By Danni Levy
Want to turn your life around in just 21 days? Muscle and Health cover star and Hollywood comedic legend used this method to do exactly that! Muscle and Health’s interview highlights will allow you to harness the power of habit building to become the best version of yourself.
Whether you can’t get enough of NBC series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you’re hooked on America’s Got Talent, or you’re a closet White Chicks superfan, there’s a Terry for everyone!
“I saw suicides, major depressions, and weight gain after the NFL.”
Life wasn’t always a song and a dance for Terry though, having solidified a phenomenal career with the NFL, he walked off the field into complete darkness.
“After spending seven years in the NFL, I saw a ton of bodies that were incredible, but minds that were just not there to match,” says Terry. “I witnessed many of my friends and piers end up living lives that were way less fulfilled than they ever thought they would, all because the mental side of them was not ready” he explains. “I saw suicides, major depressions, and weight gain after the NFL. When you make things sports specific it’s easy, but once that’s gone you can lose any impetus to try or to do anything anymore. You need to discover keeping fit for your health, for you, for everything- not just for sports specific reasons. It’s almost like building a house. You have to have a really strong foundation. Measure twice, cut once. Build on the right things.
“You have to have a really strong foundation. Measure twice, cut once. Build on the right things.”
“In 1997 my wife and I moved out to California to make our way in Hollywood” he says. “ I’d retired from football, and I stopped working out. There was no going to the gym. I no longer had someone to tell me when to wake up, eat and go to the gym. I gained 30 pounds of fat. In my head I thought I was fine, but I was sitting up on the couch until 2 am eating hamburgers and cookies and just dealing with this depression and not knowing how to get out.
“During that period of my life, I overheard someone say, ‘it takes 21 days to change.’ I thought ‘nothing is wrong with me so it’s no big deal.’ But then one morning my wife came up to me and pinched my back fat and was like, ‘hey honey’ and I was like, ‘woah stop!’ She told me it was cute, but for me I had never known I had fat there until that moment. Of course, my wife had meant no harm, but it was the wake-up call I needed to change. I said, ‘okay, 21 days, 21 days.’
“I joined the cheapest gym down the street. We were broke at the time. I went the first day and I was so depressed. I literally sat on a recumbent bike; I probably moved my legs like three times, read a magazine and said to myself ‘okay I went to the gym,’ and then I went back the next day, and I did the same thing. I sat on that recumbent bike, and I did a little more. And each day a little more. As it got to day 14, I still wasn’t really working out, but I started looking at the machines” Terry recalls. “By day 21, I had the habit of going to the gym. It was the habit of putting that space in my life. I spent those 21 days thinking- not working out, but thinking about what I wanted to be, who I wanted to become, how I wanted my body to look, why had I become depressed. It was therapy; it was so nuts.
“That 21 days has turned into 21 years. It has never stopped. I have never, ever stopped.”
“I was in a two-year hole, but once I adopted the attitude I could change in 21 days, I hit the gym and I dug myself out of it. I call it 21 days to 21 years. That 21 days has turned into 21 years. It has never stopped. I have never, ever stopped.”
Having exploited the power of habit to dig himself out of depression, and transform from fat to fit, Terry also formulated a whole host of healthy mindset practices and wise levelling-up strategies to propel him to unparalleled levels of success and happiness.
“I’ve developed this thing called ‘unembarrassability’” he reveals. “You have to develop it! If you get out there and things don’t go right you have to say, ‘I’m learning, it’s okay, I’m human.’
“No-one who’s really good at what they’re doing right now was good when they first started. Everyone who’s doing something they love right now and doing it well was horrible at it when they started. You have to be unembarrassable to get over those hurdles.
“It’s no different from 21 days to 21 years. After a year you’re suddenly like, ‘I know what I’m doing.’”
The Terry Crews Path to Success
21-day Habit Building
“It was the habit of putting those 21 days into my life. Thinking- not working out, but thinking about what I wanted to be, who I wanted to become, how I wanted my body to look, why had I become depressed. It was therapy; it was so nuts.”
See Yourself as A Superstar
“What makes one person rise above all the others? It’s how they prepare. The ones who are really successful have always seen themselves as superstars in their heads. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a fantasy way. They don’t even have to play it up, they literally just walk right into their dream.”
“I’ve developed this thing called ‘unembarrassability’. If things don’t go right you have to say, ‘I’m learning, it’s okay, I’m human.’ Everyone who’s doing something they love right now and doing it well was horrible at it when they started. You have to be unembarrassable to get over those hurdles!”
Withstand Instant Gratification
“The world we live in now rewards immediate success. People love the story of, ‘look, she’s three and she can do all this stuff!’ The truth is the most successful people have been doing what they’re doing for years. I still face performance challenges all the time and some are easier than others to overcome.”
Adopt A ‘Can Do’ Attitude
“Little kids don’t have fear. Dreams get beat out of you as you grow up because people tell you you can’t sing, or you can’t dance and when they hear too many of those voices they stop. If you have an encouraging parent or an encouraging teacher, you can be incredible. It’s an ‘I can do this’ attitude. It’s fear that prevents people from doing things. But these fears don’t come from you, they come from other people.”
“Imposing limits on yourself leads to heightened levels of gratitude. When you see someone who’s very thankful, they’re usually successful with it. I always say, ‘the height of your success is equal to the depth of your gratitude.’”
Become An Early Riser
“I love going to the gym at 4 o’clock in the morning. I’ll go to bed at 9 o’clock just so I can get that great 4 am feeling. My 4 am gym session is like a brainwash. It’s like putting my brain through a sieve and washing out the negativity. By the time I’m done with my workout I’m self-actualized, and I say: ‘I can do this. I’m gonna go for it.’”
Discover Keeping Fit
“Discover keeping fit for your health, for you, for everything. It’s almost like building a house. You have to have a really strong foundation. Measure twice, cut once. Build on the right things. When I work out it’s a spiritual thing for me. It’s all mental; it’s mindfulness. I’m really trying to become self-actualized in the sense that every day I’m discovering a little more about myself.”
Find Your Higher Workout Purpose
“I’ve never worked out just for looks. I’m not a bodybuilder per se, but my workouts are about my mind and taking myself to another level and then what happens is you end up with a body that goes with your mind.”
“I’ve been intermittent fasting for eight years for spiritual reasons. The reason for it is because whatever is in your grasp is not always meant to be in your hand. I had to train myself to say no to my body and give myself these limits and say, ‘you’re not going to do this today.’ I really like the feeling of being empty and clean.”
Fuel Yourself Effectively
“I have three meals during the eight-hour eating window. I have a lot of good fats like almonds, bacon, and lots of fatty meats. When I eat, I eat until I’m full. My meals are really substantial. I might have six or seven eggs at a time.”
Be Present During Your Workouts
Always be present and feel how your body feels. Stay in tune with your body. As you get older those little things start to tweak if you’re not thinking. I learned never, ever to take concentration for granted. When really good people like Mike O’Hearn train, they concentrate. It’s a really beautiful thing.”
Prioritize Heart Health
“I love getting my heart rate up really, really high and feeling how fast I can lower it down to my resting heart rate. I’ve been doing it for so long I don’t need to wear a monitor anymore. By the time you get to the last set the way I train, it’s real gut-pushing. I mean, your heart rate goes ‘wow!’ Everything is about the heart rate for me. It’s all about explosion.”
Experience unembarrassability for yourself, plus try becoming an early riser, intermittent fasting, adopting gratitude and more by following the Terry Crews-approved path to living your best life.
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Hear what Terry has to say in the Terry Crews Muscle And Health Podcast.