I’m not going to sit here and compare living a fit lifestyle to being a warrior. Too often I see or hear comments like, “going to war…leg day!” You even hear sports commentators relay to the viewing audience that “it’s utter war between these two teams tonight!” Whenever I hear these analogies I have to roll my eyes. You know who goes to war? Soldiers. You know the difference between battle and sports? In one of them the loser dies. Before I go off on a rampage of a rant that completely sinks this article, like a ship in war, let me state that we can learn a lot from these piss poor analogies and our admirable warriors.
All warriors from the beginning of time through the current camouflage clad heros we see on the nightly news today, had one thing in common: they prepared. They practice, and practice, and when they get tired they practice some more. Why? Practice increased their chances of success when the actual war starts. Historically, when the blunt-edge swords went to the armory and were replaced by the razor sharp versions, this is what all the preparation was for. Success or failure, life or death, came down to the time you put in perfecting your craft.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin
How The Hell Does This Relate to Fitness?
Great question! While your average gym rat is not the warrior he likes to play on Instagram, there are some key traits we can incorporate into our routine to get in better shape and achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Being prepared for all circumstances is key for fitness survival. The time you put in cooking your meals beforehand will significantly change the results you get from all your efforts. Let us talk this through, shall we?
Think Like a Samurai
The Samurais were fantastic warriors. Not only were they about developing their skills with their katana, but they believed in developing their body, spirit, and of course their mind. When it comes to properly planning your weekly meals you need to use you mind. How much chicken will you eat every day? How much for the week? Is this cooked weight or raw weight? Are you accounting for the extra weight of the fat and connective tissue you will trim off? As you can see, this becomes a puzzle worthy of your utmost focus.
When you walk into the grocery store to do your weekly shopping you need to have a plan of attack. Before you even grab a cart you should know your mission, your tactics, and your evacuation plan. Better “square away” your gear: phone, wallet, keys.
By knowing what you need in the store you can mitigate the risk of getting home and realizing you’re two bananas short, your coconut oil is on empty, or your frozen veggies are freezer burnt. You also avoid the hazard of roaming the grocery aisles aimlessly grabbing anything that sparks your interest. Oreos, Doritos, candy bars. A plan allows you to stay on diet and save money. I assume even a Samurai would say that’s a no brainer.
Food Prep Like a Marine
Now that you have the essentials, and enough of the essentials, it’s time to put in the work. It’s time to execute those drills to make sure you are prepared when the belly starts rumbling like tank through the desert. It is now time to start the prep.
I have found it easy to stick to my food prep schedule when I designate a certain time a week, every week, to laboring over the stove. In my experience, Sunday afternoons seem to work for most people. Pick a day that works for your schedule, and without retreating to the couch, execute. Cook all the chicken, beef, fish, or pork you have. Prepare all the rice, quinoa, pasta, or potatoes you’ll need. Cut and steam all the broccoli, asparagus, kale, or spinach your plan calls for. This block of time, on one day of the week, can be victorious over 80% of your weekly nutritional needs.
So now that the stove’s burners are running, the microwave is in a constant spin, and the oven is baking away, your kitchen may feel like a sauna. No pain no gain though right?
It’s time to start thinking storage. All this food will inevitably be done cooking, how are you going to portion it out. Should you use a couple large plastic contains and portion out the next day every night? Or should you portion out the whole week now in individual Tupper wear contains? For me, I always portioned the next day’s meals out the night before. I can’t justify buying fifty-six containers.
You can see that this is not an exact science. Everyone will have different circumstances, schedules, ideas, and preferences when it comes to preparing their meals. What we all do have in common, similar to the Marines, is that this preparation will ensure our objectives are met. Sure gaining ten pounds isn’t as important as finding Osama bin-Laden, but success is subjective.
Resilient Like a Spartan
There came a time when King Leonidas realized his and his fellow Spartan’s efforts to fight off the Persians were going to fail. That didn’t stop him though. He and his men continued to push on and fight. All they wanted was a “glorious death” and a kick ass movie many years later.
I am not King Leonidas, you are not King Leonidas, and “this is not SPARTA!” But, we can be resilient in our unwavering commitment to staying on our diet. We can keep pushing on when the kitchen is hot, we are tired, and Dominos is a phone call away. This is the mentality you need. The mentality required to succeed. This mentality is what will determine whether your abs are tight or your flabby ass is hanging out of your bathing suit. Don’t waver. Don’t quit. Don’t surrender. Maybe one day they’ll make a CGI movie about you and your rice cooker.
So there you have it killer. Everything you need to do to ensure you are covered when the “battle” for your six pack starts. Think like a Samurai, prep like a Marine, and by resilient like a Spartan. Follow this outline and you won’t end up like a radical terrorist group…on the wrong side of a shit storm.
Epilogue – Tom Tip
Always keep a shaker bottle full of whey protein in your drawer at work, in your locker at school, in your gym back, and in the truck of your car. That shaker bottle is like your .38 Special in an ankle holster. While it may not be ideal, it could save your life…well at least your #gainz.
Learn more about proper nutrition and how to guarantee your own success with our FREE Nutrition Crash Course E-Book.