Nurudeen Tijani of TitaniumPhysique: “Adopt a weight training program”

Adopt a weight training program. Scientific evidence shows lifting weights is by far one of the best things a person can do to achieve healthy body weight and keep it. Muscles are anabolic and burn calories; this means the more lean muscles a person has, the easier it is to keep off unwanted body weight. […]

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Adopt a weight training program. Scientific evidence shows lifting weights is by far one of the best things a person can do to achieve healthy body weight and keep it. Muscles are anabolic and burn calories; this means the more lean muscles a person has, the easier it is to keep off unwanted body weight. A minimum of three days of moderate-intensity weight training a week can help you achieve healthy body weight and keep it permanently.

So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?

In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nurudeen Tijani.

Nurudeen Tijani (aka TJ) has a passion for helping people build the bodies they want through weight training. He is a physique and wellness coach, fitness trainer, sports nutritionist, yoga instructor, natural bodybuilder, National Physique Committee (NPC) physique athlete, member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and founder of TitaniumPhysique. The mission of TitaniumPhysique is to help people alleviate physical pain that gets in the way of their health and fitness goals.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Nigeria, but I was raised in Ghana (along with two older siblings) by my mother and grandmother. Some of the adversities of growing up in a developing country, like not having enough food to eat, brought our family closer together. My mother instilled great values in us — respect, empathy, fairness, humility, love of family, courage, hard work, learning, and curiosity. We moved to the US when I was 12, and that summer was one of the most magical times of my life. In high school, I played soccer for a year. Still, I ultimately fell in love with JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program).

JROTC taught me discipline, teamwork, dedication, friendship, love for my country, community service, and patriotism. Some of my best memories as a teenager were marching during Memorial Day parades with my JROTC color guard and drill team members. I lived on the east coast (Massachusetts). I remember going around my neighborhood and clearing out snow from fire hydrants after snowstorms. I felt so proud to serve my community, even in a minor way, because of what I learned from the JROTC program. Ultimately, I went to college in New Hampshire, which gave me a balanced perspective, having spent my teenage years in the inner city.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

In terms of who inspired me, I would say Tony Horton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and several manual therapists I’ve encountered over the years. Tony Horton inspired so many people with his P90X program. Tony’s program got me started on my fitness journey. Some of the fundamentals I learned about stretching, portion control, and yoga laid the foundation for what I do and teach others today. After P90X, I decided to transition into weight training.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a bodybuilding icon and continues to inspire so many till today. I read Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, which sparked my passion for weight training and, ultimately, bodybuilding. What I learned from Arnold’s book, combined with ten years of bodybuilding and lifting weight, enables me to help others as a physique coach. Over the years, as I encountered injuries from weight training, I’ve worked with several manual therapists (chiropractors and massage therapists) to heal and recover. The experience made me appreciate the benefit and necessity of manual therapy or self-myofascial release (SMR) regarding achieving and maintaining good health and wellness.

Through these experiences and my fitness transformation, people naturally started to approach me at my gym, asking me to work with them. The opportunity to show and teach others what I’ve learned and help them achieve their health and fitness goals brought me so much fulfillment. I decided to make it a career. Ultimately, this led me to create TitaniumPhysique. TitaniumPhysique is an online training program that shows people how to achieve and sustain their health, wellness, and fitness goals.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Not one person, but a group of people have helped me become the person I am today. Close to heart, my mother, brother, and sister have supported and encouraged me along the way. Through the setbacks, obstacles, temporary defeats, doubts, and fears, they’ve been my foundation. Since college, I’ve had jobs in retail, IT recruiting, and corporate learning. I’ve started businesses in real estate, digital marketing, and now wellness and fitness. Throughout this process, my family has supported my ambitions and always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

Outside of my family, Jim Rohn and Timothy Ferriss. From Jim Rohn’s, I learned things like “it’s not what happens to you; it’s what you do about what happens to you.” “Never wish life were easier, wish that you were better.” “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” Jim Rohn’s books and audio programs have greatly influenced developing my character and personal philosophy. On the other hand, the ideas and life lessons Tim shared in his book (The 4-Hour Workweek) have shaped the design of both my personal life and professional life for the last 13 years. I feel grateful to have learned and grown from the experiences of these inspirational figures.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I’ve got more stories of mistakes or, as I like to call them, “learning lessons.” When I started my fitness journey, I learned and adopted the traditional high protein weightlifters and bodybuilders’ diet. The diet consists mainly of animal foods and animal food products. According to scientific nutritional research, the challenge with this type of diet is that it causes long-term weight gain and kidney damage. It also inflames the gastrointestinal tract, leading to cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune diseases that cause arthritis and joint pain.

My high protein nutrition regimen was initially effective. However, I reached a point where it was no longer supporting my health goals and fitness routine. My body stopped recovering fast enough after workouts, leading to inflammation, tendonitis, muscle injuries, and ultimately joint aches and pain during my workouts.

I researched the health and performance benefits of a plant-based diet. Yet, out of complacency, fear of being judged, fear of being different, and fear of the unknown, I continued with my high-protein diet for a few more years. Ultimately and out of necessity, I made the gradual switch to a plant-based nutrition regimen. It has made all the difference in my fitness performance, recovery, and overall health. Good nutrition is now at the core of my approach as a health, wellness, and fitness coach.

The three lessons I learned from this experience were (1) the importance of being a flexible thinker. It’s never too late to change the course. Don’t let the fear of being judged or fear of the unknown prevent you from making the necessary changes or decisions. (2) Stay curious, humble, and continue learning. When you cease to learn, you cease to grow. (3) Pay the small price now — whether it means making a change or decision — to avoid the eventual costlier price.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

My favorite life lesson quote is “Know thyself.”

It resonates because I feel anything we get in life that is long-lasting, it’s because of who we are and not what we are. What we are might be our outward appearance, a title or recognition that society gives us. We can lose what we are. What we are can be taken away. However, who we are — the skills, virtues, and character we develop over a lifetime, ultimately giving us fulfillment — cannot be taken away. I believe to “know thyself” is to discover, develop, and cherish the inner qualities that make us who we are.

I feel “know thyself” also means to “know your why.” There’s an old saying, “nothing is impossible; you just need to find the reason to want to do it.” I believe this means we can attain the things most of us want. Most people want good health, love, family, personal growth, spiritual awareness, professional achievement, financial success, awards, and recognition. If we can find the WHY to push us or pull us, our motivation to achieve what we desire will outweigh any excuse.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’m excited about a project called TitaniumPhysique, which I’ve been working on for a few years. TitaniumPhysique aims to help athletes eliminate chronic weight training muscle injuries, tendonitis, and joint pain.

One of the most common problems faced by weightlifters is muscle injury pain and tendonitis pain when lifting weights. The most common include shoulder pain, elbow pain, forearm and wrist pain, lower back pain, knee pain, and foot/heel pain.

Traditional remedies (painkillers, joint supplements, joint support sleeves, and topical anti-inflammatory solutions) temporarily relieve pain. They do not fix the root cause of the pain. As a result, the pain comes back and worsens as the athlete resumes lifting weights. As an athlete who struggled with chronic muscle injuries and tendonitis, I realized the information available to athletes on fixing and preventing tendonitis affecting their workouts was fragmented and incomplete.

I felt there needed to be a more accessible, affordable, and sustainable option to help athletes who do weight training but struggle with muscle injuries or tendonitis get relief quickly. So, I created TitaniumPhysique for anyone who does weight training but struggles with muscle injuries or tendonitis. The program will show anyone how to eliminate muscle injuries and tendonitis now and prevent the problems from recurring as they continue lifting weights.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

  1. I have ten years of experience in the health, wellness, and fitness industry. My expertise includes ongoing professional training, experimentation, the study of exercise science, sports medicine research, nutrition research, fitness trends, and health scholarly journals.
  2. I am a physique and wellness coach, fitness trainer, sports nutritionist, yoga instructor, natural bodybuilder, National Physique Committee (NPC) physique athlete, and the founder of TitaniumPhysique.
  3. I teach people as well as inspire them with my results. I’ve been able to transform my physique and sustain it over the last ten years. In addition, I’ve helped hundreds of others achieve their health, wellness, and fitness goals — according to their video and written testimonials available on my website.
  4. I’ve been featured and quoted in various national media, publications, and websites, including,, and Eat This Not That! —
  5. I am a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?

I think there are two perspectives to healthy body weight. First, there’s the cultural standard or definition of a “healthy body weight”; then there is the scientific definition. From a cultural perspective, some cultures find being overweight as socially acceptable and a great source of pride. For other cultures, being underweight is acceptable.

I subscribe to the medical and scientific perspectives. The scientific definition of a healthy body weight focuses on the body weight that supports mobility, promotes wellness, good health, and prevents long-term diseases. From the scientific perspective, healthy weight falls within the right body mass index (BMI). Regardless of cultural standards, I believe most people aspire to live a healthy life free of diseases. For this to be possible, a person must strive to maintain a healthy BMI.

How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?

A person can use three quick methods to learn what healthy body weight is for them. Method #1: Calculate your BMI. Method #2: Measure your waist circumference. Method #3: Measure your body fat percentage. I’ll briefly discuss each option.

BMI is a ratio of a person’s weight (in pounds) in relation to their height (in inches). BMI is computed by dividing weight by height squared (i.e., lb/In2). A healthy person should have a BMI value between 18.5 and 24.9. Any value below 18.5 is considered underweight; any value above 25 is considered overweight, and people whose BMI is above 30 are considered obese. As an accurate measure of healthy body weight, BMI applies to adults aged 18 to 65 years.

A precaution when using BMI — it’s a perfect measure of a healthy weight when used by typical individuals. However, BMI isn’t a very accurate metric for measuring healthy weight among athletes, children, and expectant mothers since it doesn’t factor if the weight is mainly because of muscle or fat. As a result, athletes may have a higher BMI because they have more muscle, but this doesn’t mean they are overweight or obese. Elderly persons also tend to have a low BMI because muscle mass reduces with age. As such, a low BMI may not mean elderly individuals are unhealthy or at risk. However, for most typical cases involving persons aged 18 to 65 years, tracking your BMI is an excellent step to maintaining a healthy weight in the long term.

To check your BMI for free using a BMI calculator, search “national institute of health BMI calculator” or “NIH BMI Calculator” on your favorite search engine.

The second option is to measure your waist circumference.

According to the CDC, waist circumference can be used to measure the risk of being overweight. Studies indicate that men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches are at a higher risk of getting obesity-related conditions. The same is true for non-pregnant women with a waist circumference of over 35 inches.

For an accurate assessment, waist circumference measurements should be taken around the middle section, slightly above the hip bone. The measurement should be taken using a tape measure that is horizontal and snug (but not compressed). Most importantly, the measurement should be taken after a person breathes out.

The third option is to measure your body fat percentage.

As per American Council on Exercise (ACE) guidelines, it is acceptable for men to have 18 to 24% body fat and women to have slightly more body fat (25–31%). Fit men and women should have a body fat percentage ranging between 14 to 17% and 21 to 24%, respectively. Men whose body fat is above 25% and women whose body fat above 32% are considered obese.

It’s important to know, fat is essential for survival (i.e., protecting internal organs like the heart and providing the body with energy). Therefore, it is risky to have very low to no body fat. The minimum body fat percentage for men is 2–5%, and 10–13% for women. Any person below this range can be considered underweight.

Body fat percentage is commonly measured using a skinfold measurement (pinching the skin with special calipers at different sites). Other methods include bioelectrical impedance analysis, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and air densitometry.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 33% of the world’s population is overweight, and 10% are obese. The proven consequences of being obese or overweight, as per the WHO, include serious health problems like cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart disease), type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal disorders (such as osteoarthritis), and cancer (mainly colon, breast, and endometrial cancers). These conditions are known to cause disability and premature death in some cases.

On the other hand, an underweight person may not be receiving adequate amounts of nutrients needed to continue supporting healthy hair, skin, and bones. The body’s organs also need sufficient nutrition to work optimally. Malnutrition causes various health problems, the most common being osteoporosis (weak/brittle bones), skin, teeth, and hair problems. The body needs enough nutrients daily to maintain healthy skin, teeth, and hair. Underweight individuals are also prone to get sick more often since they don’t get enough nutrients to sustain the body’s natural immune system responses.

Other consequences of being under your healthy body weight include constant fatigue and slow impaired growth. Low-calorie intake automatically results in an energy shortage. Inadequate nutrients slow down or impair normal growth processes in the body. Most importantly, being under your healthy body weight can cause premature death. Studies conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) indicate that underweight individuals have a higher risk of death when compared to individuals with a healthy BMI.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?

As a result of maintaining healthy body weight, I believe good health can be a foundation for sustained success in many areas of life — because it affects everything. Here are three examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better:

  1. Physical — a person will have the energy and mobility to pursue physical activities that excite them. Regular physical activity strengthens the immune system, which helps a person avoid illness and recover from illness faster. Physical activity combined with a strong immune system consequently promotes longevity.
  2. Emotional — our physiology impacts our state of mind, i.e., our emotions. Physiology refers to your body and all its systems. According to Tony Robbins: “Physiology dictates our feelings. How you use your body affects how you feel mentally and emotionally.” So, when a person has the vitality to pursue activities that excite them, it improves their state of mind. A positive state of mind improves our relationships — love and romance, family, and friends.
  3. Personal development — the early payoff of a positive state of mind and physiology improves self-confidence. Self-confidence fuels ambition. For some people, that ambition leads to professional achievement, awards and recognition, financial success, and business success. Additionally, ambition fueled by self-confidence may lead to personal growth and spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment is the practice of mindfulness, and studies conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) show that people who are spiritual have a more positive outlook and live happier, more productive lives.

So, in essence, when you transform your health, you transform your life.

Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

The following are five practical tips to achieve a healthy body weight and keep it permanently:

  1. Find and determine your “pull” motivation. There are two types of motivation: push motivation and pull motivation. An example of a push motivation relating to health and fitness is “I want to lose 20 lbs. to look good in my bathing suit this summer”. A push motivation pushes us towards our goals, but it’s not sustainable. As a result, we lose our motivation or, worse, revert to our starting point. Alternatively, a “pull motivation” pulls you towards your goals and propels you to take the actions necessary to achieve your goals. Therefore, it is sustainable and can help us achieve a healthy body weight and keep it permanently. For example, my “pull motivation” is to be the best version of my best self. Everything I do passes through the lens of that filter. In essence, your “pull motivation” becomes an internal compass that helps you effortlessly navigate decisions and pulls you towards your predetermined vision.
  2. Adopt a weight training program. Scientific evidence shows lifting weights is by far one of the best things a person can do to achieve healthy body weight and keep it. Muscles are anabolic and burn calories; this means the more lean muscles a person has, the easier it is to keep off unwanted body weight. A minimum of three days of moderate-intensity weight training a week can help you achieve healthy body weight and keep it permanently.
  3. Adopt a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet. The common advice “eat less and move more” is not practical or sustainable weight loss advice because it causes hunger. Instead, adopt a whole-food plant-based regimen to achieve a healthy weight and keep it permanently. According to The China Study Solution (the most comprehensive scientific study on nutrition), a WFPB nutrition regimen can help a person achieve healthy body weight and keep it permanently. A WFPB diet is high in fiber and low in fat. Fiber is a nutrient that fills you up and decreases hunger, which naturally leads to sustained weight loss.
  4. Reduce or eliminate added oils in your food and eat less sugar. Eliminating added oils in your food is one of the simplest things anyone can do to lose weight. One gram of fat equals nine calories. Added oils can significantly increase calorie intake and lead to weight gain and belly fat. To achieve a healthy body weight and keep it, reduce or eliminate added oils in your food. Furthermore, scientific research shows that (1) sugar stimulates appetite and does not suppress the hunger hormone, leading to weight gain. (2) Sugar is metabolized like fat in the body, which leads to weight gain. To eat less sugar, simply avoid products with “added sugar” on the nutritional label.
  5. Adopt a mind-body exercise program to counteract stress. Chronic stress caused by a highly stressful job, stressful lifestyle factors, and situations cause the release of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that makes us feel tired, weak, unmotivated, and depressed. Consequently, this leads to food cravings which cause weight gain. An example of a mind-body exercise is yoga. Yoga is a holistic form of exercise that can counteract stress. Yoga combines controlled breathing exercises, meditation, and body movements designed to encourage relaxation and reduce stress. During yoga, we release good hormones like dopamine and serotonin that combat and counteract cortisol.

The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?

The most significant factor in avoiding yo-yo dieting and maintaining weight loss permanently and sustainably is adopting a sustainable nutrition strategy. A person may lose weight on a zero-fat diet, a zero-carbs diet, or a calorie restriction diet, but that is not sustainable. We may lose 10 lbs., 20 lbs., or even 30 lbs. in the short term with a zero-fat diet or a zero-carbs diet, but a person cannot do that for the rest of their lives. Alternatively, a person may choose to fast or eat less to get the body into a calorie deficit state and lose weight, but that is not sustainable. On the contrary, these commonly practiced strategies can have the opposite effect because they cause food cravings that lead to unhealthy eating decisions.

Therefore, the first step to avoiding yo-yo dieting and maintaining healthy weight permanently is to adopt a nutrition regimen that naturally promotes sustainable weight loss. I referenced the China Study Solution by Thomas M. Campbell earlier. According to Dr. Campbell, the book’s author, The China Study Solution is the most comprehensive study on nutrition ever conducted. The research results concluded that a whole-foods, plant-based diet could help a person lose weight and effortlessly maintain that weight loss permanently and sustainably. A WFPB diet is effective and efficient because it is not a zero-fat diet or a zero-carb diet. It does not require starving yourself, counting calories, or eating salads at every meal. A person eats whole-plant foods and avoids or minimizes processed foods, refined foods, animal foods, and animal product foods.

So, when I decided to adopt a WFPB nutrition regimen for myself and teach others how to implement it, it gave me certainty that the evidence from the research was conclusive. It also gave me comfort that I had chosen a sustainable strategy.

What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?

There are three main common mistakes I see people making every time. Mistake #1 is yo-yo dieting and fad diets. Mistake #2 is counting calories and following calorie-restrictive diets. Mistake #3 is being too rigid. I’ll explain each mistake briefly.

Mistake 1. Yo-yo dieting and fad diets

As the term yo-yo suggests, yo-yo diets are diets that bring inconsistent weight loss results characterized by weight going up and down (like a yo-yo). Research studies suggest that 30% of women and 10% of men are guilty of yo-yo dieting. This type of dieting and fad diets are characterized by eliminating certain food groups in the diet (fat and carbs) to force weight loss. Yo-yo dieting and fad diets also involve jumping around from one type of diet to another in the hope of better or optimized results. From experience and research, this type of dieting attracts problems like increased appetite, frustration, increased body fat percentage, muscle loss (in many cases), and increased risk of chronic ailments (like fatty liver, heart disease, and diabetes). Yo-yo-dieting and fad diets may appear to work faster; however, they do more harm than good in the long term.

Mistake 2. Counting calories, following a calorie restriction diet, or starving to force the body into weight loss are also common mistakes.

Sustainable weight management must be practical. In my opinion, it is impossible to count every calorie you will consume for the rest of your life. Counting calories isn’t sustainable. The same applies to following calorie-restricting diets. As mentioned earlier, such diets will increase your appetite and make you gain even more weight in the long term. While starving may have some health benefits, it’s not sustainable for long-term weight management unless you do it without fail for the rest of your life. But starving has some health risks, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to take this approach before consulting a doctor.

Mistake 3. Being too rigid

The last mistake is being too rigid. I think health and fitness should have a fun element with a reward at the end of every milestone. Suppose you have consistently followed a workout or diet plan for six days. In that case, I believe in having an off-day where you can eat delicious comfort foods and then get back to your plan the following week. It’s also advisable to have an allowance for errors. You can miss the gym for reasons beyond your control. Using a 90/10 plan or 80/20 plan that allows 90% or 80% strictness and a 10% or 20% margin for error and off-days is essential.

From my own experience, there are three main errors.

The first one is failing to have a motivating factor (the “pull” factor) or a strong WHY (reason) for committing to whatever weight loss habits you have set for yourself. Having a pull factor will help you overcome just about every obstacle or setback bound to come up in a weight loss/weight management journey. You need a strong reason to avoid going back to old unhealthy habits.

Second, you need adequate information. Before you can make informed weight loss and weight management decisions, you need enough information. What’s more, you need to ensure you follow factual information backed by science and firsthand experience from reputable experts in health and fitness.

Also, most people go back to their old unhealthy selves because of a lack of an action plan. I have been able to stay fit for over a decade because I have an action plan that I follow. The plan has important details ranging from meal preps detailing what I eat daily to the time, portion information, workout schedules, and more. Having an action plan is crucial if you want to lose weight and maintain healthy body weight for years.

How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

I believe it’s difficult to practice and make what we know part of our daily habits because the familiar and comfortable routines of our old habits act as a blockage.

According to The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg, we can’t truly delete old habits because the familiar routine that forms our habits is easier and therefore comfortable. That’s why it’s so easy to fall back into old habits. To take the information that we all know and integrate it into our lives, we need to create new routines that overpower the old behaviors. From his research, Duhigg suggested several rules that can help anyone create change or, in this case, overcome blockages. First, choose a keystone habit, and second, turn willpower into a habit.

Some habits have the power to start a chain reaction and change other habits — these are called keystone habits. Small wins are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. Once a small win is accomplished, there’s momentum for another small win to be accomplished; this process creates a belief that bigger accomplishments are possible.

The second is to turn willpower into a habit. Research from Duhigg’s book shows that people who found the willpower to implement a new routine in a study are the ones who had written out clear behavioral plans compared to those who simply set an intention to accomplish the same, without a written plan. Willpower becomes a habit by choosing a specific behavior ahead of time and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.

The easiest way to lose weight and permanently sustain that weight loss is through the food we eat. However, if a person finds it difficult to practice healthy eating habits, they can adopt a keystone habit. With regards to wellness and good health, a keystone habit is any strength training program.

Physical exercise strengthens willpower. We’ve all heard the old saying, “strong body, strong mind.” As mentioned earlier, when we change our physiology, it spills over and positively affects all parts of our life. People involved in regular physical exercise are more likely to eat healthier. They are less likely to smoke, drink, get depressed, suffer from chronic stress — all of which influence our ability to lose weight and permanently maintain it.

When a person adopts a weight training program, writes out clear plans to follow the program (i.e., day, time, location), and follows through, they train their willpower muscle to focus on other important things. When it’s time to choose between eating a healthy dinner or junk food, a person will have the willpower to choose the healthier option.

On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?

At an early point in my life, I received advice from a mentor that made a key difference. I was enrolled in a success development course, and I was struggling to implement the teachings from the program. During a coaching call, my mentor from the program gave me the following advice “raise your standards.” The advice resonated with me because it was simple and straight to the point.

He challenged me that if I genuinely wanted to attain the goals I had set for myself, I should raise my standards to become the person I needed to accomplish those goals. He explained that to be congruent with my self-concept and beliefs, I would naturally take the actions necessary to attain my goals if I raised my standards. That conversation and advice were pivotal for me. I would like to pass it on to someone else if it helps prevent these ideas from being trapped in a rarified state.

Second, suppose a person is inspired to lose weight and achieve a healthy weight. In that case, I suggest they act immediately to build momentum before the desire diminishes. The following are five habits anyone can develop to integrate these ideas into their everyday routine:

  1. Adopt and start a strength training program. Habits are easier to change when they occur within a community, so I suggest training at a gym instead of training at home. Training at a gym (new location, new habit) instead of at home helps us overcome pre-existing triggers associated with our old behaviors at home. However, if someone is concerned about going to a gym due to the current health crisis, they can train at home. Write down your plan. For example: “At (5:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…), I will (go to the gym for one hour of weight training…), to experience (your reward, your goal, or your WHY…). Also, remember you do not need to find the best trainer. You just need to find a trainer to get you through the first few weeks. It takes 90 days to form a habit. Any personal trainer can get you through those first 90 days. So, don’t let the desire diminish by spending countless hours trying to find the perfect personal trainer.
  2. Meal prep to increase the success of your goals. Meal prep means preparing your meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at night for the next day. Meal prepping is another keystone habit that will significantly increase the success of your health and wellness plan. If the idea or meal prep is new to a person, I suggest writing down what they intend to do, when they plan to do it (day and time), and how they plan on doing it.
  3. Revisit your WHY (reason) daily. Write down your “push-motivation” or “pull-motivation” and remind yourself of it throughout the day. This habit helps build willpower.
  4. A common roadblock to implementing a regular exercise program or healthy eating is lack of time. Some people say, “I want to go to the gym, but I don’t have the time,” or “I want to eat healthier, but I don’t have the time to cook healthy food at home.” I solved this issue personally by eliminating time wasters (social media, unnecessary checking of email, distracting text messages, unknown callers, etc.). Timewasters also drain willpower.
  5. Continuous learning fuels our inspiration and keeps us going. Some of my favorite books on health and wellness include The China Study Solution by Thomas Campbell MD, The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean MD, ND, and The Complete Ginseng Handbook. The first two books are available in audiobooks, making them easier to consume on the go.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

At the different gyms I frequent, I’ve become known as the person you can talk to if you’ve got any problems with your fitness. People often come to me with issues about physical pain when lifting weight: shoulder pain, elbow pain, forearm pain or wrist pain, knee pain, back pain, foot/heel pain, etc. Nobody likes physical pain, but I hate physical pain as an athlete because it limits my performance and potential. So, whenever I can help someone resolve physical pain, especially in a gym, it brings me a lot of fulfillment. I realized that my life’s purpose is to help people alleviate physical pain, especially when it interferes with their health and fitness.

If I could inspire a movement, it would be for everyone to adopt a daily muscle recovery routine. Tendonitis pain, joint pain and aches, muscle injuries, and musculoskeletal pain can discourage people from physical exercise. A daily muscle recovery routine can help anyone move and perform better with less pain and discomfort — man or woman, teenage athletes, college athletes, avid bodybuilders, weekend athletes, people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s involved in lifting weights, and elderly individuals involved in any physical fitness activities.

Muscle recovery involves using myofascial release tools (e.g., foam rollers, massage balls, and trigger point tools) to correct and release tight and stiff muscles. Contrary to popular belief, lifting weight and physical exercise (performed correctly) does not cause joint pain. Physical exercise strengthens the joints, tendons, and muscles.

Our joints degrade over time as we age. However, a person can reduce joint pain and joint aches associated with aging with muscle recovery. In this case, the sooner a person starts, the better. For most people without a history of anatomical injury, what causes joint aches and pain is a lack of regular muscle recovery. Over time, our muscles become inelastic from daily use. Inelastic muscles lead to muscle stiffness, tightness, muscle tension, muscle cramps, and muscle spasms. When a muscle is inelastic, it limits our range of motion. It also causes inflammation of the tendons, ligaments, and joints during physical exercise, leading to joint pain.

A person can use myofascial tools at home to release inelastic muscles and achieve muscle pliability. When our muscles become pliable, we will have less pain and improved mobility. Ten minutes (or more) of muscle recovery each day can improve muscle pliability and relieve most joint aches and pains associated with aging and physical activities.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Tim Ferriss. The ideas, stories, strategies, philosophies from The 4-Hour Workweek turned my lights on, inspired me, and got me started. Many of the productivity hacks I use in my life today to accomplish the things important to me I learned from his book. I’ve used ideas from his book since I discovered it 13 years ago and often read it multiple times a year. Just thinking about a private breakfast or lunch with Tim puts a big smile on my face because of the positive and immerse impact he’s had on the direction of my life.

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To follow my work online, your readers can visit my website:

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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