Mental Muscle: September 2017

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What’s up everybody?

This post will kick off a new segment of my blog: at the end of every month I will send out links to all the interesting podcasts, books, documentaries, articles, music, movies, and performances that I checked out throughout the previous 4 weeks and that inspired me in some way, shape or form.

I’ve been doing this for my clients via email the last few months, and I thought that it would be cool to share this stuff with all of you as well.

One of the characteristics that I feel distinguishes me from others in the health and fitness industry is that I have a very broad definition of “wellness.”


I talked about this in a previous post already, but I strongly believe that total health and wellness includes not just the body but the mind and soul as well.

In my humble opinion, we should all constantly strive to improve all areas of our life; eating well and exercising are just the first steps in this process.

The books we read, the films we watch, the music we listen to, the media outlets we peruse—they all shape our outlook on the world and our attitude with those around us.

My goal as both a coach and a writer is to inspire others to be the best that they can possibly be: productive members of society who eat well, train hard, have a genuine interest in what’s going on in the world, and care deeply about the rest of the people living in it.

I’m about to turn 32 in the next few days; I look back on who I was as little as 5 years ago and, in many ways, I’m a completely different person—and I’m positive that this will be the case 5 years from now.

The main reason for this is because I consistently immerse myself in information and perspectives that challenge my beliefs and the way that I was raised and taught to think.

Many of us acquire a certain mindset or worldview in adolescence and/or young adulthood—whether from our parents, family members, or friends—and we never question these orientations; we walk through life, never evolving, regurgitating the same dogmas and biases over and over.

The problem with this is that as we get older the world never ceases to change and develop; and if we choose not to continue learning about our surroundings, or immersing ourselves in different cultures and environments that challenge us emotionally, mentally and spiritually, what usually ends up happening is that we become cynical, bitter, and egocentric.

I refuse to let this happen to me; and if there is one goal I achieve through my writing, it’s ensuring that this never happens to you.

One of my idols, Benjamin Franklin, once said,

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”

You may have heard this quote before.

Some people ignorantly interpret it like Drake and Lil Wayne’s “YOLO”: as an excuse to spend their days partying, not caring about anything or anyone besides themselves, and focusing all of their time and energy on financial success and material wealth.

Ben didn’t mean it this way, and if you’ve ever read Poor Richard’s Almanac or his auto-biography, you’d know that he didn’t live that way either.

Some people die young by never learning; never caring; and never changing.

I hope you’ll take the time to peruse the list and, over the course of the next month, take some time to get out of your comfort zone and stretch your way of thinking by listening, reading, and watching some of my recommendations.  

Without further ado:

Podcasts – 
Books – 
(I’ve spent an entire month getting through one book that I have not yet finished, therefore, I listed the three above, as they are all on my personal list of top books everyone should read.) 

Dale Hansen: NFL Anthem Protests 

Author: J.J.Valdivia

I have worked in the health and fitness industry for a decade. Through my personal work with clients, and my writing, I strive to help others become more well-rounded human beings, so that they may thrive in all areas of their lives.

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