Aleksey Vayner Is My Hero
Just to state for the record, this headline is a parody. This video has been kicking around the internet since about 2006. Apparently Aleksey decided the best way to impress the recruiters at UBS was to create a video resume. They thought it was funny enough to send to some friends and it went viral from their. I showed it to a friend and she kept a pretty straight face up until when he started dancing, and she said, “He’d better get over himself.”
Despite the blatant narcissism on show (the dude’s interviewing himself here), what he says isn’t necessarily much different from what any standard self-improvement guru out there might tell you (except that most of them aren’t quite as cheesy. What is he CEO of? His dorm room?). So I’ll consider this video about 20% true and 80% bull.
More to the point of this post, what is holding you back from achieving the body, fitness, and energy you desire? As Aleksey would have it, you are probably not pushing yourself hard enough, after all “Impossible is Nothing” (Just remember to have those three spotters to help you get the barbell back up). But I’m sure that you, like me and most people out there, are stressed and hurried as it is, and here is some genius telling you to push harder. Yeah right.
One thing he says that I do agree with is that everything rests on your physical condition. After all, to be extreme about it, you can’t do much when your dead. So what gives you great physical capacity? How can you be in your personal best shape? If what you are doing right now doesn’t seem to be taking you in the direction you want to go, then redoubling your efforts will just continue to get you nowhere. In my experience, running full tilt into a brick wall leads to more broken noses that breakthroughs.
So let’s do a short checklist of what the right path looks like (and this is a hierarchy. 1 is more important that 2, and 2 is more important that 3):
1) Sleep. Prioritize this above all else. If you aren’t getting enough then nothing else will go right, and you won’t want to do anything. There are a lot of really scary studies out there about what being chronically short of sleep does to you. I’ve had a lot of personal experience with bad sleep habits and still struggle with it. The thing that has worked best for me is to set a fixed bedtime. When I get there, I say to myself, “No matter how cool this thing is that I am doing, it will still be there in the morning.”
2) Food. What you eat is more important than how much. Sugar and anything made from grains keep you hungry, make you fatigued after an initial buzz, and keep adding fat onto your body. If you aren’t doing this now, try shifting to eating only meat, eggs, cheese, vegetables, and fruit, with a preference for the animal products.
3) Exercise. This is third, so it is less important than you may have thought. Do the other two first. If you are looking to reduce weight, food is 90% of the issue. Steady state cardio like a treadmill or jogging really doesn’t have much of an effect. For something that will develop strength and can be used for life with low chance of injury, we recommend bodyweight exercises. To burn fat, do these in high-intensity circuits.
Don’t go onto Step 2 until you have made a habit of Step 1, and don’t go to Step 3 until you’ve made a habit of Step 2. When you’re firing on all cylinders, you’ll feel golden, and impossible will truly be nothing.