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Building Muscle Through Self Discipline

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By Cory Cook

How Much Discipline Do You HaveI know the topic of self discipline as it relates to building muscle is not the most interesting topics to discuss.  There are most likely a lot of people that are reading this that are saying “yeah yeah yeah I know”.   However, self discipline is the root of all the success in your life, whether you are talking about gaining weight, being in a successful relationship or creating a better career.

You might be questioning why is this dude on some kick about being disciplined?  The truth to this question is because in many areas in my life, I seem to be lacking in this very important topic.  You know that feeling of wanting to get certain results but feeling the dread of having to go through the process of doing certain things in order to get there.

Whether this means having to prepare all of your food, so that you have plenty of food to eat the next day, or making yourself go to the gym and workout, even when you feel like just chilling and relaxing. Maybe even the discipline it takes me to sit down and start writing this article so I can share my thoughts and experiences with you.  Let’s face the facts, all of these areas require a level of discipline in order to get them done and if you lack the motivation to follow through – you will not get the results you were hoping for.

Why is Discipline So Important Anyways?

Well, let us start off by defining self discipline so we actually know what it is.  The concept of self-discipline is the ability to motivate yourself  to take action despite the condition of your emotional state.  Now can you see why this is so important to your goals even as they relate to building more muscle?

The truth is that your emotional state can vary from day to day, just like the weather does.  The things that separate the achievers from the dreamers are the actions they take on a daily basis to turn those dreams into their reality.  This action of discipline is so much easier when you find yourself dealing with something you are already highly passionate about.  In these areas you find yourself constantly thinking about this passion, so discipline comes easy for those situations.  On the other hand, what happens if you are NOT quite as passionate about an area and are mainly just seeking the end result?

Success or Failure ImageIn this case self-discipline becomes much more important because you do not have that passionate drive to cause you to take action.  This does not mean you do not want the end result, it just means that you may not care for the process it takes you to get there.  Let us face the facts once again, it’s quite possible that YOU, as an underweight hardgainer, might simply want to skip ahead to  have the muscular body without fully appreciating the process it takes to actually build one.  This is when you will  really need to focus on being disciplined in order to achieve the results you are hoping for.

Building muscle is not an easy task.  Yeah, the principles can seem straight forward, but it’s not like you’ll wake up someday and all of a sudden you’re this MASSIVE, SEXY STUD WITH HUGE BULGING MUSCLES.  No, this can take months and even years of dedication to finally look into the mirror and say “wow… all my hard work has finally paid off”.

What Made Me Share this With You?

Well, I am on the same journey as most of you.  I am not going to claim to be some expert in the area of building muscle, because I am not.  I am on the same learning path as most of you and I continue to read and study to build my knowledge so I might be able to accomplish my goals and help others to do the same.

I started this year off with a massive intention to gain some muscle and was aiming at putting on 30 pounds of muscle.  Although the year is not over yet, I started it off pretty well and gained 10 to 15 pounds until I started having some problems with my right knee.  It was then that I stopped doing things like deadlifts and squats until I could get my knee in better shape. I then decided to start putting my focus on upper body training.  I started focusing on ring pushups, pull ups, inverted rows on the rings and overhead dumbbell presses.  Then somehow I started getting tendonitis in my left ring finger, which made gripping things pretty painful.  I know this is no excuse to quit training, but I feel that it affected my emotional state and therefore my discipline to keep training.  You see there are plenty of things I can do without gripping or my knee.  I could set my focus on core exercises, pushups, handstand holds or maybe even some bodyweight leg exercises, but the problem I’ve been having is being disciplined enough to do those things when there’s other exercises I would rather be doing.  My focus is now clear and those things I listed above are what I am going to do.

The Life You Were Born to Live ImageLast night before going to bed I decided to read a little bit from one of my favorite books “The Life You Were Born to Live” by Dan Millman.   By the way, if you have not read this book I highly recommend getting it. This book has improved my life in many ways and it could do the same for you.  It has the ability of helping you see the problems you may need to work through in order to live the life you were born to live.  You can get a copy here if you are interested ? Click Here to Get It.

So anyway, in this book it says that you follow certain yearly cycles and these cycles are what should be your main concern for the year.  It just so happens that my yearly cycle this year is freedom and discipline. I was reading about freedom and discipline last night and it started making me do some thinking and is basically the reason why I started writing this post to share with you.  It made me realize that unless I start becoming more disciplined in every aspect of my life, it will be like I am spinning my wheels and yet still remaining in the same exact spot.

What Can I Do to Become More Disciplined?

The answer to this question has the potential to change every aspect of your life.  Yes, becoming more self-disciplined can help you on your way to building more muscle and accomplishing your weight gain goals.  Still, your weight gain goals are just one small part of your life that can benefit by having more self discipline.  You can apply the area of discipline to every facet of your life to help improve areas you might be lacking in.

What you must realize is that it is very challenging to go from ‘a lack of discipline’ to ‘highly disciplined’ over night, just as it is impossible to go from a skinny guy to muscular hunk over night.  Looking at discipline and building muscle at the same time, might bring some great insights to both areas because both can be viewed on a similar level.

Let’s imagine that discipline can be trained to grow stronger, which it can, just as your muscles can be trained to become stronger.  When dealing with improving your discipline you have to treat it in the same progressive way as you would in training your muscles to become stronger. This then leads them to growing larger over time.  It is difficult to just become more disciplined in every aspect of your life. What you must do is take it through a gradual, step-by-step process, just as you would perform your weight lifting with a similar step-by-step program.

You can use the same philosophy of progressive overload and apply it to building a stronger ability of discipline in your life.  What you do not want to do is TRY to become highly disciplined in every area without a gradual progression, because that is just setting you up to fail in the same way as if you were to try to deadlift 500 pounds when all you can do is really  lift is 150.

Plan Your Meals ImageThe trick is to keep adding more levels of discipline into your life by setting realistic goals. As you succeed, keep raising the stakes until you eventually get to the point of a mastery in discipline in that area.  Let’s take an example and say that right now I do not prepare any of my food for the next day and I never have.  To jump right in and declare that I am going to prepare all 5 of my meals everyday for the rest of my life, might seem a little overwhelming. In the same way that going for a 500 pound max deadlift might be overwhelming to a beginner.  However, if I take it through a progression and decide that I am going to prepare 1 out of 5 of my meals everyday this week, then that might be a little more achievable of a goal to start with.

The same principle can work with how many days you workout.  If your ultimate goal is to train 4 days a week but right now you only train 1, then jumping right into 4 days a week the first week might just be setting you and your body up for failure.  Yet, if you take the approach that this month I am going to start training twice a week  and then the next month or two start training three times a week, then this level of discipline is way more obtainable to you.

Discipline can be viewed just like a muscle; the more you work it, the more it grows.  Then again, if you overwork it by doing too much, too soon you are heading down a path towards failure.

Living the Best Life Possible

You can sit around accomplishing nothing your entire life, and remain discipline free forever. And there is nothing wrong with that.  If you have no ambitions in your life and “only-doing-what-you-want-to-do-when-you-want-to-do-it” satisfies you, then so be it.  No one can or should judge you for what you want or don’t want to accomplish in your life.  On the other hand, if you do not want to look back at your life 10, 15 or even 30 years from now and think to yourself that you wasted your life because you were too lazy or lacked the discipline to do the things you didn’t feel like doing at the time;  Then it might be time to start focusing on improving your level of self-discipline.

The good thing about the practice of discipline is that it can be applied to almost every area of your life!  Discipline can help you grow in every area that you desire to improve in.  Let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with wanting to do the things that you are most passionate about, because some of the best achievements and results are usually obtained by those with the most passion.  Then again, doing the things that you are not quite as passionate about will set you apart from the people that accomplish little in life; Moving you closer to becoming someone  who may ultimately have a huge impact on not only his or her own life, but potentially the lives of many other people that they come in contact with on this journey that we call life.  The choice is up to you, for no one can live your life for you.

Be who you want to be!
Until next time,

Cory Cook


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One Response to “Building Muscle Through Self Discipline”


  1. Brandon Cook Says:

    Awesome post Cory! I think self-discipline is directly related to muscle-building because if you can’t achieve some level of discipline you will quit as soon as you run into any adversity like injuries, or lack of results.

    To quote Dan Millman… “The Law of Discipline points to a paradox. While freedom is our transcendent birthright, it must be earned in this world; discipline remains the key to freedom and independence. This principle applies to both inner freedom and outer freedom.”

    Your blog is coming along! Keep at it. :)

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