Anyone who wants to be shredded can be shredded. I absolutely believe that. But I also believe that it comes at a different cost for each of us. Some peeps don’t have to pay as much to be lean and svelte – the kind of peeps who can eat a whole pizza and still drop body fat. You know, the kind of peeps who eat peeps (…anyone? where are you going?) We call these peeps eating people “lucky,” and they are. “Good genetics,” we’ll say. 

Other people have to pay more. Through a combination of genetics and environmental conditioning, these people are not as predisposed to losing weight. If they choose to embark upon a weight loss journey, it can feel like more of a struggle. It’s as if the misleading and misguided (and mis-everything) diet ads we’ve all heard are written directly for them: 

  • “Is your body holding onto that stubborn belly fat?”
  • “The trick to food combinations that unlock the secret to weight loss!!”
  • “Release stored up toxins and melt belly fat fast!!!”
  • “The 21 day detox!!”
  • (**Anything that says detox**)
  • “Looking to make your muscles long and lean??”
  • “The real secret to weight loss that the billion dollar health industry doesn’t want you to know!!”

Our modern metropolitan life is set in a sedentary world, surrounded by simple, heavily processed foods. Weight gain is easy. When weight loss is unsuccessful it engenders desperation: the reason that the tag lines, weight loss pills, and fad diets have become a huge business. When weight loss feels unfeasible, people are willing to try methods that are more and more unreasonable.

Now I’m not here to convince you that weight loss is going to be easy. You know that it’s a struggle. But I am here to convince you that it can be a beautiful struggle. 

The trick to successful living is to convert stumbling blocks into stepping stones. If we’re able to transform our obstacles into agents of progress, we can literally accomplish anything. The obstacles of weight loss have some unique advantages but in order to unlock their potential, you’ll need to adopt a unique perspective. Here are some examples of ways to celebrate the blessings of a weight loss struggle:

Simple answers don’t work for you.

How awesome is that!!? Because you’re forced to dig deeper into physiology and metabolic science, you’ll end up with a much more sophisticated understanding of your own body. The truth of weight management is more complicated than one-liners and diet pills. You’re given a golden opportunity and tons of incentive to learn and as my homie GI Joe says, “Knowledge is half the battle.”    

IMG_0582Easy workouts don’t work for you.

How awesome is THAT!!? Hand to Zeus, I believe that hard work is a blessing. In a world that is becoming softer and cushier, an understanding of hard physical labor is a capacity we must nurture. Our bodies crave challenge; if you want the results you’re looking for, you’re going to have to challenge yourself. How fortunate, especially when this commitment can spill over into your professional and personal life. As we learn to unleash the power of hard work, everything gets better.

Your weight loss journey has the potential to be way more joyful.

Common sense tells us that the amount of joy we derive from an accomplishment is directly related to the amount of struggle it took to achieve it. 

An example:

If I gave you an Olympic gold medal, how many feels would you feel? A few, perhaps. “Cool. A gold medal,” you might say. But on the podium at The Games, when an athlete earns a gold medal, when she reflects upon an entire career of blood, sweat, toil, and tears, when she rises to the occasion, defies the fiercest competition, and conquers the world stage, the amount of joy is astounding. It’s the kind of joy that makes our heart explode. It’s magical. But it’s not about the gold medal. It’s about the journey. It’s about the struggle.   

More struggle. More joy.

When I was a wrestler at the University of Michigan, we started the tradition of going away on a pre-season camping trip. It was a chance to bond and have some fun before a long and grueling season, but it was also a time to align as a team our goals and expectations for the year. At night, we’d sit around the campfire and share motivational quotes, stories, or tid-bits. One of our assistant coaches shared a quote that eventually made its way onto the walls of our practice facility. It said,  

Happy are those who dream dreams, and are willing to pay the price to make them come true. ~L.J. Cardinal Suenens

I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and analyzing that quote. I find it to be exceptionally profound, not so much for what it says, but for what it DOESN’T say. Because the quote is not, “Happy are those who dream dreams and whose dreams come true.” That’s not the quote, because that’s not the wisdom. It’s actually not about our dreams coming true. That’s not where happiness lies. It’s our willingness to pay the price that provides us with all of that sweet juicy nectar of joy.

In a world that increasingly celebrates instant gratification, we have to turn our lens more towards the process of achievement. The more difficult the journey, the more downpayments we have the opportunity to make. The greater the downpayment we make on our goals, the more Forbes List the payday.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Big, small, lean, strong, long, stocky. We are ALL lucky and we ALL have good genes. That’s my perspective. If you’re struggling with losing weight, facing the long and difficult journey with positivity is not always easy. But that’s the real secret to weight loss: figure out a way to transform your struggle into joy. Fight tooth and nail to relate to your body with both grace and compassion and your weight loss journey will not only be more successful, but it can transform your entire life.

An awesome relationship with our body is a life-long pursuit…we might as well make it a happy one.

Stay strong. Stay positive. Stay brave.

You GOT this.


P.S. – It’s a delicate subject, so I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below with the hashtag #BandanaArmy. 

LIKE THIS POST? Join the #BandanaArmy. We'll teach you how to fight tigers*.

* Do not fight any tigers, ever.

  • Katy

    ❤️ this!! It’s so true. Weight loss is so hard but so rewarding if you relax with it and enjoy the ride and have fun doing so the process #BANDANAARMY

    • BandanaTraining

      Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for reading Katy.

  • Stacey Jones

    #BANDANAARMY this was exactly what I needed to hear today, thank you.

    • BandanaTraining

      Well, that’s wonderful to hear. Thanks for reading, Stacey and keep fighting the good fight.

      • Stacey Jones

        It is a very hard battle with MD (Pompe Disease) but I am determined to win! It will be worth it in the end and even along the way as the 100 lbs starts to melt away and things get easier.

  • Rob Llano

    It really can be a frustrating experience but I’ve started to shift my focus on just enjoying the process. Especially having been sidelined for a while now with shoulder surgery I can’t wait to get back to lifting. Jat because it feels to to be strong and work hard. And if you do those things and focus on the process rather than the destination or whatever the scale says at this moment it’s more enjoyable for me.

    • BandanaTraining

      Absolutely Rob. When we focus too much on the results, we tend to dwell on this idea that we’re not “there” yet. When we shift our focus to the process, every day has the potential to be a victory. Keep up the good work, my man. #BandanaArmy

  • “Figure out a way to transform your struggle into joy.” Hmm, I have to ponder this… because I absolutely believe in a positive attitude etc, but some days I just want to kick rocks, lol.

    • BandanaTraining

      I hear ya, Kerri. Ruthless positivity is not easy, but I do think it can be a game-changer. Plus, kicking rocks, you know, hurts. =)

      • Lol. I do believe you just sparked a blog post.

        • BandanaTraining

          Glad I could be of service. =)

  • Richard LaRouche

    I’ve been completely stuck with 27% bf. I’ve dropped to 1700 cals and still not losing weight. And I’m “normal”

    • andyknas

      Richard – I’m in a similar rut, and have been for a year. I eat healthy, workout 5x week and then some, but loose nothing. My legs are thinner. My ring finger keeps getting smaller. I loose everywhere but my gut, with a steady weight…

  • Dane

    Your examples really ring this article home for me. I read an interesting quote the other day that has me pondering along the same lines. I can’t find it right now, but the essence was: “Give up your goals, don’t worry about results – focus on taking action day in and day out. The results will come”


    • BandanaTraining

      Exactly. Here’s my process: I set very specific goal. I figure out what actions I need to take to reach those goals, then I focus on the actions, not the goals. Bam. Accomplishment made simple. Thanks for sharing Dane. #BandanaArmy

  • Kate Dougherty

    “The more difficult the journey, the more downpayments we have the opportunity to make…
    It’s our willingness to pay the price that provides us with all of that sweet juicy nectar of joy.”
    Setting aside all things health and weight loss, just on the regular day to day life front, this was exactly what my Monday needed. Awesome article.

    • BandanaTraining

      Mission accomplished. Glad to hear Kate. (and happy Monday.)

  • jonsey

    Love the advice as always. On thing people always forget is the give and take. Have a hard time getting shredded? I bet your squat increases faster then that hardgainer accross the gym banging out 30 pullups. Both og you can get to the same place, you just have to travel a different road #bandanaarmy

    I better win that bandana this time around.

    • BandanaTraining

      Exactly. The grass is always greener. I think we can all spend more time celebrating the marvel of our own body and a little less time comparing our muscle barn to others.

      May the odds be ever in your favor, Jonsey boy. #BandanaArmy

  • Tracy B

    “Figure out a way to transform your struggle into joy.” This is what I am working on internally right now! It’s a slow process and I am getting to a better place mentally….It’s hard ot be patient in waiting for the physical results…you are right, we live in a world of instant gratification and we want results NOW! #banadanaarmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Yea…it is a slow process, but what’s the rush, right? We’ve gotta live with our body for the rest of our lives. =) Keep fighting the good fight Tracy. #BandanaArmy

  • Goose

    Great stuff as always. Should be noted that a lot of these concepts are helpful for people who want to pack on muscle because we got skinny genes also!

    • Goose

      Dang it, forgot to tag #BandanaArmy

  • Katie

    Love this article….some people they lose quickly others have problems that could be deeper than changing what they are eating and amount of exercise they do #BANDANAARMY

    • BandanaTraining

      That’s right. We’re all fighting our own unique battle. Thanks for reading Katie. #BandanaArmy

  • Dina Berry

    geesh, i always thought there was something wrong with me, my routines, my eating, and that it was not right to have to work out so crazily to get results but you just justified it for me…i am who i am, i am me. and we are all different and need to know our bodies. i should mention that there is nothing more sane for me than working out; i love it, its therapy, ya know?! my son is a bodybuilder, and he has taught me so much but you, you have just put that lil bit of icing on my (healthy) cake! love so many points made in this article..seriously, a game changer. from gentetics and to our lifestyles. oh god, a truthful smack in the face with “EASY WORKOUTS DON’T WORK FOR YOU”….it’s like you are talking to me LOL no doubt a whole bunch of us are just now having really good AHAaaa moments. thank you so much! #BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      This is just so wonderful to hear Dina. Those Eureka moments are gold. Love that working out is so meaningful. Keep crushing it and let me know if I can be of any help!! #BandanaArmy

  • Kurt Anthony Lightfoot

    ‘To thine own self be true’ – accountability, truth, uniqueness. Always really enjoy reading your articles, they never fail to provoke thought and provide a fresh ‘uncommon’ insight into common mainstream fads/topics #BANDANAARMY

    • BandanaTraining

      Really appreciate that Kurt. I aim to please. Plus, I spend an exorbitant amount of time thinking about this stuff, so I’m glad it’s connecting. Thanks for reading. #BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Yo @kurtanthonylightfoot:disqus . Congrats…you WON the BT bandana. Can you hit me up on FB with your mailing address so I can get this puppy in the mail??

      • Kurt Anthony Lightfoot

        Sweet as, that just put a cherry on my already bubbalicious day

  • Makis

    Wrote this quote on some paper, and hung it on my wall. #bandanaarmy

    • BandanaTraining

      Good stuff, Makis. #BandanaArmy

  • black

    I focus on process goals, not I want to weigh this amount goals. It doesn’t feel like a struggle because I am training for something. I am training for my first powerlifting meet.

    Is diet a noun or a verb to you? To me it is a noun. Just the food I eat, not an action.

    Instagram @eazy_253


    • BandanaTraining

      Sounds like you’ve got a solid approach to all of this. Thanks for sharing. #BandanaArmy

      • black

        who won the bandanna?


        • BandanaTraining

          @kurtanthonylightfoot:disqus did. Why?? Would you like one??

          • black

            lol I was hoping to win. yes I’d like one please.

  • Stu

    Thank you for the new insight. Your articles are always thought provoking. Thank you #BandanaArmy

    • BandanaTraining

      heck yea. Glad to hear. All the best, Stu. #BandanaArmy

  • Vincent Nusunginya

    This applies to so much. I’ve been through a lot of struggle and failure in my short adult life, but every time it got hard or an opportunity didn’t pan out I’d try harder or reach for another success. I’ve achieved more in the long run, I think, because not only have I achieved more than I ever thought I would, I’ve learned that I can rebuild from nothing all over again if I had to. Not that I’d ever want to, because I have a deeper appreciation now for these hard-earned victories.

    • BandanaTraining

      I hear what you’re saying Vincent. In their own unique way, our failures make us awesome. Congrats on your continued success. #BandanaArmy

  • black


    If you don’t “like” water, you’ve never been thirsty.


  • Melissa Redsy Love

    And this is why I follow you! You post the good & real stuff. I have hit a slump in my journey. When I read posts like this it brings me back to reality….stay on task! This journey isn’t easy at all but stick with it & the changes will lighten up your life!

    • BandanaTraining

      Back on track. Wonderful to hear Melissa. You GOT this, girl.

  • jasmine saady

    This is so true. When I think about where I want to get to in my journey I have forgotten that the
    process is the journey. Without appreciating the things we can learn from It, I might not get there or hold on to what I want to accomplish. We live ina world of materialism and aesthetics.
    Its important to most of us. But why is it important? For me, my family history is riddled with
    heart disease and diabetes. That is the path of over indulgence (or the easy,processed crap) will lead me to, without a doubt. I decided to take the high road. Rob, keep doing what you are doing. You are an awesome writer. You beam positivity!

    • BandanaTraining

      Good stuff Jasmine. Sounds like you’re well on your way to a thoughtful and rewarding journey. Keep crushing (and thanks for the kind words.)

  • jackie

    I’m just going to continue reading the rest of your posts now since every single heading to your paragraphs resulted in me talking to myself “yes”…. “more yes”….. “sounds about right” #bandanaarmy

    • BandanaTraining

      haha. well that’s wonderful to hear, Jackie. Thanks for reading…and talking to yourself. =)

      • BandanaTraining

        Wait. NEIGHBOR??!

      • BandanaTraining

        hold the phone. NEIGHBOR?

  • black

    BandanaCode 45
    Be careful what you do with your day
    because it becomes what you do with your life.