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540: Unlock Your Potential: How to Motivate Yourself Without The Negative Self-Talk

Missing a training session or falling off the tracks in your nutrition, although not ideal, is not the end of the world. There will be days you won’t feel like it, and that’s okay. That’s why your nutritional plan and workout routine must be as enjoyable as possible: find pleasure in them, and you’ll rarely feel like missing them. 

Still, there might be days when you feel like eating something out of your nutritional plan, and you go for it. The next day, you must put yourself back on track and motivate yourself to do what you know is best for you.

Calling yourself names, treating yourself as a disappointment, and self-shaming might work, unless for a few days or weeks. People usually feel fired after falling off the wagon, yet that kind of fire tends to extinguish faster than they would like. 

So is it possible to motivate yourself without appealing to negative talk or self-shaming?

In today’s episode, Ted reveals how to motivate yourself without negative talk or self-shaming. He explains why motivation fueled by speaking negatively to yourself can be damaging rather than helpful. He also talks about orthorexia and why choosing self-shame as a motivator turns working out into a punishment. 

Additionally, he explains why positive environments are crucial to getting motivated, shares some of his stress-reducing techniques, and much more. Listen Now!


You’ll learn:

  • Why negative and self-shame almost never work as motivators
  • What is orthorexia and how it makes you feel
  • How choosing self-shame as a motivator can make you more likely to skip the gym
  • Ted’s favourite routines to release stress
  • How to avoid letting your motivation levels drop
  • Why a positive environment is crucial to keep yourself motivated
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

Ted Talk 133: Self-Sabotage: Get Out Of Your Own Way

Ask Ted 54: How to Destroy Self-Sabotage and Limiting Beliefs

Ted Talk 75: No Motivation? Three Proven Steps To Get You Back on Track


Links Mentioned 

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Podcast Transcription: Unlock Your Potential: How to Motivate Yourself Without The Negative Self-Talk

Ted Ryce: Do you use shame to motivate yourself to become more healthy? For example, do you say negative things about your body? Do you call yourself fat or flabby or something else, in the hopes that it’s going to motivate you to change?

When you don’t exercise as much as you should, do you call yourself lazy or other names? Do you deride yourself when you eat the “bad foods” instead of eating the “good foods”? And most importantly, you’re doing these things, but it’s not leading to the results that you want?

Well, we’re going to dive into this topic today. The title of this episode is “Unlock Your Potential: How to Motivate Yourself Without the Negative Self Talk.” So, if that’s something you’re interested in, if you want better results than what you’re getting from self-shaming, this episode is going to be something that you want to listen to.

What is up, my friend? Welcome to the Legendary Life podcast. I’m your host, Ted Ryce, health expert and coach to founders, entrepreneurs, and other high-performing professionals.

And we produce this podcast for two reasons. One is I don’t want you to suffer like I did when I first got into this business and first started working on my health. I’ve been in this business for 24 years, and it’s my passion and purpose to help you achieve the highest levels of health so that your next years become your best years.

And the second reason is some of you are going to want the fast track of success when it comes to getting to the next level with your health, your fitness, your body. And I want you to think about me if you’re looking for someone to guide you through that process.

So let’s get into today’s topic. I’m really excited about this, and I want to tell you why I’m excited about it. I’ve been working with high-performers for 24 years. I’ve been working with business owners, serial entrepreneurs, people who’ve sold their business, started a new one, sold that one—high-performers.

And one of the things that is very common is that self-shaming, it’s a strategy that they all use. Now, I want to say personally, I don’t engage in self-shaming anymore—occasionally, and we’ll talk about this because sometimes it can help or some tough talk can help.

But we’ll talk about the nuance here because most of the time it doesn’t help. And this podcast came about because I was having a conversation with a client recently, and we were talking about—actually not just one client, I’ve had several conversations with clients and they mentioned the same thing.

Now I want to talk to you about these clients. These are successful people. They’re financially successful. They’re doing well with their families, their parents. They show up, they take action. They’re high-performers.

But when it comes to their health and fitness, there’s some challenges there and there’s some expectations. And what I found was when my clients didn’t hit their expected result, they’d shame themselves for it.

And this shame, instead of motivating them to step up and get better results, it ended up causing more stress and pushed them to the edge to make them feel like they were going to quit. And I had a conversation just last night with a client who was on the verge of quitting.

And then we had a conversation and it completely changed his perspective on it. And a lot of it had to do with this negative self-talk. So, in this episode today, we’re going to talk about self-shaming as a form of motivation and we’re going to talk about how it works or maybe doesn’t work when it comes to specifically changing your nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management.

So, let’s talk about shaming and nutrition. What we know is this: studies have been published—and in fact one from the Journal of Health Psychology—that found a link between self-criticism around food choices and disordered eating behaviors, as well as decreased self-esteem.

Now, what does that look like in English? Well, there’s this idea that there’s good foods and when you eat those good foods, you should pat yourself on the back, you’re doing a good job. But then when you eat the bad foods, oh, you’re a bad person.

And if you have this, if you say this stuff to yourself, what ends up happening is that you start to have these disordered eating patterns and you feel bad about yourself. You have decreased self-esteem because if you’re eating bad foods and eating things that are bad for yourself, you must be bad.

That’s the line of thinking. And I used to have a little bit of this. I would never eat at a place—now, this was in my 20s. I’m 46 now, just in case you’re unaware. But in my 20s, I would only eat in restaurants where I could order organic food or super clean food.

And I would order a lot of my food online. I wanted grass-fed butter, I wanted to drink raw milk and eat raw milk cheese. And I would spend all my money—not at Whole Foods, because there wasn’t even a Whole Foods in Miami Beach at the time. That’s where I was living and working as a personal trainer. 

There was something called Wild Oats. I don’t know if you remember that or not, but I was eating organic food—really deep into that idea that I needed to eat super clean and that I was poisoning myself with toxins from non-organic food.

And every time I was just buying normal food, I was poisoning myself. And what I ended up learning was there’s a word for this. You may have heard of anorexia, you may have heard also of bulimia, but there’s another disordered eating or health, let’s say another form of this that’s really important. It’s called orthorexia. 

And what this is, it’s anxiety around your food choices. So get this: it’s anxiety about being healthier. In other words, you’re so obsessed with being healthier that it’s causing you to be unhealthy because of the level of stress that it generates in your life.

And when I see this to an extreme level, I won’t even take a client who has an extreme level of orthorexia. What does that look like? I talked to a guy the other day—actually, it was a few months ago, not the other day, but this guy, he was quite lean. He wanted to put on muscle. And when I asked him, “Okay, well, what are you eating?” He was eating raw organ meats. Because his belief was that eating raw organs was the way. It’s so disgusting, right?

But his belief was the ultimate form of healthy eating was eating raw organ meats. I am not joking or even exaggerating, folks. And I felt bad for the guy because he seemed like a good guy. But what he really needed, in my opinion, wasn’t a coach like me.

Because I would say, man, you got to stop eating that crap. You got to cook your food. You got to eat like a normal person. I didn’t have the skills to deal with that, because for me, that’s orthorexia and it’s at quite an extreme level, and he was kind of starving himself in a way.

That’s what I felt. I was like, I can’t help this guy said, “Hey, I think you’re doing a great job. I don’t know what to tell you.” I didn’t know him well enough to give him the hard talk. So anyway, those are some examples of how disordered eating behaviors can come about.

More of what I end up dealing with is what I talked about before, is people have this idea, like, “Oh, I ate at McDonald’s. Oh, I didn’t…I ate a pastry. I ate dessert. I ate ice cream. I ate pizza. I ate a burger.”

What I want to tell you is this. This is something I learned. Number one, you can get lean, you can be at your desired level of leanness, you can be healthy and still eat those foods sometimes it’s not that big of a deal.

Now, if you’re eating ice cream, burgers, pizza every day, probably not a great idea. But even some of these carnivore people, they believe that the ultimate way of healthy eating is eating ribeye steaks cooked in butter.

And what I believe we’re going to see is a lot of those people end up, especially the ones with genetic predispositions to heart disease, we’re going to see a lot of heart disease as a result of this fad, even though people are losing weight on carnivore or experiencing better digestive, health, at least anecdotally.

So what we want to do then is to start to understand that it’s about having a good overall diet, and also the results of our diet are important as well. In other words, you can be eating the perfect foods, but if you’re overweight, there’s a bit of a disconnect. If you’re obese, there’s a bit of a disconnect. 

And so when we can get away from the shaming and you can start to enjoy those times that you eat out, it’s just a much easier process. It’s a much easier process. Now, let’s talk about shaming and exercise. There was a study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Physiology that found a link between using shame as a motivator for exercise and decreased motivation and negative emotions.

So decreased motivation and an increase in negative emotions. So in other words, you’re using exercise as a punishment. “Oh, you got to exercise!” Let me tell you, when you’re doing something like that, exercise becomes a stress in your life, not a way to destress.

And what happens is there’s something called “negative reinforcement.” I’ve talked about negative reinforcement a lot, and the best example of negative reinforcement, or the most common example, is whenever you get into your car, car manufacturers have figured out, hey, how do we get people to wear their seatbelt more?

Well, what we’re going to do is we’re going going to create this dinging, this annoying dinging until people buckle their seatbelt. And I don’t know about you, but as soon as I get in one of those cars, I want to shut that thing up.

I can handle it for maybe even 30 seconds or a minute if I’m really on a good day. But eventually you’re like, “Oh, my gosh!”  Imagine listening to that for five minutes or three minutes or ten minutes. It works. 

But here’s the thing. And that’s an example of negative reinforcement. And here’s what happens when your exercise program is like that dinging. Sure, you can put up with it for a little while, but eventually you’re going to quit because it makes sense to quit because you’re getting rid of stress in your life.

And life in general, it’s all about managing stress, and it’s easy in modern life to increase stress. Just don’t sleep quite as well one night, have a little bit too much coffee, have a tough day at work, and the kids are misbehaving. Easy to skip your workout. It’s like, “Well, I’m not going to go do that. I hate it anyway. It’s such a negative thing.”

So, what we need to do, what I’ve found is, is I look to create positive reinforcement with an exercise routine.  I set the goal small and/or I have a client choose the exercise that they’re most motivated to do. I had a conversation recently with a client, and she was telling me, I feel so bad. I really struggled to hit my two weight workouts.

So, actually, I think we were telling her to do four resistance workouts, and she felt bad because she was only hitting about two, and she felt herself drawn to cardio. And she’s got a bit of stress going on with work at the moment.

Nothing too crazy, but a bit of stress coming from work, and she feels a much better result when she does cardio versus weights. And she was feeling bad, though, because I’ve told her, correctly, by the way, that resistance training or lifting weights is a more effective way to lose fat than cardio.

That’s true, but more importantly than what’s optimal is choosing something that works with our psychology. And I want you to understand the genius of how this works, because it is pretty genius. This is playing chess, folks.

You have to think about the next move. You want the next move to be good, but really what you’re trying to do is trying to win the game. And so instead of telling her, hey, well, you got to lift weights. What are you doing? Don’t you want to change? Don’t you want to lose fat? Don’t you want to do what’s best? 

Instead of doing that, I said, “Hey, you know what? I’ve got a great idea. Let’s back off your weight workouts to two times a week. In fact, let’s even make those optional. So those are a bonus. But what I want you to do is I want you to focus on getting in that cardio. I want you to get it in every morning and hey, are you even open to doing some interval training so that we can step up your cardio?

Because I believe if we do something that you want to do, which is cardio, and then step it up, what I know about cardio is this. It’s going to help you feel better. It’s going to help you get in better shape.

So physically, you’re going to have more energy. You’re going to be more resilient to stress because all the things that cardio does, it actually reduces the number of stress hormone receptors in your hippocampus, an area of your brain that’s kind of like the place where you enter memories into your brain.

So, it’s going to be less sensitive to stress and stressful events. And by focusing on that now, I know that when she feels good, she’s going to be more open to lift weights. I bet you money after a few weeks of doing that, she’s going to tell me, hey, you know what? I’ve lost weight. I feel like I’m in better shape, my mood is better. I think I’m ready to do a bit more resistance training. 

That’s an example of how to make this work for exercise and why shaming doesn’t work. So part three here is the science of shaming and sleep. A highlight, a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found a link between negative self-talk around sleep and insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness.

So what this means is you’re like, “Oh, God, you got to get more sleep. Don’t you care about yourself? Sleep is really important. Why can’t you sleep? Oh, come on, just go to sleep. Turn your mind off. Why can’t you turn your mind off?” It increases insomnia symptoms. 

And for me, I don’t even need to read the entire study to get why—although I did. But what I know is this: negative self-talk raises stress levels, stress interferes with sleep. And so let’s say you’re already stressed because one, you’re not sleeping well and two, because you can’t sleep and know you will need to sleep. So it raises stress even more. 

So the thing there is you have to lower stress. And the way to do that there’s couple ways I do it. One, I do deep breathing exercises and/or meditation and the type of meditation I do is really specific. I do what’s called a Tibetan full body breathing meditation. 

And what it really is—maybe that sounds kind of fancy but what it really is, is you’re doing a meditation laying down and you’re actively trying to breathe into, right, it’s metaphor, you’re not really breathing through your skin but you’re breathing into certain areas of your body and you’re trying to relax the tension there.

Let me tell you, after I do that, I can’t even keep my eyes open, usually. Now that’s a bit more sophisticated. I’ve tried to share that meditation with clients and it works sometimes, but mostly doesn’t work, because it requires a lot of dedication and skill.

So, the thing that I typically recommend to clients now is set a timer for 20 minutes and do deep breathing exercises. What is that? Well, you breathe in for 5 seconds and you breathe out for 5 seconds.

And if you set a timer to do it for 20 minutes, most likely, and you’re in bed and having trouble either sleep or going back to bed because you woke up in the middle of the night, you’re not even going to be able to last the 20 minutes.

You’ll probably fall back asleep. Just make sure the timer doesn’t have a loud ding to wake you up. But that’s why shaming or negative self-talk doesn’t work for improving sleep, you’ve got to lower your stress, not increase it.

And when it comes to shaming and stress management, there was a study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences—that’s the name of the journal—that found a link between using self-shaming as a motivator for stress management and negative emotions and decreased motivation.

So, shaming, again, it just increases stress and it decreases motivation when it comes to managing your stress. Instead of motivating yourself to manage your stress better, again, you have to take a similar approach to—like we talked about when we’re talking about shaming and sleep, you have to find a way to lower the stress.

And certainly, you can do those breathing exercises. But since it’s during the day, if you’re doing some stress management, it could be a yoga class, it could be going into the sauna, it could be spending time in nature.

But using self-shaming, it just doesn’t work. And the reason why I’m going deep into this self-shame is I want to provide. I want to tell you like this, if shaming worked, I would use it. I’m a very results-oriented person, especially because my clients, that’s what they come to me for, results.

And if shaming people worked, I would do it. And we can even talk about that a little bit because sometimes I’ll tough talk myself. I don’t call it shame. I don’t shame myself. I don’t say, hey, you’re a bad person. I say, hey, listen, this is loser behavior. The person you really want to be, Ted, does this. 

So, I don’t shame myself, I shame the behavior. But I only do that if it leads to better performance. And sometimes it does motivate me. And the way that I look at it and think about it is that if I’m a little bit low on the energy side, I can use it to generate some energy, some motivation to take care of business. And it does work for me.

And maybe you found that it works for you. And I would guess that is probably a little bit more effective for certain type of people. So if you have a high level of self-confidence, high level of self-efficacy, high self-esteem, you can probably tough talk yourself a little bit.

But if you’re using shame and you’re already in a tough place and you don’t feel good about yourself, probably the wrong thing to do. And I want to give you an example, because a guy like David Goggins like, I love David Goggins. I think he’s hilarious to listen to. 

I love watching his shorts on Instagram. He’s hilarious to listen to. And one time, David was telling a story. He was running. You got to look at David Goggins if you don’t know who I’m talking about.

I think most people do because he’s so popular. But just look him up on Instagram. But he was telling this story. He was running and someone was running next to him, recording him, and he was telling a story of someone who asked him for help.

And the guy asked him, David, I don’t know what to do. I can’t find my motivation. And what David said is this—and I’m quoting him so take the language I’m about to use into context. He said, “Someone reached out to me and said, ‘I can’t find my motivation.’

So I told him this, I said, ‘Reach in your pants. Can you find your balls? Because maybe we should start there.”‘ And then he went off. And you can kind of guess it was all on that same line of talking.

I thought it was hilarious to listen to. It made me chuckle. And then at the end of all of his excerpt, his little tirades, he says, “Stay hard.” That’s his signature line. And it made me laugh.

But I also thought, why is this guy who’s feeling bad about himself asking David Goggins about motivation and how he can find it when he doesn’t have it? And while that was entertaining to listen to, I couldn’t help thinking, like, David’s a shitty coach, or he might be a great coach for other…If you don’t know his story, he’s a former Navy Seal.

He might be a great coach for other Navy Seals because they feel a bit of a connection and brotherhood with him. But if you’re not there, if you’re someone who’s not a former elite military operator or a former star athlete, it’s probably not going to work so well if you’re in a bit of a tough place, maybe you’re an entrepreneur.

So a lot of entrepreneurs love David Goggins. They love to self-flagellation, which is cool. I like it, too. I mean, I don’t take him seriously. I’ll never do any of his challenges. And I’ve got a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I’ve swim with bull sharks—scuba dive with bull sharks. 

I’m working on getting scuba certified for cave diving. I’m not exactly a wimp, is what I’m saying. I’m not exactly a soft person. I’m not exactly a stranger to hard work, pain or suffering or scary, uncomfortable experiences.

I regularly put myself in those situations. And I’ll still tell you: the shaming, unless you’re getting great results for doing it, it’s not effective for most people. So, what is effective? Well, here’s what I do when I have a client who struggling.

What I do is this: I initially give people a list of things to do to go get the results they say they want. Track your nutrition, hit your workouts. And I write the workouts custom for them, show up to the coaching calls.

Magic is going to happen when you do that. And for the people who do it, magic does happen. Fat flies off their body, muscle starts to appear out of nowhere and they feel great. 

And let me tell you, if you’re a person who is highly motivated and you’re doing a lot of things to get results, but you’re not happy with the results that you’re getting and you feel like you’re just missing some information and you would be able to get better results, you and I should talk because you would be a really easy client for me to work with, which is nice sometimes, and also to get you results. 

So go to, hop on a 15 minutes call with me and let me help you with some strategies that will get you results faster and easier than anything you’ve ever done.

Well, let’s talk about the other clients right now. The ones that, “Yeah, I want to lose 20 or 30 pounds” or “I want to see my Abs,” or whatever the situation might be. And they start off strong, but they get curveballs thrown at them, get stressful at work and they fall off track.

Go on vacation, have trouble getting back on track, start missing some of the coaching calls, start skipping workouts, start having social outings that take them out of their normal eating environment or food environment, falling off track, gaining some weight back, feeling bad about it, they start to lose motivation.

So, what do I do in those situations? I help them find their motivation. And how do you do that? There is actually a way to help people do this. One of the ways that I’m going to talk about here is motivation interviewing.

This is profound. And yes, there are studies published on motivational interviewing. For example, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that motivational interviewing is effective in promoting positive changes in nutrition and physical activity behaviors apart from other styles of motivation, including shaming. 

So, I’m going to give you an example here of what motivational interviewing is. First, I want to do the shaming approach. Hey, you said you want to get results. Why aren’t you doing what it takes? Maybe you don’t want this enough. Maybe you’re just lazy. Maybe you to man up or woman up. Maybe you need more discipline. Why don’t you get it together?

That’s what I think goes through most people’s heads. That’s what a lot of tough talking personal trainers and coaches do. I don’t know if I ever did that. At least I’d like to believe that I didn’t.

I’ve been in this business for 24 years so my memory…in those first days, I probably did shame people. But now I don’t do that. What I would do is this: I would say, why is this important to you? You signed up to this program...

So someone’s inside my program, just to set the context, they’re in my program, they’re being challenged. They’re having some challenges getting results. And the reason is they’re having trouble sticking with some of the behaviors.

So, what I would do is this. I would say, “Let me ask you this. When you signed up for my program, what was it about me that caused you to sign up?” I’m just going to paraphrase a conversation that I had recently.

“Oh, well, I’ve been doing these extreme approaches and when I heard you on a podcast, I really like that you talk about sustainable changes. In other words, instead of getting in shape for a little bit, then getting out because I couldn’t keep up the strict diet or extreme workouts, you talk about being healthy for life and how to have the rest of my life, the best of my life.”

I say, “Cool. And where were you when you first signed up? Why was this important for you to do?” “Well, you know had a history of, like I just said, doing these extreme workouts, and I wasn’t getting results. I wasn’t happy with the results. I wasn’t able to keep the results in the past. And I knew I needed to make changes, and I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.” 

I said, “Cool. And why is it important for you to create these changes?” “Well, I know this is important. I want to prevent health problems. I don’t have any health problems now, but I know that I want to prevent health problems. And also, I want to be able to do the things that I want to do.

For example, I want to take my kid to the park and play Frisbee with them. I don’t want to sit around with the other dads who are all drinking beer and don’t have enough energy or motivation to go play with their kids. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be the one who’s active and playing with my kid.”

I’m like, “This is awesome. I love this. I’m getting inspired. Tell me more.” “Yeah, it’s not even just about playing with my kid. It’s about I feel my best. When I’m in shape, I feel like a superhero, and I’ve been there before, and I know I can get back, but I want to do it in a way that’s sustainable.” I said, “awesome,” and then we keep going like that.

So instead of me telling them what they should do and why they should do it, they’re telling me why they want to do it, why it’s important to them how important it is for them to change, why they’re ready to change.

And then after the motivation is high, then we set goals. Because one of the things that demotivates people is setting unrealistic goals. Let me know if this sounds familiar. “Okay, I’m going to work out six days a week.”

Well, I’ll even share it like this. I’ll share an example right out of my clients. So, I remember having a conversation recently with a doctor client of mine. He runs his own practice with other doctors. He’s a rock star. He’s been like the number one doctor in his field several times. 

And when I first started working with him, I said, “How many times a week do you want to work out?” He said, “Oh, I want to work out every day.”

I said, “Okay. Cool. So, you want to work out seven days a week. So, let me ask you, for the next six months, how confident are you that 80% to 90% of the time you’re going to be working out every single day?”

“Probably a six or a seven.” I said, “Interesting. And so let me ask you this. So we know that you’re going to miss sometimes; you’re only a six or a seven in terms of your confidence about hitting daily workouts for the next six months.”

“Yeah.” “And let me ask you this. How are you going to feel when you miss those workouts? Are you cool with it? Does it even motivate you to do better the next week? What does it do for you?” “Oh, yeah, I beat myself up. I feel like a loser.” 

I’m like, “Okay, so you’re asking me to write a program that we know you can’t do. And we know that when you can’t hit check all the boxes and hit a daily workout, you’re going to feel bad about it, and you’re going to feel demotivated to do it. So why are you asking me to build a workout program that is going to set you up for self-sabotage?” 

So, after that conversation, what my client and I did was we started small. And the reason is this: because if you set a goal, you hit that goal, you get a hit of dopamine you get the reward, it makes you want to do more. But if you’re constantly setting goals and not hitting them, it becomes very demotivating for the majority of people. 

Are you with me on that? Does it resonate? And the last thing I want to talk about here is environment, because a lot of times, you know, we’ve talked about shaming, how it’s not that effective and what is effective? We’ve talked about motivational interviewing and setting realistic goals. 

But one of the things that we don’t realize is our environment and how it affects our behavior. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found a link between living environments that were supportive of healthy behaviors and increased engagement of those behaviors.

As an example, people who have more access to healthy foods, so fruits and vegetables, eat more fruits and vegetables. Makes sense. People who have more access to, let’s say, processed foods eat more processed foods.

But yet, we don’t look at the environment as part of the problem. We think it’s a discipline issue and that we need to shame ourselves more. Again, if shaming worked, I’d do it. I’ve been in this business for 24 years. It just doesn’t work. Not most of the time, for most people. 

So, I’ll give you a personal example here. I travel a lot, but a few things that I do that are always consistent is one, I stay in places, Airbnbs that either have a gym in the building or within walking distance to a gym.

Another thing I do is I stay in a place within walking distance to a grocery store. So I walk to go get my groceries, and I walk to the gym. Either I walk up a few flights of stairs in the apartment building that I’m staying in.

For example, when I was just in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I had a gym in the apartment. I worked out there every day. Made it easy. When I was in Mexico, again, stayed in a place with a gym. Made it easy. Now I’m in Lisbon, Portugal, I don’t have a gym in my building because that’s just not a thing in Lisbon. 

Maybe in the newer buildings, but you can’t even get a place... I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole or open up that can of worms, rather, because there’s not a lot of places available usually in Lisbon, you really have to book ahead because it’s a very popular place at the moment, and you don’t get a lot for your money here either. So, places are overpriced, and the availability of places is quite limited.

But anyway, I’ll even tell you, having a gym in my building thing is still easier to hit the gym than it is right now, where I’ve got to walk about five minutes. So what I’m trying to tell you is look at your environment.

Look at the obstacles for you to get moving, and you really have to be honest about yourself here. For example, some people hate working out at home. They need to be in the gym environment for that motivation.

So you’ve got to do what it takes to get to the gym. But if you have a 30 minutes drive to get to the gym, you’re going to be in a bit of a predicament because you got to drive there 30 minutes and drive back.

That’s an hour of time just traveling, in addition to the time that you’re going to exercise. You’re going to need more motivation to get that done consistently until it becomes a habit. So you’re starting to see how behavior is affected by the environment.

And it’s not about beating yourself up. It’s about making it as easy as possible. For example, I easily walk 10,000 steps a day. Why? Because I’ve got to walk to the gym and back. I’ve got to walk to go get coffee and back.

I’ve got to walk so many places. I take the metro. I don’t have a car. I don’t rent cars. I drove way too long in Miami Beach. I’m enjoying not driving or even having a car. I take Ubers when I’m running late, but I take the Metro and I walk as much as possible.

And that’s just a small example of how the environment shapes our behavior. I’m not up, like forcing myself to walk a bunch of steps. It’s just happening naturally. In fact, I’ll tell you how many steps that I’ve walked today because I use my Oura Ring and it tells me every day.

So it’s noon right now and I’ve already walked 3000 steps, and I’m going to walk a lot more. The day before, 11,000 steps. The day before that only 9700, but I had a hard workout. The day before that, 18,753 steps.

Oh, Ted, you must be super motivated. No way. I’m just walking to go do stuff. I’m not thinking about it at all. And again, what I do think about is putting myself in situations where it makes it easy to have those types of behaviors.

Another thing that’s worth mentioning then I’ll wrap up here is having a supportive environment. So if your wife or husband or your kids, they all want to sit around and play video games, watch TV and eat a lot of food, it’s going to be much more challenging for you to get in shape versus some of my clients whose wives are in even better shape.

They don’t need coaching for me because they’re already in top shape. It’s so much easier for those people. So it is what it is, right, in terms of your challenges of your environment, but you can look to see how to make it easier for yourself.

And even if your spouse or children aren’t on board, you can have conversations and ask for help. Now, you don’t want to burden your children, especially depending on their ages. I’m not a parent. I’m also not a family therapist, so I don’t know the proper way to communicating those things or what’s appropriate, what isn’t. It’s not my wheelhouse. 

But I would say there is a way, certainly of talking to your partner and getting support from them. And you could ask your family for support as well. You’ll just have to be a little bit—it would be great actually to have someone on the podcast to talk about that and maybe give some tips on how to do that effectively.

So, in conclusion here, shaming doesn’t work, most of the time. Rarely it does work and you’ll know when it works because it does motivate you to take action. But eventually, you’ll have to give it up and adopt a better approach.

For example, I use some tough talk. I don’t like to call it shame because I don’t, you know, I’m sure I feel shame occasionally, but it’s not something I do to myself. I tough talk myself. Actually, I use more motivational interviewing on myself, but sometimes I deliver it in a tough way like, “Hey, you can’t do this.

You’re going to be stuck in a place where you don’t want life is short. You’re 46. We need to make something happen. Let’s go do it.” But eventually we can’t use the stick so much, we’ve got to use the carrot, we’ve got to get into a flow.

So, shaming doesn’t work most of the time. And even if it does work, it’s just a short-term fix. So, what we really want to do is we want to use the ideas that we talk about. We want to use positive self-talk.

We want to set appropriate goals. We want to use that motivational interviewing approach, even on ourselves. We want to hire someone to help. If you’ve got severe emotional problems, hiring a therapist is probably the right move.

If you feel like, ah, I just have some challenges, I don’t have like…I’m mostly a successful person. I run a business, I’m in a high-performance career. I make stuff happen. I’m just having some challenges around this particular thing. 

Then hiring me is your best choice. And also thinking about our environment. Thinking about the impact our environment has on the behaviors we want to implement, looking at the obstacles that our environment creates for us and also looking at how our environment enables us to live a healthier lifestyle and looking at ways to make it even better.

And asking for support from the people in your life, from your spouse, your friend, friends, your family. And listen, change is hard. There’s a great quote, “If information is all it took, we’d all be billionaires with six pack ABs.”

I forget who said that, but I love it. Information isn’t enough. It takes time. It takes experimentation, it takes falling off track and getting back on track. It takes time to do this. So, this isn’t about being soft on ourselves.

It’s about being honest, which is hard to do, and about being honest about the effectiveness of our strategies, which is also hard to do. I think shaming is an easy, quick fix. Again, sometimes it can help. 

I used a personal example for me, but it’s only a quick fix. We’ll have to change and develop better, more sophisticated ways of approaching change if we’re going to keep it for the long term. 

And again, if you’re looking for help and guidance, if you’re a high-performing person and you’re successful in your life, you have a family, you’re doing well, but what you see in the mirror doesn’t match the level of success that you have in other areas of your life, let’s hop on a call.

Go to and let’s hop on a 15 minutes call and talk to see if what I do is right for you. That’s it for today’s episode and I will leave you with this: what is something that you can take from today’s episode and apply it in your life? Go do that, and I’ll speak to you next time.


Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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