What Would Your Future Self Think?

Last week while driving to Melbourne, Florida with my brother Wil for a friend’s bachelor party we started talking about politics. Melbourne is about an hour and a half long drive from Orlando, and the discussion segued from politics to personal responsibility, to health care, to nutrition and diet, to disciplined eating and deferring gratification. While talking about ways people could improve their self discipline and make better choices, Wil suggested that before you do something you should consider whether if your future self were standing there watching would they give you a high five or look at you disapprovingly and say, “What the fuck?!”

This reminded me of a scene in the movie Timecop starring Jean Claude Van Damme where the villain, Senator Aaron McComb, illegally travels back in time to warn his younger self to not sell his share of a company whose microchip will earn him billions of dollars. During the scene McComb says to his younger, leaner self, “…will you do me a favor? Will you lay off the fucking candy bars?”

Ron Silver as the villain Senator Aaron McComb in Timecop

The next time you are tempted to choose the momentary enjoyment of consuming too much of a favorite food or drink when it is counterproductive for your long term goals, imagine your fatter, sloppier future self looking at you disapprovingly, saying, “What the fuck?!” When you resist that temptation imagine your leaner, better looking future self raising their hand to give you a high five.

The next time you’re doing an exercise and your muscles are on fire, your heart is pounding so hard you hear it echoing in your skull, and you’re gasping for breath and you’re tempted to quit instead of giving your best effort, imaging your smaller, weaker self looking at you disapprovingly, saying “What the fuck?!” When you resist that temptation and continue to work through it, imagine your bigger, stronger self smiling and nodding approvingly (because you don’t high five someone doing an exercise).

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20 Responses to What Would Your Future Self Think?

  1. Mike Chambers March 11, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Great motivational post Drew! However, I think it is okay to indulge in a food that is off limits every once in a while!

    • Drew Baye March 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Mike,

      Absolutely. As long as a person’s overall diet is healthy and appropriate for their goals the occasional splurge is perfectly fine. The same goes for occasionally taking a break from training or postponing a workout to do something else with friends or family. Like most things, you just have to have the right balance.

  2. Drew March 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Nice visualization, Drew!

  3. Thomas March 12, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Good stuff drew. Simple yet effective.

  4. Steven Turner March 15, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    Hi Drew,

    I never thought about it in this way but to some extent I think that many of us in the HIT world do this already. Thinking back on it I have probably being doing this without recognising it. This approach could be good as a client motivation strategy.

  5. Steven Turner March 15, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Hi Drew,

    I forgot, what about the bachelor party did you go what the fuck? before you indulged.

    • Drew Baye March 15, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      Steven,

      No, it was a pretty laid back party, nothing crazy. I don’t drink, smoke, or get high at all, and the rest of the guys only had a few drinks. I had two or three diet Coke’s, and that was it.

  6. Pete Collins March 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi Drew
    When you said driving to Melbourne I got excited, but not Melbourne Australia, damn it. Nice little bit of advice though, visualization can reinforce discipline, something I am going to have to practice all day tomorrow while in the corporate sponsors suite at the 2013 Formula 1 Grand Prix, I have my next workout booked in for Tuesday.

    Pete

    • Drew Baye March 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Pete,

      If I’m ever going to be in Melbourne, Australia or anywhere else outside of central FL I’ll mention it here and in the e-mail list and HIT Forum so I can arrange to meet up with readers and visit other training facilities. One of these days I would love to take a few months and just drive across the US and train at some of the best HIT gyms and training studios. I’ve been fortunate to work with Ken Hutchins here and to visit and work out at Ell Darden and Jim Flanagan’s home gyms, and I’ve seen the Overload facility in Cleveland, but there are a lot of great trainers out there who I’d like to be able to either meet or catch up with spread across the US, as well as a few in Canada.

  7. Vanner March 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Timecop — what a classic Van Damme flick. He made me want to achieve the front split when I was a kid, until I realized it was a foolish undertaking and gave it up.

    My greatest motivation is looking at the folks around me who are suffering due to their lifestyle. Mostly due to being over-weight, but sometimes from allowing the body to atrophy as they get into their 40′s & 50′s. You gotta be able to keep up with your kids!

    • Drew Baye March 17, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      Vanner,

      I’ve been a fan of Van Damme since I saw No Retreat, No Surrender. The Saturday after it came out our Tae Kwon Do school did demos at the theater before each showing and I saw it three times in a row. I was also inspired achieve the full front-split and did work up to it, and was even able to hold the position with only my feet supported. Like many other traits the limits of flexibility are genetically dictated though, and I don’t know if it’s possible for everybody.

      When I was younger my biggest motivations for training were getting girls and not getting my ass kicked. I still want to look good for my wife and be able to competently defend myself and my family, but now I’m more concerned with being healthy and maintaining a high level of functional ability for as long as I can.

      Drew Baye doing a front-split on two chairs

  8. Steven Turner March 17, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    Hi Drew,

    Like Pete said he gotta excited about when you said you were going to Melbourne. I don’t live close to Melbourner but if you were ever to come to Melbourne Australia I would make the effort to meet with you. I like the splits maybe a bit harder to do these days.

    Did you realise what you said above – I could now think that exercise ransitional or stages for purpose of motivation. Most people go to stage one, than some stage 2 but not so many for stage 3. I think this is where many people get misguided by the “real purpose of exercise”. Whilst I think stage one and stage two are strong motivators for exercise and provide strong motivation stage three for many is lost probably the most important stage.

    As Vanner points out looking at all the people of 40s and 50s – I could add “you gotta be able to keep up with your grand kids”.

  9. Karl March 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    I have applied your training regime for 2-3 months now. I workout 1 time every week full body, im considering doing a split routine since im getting pretty exhausted at the end.
    If using split routine should i still just do 1 workout a week?

    Im really proud of myself that im able to stick with this program. Its so much easier to do esp if you are cutting since u dont need to drag yourself to the gym all the time.

    Im playing soccer and i was really conserned with “slow pace” weight lifting would make my slower and bulkier but it seems like you are right Drew the stronger i get the faster i get wich is just LOVELY.

    Thanx a ton man and i will keep you updated on my progress :)

    • Drew Baye March 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

      Karl,

      I would try alternating between two shorter full body routines with different exercises before splitting up the workouts between muscle groups.

      All else being equal your speed will improve as your lower body strength improves regardless of how quickly you move during exercise, but moving more slowly is safer.

  10. William Lee March 20, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Nice Pick of the splits. Question Drew how do you incorporate a stretching routing with a High Intensity Exercise Program. I want to be able to do the splits just to say I can do it but I want to know what is the best way to achieve it with HIT. Thanks Drew keep up the good work on educating people on how to do proper exercise.

    • Drew Baye March 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      William,

      Assuming normal, healthy joints, if you are performing exercises for all the major muscle groups don’t need anything else to maintain adequate flexibility for most activities. If additional flexibility is required for a specific activity like certain martial arts I recommend brief, daily static stretching, with a focus on very gradual progression.

      If there is enough interest in flexibility I will write something separate on it. Maybe I’ll work up to the full front split again as a case study and demonstration.

      • Sebastian March 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

        Hi Drew, I have had incredibly poor flexibility my entire life and would love to know what you’ve done in the past to increase yours. I hope there are others who are interested too!

        • Drew Baye March 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

          Sebastian,

          I will add this to my “blog topics” list.

  11. Paul August 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Drew, my future goal is to open my own HIT gym, i am currently in high school and i would most likely need credentials to have a successful business so i decided im going to go to tafe to do a course which is basically exercise physiology, i have been unsure what i am going to do, because being an advocate of HIT i know this is not the mainstream idea of exercise and at tafe i am most likely going to hear alot of bullshit from my teacher, e.g. slow paced running is the best way to work the cardiovascular system, do you think i should challenge my teacher with what he/she says or should i accept this is what most people believe and just go along with what my teacher says for my exams, i would assume if didn’t my exam mark would be poor and i will not get any credentials, and there is no other way around it because its not like there is a university of tafe course that actually teaches CORRECT exercise physiology. thanks.

    • Drew Baye August 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Paul,

      I argued with my ex phys professor in class frequently. It didn’t help much. Learn as much as you can about the relevant physiology and anatomy, be skeptical of the applications they teach, and do your own reading and research outside of class.

      Your education and career choices should be guided by what you are passionate about, but if you want to own your own business spend at least as much time learning about business and marketing as you do about exercise science, or you may end up being an expert at something you have no idea how to earn a living from.

      I suggest watching the video of philosopher Alan Watts’ comments on career choice at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnFUDVpFwFQ

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