JF: So, what about staying motivated, getting up and walking on an empty stomach, running sprints when you might not have felt like it, training on low carbs…
Do you have any tricks you use to keep you motivated or anything you can share that can help those who lack motivation? Or is that concept foreign to you because it’s never a problem you could imagine having?
SH: I started the transformation in late February, so I was sprinting outdoors (sometimes while it was snowing), and usually at night after work. Sure, I was tired from the long day, and I knew I was missing my favorite Seinfeld re-runs, but I had a job to do. That’s how I thought about it. I don’t like letting people down. I feel sick to my stomach if I think I’ve disappointed someone I care about or I didn’t live up to my responsibilities in some way.
Honestly, Jay, I didn’t want to let you down. I have so much respect for you, and I did the transformation in part to show the world the effectiveness of your methods and to give something back for all the knowledge you’ve imparted to me over the years.
JF: That’s very kind of you to say. I appreciate that. But just so you know, you’ve been letting me down for years. I joke, I joke… Carry on.
SH: I believe that you have to be accountable to other people if doing it for you alone isn’t enough.
JF: I agree 100%.
SH: I employed some strategies to stay sharp. I typed the words “Total Commitment” in big bold letters and printed it out and taped it to the cabinet above my desk at work. I had to look at it all the time, and whenever people walked by my desk and asked me about it, I had to explain what I was doing.
I set my stereo to wake me up in the morning to the Rocky theme song. Maybe that’s cheesy, but damn if it didn’t work. I’m an enormous fan of the Rocky movies and that soundtrack makes me want to fight and weep all at the same time. It gets me so fired up. So hearing it first thing in the morning helped me shake the cobwebs and get right down to business.
JF: Nice. I love it. Just don’t post the video of you and me jumping around and hugging in the ocean after we raced on the beach that day.
SH: We’ll see. As the program wore on, I did start to crack a little bit. I started drinking a Diet Coke in the last four weeks now and then—probably because the low-carb days had gotten so extreme my body was really craving something sweet. It’s funny, but I actually was afraid to drink Diet Coke in the beginning. I wanted everything to be so pure. I think the point I’m trying to make is that if you can do little things here and there that satisfy cravings but don’t do any major damage, go for it. That helps to restore your resolve.
One last thing I’ll say about mindset is that when you’re being really disciplined and hardcore, a certain feeling of elitism has a way of coming over you. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
JF: Definitely. I’ve always said that and am glad you’re bringing it up.
SH: You better believe that when I was on that hill, sprinting in the snow, or jumping rope on an empty stomach for five five-minute rounds (that’s a championship UFC fight!), I thought I was tougher than 90% of the world’s population. That kept me going. Telling myself that if I do this next workout I’d be making a major statement because most other people would have quit by now.
I certainly don’t think that I’m better than anyone else, and what I accomplished wasn’t extraordinary, but I took a lot of comfort in knowing that I was rising to meet challenges that most people shy away from.
It’s empowering. It all goes back to confidence, as I mentioned in the beginning. In all my life, I’ve never found anything that made me feel better about myself than training. And the harder I trained, the better I felt.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’d also like to add that I got very little support from anyone (outside of you and the gang at Renegade, of course). My parents were encouraging, but they didn’t really understand what I was doing or why. Same goes for the people at work. Some people even ribbed me for not going out—living like a monk instead. I think all of that should just add to your motivation rather than dissipate it.
JF: No doubt. So what did you learn during your twelve week transformation?
SH: I learned that diet really is the biggest determining factor in body composition. The diet you gave me was spot on and I could see progress inside of the first week. That alone was very motivating. I learned that you’re never as tired as you want to think you are—you CAN run sprints after work.
I remember what UFC champ Georges St-Pierre’s Muay Thai coach once told me. He said that when GSP was getting tired in a workout and started loafing, he’d tell him things like, “imagine your mom was in here and the air conditioner just fell on her head. Would you be too tired to run over and lift it off her? Of course you wouldn’t. Find that energy now.”
I also learned to keep things in perspective. I mentioned gaining strength from elitism before, but you also have to remind yourself that the challenge of getting in shape is nothing like the challenges that some people have to face. It’s not a UFC fight, it’s not the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded and you’re at bat. It’s not treating cancer. If other people can face those situations and come out better for them, you can get to the gym in the morning.