The Gym Life Manifesto

The Manifesto

The Gym Life is about better.

It is a lifestyle rooted in becoming better. It’s not about being the best, just better than before, better than yesterday. It’s a journey and a practice. No matter where you are, or where you want to be, you are always trying to become a better you.

This is the Gym Life Manifesto

The gym is a tool we use to improve physically as well as a place that signifies our seeking of better. It isn’t the only thing, but it is integral in our lives. It’s not just a means to an end either. It is a practice, like meditation. The work we do in the gym develops our body and mind. It is who we are. We will train until the day we die.

Our seeking of better is rooted in the inner belief that life is to be savored because it is precious and short. We won’t squander this gift that has been granted to us by a higher power (god or nature, whichever you believe).

We have a yearning for more from life. We believe in experiences, relationships, and living an exceptional life. Our body and mind are one and we train them accordingly. The gym, what we eat, and how we live are a reflection of our goals to do more, be more, and see more. These routines enable us to live the best life possible. They grant us enjoyment in the present, time in the future, and a greater quality of life doing both.

We are passionate people. This passion seeps into our lives and is infectious to others. Others ask us how we do it and praise our dedication. We gladly lend a helping hand because we want to share our passion with others and we want the world to be a better, healthier place.

We are seekers of the truth. We enjoy new research that allows us to train, eat, and live better. We are not closed-minded; we can’t be or we would regress. We are always learning and evolving and we love the process, it keeps life exciting.

Open-minded, yet analytical, we will give anything a change and then make an educated decision. We won’t waste time trying to convince others. We offer what has worked for us and nothing more. We leave the debating to the Internet trolls. We are thinkers and doers, not talkers.

We know that our mind is our greatest asset. So we sharpen it to a fine edge. Research, questioning, and listening are the tools we use to increase our knowledge of the world, and more importantly, ourselves.

We try to understand our motivations. We live in a state of regular restraint and understand the importance that the subconscious plays in staying the course. We know that control of our mind is control of our bodies.

Ultimately, we seek happiness.

We believe that the key to achieving happiness is rooted in our mind. Training is a practice that helps us achieve great things and become self-aware. We are the seekers of truth in a way, the truth of our selves. We have found that our Truth is to live in our own reality and shape it so that the world is a guest and not vice versa.

We aim to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. We actively do things to push ourselves mentally and physically out of our comfort zones. That is how we grow and we know it is the only way.

We say fuck comfort. Forget what’s easy. Life is short, so get moving…

The Gym Life Manifesto

Join me…

-Colin Stuckert

Living an exceptional life isn't easy nor is it hard... it just takes the right mindset.

Living an exceptional life isn’t easy nor is it hard… it just takes the right mindset. Download the Manifesto

What you should know about me:

I started The Training Box, an affiliate, 5 years ago. I’ve been training, coaching, eating, cooking, sleeping, and enjoying the ride since then. I’ve learned a lot and still do everyday.

  • I’m a student and teacher; I learn by doing and showing others.
  • I know how to get people fit; how to make a human lose fat, get strong, get big, get small, get lean, and perform better through it all.
  • I know how to cook food that tastes great and is good for you (so can you).
  • I want to share all of this with as many people as possible until it becomes common knowledge and dispels the bullshit that is so prevalent.
  • I’m a practicing Stoic.
  • I grew up as a hopeless romantic (not so sure anymore).
  • I’m wildly ambitious.
  • I believe we can change our lives (and only we can).
  • I believe that our reality is ONLY what our mind says it is.
  • I empathize with others well (I’ve had to develop this skill to keep my sanity).
  • I understand human nature and I think we can overcome it’s shortcomings with enough effort.
  • I think brutal honesty is a gift and should be a goal for everyone.
  • I believe that life is short.
  • I’ve lost many loved ones and if I waste a second of this gift called life I am dishonoring their memory.
  • I aspire to be a family man (eventually).
  • I want to be very very successful, but not for the reasons that most do.
  • I dream to write books so they can be read by people all over the world and hopefully help them better themselves.
  • I barely made it out of high school because I didn’t pay attention.  I was lucky to develop a passion for reading fiction in high school.
  • I respond to email within 24 hours 99% of the time (unless you are selling something).
  • I’m single and I don’t know if I like it that way or not.
  • If you think it, you can become it.
  • I believe you create your luck, bad or good.
  • Relationships and experiences are all that matter at the end of your life.
  • I can’t stand how most people look for reasons to say ‘I can’t.’ I look for reasons to say “ok lets go.”
  • The majority of people go through life avoiding pain and seeking pleasure and never truly understand themselves.To me, this is blind, this is what robots do: Don’t be an automaton created by the system.
  • I want to help my friends live awesome lives, but it’s difficult to not offend when challenging another’s way of life.

Get to living

Death can come any moment and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. Think about that the next time you hesitate on something. Consider it as you watch another opportunity pass you by. Remember it the next time your stubbornness keeps you from sharing your feelings with someone you love. Remind yourself that the next time you hold back from saying sorry.

We are only specks of dust in the grand design of the universe and time. Why not make the most of it? Ultimately, no one is going to care either way. You might as well enjoy the ride. At the end of your life, no one will remember your failures, your mistakes, or your shortcomings. They will remember the art you made and the lives you touched. On the flip side, you will remember your failures, mistakes, and shortcomings if you give them the power. You will have regrets if you give them power. You will live a life for others if you give others power

I implore you: live for yourself.

Don’t give anyone or anything power over you. At the end, you will realize how stupid you were to not act, or to care what others thought. Don’t wait till you are old and gray to take chances. Don’t wait until you are dying to be ready. Don’t wait until the end to look back regretfully. ‘

As Epictetus said, “If you want to improve be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

Start living every day as if it were your last. Put more emphasis into your relationships and experiences. Help others as often as you can. Be weary of chasing money, fame, power, or tangibles. Fuck comfort. Comfort is a killer. Start making yourself uncomfortable. Get in there and give them hell. Make a difference.

My writing manifesto

I write so you can take action and better yourself. I spend a lot of time, and write a lot of words, in hopes that your mindset will be affected. And maybe, hopefully, you will understand on a level deep enough to elicit a physical response in you, one that moves you towards doing. I’m hoping to plant a seed in your subconscious that will start you making wiser decisions. Eventually, as this seed grows into a nagging weed, you will become more conscious and make better decisions as a result. The ultimate goal is for your every decision to be informed, and for you to attain absolute control of your life, your results, and your happiness. That’s what I hope for.

As you make more and more changes to your behavior, your results will start to creep in. That’s what I want for you—Results. I want you to create inner changes that lead to a better, healthier life.

As you start seeing changes in your behavior, this mindset shift might creep up on you. Sneaky I know, but that’s ok because my goal is noble. I will be able to sleep at night knowing I used a little subterfuge to manipulate you into doing something good for yourself.

The greatest result I could ever hope for is to help others create inner changes that lead to better, healthier lives.

Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that you learn something to make yourself better. I want to hear: “I’m doing.” That is my reward. To me, a writer is a vessel to transport ideas into the minds of others. I’m not a prophet or a preacher. My ideas are drawn from my life, my experiences, and what I have learned. I want you to read these words, absorb something actionable, and then act. Then, hopefully, these ideas will grow like a weed in your subconscious into a garden of conscious right actions.

Maybe this sounds audacious and a bit delusional; well, I think that’s exactly what it’s going to take. I might as well try to change the world and be happy changing a few lives along the way. The effort is the same and message will be the same.

I believe mindset is everything. To change the world, you must first believe that you can. The same goes with your life. To change your life, you must believe that you can beyond any doubt. You must destroy any negative self-talk or limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Many of you are sick, lost, and dying a slow death. Some of you are already working hard, some of you don’t care, and some of you are “going to start next week.” Either way, many of you need simple-to-implement advice that can get you headed in the right direction. I’m here to help you with that.

Healthy people don’t buy drugs, see doctors, eat processed food, or consume ‘miracle’ supplements. I aim to help dispel the BS that surrounds these topics. When it comes to your health and fitness: Knowledge really is power and ignorance really is killing you.

And then we have the fitness industry….

There is so much crap in my profession. I’m sick of seeing the bias studies—if you can even call them that—that conveniently reach the goal they funded the study to reach; pure bias crap. Aren’t we all sick of the blogs that write vanilla articles about the same shit that has been published a thousand times? What about those list posts that include the same “tips” that have been published by every wanna-be blogger in the world?

I’m sick of those BS ‘The Best Foods For’ pieces. Those are the worst.

ATTENTION: There isn’t any magic fruit or vegetable that’s going to save your life. You want to know what the best food is? Organ meats. When did you see an article encouraging you to eat more liver? Really, give me a break. BTW, you’re welcome—I just saved you from having to read the next 100 articles about why green veggies are good for you because they contain some vitamins and minerals and vitamins and minerals are good for you because they are good.

Think about it: The amount of nutrition in a grass-fed steak or salmon fillet completely demolishes an equal amount of any green veggie. You would have to eat POUNDS of spinach to equal a few bites of healthy animal meat. POUNDS. You know what a pound of greens looks like? Yea, it’s the veggie section, the entire section. Don’t waste your time on mainstream nutrition, health, and fitness writing. Most of it is pure crap.

Disclaimer=I still recommend fruits and vegetables because they are a great way to replace junk food and they do provide nutritional value when consumed in colorful in-season variety.  I’m not discrediting veggies or fruit, I’m just calling-out the ‘emphasis’ on them and how people think they are the ‘best’ thing you can eat.  The best thing you can eat is healthy animals. Period.

I’m also sick of the countless articles on lifting weights that promises the next breakthrough that is going to get you “jacked.”

Try this: get in the gym and do reps until you can’t do anymore.

Do you really think Arnold and the huge dudes in the 70s followed some fad program? They just squatted, deadlifted, and put heavy shit overhead as often as they physically could. It’s easy: move heavy weight up repeatedly, train hard, and rest between efforts. Listen to your body. That’s it. It isn’t rocket science.

It’s so easy to understand: Pick up heavy stuff repeatedly, train hard, and rest between efforts. Then listen to your body. That’s it. It’s not rocket science.

And conditioning?

Conditioning is another easy-to-understand formula that most people make complicated: 

Mix it up. Do different things. Strongman, swimming, biking, running, sprinting, intervals, tabata. Short and intense most of the time, medium distance sometimes, and long distance every so often. Walk a lot. Listen to your body.

That’s it. I just gave you the formula that could cripple a billion dollar information industry. No more books, magazines, or articles, just people following a 1-page template that works. This is exactly what the 99% should be doing. And make no mistake, I say this all as an optimist. I’m fighting what I call the good fight by arming you with knowledge so you can have a fighting chance against all the BS out there.

When the playing field is level, you can choose to be a lazy fat-ass if you want and that is your right. I will rest easy knowing I did all I could. Unfortunately, the field isn’t level and it screws a lot of good people up.

This is my mission. To make fitness, food, and living a healthy life easy to understand.

Here is the basic formula for reaching your goals:

• Eat real food
• Eat less frequently (skip meals, eat fewer meals throughout the day)
• Train hard a few times a week (lift weights + condition)
• Walk and move a lot
• Sleep 8 hours
• Reduce stress anyway possible
• Believe in something and have a purpose
• Have relationships

Within each of these categories there are many paths to take and many modalities to train. You should get as good as you can in each one. Start today. Use YouTube, AGymLife.com, coaches at your box, or your friendly local to help you in each category. Ask for advice, practice, and get better on a daily basis. It won’t happen overnight; it’s a journey. The only thing that matters is that you start and never stop.

Fitness is an education, like a martial art, and you must progress through the ranks in knowledge and technique. We all start as white belts and eventually we can become black belts with enough effort. When you are armed with the right information, and you implement hard, you can get there. But the more BS you are fed, the longer it is going to take. The more diets you try or programs you hop, the longer it is going to take.

For me, it has been a long, hard road. My white belt to black belt journey has been raging on for the last 11 years since I first stepped foot into a Gold’s gym. If I knew what I now know, I’d probably be doing something completely different with my life. My struggle on this journey has led me to develop a passion (more like an obsession) for food and fitness. Life is funny like that. And I want to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained over the years to you.

Your time is now. Get healthy. Get moving. No excuses

Get healthy. No excuses.

-Colin Stuckert

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15 thoughts on “The Gym Life Manifesto

  1. Colin,

    I appreciate the fact that you not only took the time to write this, but that you did write this. In this article are all things that I have been thinking about over the past few months. A little background, I just graduated college. I’m in decent shape (not good nor great) but functionally speaking decent, but thinking about the struggle Im attempting to make myself into something more, live a healthy and beneficial (to me and hopefully the people I care about) life. I have 4 weeks in the gym all spent jumping around with different programs. I know it might be counter intuitive (at least I’m there though), but I’m attempting to weed through the bullshit that you wrote about above, and i believe I’m making progress. If you have any tips (gems of knowledge) that you could further that those that you have already disclosed in the article above for a beginner that is hoping to embark on the beneficial though difficult journey ahead please do extend them to me. Again I appreciate you writing here most of which mirrors the ideas that have been swimming in my head in the last months as I begin thinking about my future.

    Thanks, Dave

    • David,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Here are my recommendations:

      1. Stick to a program. Starting strength, 5/3/1, or join a box and follow their program. There are many of tested programs that make the process that much easier. This will help with avoiding the bullshit as well because you are avoiding the nonsense crap that comes with all the gimmicky programs and books and crap out there

      2. Go to MarksDailyApple.com and read through his articles, some of the success stories and consider buying his 21-day primal blueprint book. I refer to Mark on everything health and food related and if you adopt the majority of his principles you will be immediately 90% (maybe 99%) of the way there.

      Hope that helps and no matter what you do: keep it up!

      -Colin

  2. Hi Colin!

    What an excellent post you got here. Thank you for your time of writing this superb article. I totally agree with you that we really need to start living every day as if it were our last. We should put more emphasis into our relationships as well as experiences. We should also help others as often as you can.

  3. George,

    What a timely comment, lol! I told a friend today that I was grateful for her friendship and that I believe our relationships are all that matter at the end of our lives and I wanna always make a point to have as much of them in m y life as possible.

    Weird how life works that way…I wrote that to her maybe an hour ago and then I see this comment…

  4. Jason,

    I love to hear it. The most powerful times in our lives are usually rooted in the worst times in our lives.

    Sometimes we have to be pushed to that point, to the point where we do say, “That ends today.”

    Make sure to email or comment anytime you have a question and let me know how your progress goes!

  5. Otilia,

    Thank you so much for the kind words..and congrats on your new fitness journey!

    Grab my recipe “Abs Archive” to help in the kitchen! http://agymlife.com/abs-recipes/

    Let me know if you ever need any help
    -Colin

  6. WOW – I was googling what the WOD was for today at my box in Miami, FLA. I happen to see a picture of a cute guy, I click on it and start reading. I admire your wisdom, courage and strength to put your heart out there for us to see (read). You really put things in perspective. I have copied and paste(d) your words and I will be printing it for me to read it as an inspiration the next time I feel lazy!
    Thank you for these great words – you are going to make a GREAT CATCH one day, mister! (if you haven’t already). I really really like the way you think….AND by the way…. I’M DOING IT!!!!!!!!!!

    • Wendy,

      It’s great to hear that I have the opportunity to help you… that’s what keeps me going! And thanks for the compliments… it means a lot =D

  7. Colin,

    Great article and well written. You have an inspiring way of delivering ‘straight-talk’. There is just one point I would differ with you on. That there is more nutrition in meat than vegetables. There are certainly more calories in meat than vegetables, and that is why (as you point out), you would have to eat a lot of vegetables to get the same calories (and nutrients) as a small amount of meat. However, study after study has show that the path to a disease free life lies through the consumption of primarily green vegetables over meat. This is where Palio goes wrong I believe.

    BTW: I am not a vegetarian. I love meat as much as the next guy. But science is science and loving meat does not make it more healthy. Read ‘Eat to Live’ by Fuhrman – or ‘The China Study’. Since I know you are open-minded and intelligent – I believe you will be convinced. As a result, I think your food pyramid has an error. Fresh vegetables should be at the base, with meat after that.

    • Mark,

      Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your opinion. My comments:

      1. Most studies you refer to that linked any corrleation to greens over meat were not through in the least. In fact, most studies done now-a-days are usually funded to come to a forgone conclusion. The “study” is just a sham to be used for marketing purposes.

      2. The China Study has been dismantled by many in the Paleo community. Check out this post: http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

      3. As far as the food pyramid goes, I don’t necessarily disagree with you on that. I would put veggies right up there with meats in order or importance. The thing is, calorei for calorie, as humans we simply can’t live off of only calories form green veggies. There isn’t enough nutrition and energy (kcal) per gram to sustain the average weight human being.

      Take this except from an awesome book I’m reading by Michale Polan “Cooked”:

      A few years ago, a Harvard anthropologist and primatologist named Richard Wrangham published a fascinating book called Catching Fire, in which he argued that it was the discovery of cooking by our early ancestors— and not tool making or meat eating or language— that set us apart from the apes and made us human. According to the “cooking hypothesis,” the advent of cooked food altered the course of human evolution. By providing our forebears with a more energy-dense and easy-to-digest diet, it allowed our brains to grow bigger (brains being notorious energy guzzlers) and our guts to shrink. It seems that raw food takes much more time and energy to chew and digest, which is why other primates our size carry around substantially larger digestive tracts and spend many more of their waking hours chewing— as much as six hours a day.

      Cooking, in effect, took part of the work of chewing and digestion and performed it for us outside of the body, using outside sources of energy. Also, since cooking detoxifies many potential sources of food, the new technology cracked open a treasure trove of calories unavailable to other animals. Freed from the necessity of spending our days gathering large quantities of raw food and then chewing (and chewing) it, humans could now devote their time, and their metabolic resources, to other purposes, like creating a culture.

      Cooking gave us not just the meal but also the occasion: the practice of eating together at an appointed time and place. This was something new under the sun, for the forager of raw food would have likely fed himself on the go and alone, like all the other animals. (Or, come to think of it, like the industrial eaters we’ve more recently become, grazing at gas stations and eating by ourselves whenever and wherever.) But sitting down to common meals , making eye contact, sharing food, and exercising self-restraint all served to civilize us. “Around that fire,” Wrangham writes, “we became tamer.” Cooking thus transformed us, and not only by making us more sociable and civil. Once cooking allowed us to expand our cognitive capacity at the expense of our digestive capacity, there was no going back: Our big brains and tiny guts now depended on a diet of cooked food. (Raw-foodists take note.) What this means is that cooking is now obligatory— it is, as it were, baked into our biology.

      Pollan, Michael (2013-04-23). Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Kindle Locations 117-133). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

      This is a great book, btw.

  8. great workout,? i just want to know that for soonmee who is 185 pounds, shud the person do this workout or focus more on jogging and cardio.if yes can you please let me know of a cardio workout that will have an after burn effect and allie short but intense cheers.