Get In Shape and Become More Productive

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes — but no plans.” – Peter Drucker

As I said at the beginning of today’s message, I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. determined to do two things.

My first resolution is to get back to getting up early.

I can’t allow myself to sleep in just because I went to bed later than usual. From now on, I am going to wake up between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. No excuses. I must do this, because I am not getting everything done that I want to do. Starting work at 6:30 or 7:30 is not giving me the hours I need to run the businesses I run, write the books I’m writing, get my next movie made, and take care of my personal life. I can either do less or get to work earlier. The choice is obvious. It’s 6:10 a.m. as I write this. I have already stretched, biked to work, planned and organized my day, and revised chapter 2 of my leadership book. I’m fired up and feeling very good about myself and the prospects of having a great day. You can have this good feeling too. And you can get the benefit of an extra hour or more of maximum productivity. All you have to do is set your alarm clock to an earlier time. (More on this in a minute.)

My second resolution is to get in amazingly good shape.

My goal is to bring my bodyweight down to 179 pounds. For me, that will be a very substantial accomplishment. The least I’ve weighed in the past 20 years is 189. That was, I don’t know, maybe seven or eight years ago. Since then, my weight has crept up. When it hit 200, as it did yesterday, I knew I had to do something. As Dr. Sears has said many times, staying lean is the most important thing you can do to preserve your health and longevity. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not obese at 200. But my pants are snug, and I’m not proud of myself.

To make sure I reach my two goals, I am doing exactly what I suggested to you once before: I am publicly announcing my intentions — here and now — and I’m going to post my progress as well. By doing that, I increase my chances of success enormously.

Any interest in joining me in one or both of these two resolutions? If so, here are some suggestions.

To get up between 4:30 and 5:30, you will have to start getting your ass in bed about seven hours before then — 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. But don’t worry about that at first. Just set your alarm, get up at the appointed time, and push yourself through the day. You’ll be exhausted by evening (especially if you work out hard during the day) and will WANT to go to bed earlier.

Another way to do this is to teach yourself to wake up early the slow and easy way. That’s what my brother, JJF, did. Every morning for about four months, he set his alarm clock one minute earlier than the day before. It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics to know that this system will have you waking earlier by about a half-hour every month.

Either way you do it, you should feel a lot better about yourself and be able to accomplish much more. It’s worth a try, don’t you think?

Now, let’s deal with the physical fitness part of the plan.

To lose the weight, I’ll need to both decrease the amounts of carbs and fats I’m eating and increase the amount of exercise I’m doing. It won’t be easy, but I have my goal. And I intend to reach it. When I do — and I figure it will take between seven and 10 weeks — my body fat will be down to about 8% (from 18%). That’s better than most professional athletes, Dr. Sears tells me.

Here’s what I’m going to do.

Starting today, I’m going to eat nothing but fish, meat, cheese, and non-starchy green vegetables. I’ll have no bread, no pasta, no crackers, and no cookies or desserts. I’ll keep my carb intake below 30 grams a day, my fat consumption at less than 50 grams, and my protein above 100 grams. I’ll drink nothing but water and coffee for at least seven weeks. I’ll take my Vitalmax Advance 7 (the best multivitamin in the world if you ask me) plus Dr. Sears’ Thermobooster to increase my metabolism. And that will be it.

This is a very rigorous diet. When I went over it with Dr. Sears to get his OK, he pointed out that I will end up consuming many fewer calories than I do now. He told me that I need to be careful not to reduce my calories too drastically or I’ll lose muscle as well as fat.

I’ll supplement this program by adding at least 15 minutes of intense muscle-building activity to my schedule. I’m not sure right now what that will be. Maybe weightlifting. Maybe swimming. Maybe I’ll just do more wrestling. The point is to try to do a little bit more of whatever I do each day. This is the only way to build muscle — and if I want to keep the muscle I have and ensure that all my lost weight is fat, that’s what I have to do. I’ll keep a daily log of the exercises I do, along with what I eat in terms of calories, protein, carbs, and fat. And I’ll keep track of my weight as well. At the end of every week, I’ll calculate my average weight for the week so I can compare one week’s progress with the next — the only sensible way to track yourself without getting caught up in insignificant daily fluctuations.

What I’m following is much like an Atkins diet — and, as a former consultant to (and acquaintance of) Dr. Atkins, I am pretty well versed on the pluses and minuses of his program. But this is ultimately my own diet, based on all the reading I’ve done over many years and the experience I’ve had dieting before.

After I get down to 179 pounds, I will introduce more vegetables to my diet and even an occasional carb. I’ll try to keep away from the unproductive carbs — breads, pastas, potatoes, etc. — for as long as possible. I’ll set my new “fat-max” threshold at 185 (15 pounds less than the one I’ve been using), and that should pretty well do it for me. I’ll look good. I’ll feel good. And I’ll be in much better health.

Of course, you’ll have to talk to your own doctor to come up with a plan that is right for you. But the point is, it doesn’t matter what condition you are in — 100 pounds too heavy or ready to run the Boston Marathon — you, too, can get yourself into much better shape. And you can do it quickly. The secret is to give yourself a goal and begin immediately.