You, Only Stronger: Busting Fitness Myths & Boosting Your Confidence
Newsflash, courtesy of science: finding your balance requires muscle.
At the start of every year, fitness goals take up so much headspace. Maybe you resolved to doing 150 crunches every morning, or maybe you’ll go kinda vegan. Whether you’re planning to torch the fat or excavate your abs for that sexy new swimsuit you self-gifted – it’s time to get serious about your fitness.
Hate to break this, but a lot of the guidance out there is a load of crap. Or it’s not sustainable with your busy lifestyle. In reality, 80% of people quit New Year’s resolutions by mid-February.
To the rescue: Jared San Nicolas is a fitness coach and family man who runs Crossfit Barracks gym with his wife Mallory, and wears his heart on his sleeve (around a big-ass bicep). This San Diego-based weight-lifting competitor will turn your sweat into sinew, but he’s got no time for your excuses.
San Nicolas can crush your misconceptions about getting fit. He’ll inspire you to keep getting your ass to the gym (or the mat in your garage), and to feel next-level strong.
Myth #1: Pain = gain.
Guess what? You’re probably doing it wrong.
“I want to teach perfect movement. You’ll get less injuries and better lifts. Then the intensity can go up,” says San Nicolas.
“I get a lot of guys in their 30’s to 40’s, played sports when they were in school.” San Nicolas says they start off squatting in a way that’s too hard on their knees, and there’s a learning curve to engaging their hips more. It’s critical to teach his clients why they need to move a certain way, or the correction doesn’t stick and the guys are soon sidelined with overstretched ligaments.
Check this tutorial from certified nerds to boost your glutes and physio IQ.
Myth #2: You did it!
There are no quick wins. Keep going.
Yeah, that’s hard to hear when you’re on rep 14 and can’t see the forest through the trees (or you can’t see your toes over that goosefat). But this is a long-term commitment.
“I tell my clients that it’s about progress, not perfection.” Preach.
San Nicolas explains: “We are all humans and make poor decisions sometimes. It’s much more of a lifestyle that I want to create than a quick goal to chase and achieve.”
Scratch the surface some more. It’s hard to believe a guy who looks like San Nicolas struggles with confidence, but that’s what brought him to the gym and it’s why he keeps it up. “I will never be satisfied with my performance as a competitive exerciser. That’s why I’m always busting my butt.”
Commit to the workout over and over again and ultimately, you feel less vulnerable.
“When it gets hard…you want to stop so bad. That happens in life too. Never giving up – that’s what I teach my clients and what I teach my two boys.”
San Nicolas’ work and personal code of ethics is similar. He’s inspired a loyal following at Crossfit Barracks because of it. “My clients learn to get through it, because they learn they can get through their workouts. It doesn’t matter how fast.”
Myth #3: It’s all about core strength.
Nope. It’s about love, people.
There’s no one muscle group or magic bullet move that’s going to make you look better. Just like you can’t out-train a bad diet – fitness is about mind, body, relationships, vices. It’s all connected.
You’ll need to start loving yourself unconditionally – do all the things to protect that body, support it, and show it you care.
Sounds great… but where does a guy even start? “Take your diet, says San Nicolas. “It’s an integral part. Even when you work out really hard for four hours, you can blow all that on a bad food choice.” Alright, no dirty bulk, got that?
“A guy once tried to convince me that drinking alcohol after a workout is good for you… I wouldn’t recommend that to any of my clients,” San Nicolas laughs.
Wait though. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself. San Nicolas knows how important it is to relax his mind and body after his epic days. “Not only do I feel the pressure to always be working out and eating right, I believe in leading by example. But getting outside, hiking, camping, family vacations every so often is how I keep my sanity…that, and cannabis. I find that cannabis calms my nerves. I always have to be peppy and motivating for my line of work. So to unwind and actually get good sleep, I use cannabis.”
He’ll end the day with some Indica and Game of Thrones. Then, he’s up at 3:50am for a power breakfast.
“My passion is to genuinely help people become something more than what they think they could ever be. That starts with fitness. Then confidence. Then they make an effort to better their lives.”
Myth #4: It gets easier.
It doesn’t. So start now.
“Your health is something you cannot take for granted. It’s easy when your young and invincible. But your bad habits are going to catch up to you,” warns San Nicolas.
He trains groups of all shapes and sizes, “from pro/college/high school athletes to your everyday 9-5’er to women in their 60’s. It doesn’t matter who you are or how successful you are, we all go through the same hurt in the group fitness classes,” says San Nicolas.
And that’s the key. No one has it easy. San Nicolas doesn’t always know what’s weighing on them before or after class. But in that time together, they also completely focus on themselves.
If you can make lifting weights about something a lot bigger, whatever drives you, you’re more likely to hold it up.
“Helping people get stronger. Seeing that happiness on their faces – same way I felt when I first discovered this.”
Before he went back for the next class, we asked San Nicolas if he thinks he’s found balance. “That’s the secret to life! When you figure it out, let me know.”
He says, “balance is something I’ve been searching for, for a long time. It’s finding time to do the things that mean the most to me. Working, workout for myself, be a dad, husband, etc. But by relieving stress through workouts, hiking, and cannabis, I’m able to keep it all together.”
Jared San Nicolas