Wellness & Lifestyle

How to Kick Ass Once a Week

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a graduate student, and we were arguing about food—specifically, whether Top Dog’s German Bratwurst or Frankfurter was better. When we started talking about our health habits, the graduate student said, “Everyone has an outlet,” which he followed by pausing and then laughing like a pervy schoolboy. Yes, he has quite the persona, but his sexual innuendo, nevertheless, begs the response, “What is your outlet?”

Everyone responds to stress differently. Some may exercise, some may call their friends, some go drinking, and many others just do nothing. What do I do? Whenever I’m stressed, I like to kick some ass. At least once a week, I schedule a few hours (usually 2) of physical activity where I focus on training my body. This may entail doing cardio exercise (1-mile, 7-minute run) or resistance circuits, which include any combinations of burpees, push-ups, core-work, and squats, with or without weights. If I get my heart pumping, then I know I’ve got the art of ass-kicking down.

Here’s my philosophy: “When life gives you lemons, you make some kick-ass lemonade.”

Here are some of my tips to do the same (whether it be going to the gym or wanting to do an activity you’ve been neglecting):

Ignore what others say to criticize you.

Some people are cynic critics—and I hate them. Their words don’t help you in any way and only serve to make you doubt yourself. Have you ever met someone who starts the sentence with, “I’m just worried about you…?” When dealing with criticism, writer Michael Ellsberg draws on the analogy, “the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.” If the criticism is the fruit, then the critic is the tree. If you are getting some advice that makes you doubt your ideas instead of constructively helping you improve and refine your performance, then look no farther than at the critic. Is the advice you are receiving candid, and is it helping you get to the next level? Or is it actually blocking you from creativity and change? If it’s the latter, then look elsewhere for help. Basically, don’t let others’ criticism stop what you love doing and want to be doing—don’t let the critic plug your inherent creativeness.

Automate your schedule.

Do you have a Google calendar? Or any calendar you use and trust daily? If not, my advice is to make one because automating your schedule is the way to go. If I don’t set the time in my schedule to actually kick some ass at the gym, then how do I know it’s time to go? I know its cliché, but I think it’s true: don’t let yourself be the enemy. Set up the schedule and get reminders to have your “me” time.

Set a goal and get the results you want.

Setting a goal and seeing the results you want is extremely important. If you see improvements, physically or emotionally, each time you “release the outlet,” then you are psychologically more apt to do it more and again. For example, if I didn’t want a flat abyss for my back-side, I would work to make my butt bigger (oddest sentence I’ve written today). How am I going to do this? Well, I’m going to target my butt with squats, jumps, and whatever resistance training I deem butt-inducing. Give it one week. One month. Three months. Yes, my bigger butt will drive me to further pursue my goals (second oddest sentence I’ve written today).

Raise the intensity level.

This comes from the heart because I used to play table tennis. My dad was an astounding player, and he coached me to be very technical and competitive. I can’t thank him enough for this. Whenever I play a sport, I put my full passion into it. I play not to win, but to show that I can win (usually with the results I want). I have been raised to tackle adversity with an “all-in” mindset. This has translated to everything else I do. Whenever I need to perform a task, I do so with intensity. I guarantee this will help you kick ass each week.

Find your power song.

Everyone has his or her “power” song. I have tons of power songs that get me going when I need an extra kick in my step. I just found another one lately: “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton from the movie Django Unchained. The song is intense and driven by both Boynton’s powerful indie soul and Hamilton’s gritty voice. This song empowers me like no other, starting with the very first line: “Felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.” My power song gets me motivated to take on the world. Find yours.

Learn from failure.

At some point, you’re going to fail. Wait, what did you just say? If you’re shocked by this, take a breath. I’m not a magician and I can’t predict the future, but I am a realist. Wherever and whoever you are, you will fail—that is inevitable. The key though is to rise stronger than ever. Resiliency is key to kicking ass. My nerd spasms force me to capture this point with a quote from Theon in Game of Thrones: “What is dead may never die.” Learn to adapt to failure—only then can you be fearless.

So yes, “everyone does have an outlet,” for his or her “release.” My question is, if you’re going to release your stress, why not kick some ass while doing it?

Article by Telly Cheung

Feature Image Source: Stridekick Blog