Just to quickly recap, in our last edition of Bodybuilding Habit Stacking we covered how to take some of those old unproductive habits that most of us generally don’t give a second thought to and replace them with better, more effective and efficient habits to help us make more time to do more of the things we love – like check out our side chest shot in the mirror for the 35th time in a day with the hope that we’ll see some new striation magically appear that wasn’t there when we last checked fifteen minutes ago. Be honest. You do that. It’s impossible to walk past a mirror without checking yourself out at least a little bit.
In part two of Bodybuilding Habit Stacking we’re going to cover ways to help improve an area of life that most bodybuilders – and most men in general for that matter – generally tend to suck at: relationships. Bodybuilding is a time, and life consuming sport, and that means that most bodybuilders are generally too one track minded with a focus on maintaining their own schedules and obsessions to realize that they’re severely neglecting the people closest to them. How many times have we heard stories of speeches made by athletes following their show where they apologize to their families for being in their own world for the last sixteen weeks? Dozens? Hundreds? A hungry and exhausted bodybuilder is not a fun person to be around, and that’s not even taking one of bodybuilding’s most notorious relationship destroyers into account – Tren.
One of the unwritten rules of the muscle game is that the athlete who has the ability to be the most selfish typically tends to win. In order to compete at the highest level, and push yourself to places even you never imagined you could go, it requires an unrelenting level of commitment to yourself and your goals above all else. And that’s all well and good if you’re okay with a lifetime of loneliness and answering questions by your family and few remaining non-gym friends about how long you plan on keeping this up. But, on the off chance that you do actually enjoy human contact and meaningful personal relationships and you want to avoid becoming one of those old guys at the gym who rocks a bandana and drives a busted old Mystery Machine look-a-like van that doubles as his house – you’re going to have to dump some of those old relationship obliterating habits and usher in a few small changes that can make a world of difference in your personal life.
1.) Return Phone Calls and Texts
I am absolutely 100% notoriously guilty of the charge of never ever answering my phone when someone calls – ever. But, I do make a conscious effort to return every text or phone call I get the same day. Working a job – a real job, not one of those I’m a trainer who works four hours every day jobs – cooking, eating, training, doing cardio, remembering to take your orals on schedule, and just maintaining the balancing act that is everyday life makes it incredibly easy to put off returning texts and phone calls until later, only later never comes. Bodybuilding circles are typically tight knit, and the people we allow into our world land there for a reason – because they’re important to us. They’re our support structure that helps keep our insane test-obsessed lives from collapsing into a black hole, and that’s why it’s important not to let those relationships fall apart and erode our foundation. Because great athletes, just like great buildings, need a solid support structure. Keeping in contact with the people close to us will help keep us grounded and ultimately be part of the reason we stay on the track to success and don’t get derailed by resistance.
2.) Learn How To Give A Compliment
I’m not talking about one of those “Yo bro those traps are looking crazy!” compliments. I’m talking about the sort of compliment that will save your relationship and keep you from being lonely sweaty meat bag that goes to bed alone every night feeling like a loser because you just watched some category of porn so disgusting you feel embarrassed for yourself. If you’ve been lucky enough to find a girl who’s willing to put up with your insanity and actually loves you for you then realize that you’ve just hit the relationship jackpot, and you need to do everything you can to keep from losing all your chips and ending up with nothing – like that guy in the DirectTV commercial who had to sell his hair to a wig shop. Leave a note somewhere that you know she’ll find it. Send her a text for no reason. Make an extra effort to compliment her in front of her friends and family. A little compliment can go a long way if you’re smart enough to use it correctly. If she thinks that you’re going out of your way just to make her feel good it’ll inspire some genuine brownie points in your favor that you’re most likely going to need sooner or later.
3.) Share Something Inspiring on Social Media
I, just like most sane people, hate internet philosophers. There aren’t many things that make me want to throw up in my mouth faster than seeing someone post some ridiculous quote “Like a man without power…is a man without electricity” while they pretend to be the modern day version of Platz mixed with Plato. Instead take advantage of the platform you have of friends, family, and followers who look to you as an example of what’s possible. Offer up some free advice instead being an information hoarder who claims that you’re keeping it all for your clients. Share a real quote or some real words of wisdom by someone with more than two brains cells that you found to inspire you. Just taking the time to share something thoughtful will show people that you’re not totally self absorbed, and it can help strengthen existing relationships in the process by making both you and someone else feel good about yourself.
4.) Do Something That Makes YOU Happy
It’s damn near impossible to muster up any real concern or consideration for other people when you’re not happy with yourself. One of the best things we can do to keep inspiring and strengthening the relationships we have with those that are close to us to take time out for our self everyday to do our own thing outside of the gym. Whatever it might be; meditation, taking your dog for a walk, going to the grocery store and filling up a huge cart with all of the snacks you can’t have until after your diet is over then just walking out and leaving it without buying a single thing (I may or may not have done that a time or two), anything positive that helps you be a better version of yourself so that you can go on helping, call/texting, and inspiring other people is a good thing. It’s not selfish to need a little peace of mind so that you can regain a slice of your sanity. Take the time to reinvest in yourself so that others can reap the profits from your sound investments.
5.) Perform a Random Act of Kindness
Hold the door for a woman struggling with a stroller. Rescue a cat from a burning building. Stop Bain from taking over Gothem City. Just perform some random act of kindness during the day without the intention of receiving anything in return. Does helping total strangers do anything to strengthen your personal relationships? Nope. Not really. But it does get you in the habit of going the extra mile to strengthen a relationship – even if it’s with a complete stranger, and that’s what Habit Stacking is all about. Out with the old, and in with the new. We start doing more productive things that are outside of our comfort zone until we become comfortable with the discomfort – like the second day after trashing your legs. We welcome the bitter discomfort because we know that it’s the signal for growth. Fight the resistance that always accompanies change and learn to embrace the little bit of discomfort that’s guaranteed to follow and you’ll see that once get past the initial stages of agony that it actually isn’t so bad after all.
There you have it. That’s Bodybuilding Habit Stacking in a nutshell, but it isn’t necessarily the end-all be-all of the conversation. Instead it’s really more of a guide or a blueprint for how examine other areas of our life and clear out the crap as we make room for things that us improve who we are as bodybuilders, husbands/boyfriends, brothers, sons, coaches, trainers or any other of the many roles that we need to take on in a given day. By understanding the Bodybuilding Habit Stacking fundamentals we can take new found control over our current circumstances and move the meter in a positive direction that may ultimately result in us exceeding even our own expectations for success.
For Part One: Bodybuilding Habit Stacking