Author Archives: natemiyaki
When you understand yourself and you understand the enemy you cannot be defeated. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
What is the biggest cause of failure in fitness, besides my buddies Ben & Jerry, and Mrs. Butterworth? Honestly, it has nothing to do with the details of a diet or training program. Most people know what to do. Since I’ve dedicated my life and career to this game, I’d love to make it seem more complicated in order to validate my credentials, schooling, and personal obsession. But it just isn’t so.
The “what to do” is straightforward and simple.
So why do some breeze through with ease, while others constantly get stuck in a rut?
Well, nothing can cure outright laziness and entitlement to be honest. But beyond that, if you have sincere goals and are willing to put forth an honest effort, I think it all comes down to having the right mindset and the right strategies. Some may write this off as self-help nonsense, but if you haven’t gotten to where you want to go, you have no right to criticize. In fact, you might want to throw an ear in and listen.
I recently had the honor of writing an article for Men’s Fitness about this very topic: 5 Key’s to Conquering Any Fitness Challenge
Here are the 5 Strategies with a little bit of a summary of what we covered.
1. Know What You’re Fighting For
Pure vanity is rarely enough to see things through ’til the end. I know we all are chasing that glorious 6-pack and gun show. But is that really enough to motivate you when the challenges and distractions of modern life start to pile up? Even a childish, dumb ass like myself has had to dig a little deeper to ultimately get the job done.
2. Be Accountable
A good coach can help you design the game plan and call the plays. But you, and only you, can run them on the field. You’re the one on the battlefield of life that has to face your foe—and everything it is going to throw at you—head on. No one can do it for you, no matter how much you are willing to pay them. Oops, did I just write that out loud. Any current or future clients, please disregard that last statement. Put enough zeros on the end of that check, and I’ll lie straight to your frickin’ face and say I can absolutely do it for you. Don’t you know I’m a descendent of Merlin and have all the magic pills?
3. Know Your Enemy
You must know everything about the challenge you face. What are the specific skills and tools you need to succeed? How and when are you going to acquire them? What are some common roadblocks? Where have others failed in the past? Why did they fail? What are you going to do differently?
Paralysis by analysis is the end result of fear. Should I do this or do that? What will I do if my chosen plan doesn’t work as expected? What is the antidote to this poison that kills our warrior spirit? Action. Do something, anything, immediately.
5. Embrace the role of the Underdog.
Only a few of us are born into privilege. Only a few of us are born with elite genetics. Only a few have every possible advantage handed to them. The odds and obstacles are stacked against most of us right from the start. How does any underdog ultimately win? It’s nothing fancy. It’s nothing complicated. It’s simply by having the discipline and determination to do whatever is necessary to break on through to the other side, regardless of the situation.
If you’d like to check out the full article on the Men’s Fitness website, here’s da link:
When my buddy Tyler sent me an email explaining how adding a few carbs back into his diet got him more ripped than ever, I asked him to share his story on Da Blog for you. He graciously accepted. Thanks brother.
After all, you gotta be sick of me saying the same shit all of the time — there is no one Universal diet or macronutrient distribution that works for everyone, everywhere; you simply have to match the diet to the metabolic condition, training program, and physique goals; low-carb diets can be good or bad depending on the person/situation, etc.
I thought maybe you would take another ripped dude’s word for it. We’re about getting shit done on this site. Take it from my buddy Tyler who is doing just that.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
When I first began my experience regarding diet and weight training my approach was probably very similar to a lot of yours. Two goals in mind: build muscle and stay ripped. With all the controversy amongst macronutrients flying around you couldn’t help but get caught up in the mass confusion going back and forth. That wasn’t until I discovered Nate Miyaki that it finally cleared the air once and for all, and it was his teachings on carbohydrate metabolism, and the physiological use of glucose during exercise that truly changed the game.
You see I was training 5-6 days a week consuming no more then 25-50 grams of carbohydrates with the typical full blown paleo approach not realizing just how bad I needed the glycogen to fuel my workouts. I felt like I was spinning my wheels in an endless rut, my lifts were suffering, I was making no progress, my insomnia was increasing, and my libido was down the drain. That sh*t sucked.
It wasn’t until I reintroduced carbohydrates back into my diet that I gained my muscle mass back, and even new lean mass, and even lost more body fat then I had previously tried to with a carb restricted diet! My lifts immediately rose back up, I no longer sat in a constant brain fog, and my sleep was better then it had ever been in a long time. The lesson at hand is to truly understand and value the basic physiological responses of exercise and how sports nutrition is vastly different then that of a sedentary person. Understanding fuel sources is a basic principle that can allow you greater clarity amongst the body’s use of macronutrients entirely.
Do yourself a favor, leave the full blown paleo diet to the guy getting his exercise at the flick of the channel changer, keep the carbs for yourself — Tyler Holmes
First off, thanks for sharing Tyler. I think the best way to help people is just by being an open book. Thanks for letting us get a glimpse of your journey. And keep up the great work man. You’re looking frickin’ shredded.
Second, lets try to help everyone else reading this get some practical strategies from the post. Tyler added: “You seriously got me out of the most depressing rut iv ever been in regarding diet, and a pure paleo diet at that. You have completely changed my outlook on carbohydrate metabolism and the impact it’s made on my training, sex life, sleep, and mood is literally outstanding. I maintain this level of leanness eating 180+carbs a day, if not higher on training days.”
Here’s a few more carb bullets that might help clear up some carb confusion and get the rest of you on a more targeted plan:
1. Ketogenic diets (0-50g) certainly have their place. They may be the best approach for those suffering from certain diseases — cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. For some, saving your life is more important than how you look, kicking ass in the gym, whether your wiener can stand at attention, or even how you feel. I tried to get my dad to follow a keto-style diet while he was battling cancer. So you see, I’m not completely biased — right diet for the right person is the right Way, not trying to slot everyone into one system.
2. But what’s good for someone suffering from a disease is not always good for a healthy athlete trying to attain high-level physique goals. I think ketogenic diets suck for hard training physique enthusiasts, unless maybe you are using steroids to compensate for the muscle loss and drops in testosterone. That’s not my style man.
3. There seems to be more and more people — even very highly intelligent people — trapped in no carb dogma. There’s intellectuals and biohackers eating <50g of carbs a day, and wondering why they are still soft/flabby, along with being anxious, depressed, stressed, in a foul mood all the time, and with the testosterone levels of Dora the Explorer. Too much literature and trying to sound smart at the water cooler, and not enough real life experience. That may come off as asshole-ish, but its really from a sincere place of wanting to help you. Why? I once thought I was smarter than physiology and it took years of struggling and getting nowhere (even regressing) to bitch slap me out of it.
4. A ripped physique is not just about losing weight. Its about losing fat while maintaining lean muscle mass, along with optimal NATURAL hormone production and metabolic functioning. Its about a balance of catabolic and anabolic activity, not just focusing on one or the other. The middle ground includes moderate carbs at the right times.
5. For a large percentage of the population that is sedentary, overweight, and pre-diabetic; I believe a lower-carb/carb-controlled (~100g) but NON-ketogenic diet is the best approach. The best understood version of Paleo (animal protein, healthy fats, and a relatively low carb diet coming primarily from whole fruit and non-starchy vegetables) is a great template to follow to lose weight and improve biomarkers of health, without the drawbacks of full-blown Keto Diets. Geeks can look into this study: Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets
6. But like I’ve said multiple times, high intensity, high volume, anaerobic exercise — the type that is necessary to build an impressive bikini or board short-ready body – completely changes the name of the nutrition game. Your body is in a completely different physiological, metabolic, and hormonal state than a sedentary person for 48 hours after an intense training session.
7. And no, you don’t want to be a “fat burner” or “burning fat” during your strength training, cross-training, or high intensity interval sessions. So get that fucking mentality out of your head. You want to be burning carbs/glucose. Actually, that’s all you can burn. The anaerobic energy production runs on glucose. It can’t use fatty acids or ketones. If all you want to do is jog, well, that’s a different story.
8. What you want to be doing is burning glucose/glycogen so you can kick ass in the gym. This sends a signal to your body to build lean muscle mass. Then, you want to be a “fat burner” the other 23 hours of the day during the recovery process.
9. So to properly fuel and recover from your high-intensity strength training sessions multiple times a week, I recommend somewhere in the ballpark of 1-2g carbs/lbs of bodyweight (or lean body mass), depending on the training phase and physique goal.
10. What’s lost in the great carb debate is total calories. If you strength train while maintaining a relative calorie deficit, you can still include some starchy carbs in the diet while losing significant amounts of body fat. The best part is you get better support of that anaerobic training, better energy, better muscle retention, don’t screw up your metabolism, don’t set yourself up for huge post-dieting rebounds, and maintain natural hormone production.
11. If you want to eat an unlimited fat diet and pour cream and vegetable oil over everything, you’re probably going to have to keep the carbs lower to stay within an optimal calorie range. But I still believe that is a mismatched diet and training protocol given anaerobic training.
12. The key is adding back in the right “types” of carbs to an anaerobic athlete’s diet. That’s why I use what I call the Traditional Japanese Village Diet Template. It is just as cheesy as the Caveman theme, but also just as easy to remember, thus making it a great educational tool. It is really just a Paleo Diet with the addition of rice and root vegetables as your primary starchy carb sources to support anaerobic training. If you add back a ton of sugar and health bars and workout drinks and gluten, yeah, you’re probably going to put on some fat. Blame the shitty food choices, not da carbs.
Damn, that got out of hand. Lets try a better, more concise summary:
1. <50g of carbs a day if you have cancer or Alzheimer’s (note, I’m not a doctor and neither is my area of expertise. Consult with a physician or medical nutrition therapist to discuss that option).
2. ~100g of carbs a day from mostly whole fruit and non-starchy vegetables (a Paleo-style diet) if you are sedentary and overweight, but otherwise healthy.
3. 1-2g of carbs/lb of bodyweight if you are strength training 3 or more days a week. If you’re not, you’re probably not going to get that beach body you want. If you are trying to shed fat, make sure that falls within the confines of an overall calorie deficit.
THE WRAP UP’S WRAP UP
And on a final side note, Tyler was kind enough to mention my work as an influence. This is where I could drop some bullshit about how his results were all because of me and I have the magic coaching secrets. But it wouldn’t be the truth.
I didn’t “coach Tyler”. Tyler coached himself. His results were all his own doing. All I did was provide a little information. He took the content from my articles, posts, and books, trusted it, and simply applied it. He took personal accountability, and was co-dependent on no one. The results speak for themselves. I believe you can do the same.
That’s why I truly believe that in order to get you to where you want to go, I have to focus on educating and empowering you through awesome content. Not coach you. Hopefully, this post is a step in that direction. And please thank Tyler for his contribution to it.
I can’t coach you man. You’re un-coachable. I’m un-coachable. It’s Y2K plus change baby. We’re all fucking un-coachable.
We have too many preconceived notions. We fight back with what we think we know instead of putting plans into action and seeing if they actually work.
We cling to dogma and tradition instead of having the courage to try other methods. We favor fitting in with our social circles instead of finding truth or efficiency.
We have massive egos. We are offended when someone disagrees or suggests an alternative strategy. So we tune them out. Or worse, we ask them to coach us on our own methods. I never understood that one?
We’d rather project an aura of intelligence or superiority, even in areas outside of our expertise, than be humble enough to learn and improve.
We ask too many questions – often times a disguise for fear or procrastination – instead of having faith in a plan, and embracing the process of struggle, growth, and evolution along the way.
We are good at acquiring information overload, but terrible at applying anything. We are good talkers and pontificators, but terrible doers.
It’s like this Zen story:
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” – 101 Zen Stories
It is 2014. We don’t have cups of tea anymore. We have 84-ounce jugs. Yet our jugs of tea are still full. And although some of our teas taste like shit, we’re too proud or scared to empty that trash out and try a new one.
How do you break through that force field? You blast through it with great books.
Maybe I’m just a shitty coach? I’m fully prepared to admit that. I’ve always looked at myself as an athlete and student who enjoys sharing what has helped me, rather than a coach.
But maybe after 15 years of watching how people learn best, I’m on to something.
Regardless, here are 10 reasons why I believe books make the best teachers.
1. You become your own teacher.
Read all kinds of books of man — the central themes, the styles, the advantages, the disadvantages…self-education makes great men – Bruce Lee
No one likes to be told what to do. We fight back with what we think we know, or just out of spite. Our egos are too inflated for true learning. Reality TV and social media have warped our minds. We all believe we are mini-celebrities starring in our own reality show.
We’re not as open to learning and growing as we think. We become set in our ways. We are stubborn as hell.
This is especially true if you’ve gained success in another area of your life. Once you’ve become the master of something, it’s hard to become a student again in anything else. After all, you’re the bad ass that knows best right?
But when you read, it’s almost as if you are discovering the strategies yourself. It’s like you are teaching yourself. There is no third party to size up, prove your superiority to, or match wits with.
You can let your guard down, be humble, and learn in secret. Books can’t listen to your bullshit.
Then you can re-emerge as the know-it-all, the wise one, the guru, or whatever else strokes your ego. The world loves listening to your bullshit.
The only way information will stick for the long-term is if you believe it came from within you, from your own thoughts, research, and conclusions. Remember, you are a mini-celebrity and the world revolves around you right?
Bruce Lee was right baby, “there is no help but self-help.” You must become your own teacher.
2. You get the best an educator has to offer.
With the spoken word, it is impossible to be at your absolute best every time. You don’t always have the right words, you can’t express yourself in the exact way you intended, you forget important points, you can be distracted by outside thoughts, you can have a hangover from hell, or just be in a foul mood, and not really give a damn, etc.
With the spoken word, you get the best a teacher can come up with at that moment in time. The great ones prepare, but some elements are left to chance regardless.
With the written word, an educator can take all of the time necessary to express the information in the exact way intended. With writing, editing, analyzing, re-thinking, re-working, re-writing — all multiple times — you get the best a teacher has to offer, EVER.
3. You retain the information better.
It takes multiple exposures to new material to retain it.
With books, you can read, re-read, and refer back to specific lessons as many times as it takes for the light bulb to go off, and attain a true understanding.
In the modern world, we already have so much going on in our heads on a daily basis – work responsibilities, family life, finances, social obligations, health and fitness, etc. We’re fucking scatter-brained. It is difficult to make room for new theories and approaches.
It takes both time and the right emotional state to absorb, filter, process, and implant information, especially if it is new material or different from what you are used to. It takes even longer to build up the courage to apply it.
A book will be there throughout that entire process, no matter how long it takes for you.
4. The lessons will strike when the time is just right.
Sometimes with live instruction, you’re not in the right frame of mind to take immediate action. You have barriers, preconceived notions, doubts, distractions, fears, and prejudices.
A book in your holster (bookshelf) allows you to act on the information when the timing and circumstances are just right. Pull it out and fire away when the world forces you into a shoot out. It may be a day later. It may be a year later. It may be a decade later. It makes no difference. Good information stands the test of time.
Put it back in your holster when you don’t need it anymore. A proud teacher will get pissed when you don’t follow their advice right away. A book doesn’t give a shit.
5. You can learn on your own schedule.
We are all too busy to disrupt our schedules and break away from the grind in order to take care of ourselves. We’d rather sink into the quicksand of work and responsibility. We are willing to accept poor physical, mental, and spiritual health in exchange for traditional success.
If self-improvement is just another stressful commitment, appointment, or obligation in your day, you will resent it. You will just go through the motions.
You do it just to get it out of the way, but you have no real intention of actually learning or applying anything. Thus, you rarely do. Or you half ass it, which is even worse. You blame the information, which is really not the true problem.
But with a book, you can pick it up whenever you have a little extra time. You can fit it into your day as opposed to the other way around. You can learn as slow or as fast as you want. You can skim the surface or dive into the deep end.
If you are being proactive and seeking out the information in whatever limited free time you have, that means you are ready and motivated to learn and take action. You’re in the right mental and emotional state to get shit done.
Obligation vs. Personal Motivation & Desire? I’d place my money on the latter every time.
What’s the saying, “when the student is ready the master will appear”? A book is a master at your disposal 24-7-365.
6. You can absorb and apply what is useful to your life, and ignore the rest.
He studied all the traditional philosophies, but then he began to form his own philosophy, and he came to the realization that you just can’t borrow another person’s philosophy. You have to learn about yourself and create your own philosophy, your own way of life. — Linda Lee (on Bruce Lee).
The essence of jeet kune do: 1. Research your own experience. 2. Absorb what is useful. 3. Reject what is useless. 4. Add what is specifically your own. — Bruce Lee.
With books, you can absorb the parts that seem useful to you, ignore the ones that don’t, and apply whatever is relevant in your own personal journey at that moment in time.
A guru will get pissed if you don’t follow their exact system. A book doesn’t give a shit. You’re on your own when the pages shut. And maturity is taking responsibility for your own self, for your own destiny.
The sooner you realize there is no such thing as an all-knowing guru, the sooner you will be on YOUR WAY. You must be the captain of your own ship. A guru will shove you to the side and take control of the steering wheel. But what if he drives you to a place you don’t want to go?
A book allows you to drive, to pick your final destination. It sits quietly as a road map on the side, just in case you get lost along the way.
7. It is a permanent resource always available at your side.
The spoken word is frequently lost in the chaos of life. It is there for an instant, gone in a flash, and disappears into dust.
The written word is frozen in time. It is immortal, and stands for an eternity. It provides an indefinite resource that you can call upon and use as a weapon whenever appropriate. You can refer back to it when:
- You are having a hard time getting started and need an initial spark.
- You’ve fallen off track and need a kick in the ass to get back.
- You are feeling discouraged and need some inspiration.
- With life experiences and personal growth, your outlook and theories change. You are ready to learn something new, or perhaps, reconsider something old.
- Circumstances change and you need new information, or again, are prepared to reconsider something old.
- You’ve become so scatter-brained and information overloaded that you are suffering from paralysis by analysis. You need to be pulled back to the center and given simple, actionable strategies.
8. It gives you the tough love you need.
We’re all pansies these days. We’re too politically correct. Sometimes that which needs to be said is left unsaid for fear of offending.
We’re too entitled. If someone gives us the tough love truth, we resent it, tune it out, or fight back with excuses. If a person is fixed in their ways, arguing is wasted effort.
As a result, we often times back off when we should be pressing forwards. We don’t go all the way in the educational process because we deem that a person is not quite ready to hear or handle the truth.
With the written word, a teacher can give you a little more of the tough love that is necessary to induce change and produce results. He can tell you exactly what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear. He can present the absolute ideal scenario.
Then, every individual can work forwards from there. We can find our own personal level of comfort, determine what we will and won’t commit to, and make our own compromises based on where we are currently at in our personal journey. We can find a Way that is right for us.
And besides, a good teacher never wants to underestimate a student’s potential to change their self-defeating ways, learn, apply, grow, and improve. A book allows a teacher to not hold anything back. It prevents human emotion from getting in the way.
9. It’s the complete package
With blogs and articles, you only get bits and pieces. Those may be great bits and pieces, but they are never the full story. And half the time, its just glorified marketing material (oops, did I just write that out loud).
But with a book, you are getting the big picture, the entire system, the full manifesto, the comprehensive masterpiece. Nothing is held back.
Books are pure baby, without any of the bullshit.
10. It forces you to take personal accountability for your own results.
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it – until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel. ~ Bruce Lee
When the book is shut, the ball is in your court. You are either going to apply the information or you’re not. It’s as simple and straightforward as that. There is no one to whine to. There is no one to make excuses to. Take action or get nowhere.
Sometimes unlimited access to coaching is a bad thing. It allows you to overanalyze. It allows you to ask too many questions. It allows you to focus on approval or validation rather than real world results. It allows you to stay in the locker room and draw game plans forever, instead of getting out onto the field, playing the actual game, and putting your skills to the test.
Sometimes, you just have to take action and let the chips fall where they may. As Musashi once said:
The only shame in dying incorrectly is to die a stupid and meaningless death. To die as a warrior means to have crossed swords and either won or lost without any consideration for winning or losing. ~ Miyamoto Musashi
Most sincere writers put everything they can, put their life’s work, into their books. What more could they possibly teach you? What more planning can you possibly do?
The goal of a great educator should be to empower YOU, not make you co-dependent on them.
Your goal should be to get to where you want to go, regardless of the resources you use.
In other words, you don’t need a guru. You need a guide. I don’t know of any guide better than a good book. That’s why the best have stood the test of time.
So with guide in hand, have some courage, be your own lab, and go out and find what actually works FOR YOU.
We had a little early publicity and announcement last week, but today is the “official release” of The Way of the Cancer Warrior book. The Kindle Edition is now available on Amazon here.
Honestly, I don’t really have a huge marketing and PR campaign for it. A few of my friends are doing a write-up, an interview, or are allowing me to do a guest post, in order to help spread the word (thanks my brothers and sisters, I owe you big time). I’ll let you know when those hit the Internet Airwaves.
And me? I figured the best way to help you decide whether this book is for you or not is to let you read some of it. I don’t want you buying the book because of some slick sales copy that hooked you. No gimmicks or tricks with this one. The content is just too personal to me, and the stakes are too high for those it is intended to help. I want you to grab the book only if you think it can be of some use to you, your family, or your friends.
So today I’m posting up the Intro Section. I called it The Battlefield. Next week I’ll put up some of the strategies. Sound good to you?
1. THE ATTACK
Cancer has launched an all out attack on my family. It has taken lives, caused suffering and sorrow, and dragged some of the people I love the most into the pits of hell. We’ve experienced the pain and hardship it can cause. We understand the fear, frustration, and despair that can take over your life. We know just how much this ruthless disease can take from you.
And you? The diagnosis has been made. The plan has been set. No matter how much you’d like to, you can’t change the reality of the situation. You have no choice but to dig down deep, face your challenge, and fight back. This is the only way you will reclaim what is rightfully yours, something that we all too often take for granted – a normal life. Maybe, with a newfound warrior spirit, it will become extraordinary.
You are not alone in this battle. We have a common enemy, one that transcends all cultural and social barriers. For this is a worldwide attack. If we don’t stand side-by-side in this fight, we are all doomed. We must show cancer it messed with the wrong family, with the wrong group of friends. If they dare attack us and the one’s we love, we are attacking back with ruthless aggression, with no mercy.
The battle has now entered your home. The only question is this — will you fight or will you flee?
2. HEROES FIGHT BACK
My wife’s dad battled brain cancer for years. He fought hard, inspired many, and became a legend. My sister is battling kidney and stomach cancer. Her life has been turned completely upside down. Yet she faces every challenge with a smile. Two friends crushed the initial attack of leukemia at a very young age. They’ve gone on to do great things in their lives.
In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with stage-4 throat cancer. His life was changed in an instant. He went from one day planning his upcoming fishing trip to the next day fighting for his life.
The doctors prescribed an intensive treatment protocol — daily radiation sessions combined with chemotherapy infusions. He had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach because he could no longer eat solid food.
I don’t know if hell exists, and if it does what it’s like, but watching my dad go through his treatment sure gives me a good idea. He experienced most of the general side effects associated with cancer treatment: hair loss, muscle loss, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal distress, rashes, aches, pains, etc. He also had symptoms specific to throat cancer: painful throat sores that made it difficult to eat or swallow, loss of all sense of taste. I might as well stop there and tell you what he didn’t experience – any semblance of a normal life.
I visited my dad every weekend during his treatment. As time progressed I could see his symptoms getting worse and his body deteriorating, but nevertheless he persevered.
One weekend I showed up and I could tell something was different. As I sat across from my dad and looked into his eyes, I knew immediately that the worst thing possible was happening — his spirit was breaking. The human body can take almost anything, but if your spirit collapses, all is lost. My Dad’s words that day confirmed what my gut instinct was telling me. He told me things were so bad that he was going to quit.
My immediate responses were probably very typical of someone in that situation. I said things like, “You can’t quit. You’re halfway through. Don’t give up. I love you too much to lose you.”
I went home that night and knew I had to do something more. He wasn’t going to change his mind just because I wanted him to. Somehow, some way, he was going to have to find some personal motivation from within to persevere, and continue struggling on through this epic battle. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t step in and do it for him. As Bruce Lee once said, “there is no help but self-help”. I knew I had to find a way to help my dad make it through these tough times, to find his fight. I also knew superficial, cliché statements weren’t going to cut it.
I went home that day, stayed up all night, and wrote him the following letter straight from the heart. I apologize in advance for the frequent use of the word shit in this letter. It was an emotionally charged, shitty time:
*NOTE – Since this is a blog post, and not a book, I eliminated the letter for the sake of space.
To make a long story short, my dad didn’t quit, he persevered, he struggled, he sacrificed, he fought through it all, and he finished his treatment. Somewhere along the way, he found his reason to fight. Patients with his specific condition last on average 6 months. As I write this, it is nearly 4 years later.
What have been some of his rewards for beating the odds? He got to stand by his son’s side as the best man at his wedding. He got to help two of his other sons overcome some personal struggles, get back on their feet, see them kick butt in their careers, and know that they were going to be OK moving forward. He got to watch his favorite baseball team win the World Series. He got to spend valuable time with his grandchildren, watch them grow up, and develop their own personalities. He got to celebrate his 75th birthday with friends and family that flew in from around the world. He got to take one last trip with his wife. He got to motivate everyone else around him to face his or her own struggles in life. And in this son’s eyes, he grew from a great man into a legend that will inspire forever. None of this would have been possible if he had given up.
Unfortunately, my dad is down to clinical trial studies that have some pretty nasty side effects. He recently had emergency surgery to remove cancerous blood trapped inside his heart and lungs, and a trachea tube inserted to help him breathe. Yet he keeps putting one foot in front of the other and marching on. He wants a few more memories to take with him when he goes.
I hope you do too.
3. A NEW HERO RISES
When man comes to a conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself, and begins to use those forces in science, in business, and in life, his progress in the future will be unparalleled. – Striking Thoughts.
Most of us don’t know how strong we can be, how much we can accomplish, and how we can rise to the occasion when the stakes truly matter. Sometimes it takes life backing you into a corner to force you to look inside, find the warrior within, and let him or her out.
If you’re dealing with cancer, I don’t have to tell you about the gut-wrenching physical and emotional challenges you are currently facing: symptoms and side effects outside of your own control; the feeling that your own body is rebelling against you; the frustrating see-saw of good and bad days; wishing things were back to normal and your fate had fallen upon someone else; alternating optimism and hope with doubt and despair; the constant battle between wanting to live and feeling so sick that giving up sounds like your only true option; the fear of dying and what’s next; the fear of living but no longer being anything like you were before your diagnosis or treatment; worrying about what will happen to your family when you are gone.
All of that building up inside can either cripple you, or can be used to crush your enemy. Somehow, you must find a way to take all of that fear, doubt, and frustration; convert it into positive energy and action; and unleash it against your opponent. It is clear that cancer has underestimated the power of the human spirit in general, and yours in particular. You should not make the same mistake.
Champions, heroes, and legends are made, not born. In most superhero stories, the hero starts out as just an ordinary man or woman. He or she is thrust into battle — most of the time against his or her will — and only becomes the hero by dealing with the circumstances, overcoming extraordinary challenges, and conquering the villain.
You have the opportunity now to conquer the greatest villain this life has to offer. Are you ready to rise to the occasion and win?
4. HOW TO USE THIS BOOK IN YOUR WAR
Each strategy starts with a few quotes. As you fight, I want you to have the most powerful weapons possible at your side. I believe these are just that — simple words of wisdom that will remain with you long after this book is gone. You will be able to call upon them for motivation when you need it most. Following the quotes, we focus on the practical steps to take in order to apply them in battle.
*Quotes courtesy of Tuttle Publishing
1. Find and apply the strategies that resonate with you.
Some strategies will be relevant to your personal situation and style. Some will not. Focus only on those that connect with you personally, and help motivate you to take action, fight your fight, and win your war. Ignore the rest.
2. Write down and use your own strategies as well.
I encourage you to write down your own motivational quotes, sayings, and strategies as well. Use the resources and experiences you’ve been exposed to in your own life. There is no greater education than self-education. There is no greater help than self-help. There are no weapons more powerful than the ones that come from within.
This book is dedicated to Jerry Miyaki – the best friend, mentor, role model, warrior, hero, and dad a guy could have ever asked for.
I was going to formally release my new book — The Way of the Cancer Warrior: 34 Strategies For Your Cancer War — next Tuesday. But an article on it came out in the Huffington Post Today! Thanks for all of your help Tory.
So I guess this is the early release party. I’m always down for a good party man. And if the message is strong and you believe it can help, why wait baby? In a few emails out to some friends who were helping me test the book, I was telling them this may be the best thing I’ve done in my life up to this point. At least for personal fulfillment anyways.
The Way of the Cancer Warrior applies martial arts strategies, sports psychology principles and warrior philosophy to the battle against cancer. Each section starts with a few motivational quotes and is followed by practical application guidelines. It is a resource meant to help patients, healthcare professionals, caretakers, family members and friends collectively fight back against the greatest enemy this life has to offer. — Huff Post Books
There is no question that cancer sucks. When diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness, our society is often quick to refer to battle terminology; we go to war. Some accept and appreciate the analogy; others despise it. But if we are going to go to war with cancer, why not have some positive reinforcement?
Nate Miyaki, a fitness author, athlete, educator and the son of a heroic man who lost his battle with cancer, thinks cancer sucks too. Miyaki’s new book, The Way of the Cancer Warrior, is how he is fighting back. — Huff Post Books
If you’d like to read the article, you can check it out here: Huff Post Books: The Blog
If you’d like to know about the history behind the book, I set up a page here on the site. It has an intro video, a more in depth book description, and some warrior quotes to get you started (facing any challenge you are currently facing in life). I hope to share with you the story behind why this book was written, what it’s all about, and how I think it can help. Here’s the link: CancerWarrior Page
Alright, who brought the champagne. Lets pop the top and get this thing rolling…