What’s Your Sentence?

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For those of you who visit this blog on a regular basis, you know that I like to read.  At any given point, I usually have my nose (or ear) glued to 3-4 books at once.  Of course, I’m always reading something dealing with strength and conditioning, nutrition, or anything related to my field.

Concurrently, I also have some sort of fiction nearby for when my brain hurts too much and I just don’t feel like thinking about what I’m reading.  Believe me, you can only read so much on lower-cross symdrome or spinal biomechanics before you want to jump out a window.

Additionally, I also like to read a lot of non-fiction – namely books dealing with behavioral economics.  Given that I’m in a field that’s highly dependent on figuring out what motivates people (and what keeps them motivated), it makes sense.

As such, one of my favorite books that I read last year was Daniel Pink’s phenomenal book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and as it so happens, I came across this short video the other day that was made by the author himself called, What’s Your Sentence?, and I thought I’d share with all of you:

After watching that I couldn’t help but think to myself that much of what I do on a daily basis is trying to get people better today than they were yesterday.  Unfortunately, though, people tend to make this a lot harder than it really has to be.

Take for example a client of mine who’s simply trying to put on some weight (but good weight – he’s done the all you can eat diet, and it wasn’t quite the kind of weight he was looking for).  Here he is talking to me about counting the number of blueberries he’s eating, and SUBTRACTING them if it’s just one over the limit – yet, he’s waiting at least two hours upon waking up before eating breakfast.  Even worse still, he’ll often skip breakfast altogether.

If there was ever a can’t see the forest for the trees scenario, this would be it!

Anyways, all I’m trying to get is this: what will make him better?  Is it really the total # of blueberries he’s eating (or not eating)?  My guess is probably not.  As I told him the other day, there’s absolutely no need to get THAT detailed, and worry about something so trivial. In the end, it will do nothing but drive you bat shit crazy.

Instead, maybe it’s just something as simple as eating breakfast EVERY morning.  Taking it a step further – and this is something CP intern, and Lean Eating Coach, Jason Bonn suggested – what can he (my client) do, with full confidence, every morning, to help get him towards his goal?  Using a numerical system – with a 1 being not a chance in hell (making a gourmet omelet with feta cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes, for instance) and a 10 being “yeah, I can do that, not a problem at all,” what can we do that would get him to a 9 or 10?

We came to the conclusion that making a simple shake which HAD to have one protein source (powder), one carb source (rolled oats), and one fat source (nuts or some kind of oil) was the way to go.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Now, that’s just one example, and there’s no telling what will make YOU better today than yesterday.  Maybe it’s making an effort to drink more water.  Maybe it’s adding ten more lbs to the barbell this afternoon.  Maybe it’s paying the toll for the random stranger behind you on the freeway.  Maybe it’s something as simple as calling your mom (you prick).  Or, maybe it’s something a little more complicated, like finally asking out that cute barista at the coffee shop who’s clearly been flirting with you for the past three weeks.  Hell, maybe it’s just turning off the television and actually communicating with your significant other.

Who knows?  The point is, it can be anything.  And that, my friends, will undoubtedly help you form your own sentence.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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Comments for This Entry

  • Scott Carter

    I love pieces like this. Although its not directly applicable to training, I think blogs such as this can do more for one's ability to reach their goals then you showing us how to perform the DB row correctly. Little ideas like this, such as "whats your sentence" really resonate in my mind and make all the difference between being average and someone that people look up to. Thanks for this Tony. Great way to start off a morning.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:32 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ray

    I have been dealing with this same situation for the past few months also. Nothing really related to nutrition, or working out but life in general. How can I improve it? As I get older things get put much more into perspective.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:36 am | Reply to this comment

  • Don

    Nice blog entry. Most helpful piece I've read in a while. Can easily apply it to training, eating, work or play.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:45 am | Reply to this comment

  • Nock

    Tony, great topic and writing. Well done! I want to share this article I read on the NYTimes titled: "What's the single best exercise?", http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17exercise-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine I'm curious to know what your response to this is.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:58 am | Reply to this comment

  • Chris Ruffolo

    You're about a week behind Leigh, Tony :)

    April 20, 2011 at 9:08 am | Reply to this comment

  • Tony Gentilcore

    @ Chris: ahahahaha, really? Dammit - Leigh's a freaking ninja!

    April 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Reply to this comment

  • R Smith

    Wow! This is a scary-good post. Hit me with several points.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nick

    Hey Tony I saw your row video yesterday and I thought you might like these exercises too :) http://www.youtube.com/user/syoung019#p/u/12/m2C419CbMoo http://www.youtube.com/user/syoung019#p/u/5/CwdecO9ruWQ http://www.youtube.com/user/syoung019#p/u/7/ISyWiOj5sKI

    April 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Robert King

    Hey Tony Great blog and love that video. I have "Driven" I haven't read it yet (damn it), to the top of the list it goes. Great comment on the skipping breakfast guy, a lot of clients try some weird mine games when it comes to why they aren't getting their goal, yet the answer is glaring right in front of them. Thanks again Rob www.RobKingFitness.com

    April 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Reply to this comment

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