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For a good number of years, geez, actually for most of my adult life, I was tricked into believing that I needed to be โ€˜rippedโ€™.

It doesnโ€™t help that I competed in bodybuilding shows for a decade plus.

Itโ€™s hard to go from looking like a super hero to looking average.

But that is wherein the problem lies.

I was buying into someone elseโ€™s definition of what a man is supposed to look like.

I was buying into what physically average was.

I was fed a lie of what a man is supposed to BE physically.

I wrote some months ago about how dieting was โ€˜anti-manโ€™. Men, by our very nature, are hunters and protectors.

Our brains are wired for abundance, not deprivation.

Females on the other hand, didnโ€™t have as many advantages as men physically. So somewhere along the way, women were โ€˜forcedโ€™ to go for a certain body type to attract men.

Now, here is where we were duped: the lines got crossed and men were led to believe that we too needed to look a certain way to attract our future mate.

And while yes, there is a certain look that we are supposed to have to attract and protect, itโ€™s not what you think it is.

As the universe always does to me, it presented me with this very opportunity recently in a mind map session to break this down for a fellow man. Funny thing was, I was already brainstorming this article, and once spoken aloud it is always even clearer to me how to write it (I will be writing a lot this year about how to write and the secrets to effective writing in case you are interested).

So, this fellow man has been on this roller coaster as long as I have known him (8 years) of battling โ€˜freezeโ€™ mode episodes in which he gets really down on himself, falls into a funk, gets out of it by losing a little weight (or so his mind tricks him into believing he is out of it) and then repeats the process.

In his recent Mind Map session with me, he said he had to lose 30 pounds once again. Slam the breaks I told him.

Weโ€™ve been down this path before. โ€˜We know you can lose the weight but youโ€™ve never been able to keep it offโ€™.

A true transformation works from the inside out, not the outside in.

When it comes to food and nutrition, the first lie we have been fed is that taking the outside-in approach, such as counting calories, works. A little reality math blows that myth out of the water, yet people continue to try it, over and over.

The reason my friend was unable to hold onto his transformation was that it wasnโ€™t a transformation, it was a temporary change. A temporary change is forged by will-power and a NEED.

A temporary change must be grasped hard and squeezed because if we let up our grip, it will get away from us. But this squeezing and grasping eventually wears us out, wears our will power out. And when that runs out, our โ€˜changeโ€™ slips away from us.

Yet, we recover enough mentally and emotionally to give it another try later that year. And of course, this time will be different because we have built up even more will power than we had last time we tell our self.

Letโ€™s jump back to my friend for a second. He has repeated this cycle for as long as I have known him. So I asked him to really think about what it was that he was trying to get at by losing the 30 pounds.

He thought long and hard and he said it was because he felt more confident for the temporary time that he kept the weight off.

โ€˜So what does that confidence bring to you?โ€™ I asked.

He was stumped, so I prodded him a little more.

Bud, it gets you the respect from your wife and kids, so you think, that you have always wanted. It makes you feel like the man you are supposed to be.

However, there are more and better, much better ways to achieve and hold onto that feeling.

Men cannot be the man of the house by behaving like women. And men, let me be very clear about this: your spouse, your wife or if you are single, the women you date, donโ€™t care if you have a six-pack and look like Zach Effron (not sure if thatโ€™s how you spell it nor do I care).

Two years ago, I had just torn my second patellar tendon and I was off testosterone for a few months since we were trying to get pregnant for the first time (I will be having quite a few articles about testosterone and testosterone therapy, etc. this year, so donโ€™t worryJ).

To make matters worse, I was just coming off of two bodybuilding shows that summer for the first time in a long time. Those contests through me back into a tail spin of โ€˜body imageโ€™ issues.

Yes, we certainly have those as men, itโ€™s not just women that suffer from that. Men just donโ€™t talk about it, but I am about to smash that in the face for you in a minute.

I worked with my therapist for a few years on getting my issues in that realm under control. So going from ripped and shredded as a man can be to having low testosterone levels and being a bit soft since I decided I would take a hiatus from working out until I was able to drive again (about a month) was very tough on me mentally.

Devon and I went away for a night to one of our favorite resorts and we were getting dressed to go to dinner after spending the day at the heated pool and she said to me, โ€˜Iโ€™ve never found you more attractive than you are right now. You can actually go out and have a burger and a beer with me and not worry about it. Thatโ€™s sexy to me.โ€™

That changed me forever or shall I say transformed me.

I began to climb away from body image issues forever. It was also about this time that I started learning and mastering my craft of Mind Mapping. The reason I tell you this is because one of the key take aways for me was clarity for the brain.

And clarity means having your own definitions of what certain things mean to you. Things like health, success, happiness, etc.

It finally dawned on me after all these years that my definition of health did not involve being ripped and having low energy and being moody and obsessing over food. Nope, my definition was and is: to be strong, to have joints that feel great, to have an awesome mindset, to have the stamina I need to perform anything in my daily life.

Check, check, check, check.

I have never felt so liberated in my life.

Enough about my journey though. How does this apply to you?

I want you to take out a piece of paper or at least think about what your definition of health is. Go deep here. If itโ€™s to lose weight, why? You canโ€™t become more of a man by losing a physical part of yourself.

You DO become more of a man by having swagger and strength and if fat loss happens (and it will) as a result of training for strength, stamina and making better habits a part of your life.

As a man, it is your moral imperative to be strong and powerful. If an actual attack happens upon your family, you damn well better be ready to defend them or die trying.

(Future self-defense articles coming too).

Another reason you have to be strong and powerful is because it gives you a certain swag. Your wife and kids will respect you more. Negotiating at work will be easier because you will know in your primal mind that you are more of a beast than the dude sitting across from you.

Actually, a great bit of swag also has to do with your body posture. You can either invite stress hormones in by how you stand and sit or you can invite testosterone production in. Stand tall, shoulders back, chest up, look people in the eyes and donโ€™t break eye contact. Walk like you freaking mean it! Walk with purpose.

Speaking of testosteroneโ€ฆ.

As a man, you want to have high test. levels. Not abnormally high, but upper limit high. Too many men are walking around with man books and pear-shaped bodies. This can be attributed to a lack of sleep, high stress, shit foods and an environment loaded with toxins and estrogens at every turn.

And mostly because of a lack of physical training. We donโ€™t go out and kill and carry stuff anymore, most of us anyway. But we still have the primal urge and need to do this. Thatโ€™s where weights come in.

Start training to become powerful and strong. You donโ€™t have to be the strongest man on the planet but become the strongest you that you can. Physical strength leads to mental strength and mental toughness.

Eat manly foods such as wild caught or organic proteins and good sources of fat such as cage free whole eggs and organic cheese and organic almond butter and grass fed butter. This will help your hormone production.

Okay, enough for this essay. Iโ€™ll pick it back up tomorrow with an off-shoot of some of the stuff we talked about here. Peace.


-Kyle Newell


P.S-If youโ€™d like to get a FREE copy of our Ripped Dadโ€™s Fasting Manual as well as a 10-minute video guide to help you put together your own home workout, go to:www.newellstrength.com/ripped