3 Motivational Exercise Strategies

Motivation to exercise has to be one of the biggest challenges when trying to get in shape. Without it, you’re doomed before you start. But with so many distractions in this hectic world, how do you find the time, the reason, the purpose, or the motivation?

So many things can take you off track and I hear the reasons why every day. Work, kids, spouse, friends, money, time, or you just plain don’t like to work out.

I understand that not everyone enjoys working out as much as I do. I’ve been doing it so long, that it’s a part of me. I really can’t comprehend a life without lifting heavy weights and pushing my body in the gym. It’s a part of my being like breathing is.

So if you’re not there yet, here are some tips to get you started in that direction. You may not enjoy it, but you and I both know, You Need It.

Tip #1. Open Your Mind

You have to actually want to work out. Open your mind to all the benefits it’ll bring you and not close your mind to all the hassle it is to do it. If your excuse is time, I’ll tell you that you make time for your priorities. If your excuse is kids or spouse, I’ll tell you need to work out to be with them longer and enjoy a more fulfilled life. If your excuse is money, I’ll tell you to workout at home with little to no equipment. If your excuse is friends, I’ll tell you find some friends that enjoy going to the gym.

Your whole mindset will shift when you stop telling yourself “I can’t find the motivation exercise” and you start asking yourself “How can I find the motivation to exercise?”.

By simply asking yourself a different question, your thought pattern shifts and a whole new world opens up.

Tip #2. Set a hard and Fast Deadline

Humans perform amazing tasks when under a deadline. If it’s Monday, and you had a report due by Friday, chances are, you wouldn’t get started until Thursday or Wednesday if you’re really a go-getter. However, if your boss came to you on Tuesday and said we need that report tomorrow, you’d do whatever it took to get it done.

There’s a law called Parkinson’s Law that says “A job will expand to fit the time allotted for it.” So if you want to achieve a large goal, set a short deadline. Your mind will shift into “Emergency Mode” and find a way to get it done in that time.

So usually ask my clients to find an event they can aim to be ready for such as a wedding, reunion, holiday, or special occasion. With this deadline in mind, they have “blood in the game” and they find another gear. If you have the money, I’d suggest booking a tropical vacation to a place you’ve never been or to your favorite getaway. This’ll be a nice treat at the end of your journey and give you something to look forward too.

Otherwise, make up a deadline. I’m competing in a fitness modeling show in a few weeks. I’m using that as an excuse to get into the best shape of my life. Find a destination that will motivate you and drive to it.

Tip #3. Stop Making Excuses

My friends know that I’m a black or white kinda guy. Either it is, or it isn’t - in most cases. So I have a quote that says, “Either you’re getting it done, or you’re making excuses.” My clients know that when they fail to do something, I don’t wanna hear it. They text me or email, “No excuses Mitch.” and they get it done the next time.

I have a firm belief that people who continually make excuses never achieve much in life. So if you want to move to that next level in your physique, you need to take Full responsibility for your success. It’s in NO ONE’S hands but your own.

Here’s a little trick to stop making excuses. Every time you feel an excuse coming on or you speak one, slide your finger across your throat to signify that you’re cutting yourself short. I don’t care what you have going on in your life - There Is Always A Way To Get It Done. That’s a mindset you have to get to if you want to succeed in anything.

So those are three tips to find and keep the motivation to exercise. Ultimately you want to form the habit of working out, which will come with time. For more tips on workout motivation, check out the post that’s highlighted.

Hope your mind is beginning to shift.

Stay Ripped,


4 Tips To Motivate You To Exercise

Article #1

I wanted to do a quick post today on workout motivation tips that’ll keep you pumping hard in the gym. Some of these may be a bit out of the box, but that’s the kinda guy I am.

I’ll include a surprise at the end, so make sure you read all the way through.

Tip #1. Choose the right partner

It’s known that you are the sum average of the 5 people you are closest to. Their income, their attitude, their age, and their physical condition. If you stop and think about it, it’s true because we naturally gravitate toward people like ourselves.

With that in mind, if you want to be in the best shape of your life, why drag your friend to the gym that has a gut that sticks out below his t-shirt? My advice is always to find someone that’s a bit further than you, or where you want to be, and they are ALREADY going to the gym. That way, you know they’ll be there whether you are or not, so you’ll feel obligated to show up.

I’ve had plenty of workout partners like that. They would party all night Friday, but because they knew I would be in the gym on Saturday and texting them where they were at, they managed to get their hung over butts in the gym. Do you think they would have without me being there?

Tip #2. Choose the Right Song

If you’re a music person like I am (I always have a song going. Right now, it’s Chris Botti because I like to listen to jazz as I write), then the right song will put you in the right mood to crush it in the gym. I generally go for rap, but techno, house, and metal are good choices. Sample a bunch of music and find what gets you amped.

I’d suggest finding your own music device (I use my phone) because your taste may differ from what they play in the gym, which is usually a mix because they have to appeal to everyone in there.

Get that right playlist blasting in your ear and zone out.

Tip #3. Choose the right Trainer

This is an amplified version of #1. The drawback of a workout partner is that they May Not Know What THEY’RE Doing. The advantage to getting a trainer is that they at least have some knowledge of how the body works and how to get you to your goals. They cost some money, but you can’t put a price on the body of your dreams.

If you’re interested in virtual training, check out my page. Watch the message, send me an email, and we can go from there.

Tip #4. Choose the right Reason

This is a huge one. This really should be number one, but I wanted to save the best for last. The right reason to do something will make the difference in success or failure. The underdog that’s protecting his home usually has the advantage over the conquerer that’s there just to expand his power (you’ve seen 300 and the damage those guys did to the Persians!).

They had the right reason. If I told you to swim the English Channel for $10,000, you might not do it, but if I told you to swim because I would kill your entire that if you didn’t. Chances are that you’d either swim the whole thing or die trying.

I know that’s a bit extreme, but you have to find the right reason, the right value that resonates with you on why you want to workout. Whether that’s for a woman, a man, family, contest money, competitiveness, or whatever, use it to leverage you to success.

Another way to do this is to stack your motivators. If you’re competitive, and you value friendship for example, challenge your friends to a ‘get fit contest’ and put something meaningful on the line. Set a hard goal such as 5% body fat loss in 5 weeks or 10 lbs of muscle in 12 weeks and go for it!

Your next step is to take action. Put these workout motivation tips in place and let’s get ripped.

4 Steps To Ripped Abs

You’ll find that my approach to ab workouts are bit different. I don’t generally subscribe to the marathon sessions of crunches and sit-ups that you find in a lot of magazines or have been doing for years.

Nor do I believe that ab workouts alone will get you a chiseled core of legends. There’s more to it than that, but it’s not very complicated.

In this article, you’ll find my unique way of working the ab muscles that really bring out abs that pop. I’m about to show you all my best stuff for blasting the abs and really getting them to develop.

Ok, the first thing you need to understand is the function of the abdominal muscles. Their main purpose are for trunk stability. You literally use them in just about every move you make in your body. They are the foundation upon which everything else is built from.

Your Rectus Abdominis (see pic below) or your “front abs” as I like to call them, are responsible for pulling your hips up or pulling your chest down to your lap. Your obliques twist your torso and bend it. Finally, your transverse abdominis acts as a lap band and holds your organs in place. This is the muscle that flexes when you laugh.

There are a few key components you need to focus on when training your abs.

1. Focus on exercises that allow you to flex your trunk

2. Focus on exercises that allow enough resistance

3. Short rest periods

4. Train through a full range of motion

I also like to train my abs in a specific order which I’ll tell you about in just a sec.

If you’re doing 50 crunches in a row, it’s time to move on to something harder. That exercise isn’t doing much for you anymore. It’s a great beginner exercise, but it won’t get you great abs.

Here are three ab workouts you can do to get you started. Perform each exercise for 12-15 reps, wait 15 seconds, then do the next exercise. Perform the circuit twice.


1. Decline bench hip raise

2. Weighted side bends

3. V Ups

4. Medicine ball twists


1. Seated knee raise

2. Incline side bends (no weight)

3. Cable crunch

4. Medicine ball twists


1. Hanging knee raise

2. Incline side bends (with weight)

3. Decline crunch or myotactic crunch

4. Oblique twists on a pulley tower

5. Pike roll out

So, you should have all the ab workouts you need to keep you busy for a while. Once you’re able to perform each of those exercises 15 full reps, move on to the next level up. By the time you reach the advanced section, you should have a very chiseled core (if your body fat is low enough).

This site has videos of the best ab workouts.

Until next time,

Stay Ripped


Proper water intake for weight lifting - you getting enough?

The more research I do, the more I find that most people already know how to build the body they want. It's common knowledge. True, there are a few "hidden" tips and tricks of the trade, but not many.

On thing that's common knowledge is that you should drink plenty of water everyday. Now before you tune out on this one, hear me out.

Your muscles are 80% water. When you workout, you sweat, use a lot of energy, etc. So you lose some of that water. That inflation you see in your muscles is from blood rushing to the region. But once that goes away, your poor muscles are in a dire state. They need nutrition and water! Part of the size of in your muscles has to do with how much water they contain. You need proper water intake while weight lifting as you are losing a lot of minerals and stored energy.

Your whole body is mostly water, about 60%. Water is the main ingredient for the lubricant in your joints, and the lubricant in your muscle fibers that allow them to slide back and forth across each other. People cramp up and pull muscles when they don't get enough water. And without the right amount of water in your muscles, they won't work as efficiently as possible. And weight lifting is all about efficiency of motion.

So now you know why you should drink water, how much should you drink? The average non-lifter loses about 2 liters of water a day through urine, breathing, etc. so they should consume about 64 oz. or about 2 liters of water a day, just to keep going right.

But us lifters need a bit more than that. I generally try to shoot for 80 - 100 oz. or about 2.5-3 liters on workout days. Sometimes a little or less. If I'm doing cardio, I may shoot it up to 100-120 oz to compensate for heavy sweating.

A good indicator to see if you're getting enough water is the color of your urine. It should be clear to pale yellow, if you're healthy and getting enough water.

There are all kinds of ways to get this much fluid. Food contains water. Sports drinks contain water, etc. I like to use those small bought water bottles like Dasani and Aquafini, which are about .5 liters, so it's easy to measure. Just refill it at a water fountain and throw it away at the end of the day. Or you can a Nalgene bottle from your local Sports Authority which is about 120 mL, but just make sure you wash it out at the end of the day.

Well now you see the importance of water. Proper water intake is common knowledge, but no one does it, so it's one of those "hidden" secrets that the "pros" use, or anyone serious about building the right body. Until next time, Happy Lifting!


Foolproof Formula for weight training - c.i.s.s.

In the gym I hear all kinds of chatter about the "new" workouts or "this revolutionary, breakthrough workouts and techniques" that's supposed to "get you ripped faster than anything", and I just laugh under my breath. Most of them have no idea how their muscles work or what they're doing. Especially when it comes to abs, but I won't go there in this blog.

I laugh because I've tried most of them and have found them to be frivolous wastes of time. Sure they might burn, but everything that burns isn't good for you. I could put a torch to you. That burns, but is it good for you?

Another problem with most of these " workout routines" is they sound good at first, and I must admit, they can be tempting, but they have not consistency to them, or no long term plan. Weight training is a journey. You have to have your destination on the dashboard and a good road map, and/or a good co-pilot (this blog) to help you along that journey. Most of these routines are nothing more than attractive side destinations that lead to detours to veer you off course. Stay focused!

I laugh at these guys because they don't have focus. I know they'll do the workout a time or two and quit it. Then they'll try something else, and so on and so on. I was like that once, until I came up with a little acronym guideline to keep me on my path to the body I want.

The acronym is C.I.S.S Nutrition. The "N" wouldn't make a nice word, so I left it hanging. You may be familiar with K.I.S.S. which is Keep It Simple Stupid, which is actually a philosophy of mine and where my acronym stems from. But C.I.S.S. Nutrition stands for Consistency, Intensity, Simplicity, Safety, and Nutrition. Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm big on quotes and formulas. This acronym stands for a formula.

Results = Consistency + Intensity + Simplicity + Safety + Nutrition

If you're not getting the results you want, odds are, you are missing something from this equation.

Consistency seems to appear in all of the life formulas I have because it's the outer shell of anything successful. It keeps everything together, like your skin. Without it, everything just falls apart. I spoke earlier about consistency. I went to the gym 5 days a week (wouldn't recommend it right now) one summer and by the end, some of the gym regulars had noticed a huge difference in me. They asked my secret and I simply said "consistency", which they totally couldn't believe, but ok.

Intensity comes next on the life. These first two apply to most things in life when trying to achieve a goal. You have to have an intense determination about it, or it won't come to pass. Your body directly responds to intensity, which is why your muscles grow. Low intensity workouts are good for beginners to get your muscles used to weight training, but not for muscle growth.

Simplicity. This comes from K.I.S.S. and I thought it was appropriate because I keep a very simple approach to weight training. I don't go on the hype workout tangents or take loads of supplements. I do basic workouts coupled with this formula to get results. I know my goal and the image I'm looking to obtain. I'm not trying to be next Arnold, and I'm sure you aren't either, so I don't need all of that or complicated workouts.

Safety is next on the list because I see so many victims of this in the gym. People not putting clamps on the weights, not using a spotter (me sometimes), or just plain doing an exercise wrong in a manner that will get them hurt. This ties in to technique, which is all important with weight training. Without the proper technique, you are just wasting your time.

Lastly, Nutrition. I'll be completely transparent and say that I need to get better nutrition aka more calories to see faster muscle growth. But this is what I was talking about on your 90 days goals. Testing, tracking, and tweaking. Check out my blog on pre-workout and post-workout nutrition to learn more on weight training nutrition. But to summarize, your muscles need the right stuff to get the maximum benefits, just like a car needs the right oil to run properly.

I know this was a bit of a long one, but it's vital you get this down. Write it down, memorize it, take it to the gym with you. This simple formula has allowed me to build and build, and to see where I'm going wrong if I am. Until next time C.I.S.S. and Happy Lifting!


Do you know where you're going? Workout Goals

Now we're starting to get to the nitty gritty about working out here. My goal is to get you off to the right start so your foundation is sound so you have something to build on. That being said, one of the most common mistakes I see beginners make, is they get into gym with no solid plan of action and no workout goals.

What would hockey be without a goal? Or basketball without the goal? Or soccer without the goal? You get the picture. It's a meaningless activity without a goal.

If you don't have a goal in mind, what are you there for? "To get bigger" isn't a goal and it's very ambiguous. That could mean gaining 1 lb, or 5o lbs. Contrary to popular belief, weight training, like all major under takings, requires planning. I always say "Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results."

First, decide to workout consistently for at least 90 days. I say 90 days because it's good for you to work in quarters, and 90 days is also the ideal time frame for you to see a significant difference. I know it can seem like a long time, but it only takes 21 days to create a habit, and only a 2 or 3 days to create a habit if you are serious about it.

Next, decide what you want to accomplish in that 90 days. What goals do you have in mind for each major muscle group? I like to use S.M.A.R.T. goals as a guideline for all my life's goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. The definitions vary from source to source, but that works for me.

So an example of a SMART goal would be one of my goals. I want to bench 250 lbs. by the end of my 90 days. It's specific because I didn't just say I want to bench "more" weight. It's measurable because it's an actual number. Again, not just "more" weight. It's achievable, because my max right now (1/16/09) is 230 lbs. So it's also realistic for me to increase my bench press by 20 lbs in 90 days. And it's timely because I put a time frame on.

So you get the picture. Do that for each body part. Next, you have to work out a plan of how to get there, and that's where this blog comes in :-) Next week, I'm going to lay out a workout plan for beginners.

Once you get that 90 day goal, break it down to monthly and weekly goals you want to obtain. It's necessary that you keep weekly progress toward your 90 day goal, or you won't know what you're doing. You have to take this thing in steps. I can't just workout blindly for 90 days and then go into the gym on day 90 and expect to bench 250 lbs. I have to keep track of what I'm doing. What's working and what's not, so I can adjust it to stay on target.

So you have a few mins of work cut out for you on this one. But I know only the serious people will do this, because it requires just that little bit of extra effort that separates the men from the boys. Until next time, Happy Lifting!


Machine vs. Barbell - Where do I start?

I get many questions about which to do when you first start out...machines, or barbells. I know your first inclination is to hop on the bench and start pushing it out, but hold your horses there partner!

The mistake I see most weight training beginners doing when they first get in the gym is they'll pick up a Muscle & Fitness magazine, read a few workouts, then hop in the gym and try it out. Just footloose and fancy free. Let me get one thing straight...Those workouts aren't for beginners. Sorry to burst your bubble.

So to end all arguments and fuss, I say begin on the machines. Here's why.

1. The machine instructions are easy to follow (generally).
They get your muscles used to lifting weight. If you're beginning, that's all you want to do at first. Don't try to start building yet, or you may seriously injure yourself. Ask a gym attendant if you're confused, or wath one of my videos :-)

2. The machines have a guided range of motion.
The danger in hopping on the bench from just watching what others do, is that everyone has a different form and I can tell you from experience in the gym, 95% of them do it wrong! Machines guide your range of motion so there's little chance of messing it up or injuring yourself. You don't wanna get a flat tire 1 mile into your trip do you?

3. The machines are easily adjustable.
If you get on there and let your ego get the best of you and you put more weight than you can handle, you may not be able to lift it. It's easy to slide the pin out discreetly, without letting too many people see you do it, lol, and adjust to a lower weight. But this is an added benefit because it saves on time and it's really dummy proof.

I started on the machines and I'm glad I did so. Although I use mainly barbells now (I've been lifting for over 10 yrs) I recommend machines to anyone I assist that's new. Once you've mastered the techinque (I'll cover that in a later blog) you can move up to barbells. I'll go into further detail on why barbells are for intermediate to advanced lifters later also.

My gym is small and doesn't have many machines, but I'll be showing you how to use the ones it does have. Because believe it or not, you can do machines wrong too! Until next time, Happy Lifting!