The Evolution of Your Body

Training and transforming your body is not a process in which we can can set lofty goals and achieve them overnight; it’s a process that occurs over time.  It’s a procedure that takes time and effort to develop and nurture, one that forces you to adapt along the way and make changes to fix the weaknesses in your plan.
Training the body to achieve your goal consists of three main features: copy, transform, and combine.

The copying phase is retrieving the basics and fundamentals of previous workout regimes and diets and applying them to your lifestyle.  Basics, such as doing cardio and eating at a calorie deficit, and fundamentals, such as hard work, should be incorporated into anybody’s lifestyle.
The next phase is the transformation phase.  This is when you adapt your regime and diet to something that is suitable and enjoyable for you.  Don’t like running five days a week?  That’s OK, join a dance or yoga class and participate in it.  Getting tired of broccoli and chicken every day of the week?  Try different but healthy meals, such as steamed salmon or a fruit salad, or maybe even treat yourself with something sweet.  Do something that’s enjoyable and sustainable for you.

The last phase is to combine the old school thoughts and new ideas together, and create a lifestyle that will satisfy you both emotionally and physically.  It’s not impossible nor hard to look good and feel good.


Haters are our Motivators

Lets say that there’s a girl, curvier than the average, eating lunch in the cafeteria. If she’s eating a cheeseburger, most people automatically think, “That girl needs to eat a salad instead”. What if she was eating a salad instead of a cheeseburger? Most people would then automatically think, “Oh wow, is she trying to lose weight? Is she on a diet?”. Either way, this hypothetical girl is judged negatively. The point of me bringing up this scenario is that, no matter what you do, you will always have people criticizing you.

How do you avoid this? Don’t. You can’t. You just have to embrace their criticism. Lend your ear to what they have to say, and make yourself better. Prove them wrong in every single way. Let them motivate you. 

As soon as you’re about to give up, think of them. I guarantee you’ll finish every mile, push up, rep, and crunch stronger. 

You just have to remember, what they say about you–tells more about their character than yours. Don’t give them the satisfaction.


After all, even the greatest poet and writer of all time, William Shakespeare, has his critiques–lots of them too. 

This includes the well known poet, T.S. Eliot, as well as Goethe, Coleridge, and many others. They all make claims that he’s unoriginal, not expressive enough, unable to express emotions, etc. What’s funny is that Shakespeare is the greatest man in literature of all times. This goes to show that you’re not doing it right unless you have people talking about you. The amount of haters you have is directly related to the success you have obtained. 

-Minh Thu Le P. 6

Keeping it Simple

From previous experiences, I’ve learned the most important thing to achieving weight loss is not planning, but simplicity and execution.  Having a plan to guide you through your month long diet has the potential to make things much easier, but many people over complicate their plans.  They go under strict and unnecessary guidelines, such as not eating carbs after dark and avoiding processed foods.  These guidelines may be part of a successful diet, but it does not guarantee one.

Rather, I’ve learned the best way to diet is keeping it simple so you can execute it to perfection.  A simple diet, to me, is having a daily target calorie goal, and eating whatever you want to reach that goal.  Whether it be by eating donuts or vegetables, if I don’t exceed my calorie limit, then my diet will be successful.  By having leniency and simplicity in my diet, I can execute it much more successfully and quickly.

In Hamlet, Hamlet over complicates his plan to kill King Claudius.  He is indecisive about when and whether to kill Claudius, waiting for the perfect time to strike him.  Though he kills King Claudius in the end, his goal could have come to fruition much more quickly if he had just killed King Claudius when he was praying.
– Andy Phan Period 2

Everyone Has Those Days

Ben Franklin was a wise man

Today I went to they gym and got utterly destroyed by my first set of squats.  I was disheartened at first, but then I looked back at why I failed, and there I found my mistake.

My pre-workout seemed fine; I stretched, warmed up on the rowing machine, and then stretched some more.  However, reviewing the previous twenty four hours made me realize that I had not properly prepared for my workout.  First, I had not eaten since breakfast.  Second, I slept very late the night before.  Third, I did not come to they gym prepared, forgetting my headphones and water bottle.  All of these things contributed to my inability to lift that weight when the moment came.

Indeed I was disappointed with myself, but I realized that this was just one workout.  This was just one time.  I should not let it discourage me from going to the gym.  In fact, I should use this workout as motivation to work even harder the next workout.  After all, in the grand scheme of things, my one failed workout will mean nothing if I have hundreds of successful workouts.  Similarly, one failed incident should not derail an entire project.  My innovation project experienced a hiccup, but I will still continue to work on it.

The other thing is that I need to prepare myself properly for a workout, not just immediately before, but days in advance.  After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Taking Risks and Facing Failure

Fitness is defined by how much progress you have made in your journey, no matter how little it may seem.  Whether it’s increasing your bench press by 5 pounds or 50 pounds, progress has been made and you are inching closer to your goal.

With progress comes risk and failure.  Adding weight to your max bench press, or any other lift, carries the risk of failing to complete your set and needing a spotter to help you finish.  You may only be able to crank out 3 reps, and be done.  And that’s OK.  To make progress, you have to test your limits and see how much you can lift.  Getting to the point of failure and not being able to do another rep means you’ve exerted the maximum amount of effort possible.  It encourages you to come back to the gym with a vengeance and turn failure into success.  Failure breeds success and progress, in part because failure forces you to try your hardest and motivates you to work harder.

In Master of the Flying Guillotine, Wu’s daughter sets a precedent and competes with only men in the martial arts tournament, the first time this has ever happened. Though she is not able to defeat her opponent and is bailed out by her father, she is able to gain experience from her failures, and is able to apply it to her future in martial arts.

Do you exercise, or do you train?

There is a difference between exercising, and training.  Most people at the gym exercise.  Only a select few train.

Training is an entirely different animal than exercising.  Exercise is casual, for the average person who goes to they gym for the sake of going to the gym.  These type of people will might skip training days, or take breaks when the going gets tough.  Training is for the person who wants to better themselves.  People who train have long term goals, and are truly dedicated to hitting the gym.  They don’t make up excuses to skip gym time.  Not only that, they reserve part a part of their week to go to the gym.  When they are at the gym, they focus on the exercises at hand and work with intensity.  People who exercise tend to lollygag around, taking breaks to text or take selfies.  People who train are the ones who will achieve their goals.  Mark Rippetoe, the author of Starting Strength, wrote an excellent article about this difference.

Training vs Exercise

So what do you do?  Are you one of those people who takes ten minute breaks between sets and just goes around touching every machine?  Or are you like San Te, the Shaolin monk who trained his best and became one of the greatest kung fu masters ever?

Harrison Nguyen p6

Blindness in Weight Loss

There’s a common misconception that losing a few pounds or gaining a few pounds is noticeable. I can promise you, It’s not. 

I’ve lost around 14 pounds and people still barely notice. The thing that matters is that I notice that I look better. You may not notice that you lost weight, and your friends may not notice that you lost weight… but it is happening. Though people are blind to it, your body is changing. It’s just not noticeable, yet. 


In the movie, Master of the Flying Guillotine, one of the most strongest characters is blind. Though he cannot see, he can still fight, behead, and kill. There is power in his lack of sight, and this can relate back to the common dieter. Though they cannot see, they are still making changes that are steadily improving their bodies. Not being able to see is discouraging, but when the Blind Guillotine Master accurately strikes his opponent and yanks off his head, all he feels is success and satisfaction. Likewise, after weeks of eating salads and working out, the feeling after seeing a dramatic change in your waist size is phenomenal. You just have to keep at it. 


Losing weight does not happen overnight, that is if you’re doing it the healthy and correct way. It takes time, patience, and much sacrifice. In the end, however, it will be extremely worth it. Just think about it this way: Even if you only lose half a pound a week, that is still 26 pounds lost within the next year. You can do it. 

-Minh Thu Le P6