I was having dinner with one of my closest brothers earlier in the week. The restaurant he took me to (he’s a London native and knows the land better than I) was extremely popular and highly reviewed, but we were surprisingly able to get a walk in. In fact, the place was only at 25% capacity.
He apologised and said the place was usually much more crowded and he assured me it was a great restaurant, but when I told him I much prefer quieter places now anyway, he was shocked.
“This is London, you’re here for the crowds and the hustle! And you love clubs!”
But I explained how recently, when I’m in crowded places, I seem to have developped “Shrek Syndrome”. I knock people over, I spill peoples drinks, last week a woman literally walked face-first into my shoulder and almost knocked herself out. I’m basically a clumsy Viking without a battlefield.
This particular brother of mine is a Psychology graduate and loves to discuss Mindset topics as much as I love to write and teach about them, so naturally, we dove into this further.
Here’s the problem – I was at the very beginning of creating a new anxiety, one that if I wasn’t careful, could become deeply rooted. An irrational worry about being too cumbersome and clumsy for busy crowds.
And as I discuss in my book, when you allow low self-esteem, low confidence, or anxieties and fears to control you, you lose the opportunity to experience life, love and adventure!
When you’re in Raiding Season (losing fat and increasing muscle definition), packing in all of the extra calories isn’t a huge priority. You can casually eat what you feel like and trust your appetite. Combined with all of the extra supersets and drop-sets in your workouts, you’ll achieve a calorie deficit and cut down your body fat.
But what about when you’re mass building and need hella calories?!
When you’re in Winter Season, you’re trying to pile on the mass, and get beast mode huge and strong. It’s when your body does it’s growing, and that requires lots of calories.
But that’s not always easy for Modern Vikings with the stresses and problems of a modern lifestyle.
What if you overslept and now there’s no time to prep your regular Viking breakfast before getting the kids ready for school? What if you know it’s going to be a mixed up day and you’ll struggle to make all 6 meals and 5,000 calories (My personal goal is 5,000 /day but yours could be 3,000 – 5,000).
What if you just want to blast down the nutrition you need because at the end of the day – Food Is Füel and you really don’t want to spend your day worrying about each meal being good?
Well for those days, here’s my personal breakfast smoothie recipe. I find breakfast is by far the easiest meal to get right and even if the rest of the day fucks up, as long as I smash breakfast, I’ll have an epic workout and an epic day.
This smoothie gives you a 1,300 calorie kick and 82g of protein (overkill but whatever) and it tastes good (“good” is as good as it gets in a 1,300 calorie shake, sorry but thats the truth)
When I began my own fitness journey, I didn’t necessarily have an end goal in mind.
If I’m being honest, at first I just needed the structure in my day. Something to drag my ass out of bed, pull myself out of the dark places my mind could wander to in those days, and clear my mind with the therapy of hard labour.
But then I changed.
I decided I wanted to look better. I was in a city surrounded by beautiful women (I was in Barcelona) and I decided that I wanted to look more attractive. While many things were fucked in my life and in my mind back then, one of the biggest causes for my lack of confidence was that I’d not had a women look at me in that way in years.
But becoming more attractive to women – did that mean getting big, like a lumberjack, or getting lean like a soccer player?
Khal Drago or Tyler Durden?
Very quickly I learned that my end goals would dictate the sort of training I should do, the diet I would eat and the lifestyle I would live. I also (incorrectly) assumed that there was a single “correct” physique that would be more universally attractive to all women.
So I needed to make a choice (and unknowingly at the time, this choice would shape the entire training philosophy of my Mens Self-Help book, Modern Viking!)
I needed to decide – did I want to be Big or did I want to be Lean?
One of the most popular myths about Viking raids was their love for enjoying their female plunder. Biased perhaps when all accounts of your raids are written by the sore losers, but we do know the Vikings participated in slave trade and we also know that, unfortunately like every ancient (and some modern) army invasions, raging testosterone made most conquering armies lose their minds a little.
Fortunately, adopting a Modern Viking mindset and understanding what that could mean as a guide to self improvement as a man, is not always a literal path.
I embarked on a new Viking raid myself last week, changing location from Barcelona, Spain to London, England. If I’m being honest, as a Modern Viking I made the decision to go raiding for pretty classic Viking: new wealth, new experiences, new lands and perhaps, new women!
Vikings were blessed with a freedom from worry and anxiety because of their mindset on fate. Emboldened by their religious beliefs and driven by a desire to enjoy the theatre of life, they were able to release themselves from the stress and unhappiness of worrying over choices because a large part of their destiny was already being written by someone else.
Because the Vikings believed that the fate/destiny, or urðr, of every man was already decided (in a fairly solid but still somewhat malleable way).
They believed that the 3 Norns (diving beings) sat beneath the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree of life. There, they weaved the threads of each man’s life. Urðr (fate), Verðandi (present) and Skuld (future) would record the knowledge and destiny of every man and God. They and they alone held the knowledge of the world and the knowledge of fate because they saw everything, everything that could come to pass and everything that would come to pass.
Well, until Odin half killed himself to also earn some of that knowledge too!
When a Viking charged into an enemies shield wall, or he decided whether to join a Viking campaign to England or to Frankia, he knew that he needn’t worry about making the incorrect choice. There was no correct or incorrect choice – only the Gods knew for sure. So his only role in life was to throw himself at the situation with all that he had, all that his skills and training allowed him to, and to enjoy the journey of life in this world before his journey would take him to Valhalla.
Vikings embraced the idea that a man can only know so much about his destiny, and the possibilities of each branch of choice he made. He embraced that he held a measure of free will over his destiny, but he also accepted that the Gods forged part of his fate too. His best choice was to make the very best of every story that the Norns weaved into his life.
Here’s how you can be inspired by our Viking ancestors and release yourself from a worrying situation by remembering that Only The Gods Know.