Red Bull & Vodka, Lost Pants & Lessons Learned

Trying to get in shape without clear direction is like canoeing upstream without a paddle.

You’ve probably seen Elliptical Lady and Ab Machine Man at your local gym.

These two seemingly live at the gym, but they have no clearly defined goals or a clear plan of attack – they’re simply going through the motions – and look exactly the same year after year.

There needs to be a plan of action in place.

Elliptical Lady’s body can do that 30 minute cardio routine in its sleep, so expecting to improve conditioning or drop fat from it is wishful thinking at this stage. She’s gotten all the benefits out of that.

Maybe you’ve taken the first step and purchased a gym membership before (or currently have one that’s only serving to auto-debit monthly from your chequing account).

Maybe you gave it an honest effort as part of your New Year’s Resolution one time, but didn’t see the results fast enough and gave up.

Maybe you are working hard right now, but need to work smarter to accelerate your progress.

Hell, when I was a cardio bunny running miles every day I was working harder than I am now, but my look and how I feel is far superior today.

20 minutes a day gets you started – strategic planning and pushing outside your comfort zone makes it lasting.

We are all creatures of habit. But why dedicate an hour to the gym every day if it’s not going to physically change you or improve conditioning, muscle gains etc. (whatever your goal is)?

You need to find the minimum effective dose of exercise (and eating right) that gets results and allows you to still live the lifestyle you want.

<SHAMELESS PLUG> I’m accepting applicants for my coaching program (opens up once per month) with two selected on May 6 for my 12 week Mansformation. Everyone who completes the application form will get a risk-free consultation call with me regardless. Get on it.


Anyway, let me tell you a story…

I used to be the most vanilla dude ever in high school (closely related to my weight and lack of confidence).

I was more focused on playing video games and hitting on cyber gaming girls (well, at least I hope they were girls) than getting out and socializing.

I sacrificed growing as an individual and building friendships during those formative years, and had to play catch-up in my 20s.

But once I started to get in shape and ended up in a university setting, rather than take the balanced approach, I did a complete 180.

I wanted so badly to fit in that I went full Party Boy from Jackass mode. (See what I mean in this video)


My first night out with my new college crew ended up being sloppy.

Here’s how it went down… (sorry, Mom)

I guzzled one too many Red Bull & vodkas pre-gaming,

Allegedly tried to pull the top down of a female classmate while at the club (I say allegedly because I don’t remember this, but it haunted me for several years after),

Puked in a cab and got momentarily chased by said cabbie, but thankfully he didn’t want to abandon his car and gave up quickly (my “run” was more of a stagger),

Got picked up by a RANDOM car full of teenagers/young adults who found my state of inebriation VERY amusing (I still can’t picture their faces, but do remember their laughter),

Managed to get dropped off on the right street by slurring the name of it repeatedly, but instead of going straight home, I jumped a fence and ripped my pants (abandoning them there on the spot),

Mercifully, I eventually awoke on the couch to the disapproval of my parents (it was Remembrance Day – my way of honouring our troops was to not remember much of the night before).

As the cherry on the gongshow sundae, this was winter and it was very cold here in Canada. Pants not optional in other words.

Anyway, WTF is this trying to tell you?

Find the balance! 

The example above is life-focused, but the same goes for your fitness pursuits.

If you go full bore with monk-like discipline with your eating and training, eventually you’re going to burn out or fall off the wagon.

But, alternatively, a directionless approach to fitness “when you get around to it” serves no purpose either.

Moderation doesn’t have to mean half-assed. Kill it in the gym, eat right for your body type (most of the time) and then live your life the other 23 hours of the day.


PS – I’m sorting through coaching applications this weekend and everyone who has completed the form will get a free consultation call with me. Risk-free.

The coaching page link is here.

Please submit before Sunday comes and goes, as those selected for May coaching will be decided next week.

Get your app in and let’s work together to achieve your goals.

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.