If you've been following the new Active Supplements Instagram page (and if you haven't then check it out!) you'll see that I've been posting a picture of my watch each morning. That may seem like a weird thing to post but it's one of the many things that I've picked up in the last week or so from Jocko Willink.
I first heard of Jocko from the Tim Ferriss podcast. He is an ex US Navy Seal officer who now runs a leadership training company, has written 3 books and his podcast has over 100 episodes at the time of writing. I read his book Discipline Equals Freedom last week and it has really struck a chord with me so I thought I'd share it with you all.
Discipline Equals Freedom is split into 4 main sections with an appendix giving some suggested workouts for beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers. The four sections being: Thoughts, Actions, Fuel and Repair/Maintenance.
In the Thoughts section; Jocko takes a pretty no-nonsense approach to describing what he means by discipline, why you need it and how to apply it. This section in particular was a slap in the face to me. He mentions, among other things, that people don't choose to be weak. They miss one workout, or eat the wrong food once, or whatever it is - and then it starts to slide. Before you know it you are fat and weak. And the antidote to this of course is discipline.
He also stresses the importance of waking up early. Now "early" essentially means not lying in, not hitting the snooze button. If you work night shifts for example then your "early" will be different from mine. I can testify that after a week or so of waking up early I am feeling so much better for it and get so much more done.
Each chapter in this section is very short - only a page or two usually. They are often blunt to the point of being brutal and, if you've listened to his podcast, you can imagine his voice telling it like it is.
The next section is Actions where he discusses the benefits of living in an active, healthy manner. This includes sleep and there's a particularly interesting section on power-naps which is very valuable. There's also a lengthy chapter on martial arts which, as someone who trained seriously in martial arts over 20 years ago, spoke to me very strongly.
In the Fuel section he sets out an eating pattern which is essentially paleo. I don't pretend to be a nutritionist but I do know though that whenever I've eaten paleo for a period of time I feel great, have loads of energy and minimal body-fat - and when I slip from it (for months or years at a time!) I have less energy and more body-fat. Needless to say, it's my preferred way of eating. He also talks about fasting which is another thing that I'm a big fan of.
If you want the detailed science behind paleo and fasting you won't really find it here - there are other great books for that. This book is more a not-so-subtle kick up the bum to eat healthily.
The last, very short, section is about injury prevention as well as dealing with injury and then come the workouts. From his podcast I know that, on "pull" day, Jocko himself does 100 strict pull-ups (broken down into sets), followed by 100 kipping pull-ups (ditto), followed by other pull work. So don't expect the advanced workouts to be easy!
Overall I found the book to be tremendously motivating and I find myself thinking "here's an opportunity to be disciplined". It's probably not for everyone - the book is certainly not "touchy-feely" - but if you think you need a bit of a stern talking to then this will certainly give you that. The book really lends itself to dipping in and out and I have found myself doing that a lot after finishing it.
Check out his podcast too. I'll do another blog post on podcasts soon as I listen to them all the time. Jocko's is great. There's a lot of military stuff in there but plenty of non-military stuff too. Even the military stuff is couched in a way that talks about how these lessons can be applied to everyday life.
For full disclosure; if you buy his book from the link on this page I get a very small payment from Amazon. So if you do buy the book from here thanks a lot. I hope you like it. I loved it.