“Surround yourself with what you want to become”

That’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot and I kinda like it to be honest.

“You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.

That seems pretty accurate as well and what I’ve noticed is, although it usually gets used in relation to how much money you earn, the same applies to the the strength you earn, the endurance you earn and pretty much any other skill or asset you can earn when you bust your balls in the gym.

Or don’t bust your balls in the gym as the case may be.

I started getting an understanding of this concept when I was about 12.

The attitude, belief and performance of my local football (soccer) team would go up and down as a unit.

Few of us understood the power of one man taking charge and dragging everyone else up with him.

Instead, if a cloud descended on the team because of an injury to a star player or a key mistake in the first half, the whole team would sink.

As you get older and ‘shit gets real’, maintaining a team ethos, work rate and commitment and getting the most out of individuals becomes even more complex task!

Certain people get more aggressive, certain people get more emotional and 99% of the time, the pervading mood in the dressing mood will still rub off on everyone else, unless they are that rare leader, capable of pulling up the rest of the team.

The fact is that, most people are simply sponges. Worse than this, most of these people don’t even know it and think they are in charge of their lives (unlike those other people).

I get an even stronger impression of the power of this every time a new client of mine says “I work hard in the gym but I’m just not getting the results I want”.

You can usually translate this more accurately as “I work AS hard or even a little harder than the people around me in the gym”.

The illusion of relativity again tells us that we’re making more progress than we really are.

It is very easy to think that just because we are doing a little more than those around us, we are destined for great things.

Unfortunately, your body understands one concept and one concept only.

Are you doing enough of the right work, for the right amount of time, at the right intensity?

If the answer is consistently YES!, you will see results.

If not, you won’t – regardless of whether you are lifting 2.5kg more than the guy next to you.

We’ve made physical development more complicated than it needs to be as more and more people try to create something unique to sell.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty impossible to sell hard work.

“Come buy my program, which will require some serious graft, some aches and pains, sacrificing some social nights and generally no longer being a half-arsed wet rag in the gym or in life in general. You are going to have to become selfish in your pursuit of a great body and learn to switch off from a lot of the people you spend your time around right now

Why less time with the people around you?

It’s simple really. Spend enough time with someone or a some group of people and they become your internal GPS for which direction to go in.

How much money should I earn?

How should I look?

What should I wear?

Where should I hang out?

There is a deep driving force that tells us to ‘fit in’ – to ‘belong’ and it is very hard to override over and over and over again.

Eventually you either succumb to it, or you start feeling so uncomfortable you have to move on.

So it’s time to start looking at what and who influences your life, not just your training, if you REALLY want to start getting stronger, leaner and more muscular.

You need to look at three areas of influence in your life if you want to start forging a new body.

1) People

Which people influence your training quality and intensity?

Do you go to the gym with someone who gets bored after 30 minutes and suggests you do one more set and get a drink or do you train with someone who constantly gets you to do 2-3 more reps?

Who do you listen to all day? Is it the fat guy at work who is desperately trying to convince you that real men just drink away their life and play computer games or the classic ‘stop training so hard when you’re happy with yourself’


2) Inputs

What do you read?

Do you fill your brain with negative stuff on the news which very,very rarely has any bearing on your own life but has the power to drag you down?

Do you spend loads of your day on Facebook being controlled by other people’s moods and filling valuable brain space with pointless crap from people you don’t even really know?

What music do you put in to stimulate your desire to get in and train like a beast?

Who designs your training program or do you do it yourself? Remember you will always write out a ‘realistic’ program, one that doesn’t push you to be in any better!

What fuel do you put in that machine?

What training inspiration do you watch and read?

3) Environment

Do you train in a place that inspires you to do those reps yourself because of the atmosphere, or is it more like training in a relaxation spa where your body and mind go along with the slow, quiet intensity?

Where do you spend your spare time? You might think you train hard at the gym on your own so it doesn’t matter if you hang out with people who don’t exercise.

The truth is that EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY your brain is being programmed by something that moves you closer to, or further away from your goal.

And that’s not to say that you have to be obsessed. You don’t have to spend your life in the gym.

What it means is that EVERYTHING that goes into your body via your mouth, eyes and ears is important to the goals you have in your life.

Missing one training session to hang out with your mates will not impact your body in any significant way.

Neither will eating one chocolate bar.

BUT it has a more powerful impact on your results than you could ever imagine because it has shaped another little corner of your mind about who you are and what you do.

It’s the little things that add up.

Your mind has registered the fact that missing training and eating chocolate are okay.

Now you’re screwed. Because a similar situation will come up again.

Life will slowly but surely arrange itself around the standards you set yourself and standards can’t come and go – they are either standards or they’re not!

And stop claiming to be a victim!

You didn’t stop that session because someone else was using the dumbbells you wanted.

You didn’t miss your run because you ‘had no choice and had to sort out….’ Few thing are that urgent.

YOUR behaviour is what counts and it’s under your control.

But you’re fighting a losing battle if you think you can stay comfortable in the environment you’ve got used to but get different results to those you spend time with.

At some point you’re going to have to realise that success comes at a price.

Sometimes financial, but mainly in terms of time, people, relationships, work rate and generally doing the uncomfortable stuff that nobody else wants to do.

If it were easy, everybody would do it and you’d end up still being the same as everybody else.

Here’s a checklist for ramping up your strength and conditioning results:

– Choose a training partner who is either bigger, badder and better than you, or who at least will shout and bully you into doing more.

– Get a Performance Partner. Now this person may well be the same guy or girl as your training partner, but this adds a little extra. You’re going to sit down with them (on the phone or in person) and spend 30 minutes comparing notes on how the last week has gone in terms of pushing towards your goals.

This might be a full on coach.

Either way it’s a great way to review the week, reset, tweak things and move forward. You help each other out then come out fighting next week, smashing through any remaining bad habits and created new positive ones!

– Look at the training environment you’re in. If you’re amongst people who are there for entertainment value more than hard work, it is slowly turning the screw on you. Get out.

– Everytime you go on the internet, keep a diary of what you’re reading, watching or listening to. Write down what you have just gained from absorbing that information. If you got nothing other than filling time, STOP DOING IT!

– Write down the last 5 books you read – did they move your closer to or further from your goal.

– What media currently has an influence on your life? Cancel all subscriptions and stop watching the news.

– Do your training sessions go to schedule 95% of the time? If not, the chances are your training is being infiltrated by texting, chatting and checking out the hot girl on the treadmill? Get your head down and give her something to check out.

– Write down the 5 people you spend most time with. 

– Write down their 5 most striking characteristics – physically or otherwise. Don’t expect much different from yourself!

You’ll see I haven’t talked about the actual details of your training session yet.

This is about ramping up the engine so that you can and WILL give it everything in the session.

Remember a half good program done with complete intensity due to focus and the right inspiration around you, will deliver more results than the most complicated programming protocol which you can’t implement well because you don’t have the belief or drive from being around the right people!

Make time to start creating change OUTSIDE the gym first.

Stop kidding yourself that doing a ‘brutal drop set’ at the end of your workout is going to make any difference when you live the rest of your life under a cloud of empty ambition, controlled by the depressed attitudes of everybody else.

Stop kidding yourself that your friends and even family are good for you.

Sometimes we have to be willing to step so far outside of our bubble we can’t even see it any more.

Very, very hard to do.

But the only way to unleash that intention that keeps bubbling inside!

You want to be a beast?

Start running in the right herd.

Training intensity and results don’t come from one hard set.

They come from an approach to life that surrounds you with the right influences that push you consistently to be bigger, badder and better!