It definitely feels good to get private messages in mid December asking, “Have you done your Top 40 lessons yet? Did I miss it?”
You see, this past year, like all years past, I have experienced plenty of successes and failures. And so before charging into the New Year, I make it a habit to “reflect and review” on all of the lessons I’ve learned from the past 12 months.
How do I do this?
Well, to start, I find that it helps by going through my Instagram posts from the start of the year, specifically looking for the teachings I learned as a bodybuilder, father, leader, entrepreneur, business coach and husband.
You see, it can sometimes be a challenge to uncover the nuggets of wisdom that have enriched my life, especially because a lot of the books, podcasts and sermons all start sounding the same to me. Can you relate? So, I filter my “learning” through lessons that have produced a result. Because the truth is, I’ve “learned” a lot of “head knowledge” but “head knowledge” is just that. True “learning” are when you produce results from that “head knowledge”.
So, without further ado, below are the TOP 40 lessons I’ve learned across the 5 M’s of life — Muscle, Mindset, Money, Mission and Marriage.
** Don’t forget to let me know your favorite ones by commenting below. And if you find this post helpful, be sure to share it with your friends. **
Top Things I Learned About Muscle…
1. Muscle Fiber Type Training Can Be Further Customized
Initially, muscle fiber type training was an application to customizing your workouts to either being Slow-Twitch (volume machines), Fast-Twitch (strength beasts) or Mixed Fiber Type (combo of both).
But what we’ve since discovered is that more and more people have a mixed distribution of muscle fiber types that vary from muscle group to muscle group. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have slow-twitch deltoids that respond well to very high repetition brackets and to also have fast-twitch biceps that respond better to heavier loading, fewer repetitions and more complete recoveries.
Muscle fiber type training is truly the Holy Grail of Individualized programming. That being said, if you’d like to feel the difference in your workouts, start here to build muscle and start here to lose fat.
2. Intuitive Eating For The Win
Unless I’m doing an extreme cut (like my 30-Day Metabolic Reboot), I have discovered it’s not necessary to track calories or macros to achieve or maintain your physique goals.
Yep, that’s right. After years of competitive fitness modelling and bulking, I have learned enough about my body to know if I need to eat more or less without needing to bust out an app. To say this has created so much freedom in my life would be a HUGE understatement.
Want to know how to move from Macro Tracking to Intuitive Eating? I was thinking of doing a podcast on this very topic, so if it sounds interesting/helpful to you, let me know and I’ll plug it into the calendar.
3. I Can’t Out Train a Bad Diet But I Can Definitely Out Train A VERY Flexible Diet
Watch my Insta Story at all this year?
I’ve discovered that well-designed, effortful training can build a very resilient metabolism that’s able to withstand deviating off your diet more than you think. I used to stick with the 80/20 Rule of “Eat healthy 80% of the time and deviate 20%”. Now, I’d say I follow all the “top nutrition rules” 50-70% of the time while still liking what I see in the mirror.
4. I’m Still Not A Fan of Heavy Weights
I ran a 16-week strength phase last winter and still can’t get into it. Even though I train at Torque Barbell, a gym dedicated to powerlifters, I find it takes more than it gives back. This means that I do see muscular improvements when I push the bigger weights, but, my joints pay for it and to me, that’s not worth it. I prefer to leave the gym with with 10-20% effort always left in the tank and this is likely one of the reasons I’ve never been injured in the gym. I will still continue with my winter strength phases and set my eyes on some “respectable” weights in the key compound lifts.
5. Stability Before Mobility
I only did yoga once in 2017 and yet I have not lost any range of motion or sustained any injuries (note: I’ve never been injured in the gym).
Where I did put in my time was Activation exercises (before EVERY workout) and M.A.T., known as Muscle Activation Techniques, (once a month) which ensures your muscles are contracting so that the antagonist can lengthen.
6. M.A.T. (Muscle Activation Techniques) Continues To Be the Single Most Effective Type of Therapy For Me…
Earlier this year I completed all 43 ranges of the M.A.T. Rx patterns (this is simply an ‘advanced’ version of the therapy) and today my body feels bulletproof. I get treated by Eric Seifert from Core Strength in Toronto about once every month or two (1-2 hour sessions) and he reactivates muscles that get turned off via stress, poor movement patterns, excess loads etc.
Side Note: Last year I got to meet the creator of M.A.T., Greg Roskopf. If you’d like to learn the science behind this therapy, learn from the creator himself…
7. You Are What You Can Recover From
I spent an 8-week training cycle doing only 2-4 sets per week per body part and saw some of my best strength and size gains ever. If you’re not making gains, the answer is rarely more and harder, it’s almost always less and better. This is because the body best responds to variations of progressive overload (whether it may be with load, volume, density or frequency) and by training less you’re able to increase the overall work output to achieve progressive overload and faster results.
8. There Are Only Two Ways To Lift Weights
Method 1: When the weights work your muscles. This is how powerlifters lift. This is how you train if your number one goal is strength. This is when you focus on moving the weight as explosively from point A to point B and you’re not concentrating on micro managing your technique every single inch. A little bit of momentum is fine but not to the point of no control. We are not chasing a pump or deep muscle contraction. The load is the most important variable. We want to see the weights go up every set and every week. The weights are working the muscles.
Method 2: When your muscles work the weights. This is how bodybuilders lift. This is how you train if your number one goal is mass. This is when you focus on owning every inch of the movement, initiating the movement with the working muscle, maximize muscular tension by squeezing your muscles and going for that crazy, deep muscle pump. Momentum is the enemy. We’re not concerned with the amount of weight we’re lifting but with how much of that weight is actually challenging muscle tissue. The muscles are working the weights.
Neither method is right or wrong, it simply comes down to your goal. Bringing these descriptions into the gym will guide your lifting speed to the result you desire.
9. Occlusion Training (Blood Flow Restriction Training) is Legit for Building Bigger Arms
The single most effective arm building tool for me has been occlusion training. My arms were pummelled and felt “heavy” for days after. Plus, I saw immediate results, visually, and since small arms have always been a problem, I was stoked to include my workouts inside The Vanity Arm Specialization System.
10. Pre-Workout Activation Exercises Get Me My BEST Workouts
I’ve noticed a day and night difference between just “jumping into my workout” and taking 5-15 minutes doing my new activation exercises. I have one for every body part and I hold it for 6-10 seconds at 3 different angles. In just two weeks time I’ll be releasing these unique pre-workout activation exercises in a product called ACTIVATE! It’ll be a huge contributor to your results so stay tuned.
11. Bulk Up Using The 1/2 Pound Strategy
Want to bulk up in 2018? My best advice, GO SLOW. How slow? Half a pound, no more than 1 pound per week.
This past winter I bulked up slowly to 225 pounds. My body definitely thickened up, but most importantly, I didn’t get a massive gut in the process (a previous struggle of mine).
12. Bulking Does Not Get You Fat… It Causes You To Gain Fat
THAT is the mindset you must have when you start bulking. Why? Because we don’t want you to keep introducing “mini cuts” out of fear you’ve lost sight of one of your arm veins.
13. “Momentum Is Not A Muscle”
I love alliteration, which is why I came up with this phrase to summarize my lifting approach quickly and easily.
“Momentum is Not A Muscle” keeps me focused on a slow and controlled lifting speed that challenges my muscle tissue instead of dispersing load through multiple joint systems.
I’ve uploaded a few videos this past year showing and explaining why 5 pounds is never just 5 pounds. I recommend you watch this video.
14. I Prefer The “Villain Look”, Not The “Hollywood Look”
For years I avoided direct trap training until I met the owner of Torque Barbell, Dan Petkovesk. He has monstrous traps that I want!
The trapless “Hollywood look” is a little too boyish for me (I want those monstrous traps of Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight), which is why I started to include more trap training into my routines. I’ve really liked how my body started looking.
Dan and I filmed a YouTube video together (below) if you’d like his routine. If you own No-Nonsense Fat Loss 2.0 than you’ll likely notice a ton of trap training compared to my other programs and this is where the influence came from.
15. “Stabilization Phases” Are The KEY To A New Body
I used to think you could either do one of two things with your body: Cut or Bulk.
In fact, my life was consumed with either going up or coming down — and it damaged my metabolism while creating a lot of unsustainable training habits and disordered eating.
Now after I lose or gain a desired amount of weight I will spend 4-6 weeks stabilizing my new weight before shifting direction. This is the only way you’ll achieve a permanently bigger or leaner body.
16. The “Ladder of Death” Is The Hardest Challenge-Based Workout On Planet Earth
I will bet my entire family fortune on this statement.
Lucky for you, it’s now been incorporated into No-Nonsense Fat Loss 2.0, not to mention it’s also become one of my most popular YouTube videos of 2017. If you haven’t tried it yet, good luck, you’re going to need it.
17. “The Man Maker” Is The Second Hardest Challenge-Based Workout On Planet Earth
It was tough to follow up The Ladder of Death, but I think we came pretty darn close. The “Man Maker” workout has become a staple for my top clients to get lean and stay lean without cardio.
Top Things I Learned About Mindset…
18. Nothing Is A “Game Changer”
One of my pet peeves is when people say, “THIS is a game changer…”
Really? Come on. Does anything in life really change the game?
No, not one thing ever can or will change the game. This phrase is pointless. It doesn’t really tell us anything. People say, “Uber is a game changer!” Not really, I could still take a cab. People say, “Airbnb is a game changer!” Nah, hotels are never going to go extinct. So, what’s a better mindset? Embrace “game changers” as tools in your tool box. There is no one tool that makes up the entire tool box. You need them all.
19. These 3 Questions Always Ground Me
1) What’s going well these days?
2) What’s not going well these days?
3) What am I looking forward to?
These three questions produce a surge of gratitude, focus and hope. Notice how I’m asking my podcast guests these same three questions now?
20. Successful People Say NO To Almost Everything
This theme came up over and over this past year, and it’s always a struggle of mine.
Warren Buffet says, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Buffett would know, given that at 87 years old he is still considered to be one of the wealthiest and most successful people in the world.
Make a list of things you need to say No to in 2018. What initiatives, habits, and thoughts need to go?
21. “Do What Makes You Happy” Is Horrible Advice
The world repeatedly tells us “just do what makes you happy”. And so we attempt to “quench our thirst” for happiness by getting a girlfriend/boyfriend, making more money, traveling the world, getting more Likes/Hearts/Comments on social media, building a better body, but in reality NONE of these things will quench your thirst. EVER.
The truth is these are all “empty wells”, meaning you will always be thirsty when drinking from them. Instead, seek the LIVING WATER, which is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and you will avoid the trap of always being thirsty!
22. If I Want To TRULY Be A Great Dad, I Must FIRST Love My Wife
This one is pretty self explanatory and can be a tough one to swallow if there is tension inside the home with your spouse … “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” — Theodore Hesburgh, Catholic Priest
Top Things I Learned About Money…
23. I’m More Driven To PROTECT My Wealth Than To Make More
This past year I had an “intervention” with this angel who dropped down from heaven and started asking me questions over a random dinner in Las Vegas. (I’ll tell the full story on a podcast this year).
To this day, the entire experience is surreal. This angel asked me “Why are you so driven, Vince?” And finally, after a bunch of honest and thoughtful back-and-forth, I discovered that most of my decisions have manifested from a fear of losing what I’ve built and acquired versus taking risks that could exponentially move me forward.
24. I’m Not A $47 Brand, I’m An $18,000 Brand
In this last year, I went from selling $47 muscle-building and fat loss programs to selling $18,000 online business-building masterminds.
So what was the catalyst for change? I realized that I have way more to offer the world than just my fitness knowledge and that I’ve been afraid to embrace my identity out of fear. “If I start talking about business, won’t that hurt my fitness brand?” Not at all.
Note: I’m still working on telling the story in a non-confusing way.
25. Money Has No God
Money listens to no one. It doesn’t know your age, gender, colour, and it could care less about your sob story. Basically, money has no feeling and that’s good news for you — because anyone can play the game of money.
26. “Who’s Got My Money?”
You don’t necessarily “make” money, you connect with those who can exchange money with those who want your skills or services.
So the question becomes, “How can I serve those who need what I want?” A powerful question to kick-start your day is “Who’s got my money?” This helps you avoid spending time with people (or on projects) that won’t pay. Figure out who has your money and that will dictate how you spend your time.
27. Spend The First 2/3 Of Your Life On Offence
Grant Cardone, the bestselling author of The 10X Rule and If You’re Not First, You’re Last, teaches that making money requires you to be on offence the first ⅔ of your life and defence the last ⅓ of your life. This means, this is the time to start your own business, this is the time to save a ton of muscle, this is the time you don’t waste your money on trips, clothes and experiences. This is the time you invest into real estate and focus on getting ahead financially.
This mindset has inspired me to take more risks, such as spending more aggressively on paid advertising, launching my pre-workout supplement and M5 Apparel line.
** Ready to launch your own successful and profitable business to the next level? Come to Tampa on Feb 10-11 to Sit In on my next Info Accelerator mastermind! All the details are right here. If this looks right for you, apply, and we’ll jump on a call. **
28. You Can’t Take Hearts/Likes & Comments To The Bank
This past year I’ve spoken with a lot of “Influencers” — guys who have a following 10x my size — who are struggling financially. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are not starving, but considering the size of their audience, they definitely shouldn’t be in a position to do cheap shoutouts for a few bucks.
If your plan is to become famous, that’s one thing, but if your plan is to become rich, you need a business model.
29. Trick Your Brain with “Millionaire Math”
I did this exercise at my last mastermind, “Do you want to become a millionaire?” Here are your options. (The first example would mean 5,000 people giving you $200 once)
- 5,000 x $200
- 2,000 x $500
- 10,000 x $100
- 5,000 x $17/Month
- 1,000 x $83/Month
- 2,000 x $42/Month
- 500 x $167/Month
- 300 x $268/Month
Take Home: Simplify the Objective & Validate the Possibility.
Remember, there are 7.3 BILLION people in the world, you CAN do this!
30. I Don’t Think I’m Going To Make Any Money From My All-In-One, Next-Generation “FULLY LOADED” Pre Workout Supplement
Seriously! I just got pricing on my “Fully Loaded” formula and it’s almost DOUBLE the cost of the best pre-workouts already on the market. I figured, if I’m going to enter the supplement game, go big or go home!
Last year I put this project on hold when I discovered how expensive it is to make a really good pre-workout formula with evidence-based dosages that won’t clump or cause you to crash. I got discouraged when I realized the #1 selling pre-workout on the market (C4) costs about $4 to make and then they mark it 10 TIMES! It’s SO cheap because it’s simply loaded with caffeine and pixy dusted with ingredients you wouldn’t even notice if they were removed from the formula. “Decent” pre workouts on the market are about $10-13 to make and will cost you $40-50 a bottle.
Like I said, to make “Fully Loaded” is going to cost me almost DOUBLE the top pre-workouts on the market, but I don’t care. This supplement won’t be for people shopping on price. What’s the point in making a supplement that you wouldn’t even use yourself?
Right now, the formula for “Fully Loaded” is finalized and we’re currently working on flavours … should be ready by first week of March. I’ll likely start by offering an insane deal on pre-orders so stay tuned!
31. If You Don’t Invest In Yourself, Don’t Expect Anyone Else To Invest Into You
I joined the Empire mastermind this year with the likes of Steve Weatherford, Jason Philips, Ben Pakulski and few other guys you wouldn’t know. $50,000 for the year. Our coaches? Craig Ballantyne and Bedros Keuillian. I haven’t been in a mastermind for a few years and I paid for it. This year has been the year I’ve gained clarity of my vision and path forward. Having ‘outside eyes’ from your coaches who push you to become a better leader, say no to distractions and stay aligned to your big opportunities is the key to growth. SUPER pumped for our next meeting in two weeks.
Top Things I Learned About Marriage…
32. Embrace Each Other’s Fighting Style
Flavia did a bible study this past year with Holly Furtick called “Becoming Mrs. Better Half” and she learned there are three types of fighters; Shouters, Stuffers, and Pouters.
If you’re married to a shouter, don’t shout back. If you’re married to a stuffer, don’t bug them to open up. And if you’re married to a pouter, don’t get annoyed if they are slamming the door for attention. Instead, learn to respect and embrace the other’s “fighting style” until they come out of it, which they always do. This was HUGE for us.
33. “Providing For The Family” Isn’t Enough
I’m guilty of saying the following to my wife, “What do you want from me? Why aren’t you more grateful for the life I’ve provided?” Fortunately (not unfortunately), my wife calls me out on my bullshit and replies with, “You’d be providing all of this WITH or WITHOUT your family. So stop saying you’re doing this for us!”
The truth hurts. And this year I’ve learned that my family needs WAY more than just the home and lifestyle I provide, they need ME, a present ME.
34. Schedule Sex
I hear people say, “Schedule sex? Spontaneous sex is way better…” Really? When was the last time you had spontaneous sex? Exactly. Spontaneous sex generally doesn’t exist in marriage. LOL. Since sharing this with friends I’ve learned that the couples who have the most sex are those that schedule it, so take that!
35. Pursue Your Own Walk With God
In the evening Flavia does her devotionals, while I do mine in the morning. This is when each of us plan our solitude and listening time … it’s also when we get convicted of our wrong doing, get straight, and come back together as a unified force.
36. Elevation Church Is My Unfair Advantage…
The number one highlight of moving to Toronto has been Elevation GTA.
The worship and word each week lights my soul and heart on fire and prevents my marriage from drifting. I know Flavia would say the same. We are so blessed to have pastor Steven Furtick as our pastor and while there are SO many great churches and pastors, getting plugged into a church “wired like we’re wired” has been a game changer. Shoot, I said, there is no such thing as a game changer… but if I had to pick one, it would be Elevation.
Here’s where you can follow them:
Top Things I Learned About Mission…
37. It’s Scary To Move From Your Career To Your Calling…
I realized I’ve had a “career” the past 15 years. And while it’s been amazing working from home and making fitness YouTube videos, it was still just a career.
Deep down I’ve always known my true calling wasn’t helping guys optimize bicep curls (I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, it’s just not what I was placed on this earth to do).
It’s taken courage to shift our conversation away from just muscle to the 5 M’s. You see, coming from a place of fear, I’ve wondered and thought, “Will I confuse people?”, “Will I lose people?”, “How do I monetize this message?”, “Am I making myself a target?”, “Am I making myself too vulnerable?”, “What if my personal life falls apart?”, “Sticking to metabolism, mechanics and muscle fiber type training is easy.
But for me, I just couldn’t talk about only muscle and fat loss stuff anymore. And that’s why the M5 Movement was born.
38. If You Don’t Show Up Differently, You Don’t Show Up At All
Another way to put this, “The world doesn’t need a second best version of someone else.” So when you try to be another person or brand, people have no reason to follow you.
This sentiment requires some thoughtful thinking about who you are and what value you’re bringing to the world that no one else does with your unique story tied in.
39. A New Mission Benefits From A New Medium… Hence The Launch Of The Vince Del Monte Podcast Show
I’m super excited about the podcast, and so far, the feedback has been outstanding. The show is dedicated to helping men become better men, using the 5 M’s as a guiding framework for their lives – Muscle, Mindset, Money, Mission and Marriage. Have you subscribed, yet? I’d recommend starting with the first 5 pillar episodes:
40. All of My Success Is For Nothing If I Kick My Family To The Curb In The Process
Scripture says, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox but hatred with it.”
This basically means that it’s better to have less of everything but have love, than to have a lot of “stuff” but no love.
I can’t think of a bigger note to leave on that that. While I want to build the ultimate body of a Greek God, makes loads of money and have tons of amazing experiences, what’s the point if I end up doing it on the backs of my family?
THAT is my mission — to become successful in life without sacrificing my family in the process. This is a theme that will continue into 2018… Go as SLOW as possible. Because slow always wins.
So, which lessons “popped” out at you? Leave a comment below. I would love to know.
And, if you have a second, I would love to know what you want to see more and less of from Vince Del Monte in 2018. Your feedback is priceless, thank you!
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