Why You’re Not an Athlete and How You’ve Been Misled

So human beings move towards pleasure and away from pain. In the past this has been a huge factor in our ability to survive; however, in the modern environment, pleasure comes in the form of canned soda and pierogis. It comes in the form of Lay-Z Boy recliners and moving staircases. Just watch the next time how many people take the escalator over the stairs. It’s insane! Pleasure is making us fat and unhealthy.

Here’s the relieving part – it’s not your fault. At all. And it never has been. Your instincts tell you to preserve energy and stay as rested as possible for the next hunt, because if our ancestors didn’t catch anything, it was life or death.

Carbohydrates used to be far scarcer than they are today. Scientifically, they are the best form of energy for your body and our instincts tell us to eat them because they think might be a while before we find good healthy carbohydrates to keep us moving. The problem is that our modern environment has made it possible to have an abundance of carbohydrates in any meal, at any time of the day. Food company giants have clinically tested and engineered food by modifying the mouth feel of these carbs and processing the salts within them, sometimes more than 12 times, so that when you put it in your mouth, your instincts go absolutely insane. “Betcha can’t eat just one”, sound familiar?

So here’s the problem in a nutshell: we don’t want to exercise and we don’t have to, we want carbohydrates always and now you can even use a smartphone to have them delivered right to your doorstep. Never before has it been more difficult to balance your energy levels and get your butt off the couch!

Just like our school systems with pass or fail, we have the mentality that if we are not good at something, it’s just not our forte. If you’re not “naturally” good at it, it’s okay not to challenge yourself by working to improve it. Have you ever said something like, “I’m just not good at math”?
The truth is, human beings can learn and do almost anything they put their minds to. The reason you’re not good at math, for the most part, is because you believed yourself long ago when you told yourself you’re not good at math. Whatever you spend your time doing, you can master. It took Mozart 9 years to master his compositional brilliance. It took Bill Gates 10 years to build Microsoft; from age 20 to 30 he never took one day off – not even one. If you work hard enough at anything, you can be anything, period.

What I know to be true is that I took an obese diabetic and made him an athlete. He became so functional that while playing a baseball game, he was hit in the chest with the ball and it had left a massive bruise. I’d asked him after how it happened and he told me, “Well to be honest I had never been able to run that fast to the baseball before and by the time I had realized that I not only got to the ball, but got there early, I panicked and the ball hit me in the chest instead of my glove. I actually enjoy having the bruise as a reminder of how athletic I am becoming.” The man had no idea he could move!

Here’s the takeaway. You know that gym-nut friend you have that hates missing workouts? Who tells you all the time how much they love it and how great it is? Then you go and try to exercise and it’s painful, unenjoyable, hard and time- consuming. Not to mention how you can’t stand up from the toilet for about 3 days after. What’s wrong with you? Well, it’s okay, you’re just not an athlete. Right? Absolutely WRONG!

Here’s the thing, we are all wired to enjoy exercise, but only after you have begun moving. No one enjoys dragging themselves to the gym every day, hell I’ve been exercising rigorously for more than 25 years and I still hate it some days. But instinctually we are wired with pleasure sensors and release more serotonin and dopamine once we have begun exercising so that we continue exercising. Think about it, if we were discouraged once exercising to stop, we never would have caught anything on our ancestral hunting sessions. After long bouts of intense exercise, you get that “high” of endorphins rushing through your system. This is actually a survival mechanism to move humans towards pleasure!!!!!

We are all wired to be athletes. You just have to put in the work to change your habits. That is the hardest part. I have helped hundreds of people get into the best shape of their life, and more than 75% of them thought they “weren’t athletes”. Stop lying to yourself, and stop denying your instinctual right to move. Change your habits and you can start moving like my client Kyle. Just beware of baseballs.

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