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Mustufa Babar

4 Amazing Lessons I Learned from Fitness YouTuber, Mike Rashid

mike rashid

Over the last couple of years, Mike Rashid has become incredibly popular among the YouTube fitness community. He is the CEO and founder ImSoAlpha and Alpha Academy Apparel, as well as the co-owner of both Metroflex LPC and the Original Addicts Gym. So you could say he’s pretty a pretty accomplished guy in the fitness world.

Mike Rashid is also an author, ex-boxer, father of three, and WBFF Pro. He advocates for fitness as a way to strengthen your mind, body, and spirit in order to become successful in the real world. But there’s more to be learned from Mike than just tips for keeping up physical fitness. Above all, Mike stresses the importance of hard work, discipline, human experiences, and core values. Here are 4 things that I have learned from Mike Rashid.

Health, Not Aesthetics

mike rashid article

Is this what fitness really looks like?

A really present issue in the fitness industry is the perception of shooting for an extremely low (and in some cases unhealthy) body fat percentage in order to acquire “fitness” in the form of shredded abs and diced obliques.

While competing in bodybuilding for a brief period of time, Mike Rashid noticed that many of the fitness models he encountered were not really fit at all. They acquired abs by essentially starving themselves with little to no carbohydrates and extremely low-calorie diets. This is a false illusion of health: in fact, many complications arise from these extreme diets such as hormonal imbalance, depression, erectile dysfunction in men, and malnourishment (to name a few). Instead of focusing on getting down to dangerously low body fat percentages such as 5 or 6%, one’s focus in fitness should be to maintain good health by exercising, eating healthy, and making other healthy choices for your body and mind.  

Progression

Life is all about progression. The gym is only one example in a gym rat’s life in which progression occurs. Over time, you get physically stronger, you grow wiser about which exercises are most beneficial to you, and you learn about the ins and outs of your body through experience. You are essentially progressing within your fitness life. However, progression doesn’t end at the gym. Mike Rashid stresses the significance of using the arsenal of skill that you’ve acquired mentally from pushing yourself at the gym and applying it to other aspects of your life. This includes investing time and creating dedication towards your occupation, relationships, businesses, and personal aspirations.

Overtraining

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The first video that I had seen of Mike Rashid was his overtraining chest workout. Mike wanted to change the definition of overtraining and the negative connotations attached to it. Overtraining is generally seen as working out too hard, spending too much time in the gym, or not taking enough rest days. Overtraining is accommodated with symptoms such as persistent muscle soreness, loss of strength, increase incidents of injuries, and sleeplessness. Therefore, many people fear overtraining and compensate by sticking to low intensity workouts that are too easy for them, and never really push themselves in the gym. However, Mike Rashid believes that the only way to see drastic changes to your body is to overtrain. He believes that you should push yourself to the absolute limit during every workout, tap into your mental willpower to get that extra final rep, and take your sets to muscle failure every time.

Although Mike praises the notion of overtraining, he also acknowledges that one should consume enough calories and get proper sleep to adequately recover from intense workouts. Once I started applying overtraining principles to my workouts, I discovered I had better workouts, a more intense muscle pump, and increase in strength and muscle gains.

Shakespeare; Julius Caesar: Cowards die many times before their death; The valiant never taste of death but once.

Mike Rashid mentioned this quote in one of his videos when talking about being real with others. He interpreted the quote as someone envying someone else and holding hatred in their heart towards that person, yet still smiling and shaking that person’s hand when they see them. Every time the coward does this, he/she essentially dies a little on the inside. The coward isn’t brave enough to express his emotions and treat someone based on how they feel about them. I believe that authenticity gains not only respect from others, but also allows you to respect yourself.

These are just a few of the valuable lessons Rashid has to offer. With a fan base growing each day, Mike Rashid inspires many people across the globe. He advocates for following a healthy lifestyle, progressing in all aspects of life, training hard in the gym, and displaying authenticity in your character.

As Mike Rashid once said,

“Be disciplined, train hard. Train your mind as thoroughly as you train your body. Be a complete warrior. Not just a brute. Practice eloquence of the tongue, be fluid in thought.. Be gentle, but strong. Be humble. Stand firm in your beliefs. Be a protector. Make your word your bond. Firm handshakes, make eye contact. Be accountable for your actions.”

 

5 Reasons You Should Wake Up At 5 Every Morning

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

The alarm clock reads 8:00 AM. You quickly tap the snooze button, still more than half-asleep.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! 8:10 AM. You turn off the alarm clock, lying to yourself that you’ll get up in just ten more minutes. Then you go back to sleep, knowing you don’t have class until 10 AM.

Sometime much, much later, you roll over on your comfy Tempur-Pedic mattress pad and your eyes slowly open. You see the time: 9:40 AM.

With adrenaline rushing through your veins, you quickly jump out of bed and rush to the bathroom with your toiletries faster than you can count to 3. You brush your teeth inadequately for the sake of time and splash yourself with cold water instead of washing your face. In meager hopes of catching a bus, you decide not to change your clothes (I can go to class in my red polka dot pajama pants again, right?) and run out of your dorm. I mean… you’re in college after all.

Many people, myself included, have gone through a similar situation. How many times have I woken up too late for yet another consecutive morning and promised myself, “tomorrow will be different”?

Personally, I never used to enjoy waking up early. It made no sense to me why some people woke up at 5 or 6 AM. I would fall back on the overused “I’m just not a morning person” excuse and redeem my personal satisfaction of catching a couple more hours of sleep.

However, once academics, relationships, family, friends, and personal hobbies started to pile up on top of me, I had to find a way to balance this all out while also maintaining a healthy state of mind. I didn’t want to destroy any relationships, abandon any of my personal hobbies, or devote less time to my academics in order to find the perfect balance I wanted. So I reluctantly came to the conclusion that in order to add more hours to my day, I needed to start waking up earlier.

And I’m never going back.

Here are five reasons why I’ve found it to be beneficial to wake up at 5 AM.

1. Tranquility

As the rest of the world sleeps, you get to experience one of the most peaceful moments ever. With no cars running, no children screaming, no birds chirping, and no radio playing, you get to enjoy a harmonious, silent, and amazingly tranquil atmosphere. When else besides 5 AM can you walk outside and be consumed by the beautiful quietude of the universe? This serves as a perfect, distraction-less time to plan out the approaching day, meditate, or read and respond to your emails. (Though no promises on whether the recipients of said emails will be really impressed or think you might be a little insane)

2. Exercise

The most common excuses people have for not exercising as much as they’d like to is that they don’t have the time. However by waking up earlier, you’ve not only found the time to exercise, but also reduce your likelihood of interrupting or missing a workout due to random, erratic circumstances that might come up throughout the day. At 5 am, there’s no such thing as forgotten assignments or unexpected meetings. It’s just you and that exercise mat, right through till the end.

Exercising first thing in the morning can also set you up for a lasting good mood for the rest of the day. This could come from either the endorphin rush of having a great workout or setting a personal record on a lift. In fact, there is no better time to go to the gym than in the morning, when the gym isn’t crowded and busy.

3. Productivity  

Whether you have an assignment due later in the day or want to continue working on a project that you already started, the morning’s soothing environment welcomes you to be productive. With no distractions from the outside world, you can get more done in a shorter period of time. In my personal experience, my brain functions best in the morning after a good night’s sleep, allowing me to be much more productive than I am later in the day when I am already worn down from class and other responsibilities.

4. Breakfast

It’s such a shame — too many people miss the most important meal of the day because they wake up late. In the midst of rushing to get ready to go to work or class, you’re likely to end up skipping breakfast for lack of time. This is super unfortunate, not only because food is great but also because it is important to jumpstart  your brain and body with the fuel they need after not eating for 6-8 hours in the form of a healthy meal.

Fun fact about me, I didn’t actually believe in eating breakfast for many years until I gave it a try. Since then, I’ve noticed that I am more alert, focused, and able to think more decisively after eating a nutritious breakfast early in the morning.

5. To do the things you don’t like doing

Mike Rashid, bodybuilder & former pro boxer, said in one of his Youtube videos that we should get up early in the morning to do the things that we don’t want to do in order to have an advantage over others.

This could be studying for a class you don’t enjoy, completing applications for scholarships or internships, or (like Mike did) jogging outside in heavy boots. Mike Rashid stressed the importance that we should do things that we don’t like– things that make us uncomfortable– in order to forge character and create discipline within ourselves.  Sometimes, we put off these uncomfortable activities for a later time but then forget to ever tackle them due to other unpredictable circumstances that arise throughout the day. Therefore by engaging in these undesirable activities first thing in the morning, you not only have an advantage of your peers who decided to stay in their comfort zone and sleep in, but you are also bettering yourself by constructing valuable and lasting virtues.

It is no surprise that some of the world’s top CEO’s and successful people set up a regime to wake up before sunrise. Starting your day early allows you to enjoy the peace of silence as the entire world sleeps, aids in maintaining a healthy physical and mental wellbeing through exercise, increases your level of productivity, gives you the opportunity to enjoy a well balanced breakfast, and instills character values.

You might not be able to get there in a day– that’s okay! To develop this healthy habit, you should take slow steps by waking up 30 minutes earlier and going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. After some time, you can gradually increase to 1 hour and so on. Within no time, you will get used to waking up at 5 AM.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” What a guy, huh? 

Fitness is About More Than Your Appearance: Here’s Why

I quickly unwrapped the last ice cream sandwich and stacked it at the top of my mountain of five others. Cutting a piece of the diabetes mountain with the side of my fork, I thought to myself “so this is what it feels like to be a king”. I swallowed my first bite, unaware of the unhealthy habit I was developing.

This was the third time this week I had eaten this 900 calorie dessert…  and it was only Tuesday. While the other kids ate whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, during my youth I ate chips, cookies, ice cream, and cereal (with extra sugar in the milk). Yes, I was physically active while I consumed these salivating desserts– but my caloric intake far exceeded the calories I burned during my physical activity.

I remember how embarrassed I would feel going to my pediatrician during annual checkups because I would have to step on the scale and inevitably receive a ten minute lecture about my weight. I would be told that it was a problem, and that I needed to go on some sort of a diet. When family came over, I would feel betrayed when they commented on my belly and chubby cheeks. Even worse, I felt ashamed in school, and I walked around sucking in my stomach to conceal my obvious weight problem. It wasn’t until I entered high school as a 170 pound overweight freshman when I decided to put an end to my unhealthy life choices and reinvent myself.

fitness is more than just look

I decided to try a membership at my local YMCA. I still remember my first day when I walked in and passed the weight room. I thought there must have been World War 3 going on in there from all the noise from weights dropping and men grunting. Frightened by the unwelcoming environment, I dashed upstairs to the cardio room and decided to initiate my transformation journey on the treadmill.

This soon become a habit– a healthy habit, something that I developed for the first time. Along with running on the treadmill, I decided to cut out all of the junk food out of my diet. This meant no more mindless eating of chips and popcorn while I watched a movie or stuffing my mouth with cookies like the Cookie Monster after school.

Over the course of the next couple of months, fat significantly melted off of my body. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was in control of something– something that people often neglect, something that had crushed my confidence during my early teens, something that I once felt disgusted with. I was in control of my body.

With some newly developed confidence, I decided to enter the weight room. This was primarily because my treadmill routine was becoming mundane. I was greeted with serious, focused looks of buff lifters who I thought made me look like a spaghetti noodle. Feeling awkward and like a boy among men, I picked a corner, grabbed some light dumbbells, and started doing uncoordinated weight lifting. Completely clueless, I started curling the weight and shoulder pressing it upwards. I didn’t know what I was doing or if I was doing it right but what I do know is that I woke up sore the next morning. After a couple of weeks of doing this, I decided to look go on YouTube to look up some new exercises that I could incorporate into my routine. That was when I came across video links to eminent bodybuilders and discovered the realm of bodybuilding.

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I quickly became infatuated with the notion of acquiring an aesthetically pleasing physique. I sought advice and motivation from top class bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman and YouTube fitness celebrities like Chris Jones from Physiques of Greatness and the Hodge Twins from Twin Muscle Workout. This was the pinnacle point in my life, when my fitness journey shaped the individual that I am today.

My body drastically changed over the course of the first two years of lifting weights. As I started to see more results, I started to take the step further by increasing my work capacity in the gym and keeping my diet even more strict that what it already was. I would go to sleep at night thinking either about my workout that I would endure the next day or if I could do something more or tweak something to put on some more muscle mass. Almost every aspect of my life revolved around bodybuilding. This meant timing meals properly so I could fit 5-6 meals in the course of one day, going to sleep early to make sure I get enough sleep to stimulate maximum muscle recovery, and spending 2-3 hours in the gym training as intense as I can. All I was aware of was the physical aspects of bodybuilding. It wasn’t until I entered college when I realized the impact that bodybuilding had on my mind.

Coming to Stony Brook University as a typical pre-med student, I was aware of the intense difficulty that I was going to face in academics from what I heard from friends already at Stony Brook or from physicians who had graduated from the university. It wasn’t until I finished my first semester of freshman year when I realized that all the hype was for nothing. Sure, pre-med can be difficult in undergrad, but armed with the mentality that I had acquired from bodybuilding, I became really successful at it.

Through working out in the gym, I learned resilience: I went to the gym on the days when I was feeling tired, fought food cravings when I was on a stricter diet, did whatever it took inside and outside the gym to get results. Not only that, but I also learned not to let other people bring me down when they would say things like I wasn’t making any progress or that I would never get bigger. I pushed past the negativity from others and did what I had to do for myself.computer

Applying these skills in college, I was able to learn to study when I didn’t feel like studying, to skip the party some nights to complete an assignment, to go to TA’s for help and look for study resources online, and to prove the people wrong when they say that it’s impossible to get an A in a seemingly difficult course.

By joining Fit U, I hope to inspire people to attain the same mental benefits I did of living a healthy lifestyle and pumping iron. The physical aesthetics of a healthy body are great, but having the mentality of a go-getter is what leaves a legacy.