansformation Challenge with a chance to win $200: