Mass Made Simple

Mass Made Simple: A 6-Week Journey into Bulking
Dan John, Let’s Get Started: The Mental Side of ­Bulking Excerpt

The Toolkit for Goal-Setting: The Key to ­Bulking

Eat your way to SUCCESS!!!

I think I could make a fortune with a book entitled Eat Your Way to Success. I love to browse bookstores through the diet, fitness and cooking sections and just feast on all the delicious options for food or not eating food. Everything makes you fat if you look through enough diet books. That same “thing” is also the cure for your fatness in a book one shelf away. Walk over to the personal success aisle and you can learn to talk to yourself until you have a million dollars. Rather than talk to yourself like the nice lady on the midnight bus from downtown, I suggest eating your way to ­success.

Honestly, the three best mental images I have for success involve eating. From what I have seen across the vast landscape of America, eating is not a rarity for many here in these United States. I have been elbowed by many a moo-mooed woman in a buffet line in Las Vegas and I have the war wounds to prove it. Sadly, my Frog, Elephant and Alpo Dog Food Diet might lose customers simply by the title. Every time I fly, I see an advertisement for something called The Cookie Diet. Now that can sell. Somehow, even if it was The All You Can Eat Frog, Elephant and Alpo Dog Food Diet, it still might not break the top 10 best-seller ­list.

If there is an axiom for a successful life and having any chance at achieving any goals, it would be the following—

“You can’t do everything, but you can do something.”

Let that sit before you for a moment. If I could do anything for my legacy to this fine planet earth, I would hope and pray it would be Do Something. For years at workshops I have been preaching my “secret” two words to success: Show up. I need to add “Do something,” ­too.

In this approach to bulking, we are NOT going to do everything. We are going to add some basic things and see how the journey is taking you. But, you MUST do something: SHOW UP!

My favorite story about the magic of simply showing up happened in 1984. I was standing in line, after a long train ride to get to there and probably no real sleep in two days, to register for my intensive Turkish language class. Quick, imagine me standing in line because that is all I was doing. If you have ever stood in line, use that image if that is easier for ­you.

A guy behind the registration desk slammed a phone down, looked up at me and asked, “Do you want $1,500?”

My answer…“Uh, yes.”

It turns out that another student who had been given a nice stipend just to show up decided to quit. I was given a check in the next three minutes for $1,500 for just standing in ­line.

If you want to be a national champion, you really need to get to the stadium on time. If you decide to get married, the ceremony starts at 11. Be there. Showing up is underrated as a life skills success ­clue.

Of course, showing up is only step one. Step two is to do something. When I counsel/mentor/coach/teach/help others in ­goal-­setting, it often only takes a few minutes to outline a list of goals in every single area of life. Warning: Be careful about setting goals, because you may attain them. Almost every time I have had one of these ­goal-­setting experiences, the person looks up and smiles from this sheet of paper, then the eyes go wide and the question comes forth, “Well, uh, what do I do?”

Do ­something.

Easy to type. Easy to read. And, actually, easy to do. The problem for most people is the magnitude of a goal seems to explode like the Big Bang before them. You want to get your college degree? Well, you have to register, get a parking pass, find the cafeteria, buy a school sweatshirt, find a lifetime friend to have several funny experiences with, go on a road trip, write and lose the Great American Novel, read a book simply from Cliff Notes…hey, you have a lot to do! For me, when someone says college, I have a refreshing mental image of fun, study and free time. Why the disconnect? Well, I’ve done it! Talk to people have done the goal you are interested in achieving, and, well, do what they say!

By following the path of generations of successful bulkers of the past, you are well on your way to ­success.

That is why I go to experts when I have a question. Years ago, as I often joke, I woke up fat. Many of you may understand that completely. Working two jobs, raising kids, mowing lawns, struggling with life and all the rest might just keep you from making excellent food and exercise decisions each and every day. And, one day, you wake up fat.

So, I consulted a group of women called the 100-Pound Club. Each of the women had lost one hundred pounds through a variety of diets, exercise choices and attempts, and they discussed their findings freely. You see, they had been there. My friend Dave dropped one hundred pounds by simply making a new habit each month, from something as simple as drinking more water each day to walking each day. When it came time for serious goals, like running a ­half-­marathon, his background of successfully nailing progressively harder goals led him across the finish line.

If you want to learn about fat loss, ask a competitive bodybuilder. If you want to learn about persuasive speaking, read Lincoln or Churchill. If you want to learn the next step after showing up, listen to me. Let’s do something!

To help you do something, we’ll discuss my Frog, Elephant and Alpo Dog Food ­Diet.

The First Thing is To Do SOMETHING!

The first thing about getting things done is that there is always something, something big, sitting there that you don’t want to do. Years ago, my wife Tiffini clued me in on how to deal with ­this.

“If you have to eat a plate of frogs, eat the biggest one first.”

Hmmm? Listen, this “system” works. If you have to do something today involving a crappy phone call, an awful meeting or a visit to the IRS, schedule it first. I made a career as a strength coach by teaching people to FIRST do the stuff they don’t want to do in the weightroom or on the field of play. Eat the biggest frog ­first.

Imagine a plate of frogs sitting before you. Now, imagine you will get a billion dollars for eating the whole plate. Would you do it? Or is your revulsion from eating our little frog friends so great you will pass on the billion? For me, I am going to shove those guys down my throat as fast as I can for a billion bucks. Yep, I have standards about food and drink, but I will take the billion, thank you very ­much.

Which one should you start with? Tiff tells us to reach in and grab the biggest one and swallow it down and, from there, none of the little ones will wiggle down as ­much.

So, rule one of “Do something” is to pick the worst thing you perceive of the new direction or decision and get rid of it. Surprisingly, it is usually not that bad. Moreover, the relief—­breathe out, wipe your brow, relax your shoulders, smile again—­of dealing with this first big frog makes the rest of the goal pretty easy.

I have been there many times in my life. As a teacher, it is dealing with the crazy helicopter parent (the parent whirling constantly around the child); as a professional, it might be that task that just feels like labor pains and you can fill in the blank for yourself here. Find the big frog. Eat ­it.

Here’s an example from the 6-week training journal at the back of this spiral-bound book:

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