I first interviewed Johnny Olsen about 3 years ago. He has an incredible story, overcoming cancer in 2014 and going on to compete and win a variety of high level bodybuilding competitions. When Johnny talks health and fitness people should definitely listen. Here is a list of Johnny’s top 7 recommendations to help you achieve your fitness goals. I also chipped in with my take on Johnny’s advice.
1 – Set goals
Setting goals is the first thing that must be done in order to be successful in anything. Your goals should not just be in your head, but written down and reviewed regularly. Make sure you have long-term goals — 3 to 5 years in the future — as well as daily and weekly goals. It is a proven fact that writing down your goals and reviewing them leads to a significantly higher success rate than people who do not write them down. Lorne’s Take – Johnny is bang on. According to inc.com you are 42% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down
2 – Join the right gym
There are so many different gyms you can join these days. There are group exercise gyms (CrossFit, Orange Theory, Spinning, etc.), then there are traditional weightlifting gyms and many chains that are geared towards less serious individuals. Don’t just join the facility that is closest to your home or work, but do research on these places. It’s easy: visit several gyms, and almost all of them will give you a free trial membership. Take advantage of these offers and before joining, use the facility and see how you adapt. While you’re there, speak to some of the people in your class and ask them how things are going for them. This should give you a clear understanding of whether the gym is a good fit and if the people going to these facilities are going to help motivate you. Lorne’s Take – The right environment is critical to achieving success, the right gym can help get you attain your training sweet spot.
3 – Know what you’re eating
This one is common sense. Unfortunately, not many people take the time to do it. Depending on our body structure we all need a certain amount of calories in our diets. Take a moment to read the the nutritional value of the foods you put in your mouth. You will be astonished at some of the amounts of fat, sugar and carbohydrates you’re ingesting on a daily basis. Figure out how much protein, carbohydrates, fats and calories you should be taking in daily, then look at what you are actually eating and compare the two. I can’t stress the simplicity of this and the lack of people who actually do it. This is extremely helpful and you must remember that you can never out-train a bad diet! Lorne’s Take – The old bodybuilding saying definitely applies “abs are made in the kitchen.”
4 – Prepare
Again this is logic and common sense. Failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s very simple, but something many people fall victim to. When we get hungry and haven’t prepared anything for lunch, we look for instant gratification. That usually means fast food, which we all know is extremely unhealthy. Preparation isn’t just for food though, as it is also vital for fitness success. When you wake up in the morning, you should be thinking about what time you’re going to work out, packing the appropriate clothes and knowing ahead of time what your workout is going to be. You don’t want to walk into a gym and say, “well nobody’s using that machine over there, I guess I’ll start on that one”. Preparation is done on a daily basis with your meals, so you should know everything you’re going to eat and have it prepared to cook when you come home. Lorne’s Take – We are creatures of habit and Johnny has developed the right habits.
5 – Reinvest in your body
Think of your body like it’s an automobile. If you own an automobile long enough you’re going to have to replace parts and do repairs. Our body is a fine-tuned machine, and if you do not invest in it you’re going to run into problems, some of them lifelong. Do stretching, massages and chiropractic sessions. These are all things that will help you stay healthy and enable you to continue to grow with your workout goals. I have close to six decades’ worth of fitness knowledge and one thing I can tell you is that I’m still learning every day. Take time to read about fitness, go to YouTube and watch videos and seek out fitness seminars that you can attend. If you are not moving forward and learning new things then you’re not going to grow with your fitness goals and knowledge. Lorne’s Take – Johnny is a perfect example of someone who applies the principles of Kaizen – Constant Never Ending Improvement.
6 – Have discipline and passion
You don’t need to do these things on occasion, you need to do them every day in order to be successful. This is very achievable if you plan ahead and follow through. When you have passion — yes, passion — you will do things better. As such it’s very important to join the right facility for your fitness goals. When you have the right mindset, all of these things I’m discussing become easy. Don’t look at this as difficult — embrace your fitness goals and watch them come to reality. Lorne’s Take – “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
7 – See your progress
This is something that is extremely important. I firmly believe that when you can visually see your results and progress, it will motivate you to continue your exercise routine. I also believe that if you do not see these results, it’ll just a matter of time before you’re going to fail. Let me further elaborate. When you walk into the gym and go on the treadmill, there are five ways to visually track your results: speed, calories, distance, incline and time. If you write all five of these down and do the treadmill the next time you exercise, you should look at what you’ve done and decide to improve on one of these five things. More often than not what will happen is you will do better in several of these categories and you will accomplish progress. When you beat your calories by one, do one more minute or increase your speed by a tenth of a mile per hour, that is progress and when you have the ability to go back into your notes and review what you have done, you can visually see your success and this will keep you motivated to continue your exercise routine.
Simply put, in order to visually see your progress you should be writing everything down that you are doing. You should take notes of how you feel, see whether or not your clothes fit differently, take time to review and appreciate your accomplishments! This in my opinion is integral to the success of your long-term fitness goals.
Remember, you get out of it what you put into it. There’s no free lunch. However, if you set attainable goals, have a plan and follow through, you’ll succeed and you will inspire many throughout your journey. Lorne’s Take – When you visualize your success, results are more likely to follow. You are creating a mental blueprint.