Do What Works For YOU

Epiphanies.  What are they?  Why are they important?

Epiphanies are moments of sudden realization.  It’s that moment where something so small allows you to realize the big picture of your goal, say losing weight.

I had this situation occur to me over the summer.  I was trying so many fad and absurd diets, ranging from crash diets to keto diets and so forth.  None of these things worked for me, though; I was losing minimal weight, and most important of all, I wasn’t enjoying myself.  I hated the overall concept of fitness because of what I endured and suffered through.  And that’s not what fitness is about; it’s supposed to be an exciting and fun journey that leads to achievement of goals.

Towards the end of summer, I started to cheat more on my diet.  I started to eat more sugary foods such as ice cream.  Every bite, I thought to myself, “Man, wouldn’t it be great if I could fit ice cream in to my diet everyday?”  But then, that moment of epiphany arrived, when I realized that I COULD enjoy all this delicious food and still lose weight.

Wait, how?  IIFYM of course.  If it fits your macros allows you to eat whatever you want as long as it fits your macro limitations for the day (fat, carbs, and protein).  As long as you don’t exceed your limitations, you will be able to lose weight.  I decided to give IIFYM a try, and the results have not been disappointing; I’ve been able to lose weight and still eat what I want.


Although IIFYM is unorthodox and many people don’t believe in it, it worked for me and was the biggest contributor in my weight loss.  So why break something that’s not broken?  IIFYM worked for me, so there’s no reason for me to change my diet if it’s helping me reach my goals and keeping me happy.

Andy Phan P2


The Different Sides of Fitness

Frankenstein is simply a book, but it has so many different facets to it then simply just telling a story about a monster.  Likewise, fitness can be so many different things besides just being healthy.

The world of fitness cannot be defined by just eating healthy and having heart.  There are many different perspectives from which to look at this universe.  First, the definition of fitness must be explored.  For the power lifter, fitness is achieving a 200 pound squat.  For schools around the country, fitness means being able to run a mile in a certain time.  For the average person, fitness is exercising for thirty minutes a day and eating relatively healthy.  Clearly, fitness does not mean one thing.  As a result, a person who wants to get in shape should first establish what his or her goals are before they do anything.  That way, there is a focused effort rather than just aimless exercising.

Fitness is not just limited to getting on a treadmill for an hour. Look at what you want to do, and adjust your method to achieve your desired goals.

So, what’s your goal?  Do you want to be faster, or just maybe shave a couple inches off that waistline?  Whatever it is, establish it, and work hard.

Harrison p6

Motivation for the Unmotivated

During the past week, I watched an inspirational video in English concerning a man suffering from ALS.  ALS is a degenerative disease that affects nerves cells and the spinal cord, leading to eventual death.  In the video, the man suffering from ALS was expected to die five years within diagnosis, but has miraculously survived for ten years and counting.  Not only has he survived, but he has continued to live life fulfilling his passion: writing.  Even though he cannot move his limbs or talk, he has still found a way to express his thoughts and share it with people around the world.
ImageMy question is, if a man suffering from a life threatening disease can still find a will to do what he loves, then why can’t someone looking to get into shape get off the couch and go to the gym?  Or start making better food choices and improving eating habits?  If you really want to get in shape, you have to be motivated to do so.  You have to want to attain your goal so badly, that you’d be willing to make sacrifices for it.
– Andy Phan P2

Diet Response Theory

Recently, I learned about one of the most complex, yet simple, English concepts:  Reader Response Theory.  The idea behind this theory is that everyone has their own interpretations of what the text is.  Seems simple enough right?  I mean, we’ve been doing this sort of analysis in our English classrooms for years now.  Reader response theory, however takes these interpretations a step further, proposing that each interpretation is considered “right”.  Thus, according to this theory a text is a paradox.  It always says the same thing, but it can also mean anything.  As I was mulling over this concept, I realized that this phrasing could also be used to describe dieting.

I found that reader response theory is similar to the idea of Schrodinger’s cat. It is both alive and dead, just like how a text will always mean one thing but also many different things at the same time.

Nowadays, there are so many diets that seem to be popular.  Paleo, Ketogenic, low carb, fasting, or eating multiple meals a day are just some of they many examples.  However, look past all the specific nuances of each diet, and you’ll see that all diets follow the same general guidelines.  The first, and usually the most obvious, is to avoid processed foods and increase intake of fruits and vegetable because they are calorie dense, making you feel fuller a lot sooner.  The first part of that rule should be self explanatory; chips, instant noodles, and the like are called junk foods, and rightly so, and they should be avoided at all costs.  The second rule is to not to overeat.  All of these diets have specific ideas, but at the end, they reduce the amount of calories a person will consume.  Paleo does this by taking out high calorie processed carbohydrates, fasting does this by reducing the amount of meals eaten a day.  Finally, the last rule of all these diets is that they require strict adherence to succeed.  If you don’t follow the guidelines and cheat, then all the rules will be for naught.  At the end of the day, these shouldn’t even be considered rules, but rather a healthy approach to eating.

This is a great example of why vegetables should be prioritized in any diet. They make you feel more satiated, and you can eat more.

All diets are the same.  The users of the diet all say swear by the diet, saying that there is scientific research to back each statement, and that the methods are tried and true, and, they are all right.  The template for a diet will always be the same, but the methods of application will be different.

Harrison P6

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.

If you work out together, you stay together.

If you work out together, you stay together.

When you start a project, a goal, or even a weight loss plan, starting it with someone else is integral because that person will keep you going. You stick together and succeed together.

Similarly, I think it’s great when a classroom shares their ideas, projects, and opinions together. It keeps the class tight-knit, and it keeps each person accountable for the completion of their project.

-Minh Thu P 6

Transformation Tuesdays!

One possible tool to use to motivate yourself is transformation pictures.  These are basically before and after pictures, and usually the results of the person’s hard work is visible.  It’s incredible seeing how much one person is able to change their body.  Seeing these real results could be the catalysts for people to start making changes in their own life.  For those of us that are struggling, this could be the factor that keeps us moving forward.  After all, if some random stranger on the internet can do it, so can you!

From skinny to swole

The best transformation pictures for motivating though, are ones of yourself. Taking before and after pictures of your body can be a huge motivating factor.  Seeing how your body changes week by week, month by month, gives you visible encouragement.  And if you ever reach an endpoint, you can use these pictures to look back and see how far you’ve come.  More importantly, you can post these photos so that others will be inspired and continue the circle of inspiration.  This same idea holds true in our innovation projects; by seeing others innovate, we are inspired to do work on our own.  Our very own Minh Thu Le has posted her transformation pictures for others to see.  Mine will be posted soon.  Check them out on our About Us page!  In addition, if you would like to see more possible pictures, check them out here.

Harrison Nguyen p6